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Don’t Need It That Bad

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paralysisI get a lot of mail and many of my questions boil down to — How will I ever manage? How can I be alone? Surely it’s a cesspool out there and All The Good People Are Gone!

Generally, these people are telling me this to make rationalizations to stay. On the one hand, they’ll outline chapter and verse about how completely untenable their situation is, but then they’ll tell me how the future is so scary, so they stay paralyzed with indecision. As if these things were commensurate and could be weighed — the dreadful existence you are currently living versus the nightmare you imagine you’re going to.

Did anyone ever hesitate to run out of a burning building because they were afraid of fresh air?

Sure, you could imagine future calamities, but does that justify staying in a burning building?

But it’s hard out there! I won’t have a house. I’ll have to rebuild one, stay with relatives, and be the sad object of pity because my house burned down.

Okay. But you survived the fire.

And uh, duh… your house was burning, what did you think you should do?

These discussions usually come down to — I hate that my choices suck.

Yes, they do. I’m sorry folks, often choices suck. But when choices suck, I think the best thing to do is figure out where you have the most agency, the most control over a given set of circumstances, and move in that direction. (Remember, you only control yourself.)

That’s why my advice here is — go save yourself, you’ll figure out the what next.

And I know it’s hard. I lived it. But it’s also full of rewards and surprises, and it’s a hell of a lot better than being married to an arsonist.

But how do you get into that mindset? How do you become someone who acts with self-protection? I think you have to let go of whatever you’re holding on to and realize it’s going down with that burning house. Your ego. That intact family. Your sex life with that person. You need to tell yourself that whatever it is you’re clinging to — you don’t need it that bad. Seriously, you can do without. Let it GO. The shit you never, ever thought you could let go of — let it GO.

I need to stay married so I don’t feel like a two-time divorcee and middle-aged failure.

Nope, don’t need it that bad.

I need the constancy of an intact family for my children.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at this price. No sir-ee.

I need this person’s financial support.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at the cost of my dignity and self-respect. Nope, think I’d rather flip burgers and live in a box.

I need to be coupled, because no one will ever love me again. There’s no one left.

Don’t need it that bad. Living in a bunker alone with cats until the end of your days is preferable to this cheater.

See how that works? You have to be prepared to run into the arms of “I’ll figure it out.” I know it sucks, but I have every confidence in you that you WILL figure it out. Seriously, I do. I know there are huge, scary challenges out there — serious shit like supporting your children, like facing 337 lonely Saturdays, or figuring out how to reinvent your remaining years. But you’re a chump and you’re mighty. You have deep reserves of faith, misplaced until now, but directed to yourself? You’re going to be okay. And then fine. And then better than fine.

When you “need it that bad,” you’ll do anything for it. You drive down the price of your self worth. Demand a higher price. Know your worth. I promise you, whatever it is? You don’t need it that bad.

Following up from yesterday’s post, I thought I would re-run this column. Forgive the rerun. 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Yes, the choices suck. I told my lawyer that I was just choosing which shit sandwich to swallow. Used those words. He corrected me and said we were working on helping me “move on”. I know it’s the shit sandwich thing.

  • I may not be quoting this verbatim. I got this by reading Nancy Lay-King. She was quoting another so here goes. Sometimes reconciling is like giving someone an extra bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time.

      • Thanks for the suggestion. I just googled her and she has some really hard and lovely things to say about letting go.

    • That is fabulous!! Thanks, Let Go. That was exactly my thinking after D-day–listen MF, you don’t get a second chance to cheat on me again.

    • “Sometimes reconciling is like giving someone an extra bullet for their gun because they missed you the first time.”

      How fitting to read this a week after the last session of a year of weekly MC. I thought we worked through a lot a issues, I have become more of a person than I was an a better friend to myself than anyone was r will be.She was truly remorseful, ended all contact and lost feeling with OM long before the counseling. Normacy started to show, intimacy was there and sex was better and frequent and initiated by herself which never happened ….ever…

      Its been 109 days since we shared a bed. I havent asked, or expected sex because it had there before the most recent lapse. All of our marriage shes had issues with intimacy, so the last year we have had it more than all previous years combined.

      We had a great chat Saturday night, glass of wine and banter. When I said it’s time for bed with a smile, she said “yeah Im soo tired..good night ” and gave me a hug and a half ass peck on the check.

      I stared at her and asked if she was joking (and give her the extra bullet)

      She looked me straight in the eye and said ” yeah you know Im not a sexual person and its awkward again because it’s been so long since the last time.And I’m still not attracted to you

      (I hear the gun load)

      . I care about you, and it has been a while. Let me get a glass of wine and get into wife mode”

      BLAM BLAM BLAM

      Chump falls to floor

      Got a plane ticket ready and a place to stay and my own money. Thats my plan B.
      Im not hers.

      • So sorry to hear that. How painful. At least you got an honest moment (maybe the only one from her in all this time) that could spur you to action. You know you gave it your all: you can walk away with your head held high. Wishing you many blessings in your new life!

    • Why do you need any devils? That’s the basic question here. If you are so untrusting that “no one” looks good to you—then why do it? Isn’t this statement just another way of saying, “I don’t want to be alone, so therefore, I will put myself and my children through whatever devil can dish out, because —I WANT.”

      Yes?

      • Exactly! Better no Devil at all. I don’t buy into this: Better the devil you know crap. I’d rather face the unknown than spend another second of my life with the pathological lying Narc I was married to. In fact, I’ll take the bunker with cats, as CL referenced above any day, every day, over any man who treats me like a piece of garbage whether in an over or covert manner. No thanks.

        Table for one?

        Yes. Thank you.

        🙂

          • Count me in for the felines too-I love my little fluff-ball!
            That cat has shown me more love and consideration over the years than stbx ever did.

          • Scott, I always say that my daughter’s 17 year old cat is my 4 legged granddaughter. The only problem with that is I am not allowed to see her anymore because my daughter does not speak to me and I used to pay all of the cat’s vet bills to make my daughter’s life easier. I am considering getting a cat of my own because whilst I love my own company, having a little furry person wondering around would be the icing on the cake.

            • Do it! Seriously! They’re so therapuetic it’s not even funny. They’re very low maintenance, you can leave them for days with just food and fresh water, plus they hang out with you, keep you warm, etc. The shelters are full, and one of them is the right fit for you.

              • So, so true! They are known stress reducers (and help with mice too!) and great for unconditional love! The SPCA will occasionally drop adoption fees too!

            • I say do it too! I love my cat so much and he has helped so much in my healing. He is my (local) family here and it feels good to come home to him. He has been so, so sweet with me and such a comfort. (And I used not to like cats…)

          • My 20 pound orange kitty sleeps next to me every night – took the stbx’s spot. I love the sound of him purring as I fall asleep.

            • That purring noise is the best. My little Teddy cat sleeps on my pillow every night with a paw resting on me so I know he’s there. He has been some awesome therapy wrapped up in a little 8 pound furball

              • Not sure why it says ‘ your comment is awaiting moderation’ I didnt text that.
                My cat is still an asshole.

              • Lol, my cat is also an asshole – but I have still provided for her for thirteen years – does that make me a double chump?

                Prior to the asshole cat, I had plenty of nice ones, this one is an expert mouser and rabbiter, and occasionally will disdainfully allow you to stroke her! Gotta love the ‘tude.

                Get a dog, they appreciate you more ;-)!

        • Can I have a bunker with dogs instead of cats?…I am just more of a dog person, regardless it is still better off than being married to my EW…but that just can’t be understood in the midst of paralysis.

          • Absolutely! All animals are welcome into Chumpdome.

            Despite the fact that I have 5 cats, 1 outdoor stray (he has a dog house with a heated lamp inside). I plan on getting a rescue dog. I cannot wait!

        • I got two cats. Pretty good companions. The male stray is spraying clothes, etc. Gotta get him snipped.
          My son brought home another stray, claiming it was a male. Well. it was not. Sprayer cat went wild. Next thing, we had 4 kittens.
          So, 7 cats in my condo where the place only allows 2.
          Found good homes for all of the kittens and their mom.
          I am buying a house, soon, and we will get a dog, too.
          Fear keeps most of us stuck in these things, IMO. You get some kids and it is really scary and guilt inducing to break uo the marriage, even if your spouse is an abusive, cheating asshole.
          Once out, things got better, but it was a gradual climb. Dug out of debt, started to get more than 4 hours of sleep a night ( was working 3 jobs to keep up with her spending. Cluster B’s are known to be financial abusers)
          For me, I was not at all lonely. The contrast between the peace I was now getting and life with my XW was so dramatic that I was really just happy.
          Even in my mid 50’s I had lots of opportunities to date nice women. Found my GF three years ago and am happy. Even before her , though , life was really nice.

          • I have 6 dogs & a feral cat. They have really helped me through. I am an animal rescuer and have been for years.They are just like Chumps, they give and give and ask for little in return. When I drive up after work to the mailbox, they are sitting on my bed watching for me and just go CRAZY! When was the last time you had that kind of reception?? Certainly not from your Cheater.
            Trying to help people in trouble is WAY more complicated. The pets have given me many laughs, some days the only laughs I got. I have 4 of the 6 up here with me now. As they say, dog is God spelled backwards. They are a blessing.

    • So, Irene, let’s rephrase–“Better the devil you know will stab you in the back, rape you emotionally, devalue you, potentially give you STDs and drain your bank accounts, humiliate you in front of your friends, hit on your niece or nephew at the next wedding, than….” never mind, lost the train of thought.

    • Luckily the devil I knew preferred a bar whore. He finally found an equally disturbed partner. Thankfully his she devil pig took him off my hands. Being independent, free, and happy is so much better than losing your soul to an evil spirited narcissistic degrading man whore.

    • Unfortunately the ‘devil you know’ is a very popular tactic amongst members of the RIC. They are selling that nonsense to the poor unicorn chasers and a lot of them buy into it hook, line and sinker. One of the ‘pearls of wisdom’ they regularly dispense is that if a betrayed spouse does leave their cheater, they’re just going to hook up with another one because everyone cheats.

      Then they take it a little further and remind you that you’ll never trust again anyway. I bought that nonsense and feared the unknown but lucky for me I eventually bought a clue!

  • The finances have been tight, but not living with a cheater has been worth it. He hadn’t had my back for YEARS – I just never realized it until he moved out. I also never realized just how BAD a parent he was until he moved out and didn’t bother to contact his kids for weeks on end. They’re just not that important to him.

    Yes, it’s been tough, but the bad times are coming to an end – mostly because I’ve gone meh. I just don’t care what he does anymore. Once you focus on yourself and stop thinking about them, life becomes MUCH better. Yes, it takes a little while to readjust once your world is turned upside down, but life goes on. You can mourn what you had…or you can look forward to a fun, new life. Open that new door. You might be surprised by what’s on the other side.

    • It was really hard for me to come to terms with the fact that X may have lived with us but for most of our kids lives especially the eldest, he just never engaged. Leaving me to parent alone. This really hit home a few months after d’day when I asked my eldest how he felt about his father not being around.
      Sons response “nothing has really changed here, there is just one less body in the house”
      This comment just floored me, I realise my kids lacked nothing from their father being gone. But gained a great deal of peace.

      • More hot water to bathe in…. Less towels used up….less of the crap they leave lying around … N none of that grumpy negative energy… What’s to miss?

      • Same here…was actually a single parent for almost 20 years. DDay came and he completely abandoned the kids…it’s been almost 10 months since he even spoke to them.

      • Both my son and daughter said almost the same too. When I asked my son whether he missed his dad, he said nope, its not any different, he was never here anyway and when he was I just wanted him to leave again. My daughter said she feels she has missed her childhood, she never had a dad. Just a person who turned up every once in a while.

    • It’s true, Red. I realized yesterday that I don’t even miss my cheater. Did we have some fun times & good conversations? Sure. But he eventually became more of a drain than a plus, esp. as I felt less emotionally safe with him.

      Loving my alone time + daughter time, *without* criticism. Yeah!

  • As I face the reality that my future is unsure. I am thankful for the fact that my future will not be engulfed in the batshit crazy vortex that surrounds my cheater X.
    I got the triple whami the Jesus cheating gay narc who was delivered of his sin and forgiven by God negating any need for remorse, who is now in a relationship with another woman (just friends of course) and the ink on our divorce isn’t even dry yet.
    Am I scared? Yep shit scared. Three kids all with varying issues as a result of the separation of their father and I and why. My youngest half way through her cancer treatment. Facing selling the only home our kids have ever know as I am stone broke. Having my X engage a solicitor to ensure that his stuff stays at the house till it suites him to collect it while refusing to agree to the sale of the property. On top this his new relationship is effecting our younger two especially as his new loves eldest and our youngest are in the same class. So having to spend a large portion of their 48hours a fortnight with dad and his new love is not working for them. But I can’t say anything as I am verbally violent apparently which caused him to cheat in the first place.
    The list of bullshit is extensive and some days I feel like I am drowning.
    But thanks to CL and DM and every one that posts I get strength and reassurance that I will get through it. It won’t happen over night but it will happen. I certainly don’t need it that bad.

    • Thankful, you are one mighty woman. I hope your youngest daughter is soon fit and healthy once more, and I hope you continue to keep your head above water. I am moved by everyone’s story on here but some affect me more than others, as yours has. I send you vibes of strength and lots of hugs from the UK. x

      • Thankful and Mighty Mite I am so sorry you are both having such a rough time. I just want to let you both know that I am keeping you both in my prayers.

    • No Thankful, you aren’t alone and thanks to your comment, I know I’m not either. My stbx cheater narc is having an affair and couldn’t care less about us anymore…we don’t exist to him. He has abandoned the children and they have issues about that plus having to live with him for their entire lives. My daughter has a brain tumor that needs regular testing and treatment. We will have to sell the only home we’ve ever known. I haven’t worked for so many years and now have to support myself and my two children. I’m “shit scared”, too! But all of this is so much better knowing that I will never have to live with, talk to or interact with such a monster ever again!
      I wish you the very best…I have a feeling for both of us that things will turn out better than we can imagine!

      • I have had friends experience similar situations like this. Something very major happens with a family members health and boom, the cheater suddenly decides he or she has to leave. It is hard to understand when you know you would never turn your back on a loved one whose health is threatened. I’m guessing the cheater can’t cope with the pain involved watching a loved one suffer, but how do they deal with the pain of knowing they are an asshole? How do they block that out? How do they not realize we are all humans, and all of us, including them are going to have health issues at some point? How do they expect people to care for them when they don’t give a shit about us when things go awry?

        • They don’t care…about anyone else. When it happens to them, then they’ll care (but we’ll all have disappeared. so sad).

          • Oh yeah, they care when it is them having a problem. W went through a lot of mania and then crashed into a really horrible depression which took months to get through. Oh yeah, she needed the support of my son and I then, lots of hugs and love and reassurance that we wouldn’t give up on her (never, ever would have happened).

            Then she was fine for a couple of years, then hit a manic patch, had plastic surgery and became bulletproof. Who needs you chumps now? Not me! I am special and I am so outta here to hang with my new sparkly 29 year old boyfriend.

        • “I’m guessing the cheater can’t cope with the pain involved watching a loved one suffer, but how do they deal with the pain of knowing they are an asshole? ”

          Jen, IMHO, it has nothing to do with pain at all, but with inconvenience. The disordered hate to be bothered dealing with anyone else’s issues, they only want the world to revolve around their OWN needs. They don’t feel any remorse or pain or guilt whatsoever upon ditching a sick loved one, because they really didn’t care that much to begin with. And absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, they do not EVER consider themselves to be assholes, or to have done anything wrong at all.

          • OMG THIS “Jen, IMHO, it has nothing to do with pain at all, but with inconvenience. The disordered hate to be bothered dealing with anyone else’s issues, they only want the world to revolve around their OWN needs. They don’t feel any remorse or pain or guilt whatsoever upon ditching a sick loved one, because they really didn’t care that much to begin with. And absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, they do not EVER consider themselves to be assholes, or to have done anything wrong at all.”

            I just found out this weekend that my mom is in stage 4 renal failure with 18% kidney function left & it is decreasing. She is dying & I don’t know how much time is left. I was sobbing my eyes out on the floor & stbx is half-ass listening to me about having to help with our son so I can be with my mom but then starts taking phone calls about his POS car…………..asshole much? No sympathy, empathy-NOTHING….like a robot. But then tells me he has my back? WTF? He’s such a disconnected, disordered ass. I told him he hasn’t had my back in years. He sits & watches our son play instead of playing with him……Unable to connect with anything but his iPorn & hookers and his Camaro. He couldn’t fake any feeling or empathy if his life depended on it

            I told him to get out yet again-which he refuses.
            I am almost set to file the divorce-just a little more money needed.

            • Oh I am so sorry! My dad went through a kidney transplant and many other complications from type 1 diabetes when I was a child. It shaped me as a person watching him go through everything he went through. It is why I would never do this to someone else. Do you have to experience that kind of loss to have empathy? Maybe because my mother stuck by him, though grudgingly, I can understand that people are mortal, and worth so much more than how many Twitter followers they have.
              Again, I am so sorry. It is hell to watch a loved one suffer. Fuck him, you don’t need him.

            • Current Chump – what a JERK! Chances are he will have to grow up someday! I have stated this before, but the immaturity is just stunning…. and it seems the social climate right now backs up their childishness. “50 is the new 15!!”.

          • Totally agree Glad.. a couple of months after my ex left, my son got really sick. I did the right thing and let the ex know our son was in hospital. Got told that he couldn’t come and visit him as he was away working. So I rang him everyday/text multiple times a day and let him know updates etc. Found out after a few days later that he wasn’t away working but with her about 5 minutes away from the hospital.I rang him and totally lost it. Called him for everything. He could not have cared less.

          • Glad…YES!!! It isn’t about pain, but about their inconvenience. When my daughter started having health problems (it was three years before we got the diagnosis of brain tumor) he checked out of her life. She wasn’t going to be the type of child that in his mind would bring glory to him so he could brag to his friends…he had no use for her and her illness was a major drag to him. He completely started checking out of her life. He now has the nerve to accuse me of poisoning her mind against him, but that’s just so he can be the victim in the situation and not have to share the spotlight with the real victim….my baby girl who is really dealing with some heavy health issues!

            • I am so sorry for your daughter that he is not a better person than that. On the bright side, she has a wonderful mother. I guess it’s true that when God closes a door, he opens a window. -Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music.

          • Glad, for my cheater it was a matter of convenience. After I lost my my adult son in a car accident, Cheater realized that he could earn public admiration by outwardly supporting me through the mourning period. Never mind that my year-long grief- and anti-depressant-induced haze made it the perfect time to rekindle the affair with the ‘she’s like a sister’ troll I insisted he break off with 3 weeks before the accident. He was able to maintain his outward charade of support for a whole 6 months before he grew tired of it; with Lexapro, I was able to not care for the next 6 months.When I withdrew myself from the meds I decided life was too short to settle for crumbs any longer. Having lost someone that I had loved and who had reciprocated that love all his life, I found it was easier to intentionally lose someone who had never loved me at all, but had mad acting skills.

      • Big hugs to you Mighty Mite.

        Jen my d’day fell one month prior to my daughters diagnoses. While I was left to drown under the weight of it he lived the single life. Friends held a fundraiser to help cover the mortgage for us. X hoping at that stage for reconciliation because he expected I would cave in and take him back said to a friend ” why are you helping with a fundraiser my daughter only needs some pills and a wheelchair she will be fine” the friend he said this to has known my X longer than I have and cannot fathom who he is. But my point I too would rather take my kids and live in a box than endure another day living with that level of crazy.

  • This is so true. I am, quite realistically, facing going from a comfortable, sorta upper-middle-class life, to needing Section 8 housing. If it means having my dignity; vs. having to live my life in a certain way to avoid condescending criticism? I’ll gladly hand over my shit and go live in the box. At least it will be “my” box, and I won’t have to worry about when someone is going to decide to go into a rage at any given moment, or get pissed because I left the oven mitts on the counter.

    • That’s exactly what I went through. I’m living with less since my divorce but you know what? I’m ok with that. My Ex and his OW-now-his-wife live in a huge house that he built — the house is worth $800,000+. He couldn’t resist bragging to me about the house he built as well as how ‘great his life is’ (without me no doubt). Well, I didn’t feel the need to *prove* to him that my life is great with out him. I know my life is great. I cannot put a price on how much better my life is without my Ex.

      • I am also living with less….WE built a new house and I was such a chump I didn’t demand my name be on the mortgage. Sold my house that he lived in with me for a year while we built the new one…Never married, together 10 years..He went for coffee every morning to the local dive coffee shop and the 27 year old waitress (who graciously shared her STD) now lives in that new house with him. He’s 51. I’ve been out 9 months and have less than I did before him. Talk about chumped! I’m 48 and starting over as if i was fresh out of high school, he stole every rug, curtain, towel, and basically every other thing that meant anything to me personally. This is the guy with a 6 figure income. I will get there…..slowly…..

        • Michele–if you have financial records of selling your house and rolling it into the new house, SUE. See if someone will take your case for a percentage of the case.

    • When he left, he took 2/3 of the income. I never thought that I would be able to make it….until I was. It won’t be easy, but I promise you it will get better. Leave the oven mittens out, overnight.

    • ….get pissed because I left the oven mitts on the counter

      I totally relate! Just the other day I decided to use the auto clean on the oven. It made the house smell like burnt stuff (this was the first time using this feature so I didn’t realize it would stink up the house) H emerged from his hibernation complaining incessantly about it, storming around the house trying to ventilate it…total overkill because of the grouchy attitude….he was angry that I woke him from his nap because of the stench…btw, it really wasn’t all that bad. He was in a tizzy for the rest of the evening, using his mood as an excuse to shout at everybody and act like a total grouch…so pleasant on the weekend

      • Sounds so familiar. Whether my Narc father or Narc cheater, every crisis big or small impacts only them. It must be exploited, with displays of moodiness and detachment, making them central, and underlining how they suffers so at our hands. Of course, great cover and justification in their illogical minds for their walks on the wild side, trapped, as they are by their inferiors. Oh, the dreadfulness of family/wife/reality….

  • “flip burgers and live in a box” . . . exactly. When I told my cheater that I wanted a divorce, he said “what are you going to do? live on the street?” I said “I would rather live under a bridge or in the shelter than stay here with you and be treated like shit”. (and, by the way, I’m not living on the street – decent divorce settlement allowed for some good options!)

    • Flowerlady, it’s a typical ploy with NPDs–threaten that you cannot do any better than them, and will, in fact, be much worse off if you leave them. Ergo, you have no other choice than to put up with their shit.

      Noooooope. I know it’s easy for us on the other side that have either gotten good divorce settlements or have picked ourselves up successfully to say–but my self worth and dignity are much more important to me than shitty “companionship”. Just a warm body in the house…someone who I will never feel safe with again, someone who would throw me physically/emotionally/financially/spiritually under the bus every time something shiny and new came along.

      Not to mention my standing with my family and friends–and in the community. Yeah, that sounds shallow—but I certainly do not wish my kids and my family/friends to look at me and shake their heads—“what an idiot! he humiliates her continuously! what is WRONG with her??” My kids have to go to school with the children of people who may know. I’m not about to allow them to grow up humiliated and embarrassed as well–that their father is a lying cheat and their mother is a complete idiot doormat.

      Thanks, but no thanks.

      I actually said to my cheater, just as you did—“I’d rather live in a box under a bridge than be beholden to you for my very existence.”

      Cheater free and loving it. All. by. myself (with the respect of friends/family….and especially ME.)

      • Oh SphinxMoth-THIS!!
        Just yesterday stbx had the nerve to tell me that I had nothing to complain about & that my life isn’t so bad…….WTF?! He thinks because we have a home & cars & “material stuff” that should be good enough for a marriage. I told him that yelling, lying, cheating, being an absent parent/husband and all-around asshole while providing “stuff” isn’t my idea of a marriage. I told him in a marriage you need to give of yourself, which of course he can’t because he is a hollow, empty shell of a person. And yes, he is the type who would bitch about leaving the oven mitts out.

        Yes, it sucks to be leaving financial security because I have a young son but I am so tired of being disrespected, put-down & being a doormat for an asshole. I know what it feels like to have people tell me that he isn’t worth it & can’t believe that I stayed with him so long and look at you with pity/sadness.

        I can’t wait to shed him out of my life like a heavy old coat and step out into a real life of dignity, integrity & truth. Although it will be hard, I know that I will make it & be able to show my son what an authentic life & happiness look like.

        • Current Chump – maybe you should’ve put the oven mitts on and punched him in the face with them. Just a thought.

    • “flip burgers and live in a box” . . . exactly. When I told my cheater that I wanted a divorce, he said “what are you going to do? live on the street?” ”

      My ex never had to say those words, because I said them to myself. I really, truly believed that if I ever left him/he left me, he would go on to a glorious life filled with every type of success, while I would basically be alone forevermore with no money, no friends and no life. That fear was so powerful, I stuck around for more than 20 years of unbelievable lies and infidelity.

      Now it’s five years later. My life is nothing like I feared — I have a boyfriend, I have friends, I have a home, I have a career. Is it hard! Abso-fucking-lutely. I don’t make anything near enough money for things like vacations, retirement, emergency savings. But there is always food on the table and the electricity is on. I still struggle with anxiety, I still sometimes think about my ex (not so much anymore, other than posting here), I still feel insecure. But overall, my life is so much better than I thought it could ever be without my ex.

      My ex, who I thought would be so successful, is literally homeless. He went bankrupt, lost our marital home to foreclosure. Hasn’t worked a real job in years. Is currently in love with a “girlfriend” he has NEVER MET in person, only online. Our son won’t talk to him. Hell, he doesn’t even have a car anymore.

      The point is — we never really know what life has waiting around the corner. We stay in place for years because we are afraid to take that curve, but it is just as possible that there is something great waiting as something bad. When I look back over my life, I’m amazed at all the things that happened I never expected – some good, some bad. And I’m even more amazed at how easily I let fear tell me “I know the future, I know how it’s all going to work out, I know things will never get better.” Fear is a powerful voice of bullshit, and unless you literally have a lion chasing you or something similar at that moment, fear is a huge LIAR.

  • He was not my husband and was never financially responsible for me or my son. What I am giving up is companionship/sex.

    I feel confident it isn’t worth it if I have to share him with someone else. I am not okay with that. But this was the only man I slept with over the past ten years. I don’t find other men attractive and the idea of taking my clothes off in front of someone new is repulsive. I guess that’s not a problem I need to solve right this moment. I do think women find it harder to swap partners than men.

      • Companionship
        I too cant understand how i will ever have those feelings for someone else

        Guess it shows how shallow these narcs are, they can just swap people out to suit circumstances and not look back
        My ex always said men can even have sex if tgey dont find a woman attractive.

        Shallow little narc that he was

        • Coco, my STBX (also a huge narcissist) often said “Men will fuck anything.” And in my head I always thought, ‘Not all men. Just you.’

          And then I also realize what an insult that is to me.

          But no matter what he says, I know that it’s not true of ALL men.

          xox

          • Have to chuckle a little here. Way back a long time ago, the w (who had already been unfaithful) said we could “try to work it out”. She allowed as how she would have sex with me if I wanted to, but that she could and would not commit herself to only being with me. When I told her that wasn’t going to work, her response was “Guys have sex with hot women who are willing. That’s what they do. I’m your wife and I’m attractive and I said I was willing to have sex with you. I really don’t get what your problem is here.”

            Ohhhhh…k.

    • It’s Okay Jen. I know where you are coming from. And you are right: That’s not a problem you need to solve right now. It will come in its own time. NOW is the time to focus on YOU and your son.

      • Yes, I am starting to remember how to do that, and each time I do, I feel better. Like today, I walked the dog even though it was cold outside. We both need the exercise, and there is something about cold that stimulates endorphins thus fighting depression.
        Baby steps, but I am hoping within a few months, he will not be crossing my mind so much. I think I will meet someone if I let go, but it can’t happen till then. I’m 42 years old, this can’t be the end of my sex life, can it?

        • I am 42 years old and 1.5 years out of the mess…my sex life is the best it has every been. Thought that would never happen! Now there is passion and excitement, not the obligatory sex kibbles necessary to keep me off of her trail while she was bouncing around hotel rooms with her myriad of APs.

          • Thanks Cletus. Yes, all I got were her obligatory offerings. Pretty much celibate all of my life. I’ve never been with another woman. 16 months without but not desperate (divorced 1+ weeks). I know a real woman will someday come into my life. I hope to someday have it as good as you. 🙂

        • Jen, I was 46 when my marriage ended, and I had never had sex with anyone but my ex. No other relationships before him. I really believed I would never meet anyone or have sex ever again. I wasn’t even sure if I wanted to. But I DID meet someone eventually, and now I’m having regular sex again. I went 2.5 years without getting any, a long drought to be sure, but I’m here to tell you, YES, you’ll have a sex life again if you want to.

          • Thank you. I know it seems like a shallow thing to care about, especially as I read everyone’s stories of financial issues and hurt children.
            But, I am different from your typical single parent. I am mom to a very quirky 19 year old with high functioning autism. After his father and I went our separate ways when he was 2, dating became very complicated.
            I have no plans to date anyone until my heart has healed, so I guess I’m just looking for reassurance I won’t forget how to “ride a bike.” Thank you all for the support. This blog is keeping me from drinking my weight in box wine.

            • Health problems and age, as well as trauma from infidelity, have, essentially, ended my sex life. Not much I can do about it, unless someone invents a time machine. When I was younger, there was little opportunity for sex, once married, as both XW’s lost any desire for it ( with only me, though, apparently).
              Anyway, I do not lose any sleep over it. I have 5 kids, and no urge to procreate.
              It does bother me a bit that I was robbed of my youth, while my XWs were going great guns with outsiders. But, the world is still a beautiful place and sex is only a small part of enjoying life.

              • I’m 56 now, and have a wonderfully rewarding, happy life that doesn’t have a companion or sex in it. I’m not looking and I don’t think I ever will. But, I’m not lonely, nor am I alone. We are all blessed in abundance with something, you just have to appreciate and value what that something is.

              • Okay Arnold but I do like sex. And while I am fine to leave it be for the moment, I am not okay with letting it go forever, that is being that it’s not due to a partner that I love having a health issue.
                I hope to find someone I liked as much or more than my past partner, who also has a decent heart. Some of his cheating had to do with drug use, but it was still cheating, and if he loved me properly, he would not have done it.
                I am letting him go, but I am not letting me go. I still want the whole thing, sleepless in Seattle, romancing the stone, eternal sunshine on a spotless mind, etc. we deserve it!

    • The thing I have to remember is that it took TIME to build up that companionship. I was with XH sixteen years. So I can’t really expect to have all the camaraderie and inside jokes at the drop of a hat. — The bottom line is that he wanted someone else and if it hadn’t done it to me now, he’d’ve done it ten years from now and I’d be ten years worse off.

      Hell, there are people who live with out entire bodily limbs — if they can do without, then so can I. Guy was a dick, after all, anyways….

      • Jen, I hope you find what you are looking for. I merely mentioned situation to try to show that life is still a lot of fun, even without sex, if one is incapable or just not interested. I had a good run, but it is over . Yet, I am the happiest I have ever been. I have been talking to a number of my contemporaries about this , and many say that they are going through the same thing. Fortunately, the desire drying up seems to , roughly, coincide with the ability waning. So, they do not really miss it.
        Sometimes, I do wish I had been a bit more promiscuous as a younger man. The opportunities were there. But, no sense in regretting things now.

        • Arnold, I think I understand where you are coming from. I have never wanted to be “promiscuous” because I was raised Catholic with a healthy amount of guilt. I did spend years being celibate after my son’s father and I went our separate ways (he was two and autistic). While I didn’t love it, it wasn’t my biggest focus.

          My “cheating partner” and I had a very good sex life, which I felt was somewhat deserved after a few years of celibacy. His cheating involved being with women who shared drugs with him, something I don’t do. I am not naive enough to think that was the only reason, but I am curious as to how drugs allow people to change their ethics.

          Anyway, I hate the idea of being celibate again, but I am really picky about partners. Basically, I have to really feel there is a connection if I am going to open myself up like that. And I am not a teenager with a ton of options…

          So while it isn’t an emergency or as important as world hunger, it has me concerned. Especially when I imagine cheating partner having fun with “crack whore” with no residual feelings towards me. I do not think he is a complete narcissist, but maybe I’m just a chump.

          Anyway, I know that a good sex life is not the only thing that makes life fufulling, but I feel like cheating partner and crack whore stole it from me. And that, my friend, alternatively makes me sad and angry.

          • “Alternatively sad & angry” is well stated Jen. There is no way they will ever understand what they have put us through. That is why we would never do this to anyone else, we can imagine it. Also, I don’t believe in sex for me unless I am in a monogamous relationship, and now I am not sure such a thing exists…. I am glad it has worked out for others, but this is not something I want to go through again.
            It seems like sex is a meaningless act performed for fun, excitement and kibbles more so than an intimate exchange of hearts. Perhaps I am just old fashioned, but not prudish. I guess any meaning in life needs to be put there by the people involved. Sadly, the morality out there supports cheating at this point.
            Jen, she is there for the drugs, just like some are there for the mortgage payment, the dinners out, the bills paid. For women, I do not think it is usually for the sex although women love the attention & the compliments like anyone would and some will do anything to get it.

    • Jen……my situation as well, including length of time with him. And we can add onto the shit mix a dash of herpes! (from X).
      Not in a good place.

  • My ex fully expected me to fall apart and be unable to manage paying bills, taking care of two kids on my own (as he did not want or request shared custody), managing a home by myself, etc. Well guess what…I am doing all that and more. And thriving. For the first time in 20+ years I actually have no debt and am putting a little away each month for retirement + have almost 6 months of living expenses in savings – all while helping my oldest son with his college expenses and renting a beautiful home in a great neighborhood for me and my younger son. For my entire marriage, we drowned in debt as my ex took on one business or another only to have them flame out every time (but the debt burned on). He refused to simply get a paycheck job – work for someone else for a while until we got our debt back under control. Yet, he expected me to consistently bring in a steady income AND do 100% of the housework/parenting as well. Now, he is about to lose yet another “consulting” position and will be in his mid-50’s and unemployed. Interestingly, the week he found out he was losing this gig he purchased an engagement ring for his schmoopie (who has a great job as a nurse managing a huge state-wide health program). They are not even going to live together as Mr. Jesus Cheater does not like her daughter (poor kid has emotional/anger issues and is a handful apparently). This poor, deluded woman is going to marry a middle aged unemployed man who does not even want to be a parent to her child and will expect her to pay for his separate apartment while she works to support both of them. Yep, I sure don’t need that…want that…or even want to be in the same zip code as that!!

    • My ex never thought I could make it either. 4 months after D-Day, poor stupid me BOUGHT MY OWN HOUSE (no co-signer needed either!). In less than two years, I have managed to ascertain an 800 FICO score, paid off all my credit cards, started a savings account, and slowly but surely wiping out my student loans. I am so damn proud of myself and I’m surely not the big stupid idiot that he thought I was. Cheater free and thriving!!!

      • You go!! My FICO is almost an 800 now too. My ex’s is so low (he declared bankruptcy) that he was not able to be a co-signer for our son’s first college apartment. I can’t believe I thought all those years that he was some financial genius and I just needed to hand him my paychecks and let him do that magical thing called “pay the bills.” All he could do is magically make money disappear into one failed business scheme after another. He fancied himself to be a “mover and shaker” in the business community of our city – moving and shaking from his dingy apartment in a cheap student housing area. I know now this is a common trait of narcissists – grandiose plans and thinking without concrete and careful planning. My biggest regret is that I turned over a sizable inheritance from my grandmother to him to manage. It was used to finance our living expenses while he started yet another failed business, and also to help build our big, showy dream house that almost ended up in foreclosure after he ran up the home equity line on it to above what the house was worth. My grandmother was a single mother with a 7th grade education who worked, scrimped and saved her way into a supervising job at a textile mill and a cute little brick house that she lovingly decorated and filled the spacious yard with beautiful gardens. She budgeted and ran a side business as a florist and cake decorator and left me a nice life insurance policy and money she had saved through all her amazing efforts. I hope she has forgiven me for allowing him to squander it

        • “All he could do is magically make money disappear into one failed business scheme after another.”

          Nicole, this perfectly describes my ex as well. So many failed crazy schemes over the years, and that’s not even counting things like the book about himself (He actually told our son he expected to be going on book signing tours all over the country and would take son with him) or the insane videos on YouTube that were “guaranteed to go viral,” or the bobble heads that were “guaranteed to become collector’s items.”

          There was also the dinner club he opened in our area — It took months for him to understand that if he SPENT more than he MADE, the club was NOT a success. There was the motivational speaker business — he got two jobs, and the second one refused to pay him after his speech because they said it was so bad. He got caught up in several con artist’s schemes, lost money many times. He had many jobs over the years, was never successful in any of them until the last one — the one he quit to become an actor, because that was his “destiny” and working a corporate job was beneath him.

          As you say, this sort of delusional, grandiose scheming even in the face of constant failure is very typical of narcissists.

          • Guaranteed to fail! GIO wins again with her off the charts disordered ExH. He ought to come with a warning label.

          • Definitely! And how telling that your ex quit the one job he had that was actually bringing in a steady income. My ex did the exact same thing – twice! Once, early in our marriage – he landed a great job as the marketing director for a national pharma construction firm. Six figure salary/benefits/travel perks, etc. He lasted less than a year before getting fired after a “disagreement” with the company president. He also had a great sales job a few years later that he quit just as he was starting to build up a consistent client base and commissions because he “wanted to be his own boss.” He jumped into a business that ended up losing money from day one and never turned a profit. It was maddening!! And chumpy me just thought he was just soooo hardworking and misunderstood and just had bad luck. NO, he was disordered and unwilling to do what normal people do to take care of their families – get a job and live within a budget and if you want to start your own business, do it on the side until you have saved up enough money to start it without jeopardizing the roof over your children’s heads or taking your wife’s family inheritance. He even took money from his own mother – talked her into cashing in an insurance policy – and “invested” it in what turned out to be a ponzi scheme to finance a golf course/resort (that of course went bankrupt and all the investors money disappeared – including his mother’s $). His mom is not wealthy – she lives on a very fixed income and needed that policy to finance her living expenses as she got older. Last I heard, she was going to have to move from her tiny apartment into a shared living situation soon as she does not have enough $ for rent and food. My heart goes out to her – but she raised him and she should have known better than to let him talk her into giving him money.

    • Congrats! I have been budgeting like a maniac, and this month realized I had a lot more to put into my emergency fund!

      STBX has always been good at socking away money in his retirement, but lousy at budgeting. This is great for me (gotta love getting half his retirement!), but I suspect that he’ll find the house a real burden about 6 months after I leave.

      • Same with my ex. i did get a lot from the retirement fund and I couldn’t be more pleased with that.

        • Deservedly so, and I am glad for you in all sincerty. But the flip side of that is that in my no fault state, my cheating wife will waltz off with half of everything and I will be paying alimony as well.

        • Let’s all hope the American – or whatever currency you have it in – is stable.
          Yes, we also saved a lot and I can’t believe I’m already -here- at the age to cash in.
          Well, we never spent much when he was making it. So, I might to have a little fun with it now.

          • Chumpguy – there HAS to be a whole nuther post on people like you, of both genders that have to pay Spousal Support to a cheating spouse. VERY UNFAIR. I would fight tooth and nail in the court system if I had to if X had the vice versa going. Yes 50/50 isn’t fair (except in my case as I was the sthw (no kids) and very long term marriage; however, if you have a case, a judge just might look at it. I hear it is subjective of the judge on your case. If you have proof any of this affair ruined your health, children’s health, whatever…I’d like to think that if you filed first, that the judge would make a decent decision on the SS awarded. Best of luck.

  • It’s human nature to fear change, especially change you didn’t want. I’m saying sometimes people stay stuck because it’s familiar and change is scarey. That’s why I did the pick me dance and reconciled, in hopes of the mythical unicorn, happy ever after ending. Ate shit sandwiches and danced as fast as I could. But it’s never enough for a narcissist…The End

    • I have been where you are…I would have never left. I have so much confidence in every area of my life, work, parenting, ability and zero confidence when it comes to an intimate relationship. How does that happen? People that know me can’t believe I put up with what I did…. Something I’m working on….I did the pick me dance to and didn’t get my happy ending. I don’t know what the future holds for me and it’s terrifying….1st time in 48 years I’ve lived alone and I do not like it. I keep telling myself it has to be better than where I was at. You are so right…NEVER enough.

      • Jedi Hugs michelexoxo4! It will get better, as you learn yourself you will find living alone is freeing. I get lonely sometimes but hell, I was lonely a lot more often when the ex was living with me. Remember; “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ― Frank Herbert, Dune

        • Thank you Datdamwuf…you are right..my kids are grown and I lost my friendships and I had a lot of friends and a very busy social calendar prior to him. I wasn’t allowed to have friends, now how dumb was I! UGH! Struggling to get some of those friendships back and building a life. I WAS lonely with him and so bored. Thank you again for the reminder….

          • My ex isolated me, so I’m having to rebuild and find new friends too. It takes time, I remind myself that it just takes a bit of time.

            • Well, I didn’t wait one minute to start getting out there meeting the new neighbours in the cul-de-sac. It was over dogs – so easy-meeting. Got to know them a little more, cuz of the dogs, and then – voila – I just threw a big dinner party for 11 (yes, I’m odd man out – the rest are couples) and only had room for 10 at the table. It was raucous and fun and everybody becoming new friends. It was a day of shopping for right food, preparing – having a potluck (ordering food for people to make) – a few candles and flowers. It was the first time I’ve had a big dinner party without X in 36 yrs and I loved every minute of it. As only hostess, I became the center of attention for a change. He used to love that part. I did all the work and he sat around and bragged. A giant big step for me, womanhood and learning to entertain all over again.
              I love my new friends.

              • Michel and Dat – I think we can all say we gave our ‘all’ to our husbands. They were our best-friends forever. I’d rather have spent a day/evening with him than any g/f’s and therefore, never developed many g/f relationships. I already had my husband! Once he was gone, my life has been so much richer because of all the connections I’ve made. I’m getting so much closer to Meh I’m ready to scream. New relationships are wonderful to make. I wear my feelings on my sleeve. Hi – I’m SheChump – my husband just left me for another women 12 yrs younger. That starts off a hell of a conversation and friendship from there on. The things people will tell you about their lives. It’s fascinating. But, I’m trying not to do that anymore so much. Meh, as it were.

  • A year ago when D-Day hit, i was scared to death of the future. Yup, did the dance and everything before i found this blog. Dumped the cheater and now it is a year later and guess what? I have been seeing someone who is amazing, went skiing this past weekend for the first time in over 20 years, went to the movie I wanted to see, and just in general starting living again. I never realized just how much I had stopped living while with the cheater cause the spoiled child always did what he wanted without regard for me. Sure there have been some difficult days, and I have no idea what the future holds, but it is both scary and exciting at the same time. One thing for sure: I would never go back to that life again!!!!

  • Tracy,

    I read this last September. I also wrote you a pitiful letter about how can I find the courage to leave my 15yr marriage with four small children in tow. A marriage I clinged too at the cost of my self respect and dignity. A marriage where my husband cheated on the first year of marriage and every year after that. A marriage to a husband who cheated on all my seven pregnancies and miscarriages. How I spackled to keep things together. How I drove my own self respect into the dirt just so i can have the intact family for myself and children. I had lost my self worth somewhere in those 15yrs. I was a m.e.s.s for years.

    This article came out at a time when I needed that last big shove to get my feet moving. This article was what I needed at a time of great indecision and depression.

    I remember saying to myself ” I cannot burn myself and children down with this house. I want to live!” I packed up and walked out with my children one week later. I’m almost 5months out.

    Thank you for the strength you and CN have given me xx

  • This post really highlights that FEAR is the only demon out there – not the future, not the unknown, not difficult finances, not making mistakes, not getting old without a partner… isn’t it interesting that one of the most common phrases in the Bible (and other religious texts as well) is “Do not be afraid.” I advocate any practices that help you increase your belief that it’s truly a benevolent universe and that forces are at work to help you. Or as my favorite mystic Julian of Norwich says: “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.” When you are able to believe this at your core, nothing can stop you.

    • Wiser, I agree. It’s all about fear. I, too, really like that quote from Julian of Norwich. Feeling I am never alone has helped me tremendously.

  • Somehow we have been convinced that the natural order of things is for us to find a mate and cohabit for the rest of our lives in a state of happy co-existence. It is rare to find that type of union – even in nature, animals mate, have some concept of how to raise their young to be able to fend for themselves, and then go on about their separate lives. I think that we need to examine and change this basic premise — “I need my soul mate” — at least to “I would like to find a compatible mate”. Take the concept of “need” out of the picture. What we need to do to survive is to be basically self sufficient. If we can nurture ourselves, we should be able to nurture our young ( should we decide to have them) until they become self sufficient. The mistake most of us make is that we learn to nurture everyone else, and forget that we need to take care of ourselves. We put ourselves last in order of importance. We think we are “selfish” if we do something to meet our own needs. It is like the old story of the oxygen mask on the airplane — you have to put on your mask first, so that you keep your wits about you while you are fitting it on your child. Your dependent will not make it unless you keep yourself healthy and fit. They may survive one instance, but if you kill yourself, then what?

    So we marry young, often for illogical reasons, and we set up our lives as if both partners will remain fully committed and both partners will contribute and both partners will be responsible. We often try to turn sexual attraction into a lasting commitment, when ironically we may be attracted to a sexual partner who has none of the attributes we seek for a long term life partner. Then we become devastated when our plans do not work out. We are devastated because our basic premise is incorrect. We don’t “need” another person. We can take care of ourselves.

    When our plans do not work out, we feel like a failure. The truth of the matter is you will never succeed at anything if you do not try, and most success is found after many unsuccessful tries. We rarely get things right the first time we try them, we have to be able to adapt and change our processes before we find what works for us.

    While I was raising my sons, mostly by myself even when I was married, I decided to teach them how to do the things I knew how to do. I figured I might not know how to be a “man” or do many “man” things, so I looked for substitute men in the form of teachers and coaches to fill in the gaps of knowledge I did not have. I told my sons they needed to know how to cook, and clean, and do laundry, because all adults should be able to do those things. I talked to them about the things that are important in making a long term relationship work, like common goals and values. I talked to them about the way external beauty and sexual attraction often fade, but inner beauty and being with someone who cares about your happiness seems to last forever. I tried to rein in their selfish actions and praise their good manners and willingness to help. My sons are still YOUNG men, and they have not married, so I do not know how they will do when/if they find a mate. They have not starved to death yet, and they seem to keep themselves clean and their apartments and laundry somewhat clean, so I think I achieved at least some measure of success in teaching them how to survive. Only time will tell if they marry and can make a success of it. One thing they do know for sure, though, is that I love them and consider them to be a success no matter whether they do or not. They are enough, just being who they are.
    Finally, I have learned to love myself in this same way. I have stopped trying to please people who will never be pleased, and for whom there will never be enough. I live according to my own values and goals. I set my own boundaries. I am enough, just as I am.

    • Oh. My. God. Yes. This, 1,000,000 times this. There is so much wisdom and insight in this post. Portia, you are mighty beyond words and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for this today. I wholeheartedly agree with everything you have said here and I applaud the way you have so clearly articulated it.

      Thank you.

  • I’m still married, but not for long. I filed in August.

    I stayed in the marriage to get my financial ducks lined up. There was no physical abuse. If I’d been in danger, I’d have left. STBX was no longer interested in sex, so I didn’t have to worry about contracting any STDs once I’d been tested and found I was clear.

    I would advise fellow Chumps who see themselves trapped by financial constraints to do what it takes to overcome those constraints. Do your budget. Figure out income v. outflow. Get a better job or a second job. Talk to the lawyer to see if your state allows for a year or so of maintenance income to help make ends meet while you find that better job.

    The point is that you shouldn’t be paralyzed by your fear of your financial future. Take charge of it. Realize that this is part of your exit strategy.

    Then when those ducks are in a row, exit!

    • I agree that fear of change is a major factor in inertia after an affair – and this is so often compounded by an investment/loss aversion spiral. It can be difficult to walk away from a potential return on your investment, but investing time and effort for a fantasy payoff is an enticing but insatiable pit. (I liken it to Affair Farmville – investment in the pursuit of a fantasy payoff.)

      Leaving a marriage can feel like you’ve lost the biggest investment you’ve ever made, but focusing on your sunk costs distracts you from the benefits of your best investment: yourself. Regardless of the challenges you face, the relationships you lose, and the flaws you have, the difficulties you encounter, you never have to walk away from an investment in yourself – you always get to carry the benefit of that with you

      • Amazing response, Wayfarer!! I know it may sound clinical to some, but this is what you have to do in the beginning stages after D-Day.

        You can grieve later. Right now, get yourself and your children out of the burning building. You don’t sit there any HOPE that the fire puts itself out.

        “It can be difficult to walk away from a potential return on your investment, but investing time and effort for a fantasy payoff is an enticing but insatiable pit.”

        And this is exactly what cheating spouses are…..insatiable pits. I don’t need that in my life—if I choose another partner, it’s going to be someone who is filled up by me and I by him. ADDING to my life, not SUBTRACTING.

  • I love this blog and all the commenters. Even though I’m a unicorn chaser 🙂 you all truly help me keep it real!!! Thanks so much for your brilliance. I’m trying to get there!

  • “Nope, think I’d rather flip burgers and live in a box.”

    With this thought, I threw out diablo. It was then, my life began…

    • One of the lines the woman I was married to used to say was, “I think Scott wants to be single, he’ll find out the grass isn’t greener.” She’d say it to me, to friends, etc. So I said one day, “If the grass isn’t greener, it’s still grass right? What makes you think this grass is green? You say that like it’s profound, but it’s not.” It’s really not. The whole, I’ll live in a shack with a shotgun and a hotplate is how you feel at some point. Self respect is where it’s at. Do you want to live with someone you know devalues you and betrays you because they think they’re entitled to do so, or do you want to live an honest life, even if it means living alone?

      I gave up a LOT to get away from her, and some people looking from the outside think she got more than her fair share, which is their opinion. What would you pay to have a life devoid of useless drama, with authentic people around you, and decency as a core of your being?

      And guess what, when you are ready to allow someone into your life, there’s plenty of decent ethical people who have been there, done that, and will respect you as a person. Believe it.

  • That was beautiful, Portia.

    Below is an excerpt from a sermon by TD Jakes that really touched me. Thought I’d share…

    ——

    There are people who can walk away from you. And hear me when I tell you this! When people can walk away from you: let them walk.

    I don’t want you to try to talk another person into staying with you, loving you, calling you, caring about you, coming to see you, staying attached to you.

    I mean hang up the phone.

    When people can walk away from you let them walk. Your destiny is never tied to anybody that left.

    People leave you because they are not joined to you. And if they are not joined to you, you can’t make them stay. Let them go.

    And it doesn’t mean that they are a bad person, it just means that their part in the story is over. And you’ve got to know when people’s part in your story is over so that you don’t keep trying to raise the dead. You’ve got to know when it’s dead. You’ve got to know when it’s over. Let me tell you something. I’ve got the gift of good-bye. It’s the tenth spiritual gift. I believe in good-bye. It’s not that I’m hateful, it’s that I’m faithful, and I know whatever God means for me to have He’ll give it to me. And if it takes too much sweat I don’t need it.

    Stop begging people to stay! Let them go!!

    If you are holding on to something that doesn’t belong to you and was never
    intended for your life, then you need to…LET IT GO!!!

    —–
    http://www.loveshack.org/forums/mind-body-soul/spirituality-religious-beliefs/367064-let-go-t-d-jakes

  • My tipping point came when I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror without saying to myself “You deserve so much more than this. Have some respect for yourself and kick his ass out!!”

    I was scared of the future true…..but I became more afraid of what would be left of me if I stayed. I finally drew the line in the sand, stood up for myself and called it quits. I have been divorced now for almost a year and I have NEVER felt better!! My financial life has changed a great deal and I must live much different now but I would rather live this way than continue to live with a cheater and a liar!

    My friends and family members have all told me that I’m finally myself again. And THAT feels fabulous!!!!!!

    • About ten years ago, when XH left me the first time, to go “figure things out” (i.e., chase after some woman he had a fantasy love affair with before he married me — she rejected him), I had a panic attack & went to Urgent Care. The doctor listened to my story then said, matter-of-factly, “You’ve gotta get that guy out of your house. Right now.” So I went home and told him he had to move out, doctor’s orders.

      Now, *I’M* a doctor, but when it comes to matters of the heart, I’m deeply flawed. A child of alcoholics, I always wanted to “belong” somewhere. I think now that I may never find that place with another guy, but everyone else here is right that living with someone who doesn’t care for you more than anything else in the world is no way to live. Better to be alone than continually deluding yourself that he’ll come around someday.

      Good for you, kimmy, having the courage to listen to yourself. — For me to kick XH out of the house this last time (and it is, the LAST time), it took me realizing there was someone else and he was already gone, just had forgotten to take his body with him. I thought, “Oh hell NO I will not be disrespected after all that! You ungrateful selfish little bastard!!”

      I’m still sad now, sometimes, but the memories I have are just as revisionist as his are. Only mine make him look better, and his make me look worse.

      • “it took me realizing there was someone else and he was already gone, just had forgotten to take his body with him. ” Love this NWBibilo!

        I do remember on Dday (sitting on the couch crying so hard I thought my guts were coming out) there was this tiny little glimmer inside that was saying “What about MY life? Don’t I deserve a life?” That little voice was so weak and faint! I’d ignored it for so long it was damn near dead. It felt like a tiny ember left from what used to be a warm, healthy fire. After my husband walked out I started fanning that little ember. I fanned it and nurtured it until it reignited the fire in my own life.

        I spent way too much time fanning the dying embers of my marriage. No matter how much I fanned it wasn’t going to catch fire again, especially when he was pouring water on it.

      • I have very few good memories, which in a way is sad, but I echo what you and kimmy say, there’s nothing to be gained by living with that level of disrespect. And I too, am amazed by the people that say, “Scott, you’re back! It’s like you’ve been dead for 16 years and now all the sudden it’s you again.”

        I wasn’t dead. I was doing the work of two parents, doing all the wage earning, doing all the housework, doing all the cleaning, doing all the upkeep, doing all the running, school functions, and now, I do half the work, and I’m not exhausted. So yes, I’m back because I have time to be me.

        And I won’t ever again “do” for anyone again, unless I put boundaries around what I do.

        • Scott, my brother could have written your life. She abandoned her family, literally. He let go and found a much better life. So will you.

  • I stayed longer than I should have, because I really, really wanted my kids to have an intact family. And I was afraid my kids would not be OK in a separation (we weren’t married, so no divorce to deal with). I live in a jurisdiction where default custody is 50% of time to each parent, and I knew that I couldn’t stand to be without my kids half the time, and worse yet, I knew it wouldn’t be good for them to be with their father that much. He was so negative, critical and lazy about parenting … And I knew they wouldn’t want to be with him 1/2 the time, since I’d done 80% of the parenting all along, despite our both working fulltime.

    But when the 2nd affair galvanized me to kick him out, the ex never even asked for half time with the kids. And then he proceeded to neglect them so much that they ended up refusing to spend time with him. He now sees them for a few hours, once a month.

    We are FAR happier at home without him there, my life is SO much easier, ‘just’ being a single mom. I don’t have to manage his moods and schedules and try to protect the kids from his negativity! And I CAN leave the oven mitts on the counter overnight (or in my case, not squash the recycling very well)! And DO!

    This is just to say that things often work out much better than we imagine. We need to trust our own competence, our own ability to manage even under difficult circumstances, and that if we’re living with a disordered person, there will be many things that are far easier once they’re gone.

    And that whole ‘alone w/my cats forever/ thing? Given my history, I would be surprised if that happened. But I would also be totally OK with it! I LOVE my cats, I have great friends and family, and menopause has done a number on my libido ;-), so it’s all good!

  • New Chump! 23 years married…. 2 kids 20/17…. My goal for 2014 was to find and purchase her dream home…. Well she found I worked on finances and selling of our property….. Signed contract on home mid October…. We had to sit back and wait on completion… Well Christmas Day she took her brother over to show him the house…. While driving to catch up I picked her phone up and found a text app…. Seems that while I’m selling and moving stuff around, she was banging a 26 year old…. Ego fix because of my short comings! In fact she banged him 3 days before Christmas and had the balls to show off her new place days later! What a great Christmas gift!

    • Holy shit! Wow, DavidB, I’m SO sorry!! The unmitigated gall of these cheaters, right? Narcissists just think they deserve it all.

      Well, welcome. You’ll find tremendous support here — use it. I did (and still do, now about eight months past Dday). Your wife is really a piece of work. I’m so sorry.

    • DavidB–I am so sorry. The shock cannot have worn off yet. Have you turfed her out yet? Copied the financials? Employed a lawyer? Even if you’re trying to reconcile, you need to stay practical behind the scenes and get everything lined up.

      And keep coming to this site–you will need it TONS over the next few months (only 5 days from D-day myself, and it has saved my sanity).

      • Welcome to the club DavidB. It sucks to be here but you are in good company. I usually don’t post much but I come here every day. The advice and the wisdom I receive from CL and my follow Chumps have helped me immensely.

    • Welcome, DavidB. That really sucks, I’m sorry. Please keep coming back here. Share your story. Unfortunately, cheaters all act the same. The details of your story may be different, but the overall theme is the same: total disrespect and disregard for the faithful partner.

      • DavidB I am so sorry to welcome you, but this is a club full of fantastic folks! You will find the support, advice, help, and often humor! that you need to get through this sucky, sucky experience. I too am a dog person…I like cats, but my dog really is my co-pilot, I wouldn’t have made it through the last two years, one year post divorce, without her. She is mighty! (Of course, she’s a Newfoundland, so it’s in her breed description, but she’d be mighty even if she were a Pom….)

        Please share your story and we will all help you wade through this. You can do it! Really, you can. It’s just one step at a time, and soon, you’ll have made progress.

        (Now, I gotta go deal with some of this …snow…. blergh.)

    • The veterinarian in me wants to warn everyone the tiny light-colored one all the way on the left looks like trouble. You’ve been warned, by a professional. 😉

  • I have done none of the above! Shock I am sure…… But I am working on my plan for the long term! I don’t care about house, money or anything else. No fight left will just walk away with what dignity I have left! She is full speed nice these days…. From hate to love in one magical DDay! Only had sex three times…. Was ego trip…. Yes she is playing the roll now…. All about me…. Passwords….. Gps app on here phone…. Not blaming me yet but anyone can act a part when they need my check to pay the house note!!! Oh I do suck but so has she…. Difference is I kept my pants on away from home! Oh and the lies and attacks during affair are and will be what gives me strength to move on!!! Sex is sex but u really have to hate someone to do the rest!

    • Wait! Stop! I’ll do for you the favor my breakup buddy did for me: You will NOT give her that house! You will NOT just roll over and play dead and let her end up with all the toys!!

      If you do all of that, you will be so sorry later — trust me on this one. When I found out, I just wanted out. I was all set to move out of the house, leave everything behind, the dogs, everything…. I was just emotionally demolished. Thank GOD for my BB who reminded me I’d bought that house with MY earnings that I only had because *I* went thru medical school and saved, and MY father left me a small inheritance which HE had earned working in a steel mill while putting himself through college…. Oh, HELL NO!! Put on your boxing gloves, David, because you may not want any of that stuff now, but you’ll be sorry later that you gave her anything. I already regret I didn’t fight harder to take his business (which *I* bought him) or even his stupid $2000 snow bike or $1000 iPhone I’d JUST bought him for his birthday, mere weeks before he left me. Vindictive? No.

      Don’t just roll over, David. The more you can put yourself in the driver’s seat & have some control over this situation, the better you’ll feel down the road. Believe it.

      • NWBiblio is right, David! I did the same thing. I offered Cheater exactly half of the equity in the house, just to shoot myself and put me out of my pain quicker. Ya know what? He actually accused me of trying to cheat him!! A little voice in my head said, “Wait, Muse!” half is way more than fair.” Friends and family urged to me to consult an accountant and attorney and I did and they all told me that not only do I not owe Cheater a penny – but he owes me money for all the years I supported him! He got an attorney and is demaning 85% of the equity in a house that he paid 9% of the expense to buy and pay down the mortgage and I am prepared to fight this even if it means I have to sell my house and my dream of living in a house mortgage free 3 years from now. Please DON”T give away anything until you get competent expert advice!!!

      • Really the stuff means nothing to me….. Actually there will be some sort of satisfaction in it….. She has no means to pay for her dream home….. The day I leave is the day she looses it all! Her DDay!!

    • DavidB–No, seconding NWB and The Muse. You are not thinking clearly. Of course, possessions don’t mean as much your freedom and mental health. But…there will come a day when you will wish you had part of that house, or the sofa, or the plates, or her retirement account. You can get away from her AND still have some $$ and possessions–it is not an either/or situation. TAKE LEGAL ADVICE. If you’re adamant later, you can ignore the advice. But get it.

    • Quick test, DavidB.
      If you say “I think we should wait some time for the house purchase” and not put a specific time frame on it – watch her reaction change quickly from ‘miss-nice’ to ‘vengeful-bitch’ in less than half a second.
      She’s in it for the meal ticket and freebies that she feels entitled to – stop the house purchase now!
      Don’t tolerate this shit.

  • My tipping point came in two places… when he said at my daughters college graduation, “I hate this fucking family’ in front of our family and friends, and shortly there after when I realized that we live a very long time in our family and there was a very good chance I would be living with his royal absence for another 30 years. I thought, hmmm I might have to dumpster dive to get along… but look what I have accomplished in the last 30 years, how much circumstances change. I can do this again, better and wiser… and I have… He is trying to figure out if he can stand OW for another 30 years… I think that both of them deserve each other for 30 years.

    • My tipping point was my son’s law school graduation. FuckTARD wasn’t sure if he could schedule around his little league baseball schedule. I kid you not and that was with a five month advance notice. What a dim bulb! I didn’t find out about the cheating until after he was kicked to the curb. Glad he is gone.

  • OH, it sucks and it sucks hard. I cannot go into details but my situation is so absurd that it makes me laugh – and when I joke about it with other people they do the uncomfortable laugh, because it’s obvious that it’s supremely sucky.

    But you know what? I’m no longer married to a man who FUCKED MY FRIENDS. A man who told me he loved me every day while having many, many flings, affairs, etc. I didn’t know about any of it until dday and then, well, it left me destroyed for a very long time.

    These days I’m semi ok. I say semi because while emotionally I’m fine I am still struggling financially,due to the situation I don’t want to mention because it would probably identify me.

    So chumps? Here’s what I have to say: if I can leave, knowing that leaving would be the biggest financial disaster on earth, with the likelihood of me getting financially sorted at any time being slim, slim, slim, then you can too. Because you know what? My life, despite the struggles, is better than it was before.

    And my ex? He is still, 3 years later, trying to recreate the life he had with me, but with final OW slotted in. He’s miserable and I laugh most days, even though I worry far too much.

    Just move on, get on, and trust that it will be ok. I tell myself this every single day: ‘It will be ok, you will be ok, it will all work out’. And then I go and kick ass, making career moves I never imagined I would make, asking for what I want, and pushing for what I want and need in a way I have never done in my life.

    The result is that things are happening. I*m still poor but slightly less so. And I am fucking tough as nails right now, but still with an enormous heart.

    If there’s a war, call me. I’ll lead us to victory whilst bestowing empathy upon our captures. 🙂

  • It’s better to die on your feet than to live on your knees.

    Not sure who originally said that, but I know it from an old song.

  • Are all the good people really gone? I’m not sure about this since I’ve been holed up in a Crazy Land game for 36 years. Sure I started at the beginning and kept landing on the pretty Pick Me cards that sent me to the Reconcilliation Dungeon. I tried very hard to move forward and landed on the Justification tower which was so tall I had to jump into Shit Sandwich quicksand. I rolled a 7 and thought my luck had changed but I ended up on the Foggy Bittom space which sent me back to Start. I finally realized there was no way to end the game and had to stop playing with a narcissist. I am not gone and I am a good person. Just knowing I have a future makes me smile.

    • Game was rigged, Donna, as Tracy always says. There are great people out there, us included. Like you, my future never seemed so bright now that I am cheater-free. I never realized how unhappy I was in my marriage until I got out. As they say, always compare how you feel with and without that person. I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, that I feel a million times better without the cheater ex. Meh rules.

    • But you have the Great Battleaxe of Snarkiness and the Armour of Anti-Stupidity which protects you, even if the game’s rigged, Donna!

  • I refused to believe all of the good people are gone…

    …because *I’m a good person*!

    At a minimum, I had to believe there were other people like me, good people who’d been mistreated, who were out there. That doesn’t mean that I’d click with these people. But it does mean that they exist.

    Saying “all the good people are gone” implies that you, yourself, are no good.

    Nope. I may have been chumpy for a few months and tried to see how I “contributed to my wife’s affair.” But I woke up, and friends and family helped remind me that I was actually a damn good husband. Not perfect (because no one is!), but good…and actually better than a lot of what’s out there.

    So, if I’m a catch, then there must be a catch out there for me!

    • That leads me to the stupid shit cheaters say when they leave. I was told to work on myself because no one would ever want me. I know I am getting stronger because instead of believing him, I realize everything he said to me was a lie! Pathological lying serial cheater narcissists are sad creatures made if stone. I am so greatful to know I’m not alone but free!

      • Exactly, Donna. Near the end, I told my wife that I’m aware that I’m not perfect, but I’d put in more than enough energy into our marriage. Her response was, “Really?!? I’d take a long, hard look at the level of effort you plan to put in going forward.”

        But by then, my chumpyness was fading. I knew she was baiting me, hoping I’d get all emotional and pleading with her. And then she’d be able to reply with more vagaries that I couldn’t quite address, and more assertions that would lead me down a rabbit hole of trying to fix one nit-picky issue instead of worrying about the elephant in the room (ie, that she was bangin’ her coworker).

        So, I calmly replied that she could snipe all she wanted, but everyone knows that the I’d put in more than my fair share, and made the marriage about her (my bad–I was in love with those sparkles, after all!). I said I wouldn’t discuss this point further.

        Her reply? Crickets.

        She had no response. None of them do. If you meet their raging, emotional, manipulative mess with clear, logical thinking, and don’t get pulled into their vortex of misdirection, then they don’t have a response. I wish I knew that right from the start, instead of learning it over the course of months. But, that’s how the cookie crumbles.

      • Amen! My ex used to say this all the time, too: that no one would ever want me, that without him I’d die alone (yep, he actually said that). Sheer insanity. I am a kind, loving person – I am quite a catch! Now, I’ve found a fellow chump who loves me dearly, and I him. (And even before I found him, my life was already SO much better. My friends and family love me, and were happy to have the real me back.)

        • I agree–but then again, I am sooooo paranoid and have become so tentative and such a second guesser, I would assume these manipulative creeps would infiltrate a Chump site for ‘easy pickings’.

          The night I met him, my cheater got tears in his eyes and told me his ex wife had cheated on him and he ended their marriage because of it. It pained him terribly, he would never cheat. NO that was a LIE–it didn’t go down that way. I eventually spoke to his ex (a lovely woman) who had suspected his cheating their entire 13 year marriage and finally walked in on him at his place of business. She threw him out that very instant as the OW was floundering to cover her ample bosom.

          I haven’t dated much in the past 3 years but a large percentage of the men I’ve met are obvious narcs. One uber somatic narc excused his being a few minutes late with this explanation: “My legs are so muscular, I had a hard time finding jeans that fit”. He also informed me that his hair color and its length was ‘natural”. I won’t go into his inappropriate sexual comments. He mistakenly thought he was welcome to repeatedly put his hand on my butt as we stood listening to a band. I felt like a lamb being judged at the county fair!

          It was in plain site of other patrons and I was getting more and more pissed. I kept moving away and told him to knock it off or I was going to give him an elbow in the solar plexus. He ignored me and WHAM! I elbowed him as promised. I picked up my purse and left to the polite applause of those who had witnessed the entire spectacle.

          • What’s with the ass grabbing with these idiots? The cheaterpants that I dealt with always wanted to grab my ass. He actually did it on our first date. Should’ve seen the screaming red flags. If any man were to do that to me now, I’d go off and end the date. It’s just so creepy and totally inappropriate to do to a woman, especially when they haven’t even been intimate with them yet. I actually think that they think it’s really manly and cool. Whatevers.

          • Your comment made me wonder if that sort of thing (hand on the butt, especially when the receipient expressed discomfort at it) was a general narcissitic tendancy… (And, by the way, I don’t think PDA would always be narcissitic, but I am wondering if it somehow might be more common/frequent/bolder among narcissists because it could be a way to control or some dominance or something, depending on the motiviation of the individual….)

            • NL–he was definitely trying to dominate me and test my boundaries. I was getting pretty fed up with his overall presentation and I was unconsciously drumming my nails on the table. He asked me “am I making you nervous?” I said that he wasn’t with a smile on my face. “Are you sure?” he asked.

              He was so full of himself it was comical. Yes, he was attractive and didn’t look near his age but within 5 mins of meeting him, he attractiveness went down to zero. He made so many inappropriate comments. One of our first topics of conversation was his son being in med school. I inquired what area he planned to practice in. Urology. My brain immediately said “Oh geez, don’t say something gross” and he did.

              Oh! I just recalled the inappropriate and juvenile hand gestures he made at one point……UGH.

              He mentioned a former girlfriend who was in the army and traveled with her fellow officers. She frequently had meetings in the evening and he said he would text her and she would, of course, delay responding until she was free. He couldn’t accept that and they broke up. Can we say controlling?

              The dude is a legend in his own mind, as were my cerebral narc ex husband and my somatic XBF.

  • I suppose I should be grateful:

    – I know I’ll be better off by myself
    – I know I’ll be able to manage my time and money (I’m the primary bread winner)
    – I know I’ll get > 50% custody (like Scott, I’m the primary parent, primary chef, primary launderist)
    – I know my spousal support payments won’t break me
    – I know I’ll finally get out of debt, finally able to contribute to my 401K again
    – I know I’ll be healthier and happier
    – I know I’ll finally have creative control of my life
    – I know I’ll do fine in the sexual market place
    – I know I’ll finally be able to take the kids to Disneyland
    – I know I’ll be able to afford piano lessons for the kids
    – I know my friends and family all support me and want “me” back

    But I am still hesitating ending it for good. Afraid of the negative impact on her, of her ending up on the street, even though she devastated me.

    My life will be so much better and healthier. I will rebuild a healthy foundation for my kids. I just need to do it.

    But I’m just floundering, procrastinating, analyzing, blog reading, planning, stuck.

    nudge me over the cliff, please!!!

    • Nudge…nudge…nudge

      Still worried about the negative impact on her when you are hurting so much…nudge…nudge…nudge

      You don’t get your Jedi Hugs until you step off the cliff!

    • Buddy, here’s your nudge. Sounds like you still believe that she’s worth more than you are. She isn’t. You’re afraid she’s going to end up on the street? Well, didn’t she do that to herself? Isn’t that what one may call consequences of her actions? The longer you wait, the more stuck you’re going to get. Just do it. If she truly deserves you, let her earn you back. In the meantime, you are wasting your precious life on someone who treated you like garbage. Do you really want to keep living the way you are living right now? If one of your kids was in a similar situation, what would you advise them to do?

    • Buddy, do it for your kids. That was what finally galvanized me to action: realizing that staying together “for the kids” was TERRIBLE FOR THE KIDS. You’ve already written just here a number of reasons why you will be a better parent without your ex-wife. And many have already written about the importance of setting a good example for your children. We don’t want our kids to learn this is what love looks like – we don’t want them to believe narcissism “works,” nor to become victims themselves. Show your kids what it means to stand up for yourself, no matter how scary that is — and you’ll give them the gift of a powerful example whenever they eventually have to face something scary in their lives. You can still model love to them — but you’ll have the chance to model healthy love.

      • Also, please realize: you cannot prevent the destructive consequences of your wife’s behavior from reaching her. That is a vain effort — all you will accomplish by standing between her and karma is putting yourself AND YOUR CHILDREN in harm’s way, too. She is a free human being who makes her own choices and has to face her own consequences. Keep your kids out of that harm’s way.

    • The problem is that you’re looking at this as a cliff. This isn’t a cliff. It is a series of steps. All you have to do is take the first one. You can always change paths, stride, or shoes later.

      • Well said Leia…It is not a cliff, actually quite the opposite. It is like standing at the bottom of the Eiffel Tower and having to take the steps to get to the top…It is a long, arduous, and exhausting journey, but once you get to the top (i.e. state of Meh), it is the most beautiful, freeing and exciting view you have ever witnessed!…Time to start climbing those stairs Buddy and get a look at that view!

    • Thanks for all the bulldozing nudges and support. Every bit helps. I appreciate the theme of consequences for one’s actions. I’m not the one who should feel guilty. Welcome to reality, baby! – I’m no longer going to be your buffer!

      • I think we all need to hear something different, sometimes at different times, along the path to healing. Lately I’ve been reading some books recommended by some chumps on the forum, and the most resonant message (today) is, “Why would you want to devote all that love and attention and affection and resources and effort and and and… all for someone who doesn’t really care about you?” This is hard for me, because I do think XH & I had some really good stuff. But ultimately I just didn’t mean enough for him to want to work even just a teensy bit to try to keep me. He split as soon as he saw, “ooh! Shiny!!!” I’d rather have no one than someone who cares so little about the impact of their behaviour on my life, as if I were a worn out old doormat who could have shit wiped on it. You’ll get there, Buddy. As for the consequences of her actins, well, she’s not a toddler, right? She needs to act like a grown-up. You’re her lover not her dad.

  • I think this quote resonates with the post a bit: “Then she wished, more rationally, that she could love him without needing him. Need gave him power without his trying; need was the choicelessness she often felt around him.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Half of a Yellow Sun

  • For three years after my dday, I thought it was better to dance with the devil I knew but I was dying a slow, miserable death and I wasn’t doing my liver any great favors either. With the help of chump lady and chump nation I removed my head from my butt and decided to get busy living or get busy dying. I finally realized that the comfort of my old life, keeping my family in tact and all of the ‘stuff’ wasn’t worth it anymore.

    • Cheaterssuck–my cheater actually used the “better the devil you know” line on me to try & reconcile. Thanks to all your stories on CL about giving cheaters another chance only to be shafted later, I was able to resist his offer. Why dance with a devil at all, eh?

  • > You have to be prepared to run into the arms of “I’ll figure it out.”

    I love this so much I want to make a needlework sampler of it. My new mantra. 🙂

  • Let’s not forget the mother of all chump mantras: “I need to believe I’m a good person.” Somehow staying with this person fed that need, and leaving them opens us up to the possibility that we aren’t as good or perfect or lovable as we thought. It’s a sick road that leads us to keep trying to PROVE how worthy we are, or that we can at least turn things around through common sense, good hard work, and the power of positive thinking.

    Nope. Save it for the next relationship. And love yourself, faults and all.

  • >