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Cheaters Who’ve Got Game

bukowskiThe other night my husband and I were watching a documentary about the poet Charles Bukowski, someone whose writing we both admire. We both came away from the film going “My God that guy was an asshole.” To the point which my husband thinks it might have ruined the poetry for him.

I don’t know. I think I’m a bit more compartmentalized about these things (yeah, me, Chump Lady). I can admire the poetry without admiring the man.

My takeaway was — being a great artist does not give you license to treat the people around you like shit.

In the film you see everyone giving the guy a pass for being an abusive, alcoholic asswipe. In one particularly revolting scene he’s telling his wife to leave him. “I’m done with you! You disgust me! Why don’t you get some high-priced Jew lawyer and divorce me!” (A recreational anti-Semite too, delightful.)

But she doesn’t. She sticks with him to the end and says nice things about him in his documentary.

Why? Because she was willing to pay the price of admission to be The Wife of Charles Bukowski.

It made me wonder how many people pay the price of admission to be married to their cheaters? Well, I can’t divorce him, he’s a surgeon. She’s hot. He’s the mayor. She’s fabulously successful.

We’ll never do as well again! Bring on the buffet of shit sandwiches for the privilege of being in the Great One’s orbit!

This is a more understandable (if superficial) chumpdom. These cheaters really DO have game. There is substance to their sparkle. It would give me pause to divorce Bill Clinton, once leader of the free world. (Why it gave me pause to divorce the once third-rate federal employee I was married to, I have no idea.)

There are people standing in line to be as “lucky” as you! Why wouldn’t you want to be Mrs. Charles Bukowski?

(I dunno. Maybe because his face looked as if it had been spattered with buckshot and he probably smelled like rancid meat?)

Most of our cheaters are underachievers, never living up to their full potential. And yet, others do. They really have gifts.

Of course, I still think you should dump anyone that requires you to be their abused sock puppet sidekick to their Great Persona. (I’m talking to YOU, Mrs. Charles Bukowski.)

Admire the poetry, divorce the man.

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  • Then there are those of us who know The Amazing Person our spouse CAN be… and stuck/stick around to encourage them there. Devote ourselves to it because being generous with love is what we chumps DO.

    But they fuck around instead.

    Time to let that go: *I* will do it, for me, by my damn self.

    • i was in that club. i believed in boyman more then anyone in his life. i saw the Greatness in him, i saw how much He wanted and tried to do the right thing. i NEVER thought that he would just quit. at a drop of a hat. he loved me and the kids until he just didnt anymore. throw up your hands and turn your back and all 14.5 years forgotten just like that *snap of your fingers*

      • i am a member of this club too. 26 years gone. just. like. that.

        i did not respect cheater presidents or actors before my abuse. now i find them very distasteful. movies, TV shows, books, songs about cheating too. all trash.

        i hate cheating.

          • You’re right, I can’t bring myself to watch him anymore. I guess that’s why. I’m shunning him. Too bad our shunning doesn’t have the impact that Amish shunning does… wouldn’t that be something? #ShunThem #ModernMeidung

            As chumps, if we all banded together, do you think we could have enough of an impact on modern culture to make shunning bring about any social change?

            • No, I just think we are different from them. We are more evolved. Sex is fun, but it doesn’t actually lift your rank or position in life. There is something to be said for loyalty.

  • You said: “Why it gave me pause to divorce the once third-rate federal employee I was married to, I have no idea” — because you are the kind of person who does NOT judge someone by their material station in life. I’m guessing most of us chumps are similarly non-judgmental.

    I stayed with my cheater for 16 years though I came to see that his career was going nowhere. I thought he was a good man. I was wrong. In some people’s eyes, his job as a home remodeling contractor wasn’t as impressive as mine as a lawyer. I even pumped him up to people, like he was building the Taj Mahal when he basically fixes people’s broken doorknobs and light fixtures. I used to bristle when my eldest son (from H1) called Cheater a “handyman,” Iw would correct him and say, “no he’s a Contractor!”

    It still doesn’t matter to me. I would have stayed with him if he was a garbage collector if he hadn’t turned out to be a serial cheater with absolutely no respect for me.

    • I’m with you, Muse. When we started out, I was a doctor (still am) and he was a bus driver, then a cashier at REI, then a waiter. I didn’t care. He was fun and funny and kind and loving…. Then he rose through the ranks to become an Entrepeneur, and now his head can barely fit through the door. In fact, a friend of ours (who knew that I’d bought him that business and he was still drawing no income until it “got on its feet”) complimented him on “creating something” and “putting something new & fresh out there in the world.” I confess, it galled me that we had SPENT money on this venture, and he was in no hurry to MAKE money (for us, for our marriage) and he was STILL getting credit for being innovative. Hell, I guess I could quit my job and make art-sculpture out of cardboard boxes, too, but how does that help raise a family?

      • I hear you. I’ve read before in your posts how you funded that restaurant for him, and you can see the entitlement oozing from him. He was quite happy to take your money and then also get all the narkly sparkly credit for being “creative.”

        • Yeah, he could pick a bottle of wine that paired well with a nice cut of steak. It’s hardly rocket science.

  • I like sparkly things… I have always gone for the man with the mojo… The alpha ( dont gag) . Attracted to the confidence and the giftedness. Looking back thru all my realtionships there was always something that set the man apart from his peers. For the Canadians here …. I was a ‘ a puck bunny. ” The starving artist with his entourage… The neurosurgeon… Called into save the pt. Did I want someof their sparkles to rub off on me? No. I had enough going on in my life. Its just what i was attracted to. Some melt for blue eyes… For myself it was ‘ the gift’
    Men came and went in my life. The few long term relationships ended because i was unwilling to live in the shadow of their lives. In my marriage I became extremely devoted to promoting the man. My life took a back seat to further his career… So he could sparkle on. He is a highly decorated, high ranking officer with multiple specialties… Works with other government agencies… I will refrain from mentioning to avoid my home being raided.
    Did I help create the monster? Maybe. Doesn’t excuse any of his behavior or choices. He is still an asshole.
    Is my picker broken… Yup

    • Me, too, Clip. I enjoy sparkle. And for some (Mrs Bukowski), it’s worth it. Yes, it’s probably low self-esteem that keeps us accepting less. But for some people (we all have our disorders), the trade is actually worth it, just to be near the Sparkle. Maybe it’s the chumps version of Kibble or Cake. Only you (i.e., each of us) can decide what you are and are not willing to tolerate.

      • My friend, who also is divorced after 15 yrs of marriage through hubs cheating, is convinced that if the man looks good on the outside, he’s a cheater or a cheater in waiting!
        Please tell me (and my friend) that not all good looking men (and women) are cheaters!!!
        Anyway, hearing from CN, we know by who our cheater picks that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder! (though my X picked a nice looking young stripper!).
        I mean, come on, even CL just said that Mr Bukowski “face looked as if it had been spattered with buckshot and he probably smelled like rancid meat”!

        • I don’t think the outside is any measure of ‘cheater potential’ I think as Tempest is saying… it is all about actions. Pity play being a big red flag and all the other red flags. I used to hear about not listening to his words but looking at his actions. I was always looking for BIG actions,(does he overtly lie, does he fuck donkeys… my level of discernment was not great) but not little actions. Now, every poor bugger who comes into my life gets the inscrutable Ringin’. I keep my own counsel. My first assumption is not to think the are nice people until proven otherwise but they could be dangerous to me, until they prove they are not. I look very carefully at their actions, even the most minute actions. I don’t care if I never have another man in my life, I am determined to keep these people and their toxic shitstorm vapors out of my life.

          • ^^^THIS^^^^ I hear you Ringin’. I can’t imagine letting my heart go to another man. Every man who has ever been in my life has broken my heart. And I’ve always had long term relationships. I’m bitter I guess. Honestly the best people I’ve ever had in my life are my girlfriends. They have been there (30 years) through thick and thin. Good and bad. Always had my back. I’m thinking, men! Bah! Who needs that shit?

            • I’m right there with you Irish. I can not even IMAGINE wanting to fall in love with or be intimate with ANY one, definitely at this point and maybe not ever…… My picker is absolutely NOT worth a shit, pretty much every man I’ve ever picked has been a cheater and I’ve had my heart broken a few times too…. NOTHING in comparison to the damage this asshat inflicted.

              I am not one of those people who can’t be alone. I raised a daughter by myself, supported us both and it was just us…. I had serious relationships but never lived with anyone else, not until the asshat anyway and by then she was already 18. She says he “fooled us both Mom” and that’s not easy. I’m with you….. who needs that shit?

              • I started dating my EX at 16 and got married when I was 21. He cheated throughout our entire marriage which lasted 36 years. Recently, I was talking to someone nice and my daughter asked me if I gave him my phone number. Really? Then after going out with her one night to have a drink she told me I needed to look like I wanted to meet someone. Really? I guess I look married. I am not exactly sure what the fuck that means. Maybe I just look like I’ve been hit by a snowplow.

                Talking about games; is this how they are played? I just don’t understand how this works. So I have to SELL myself by looking like I might be a good fuck and give someone I just met my phone number. This disgusts me in so many ways. Like I said, I never dated or had a relationship with anyone but my
                EX. Evidently, HE knew how the game was played.

                Isn’t this why chumps end up where we are in life? We invest our time. love and life with a game player. I can’t help but think of that ‘moment’ when they met at a bar while I was there. Is that fucking magic or what? He complained, she empathized, he told her he was married, she said she didn’t care, she passed him her phone number and poof!!!! This proves there is no LOGIC with cheaters. Then on top of that everyone thinks you can magically get over IT. They don’t know the depth of IT. I struggle to get over having to get tested and treated for STD, finding out he was seeing more than one whore, the fact that the ONE that allowed him to move in was arrested multiple times, that she is disgusting/ugly/trashy, and that he disregarded his whole family.

                And the best we can do to win the game is to know they were the trash that needed to be dumped. After putting up with so many years of crazy making I feel like I can talk the talk but I have to learn how to walk again. The hardest part is knowing how EASY it is for them to just fucking walk away like we never existed and we somehow deserved IT.

                If I ever get to the point when my therapist thinks I CAN date again, I will be myself. Donna doesn’t pretty up at a bar and slide her number to someone she just met, nope! That will never be my game. Fuck cheaters. I truly wish him EVERYTHING he deserves.

              • Oh Donna, you don’t need to go to a bar. I think that is the worst place you can meet someone. Everybody is superficial in a bar.

                If you want to meet someone, and you don’t sound like you do, you can try meet ups. It’s an online social thing where people who have a common interest gather to socialize. It worked for my best friend from high school. She ended a bad relationship and consciously worked on making new contacts. Not just for romantic reasons, she just wanted to move on. So she met the love of her life and now they are together 5 years. I think that is so much better than a bar or

                Again, you don’t sound ready. I’m not either, but we will have options when we are.

              • @ Donna…. not only was I present when asshole met this schmoopie POS…. so were our KIDS…. just like always we were all present at the competition to cheer him on, usually I am back stage helping him get ready… but this last show he was “paying” someone to handle his nutrition and help him with his posing and this guy helped backstage this time. Nice huh? So I am in the seats in the auditorium with our kids (one ours, other 3 his from previous marriage) and he is back stage chatting up the married twat. Funny thing is…. the asshole forgot his posing trunks at our house in between the morning and evening show…. guess who jumps in the truck and drives 90 miles an hour to our house and back to grab his trunks and get them to him in time to get on stage…. “oh, thank you SO much…. I love you…” just ask him though…. poor sausage says I wasn’t supportive…. and i quote “where were you when I needed you?” really??

                After I caught him sweet talking this pig I checked the phone logs….. SAME exact thing had happened back in June after that show…. he was chatting up one from THAT show…. same thing…. we both met her at the check in…. had THREE of our kids with us…… I called her after DDay #2 to ask her WHY she thought it was okay and she said “I told him he had WAY too much baggage.” I said “WTF?? We were there with our kids… wtf is wrong with you bitches?”

                I absolutely second what you said…..Fuck cheaters!! I truly wish him EVERYTHING he deserves…. AND THEN SOME…..

        • ringinonmyownbell is absolutely 100% correct….. the outside “package” has NOTHING to do with cheater potential. My Dad… and then my step-Father were BOTH serial cheaters….. relentless cheaters. My Dad was very handsome (short man syndrome maybe) also an alcoholic, and a huge jerk but not a porn addict…. step-father on the other hand…. NOT handsome at ALL but he dressed well and kept himself well and had decent money…. an alcoholic … porn addict…. serial cheater (maybe worse than my Dad) and GET THIS…. they both hung in the same circles…not only did they both end up married to my Mother but my Dad’s last wife had dated the step before ending up with my Dad. Wth? can’t make this shit up.

        • Well, I’m gonna say that I myself am actually not unattractive, and I am not a cheater. But there is a recent study of attractive men (you know how these studies work) who were judged to be less generous and kind than men who were evaluated as less good-looking.

          • There are also developmental studies showing that cute children get fewer punishments than less-cute children. The sense of entitlement starts early.

        • Its generally because people who are ‘good looking’ get an ego, and they have the mindset of ‘Well, I can treat people like shit, and people will tolerate it. If they don’t tolerate it and they leave – well, 5 other people will clamber over each other to fill their place’. Pretty much just narcissism in a way.

    • While I dated (and all the boot knockin fun therein) like a total boss until I was 25, Ive only loved one guy in my life and he was not the sparkliest, or the richest, or anything -est. But we loved each other. He treated me great for 24 yrs, respected every decision I made for me & our family, supported my artistic quirks, my confusing depression, middle of the night UTIs and together we built sparkles and a very nice lifestyle and a kick ass family. But he had (unbeknownst to me) serious flaws beneath the bravado, and when we disagreed about a very impactful business/personal decision – first time we weren’t on the same page- he immediately found someone who applauded him for stupidity, lying, cheating, pulling his pants down – the whole shebang. Natch, since she was screwing her own family over, she may have been trying to convince herself of her own goodness. And when he wasn’t eating those kibbles, his mother was right there as well, putting him on a pedestal and reiterating that I was an ungrateful controlling bitch. he had consensus! He was right! Peel him a grape, he’s the man! And that awesome business decision with the awesome partners? The impact it had on our lives was like a mail bomb. And he got cheated. No one from the above story, including mommy, is in his life right now, except chumpy me and the kick ass kids. smh. (Slap my husband)

      His takeaway? “Over eating plastic kibbles makes me feel like shit. Can I please have the filet mignon back please, side of humble pie?”

      This is hell.

      • i feel your pain nic. boyman loved me and the kids up to the point when he just stopped. i am still not sure WTF happened but i am not trying to figure it out anymore. we had a good life, a decent marriage and were working together to built our family.

        but like your, boyman couldnt handle my depression and therefore emotionally unavailability after my daughters death. the one and only time i was able to handle everything, the first time i really needed him to step up and support me — he found someone who enabled his bad decisions and made him feel better about being the shallow, weak pathetic male that he is, someone who agreed with his stupid, hateful, spiteful decisions to leave his family, and yes, she was screwing her own family over, she already left her husband, cheated with many different boyfriends, walked out on her own kids so she could find a man and drink/party all night, so she could live with whoever was willing to take her in at the time, no car, no house, no job. she actually told me misery loves company.

        but unlike you, i let her “win” since he wanted to fire me from the position of “taking care of him” she can now deal with all the insecurities, the sneaking and hiding, the alcoholism, the suicide threats, the “poor me” syndrome…..

        • That’s how my therapist puts it, that I was fired. We didn’t break up. I was fired from being her partner.

          I’m sorry that you have/had depression and I’m sorry that you lost your daughter. I hope there are some bright spots in your life. I struggle to find mine, but I’m told they’re there.

        • In light of what has happened since he fired her (from both the work job & the blow jobs), it became clear he used her as a sexual outlet, she used him to get out of her shit life. She’s also a serial cheater on more than one husband. Classy broad. But she didn’t love him, she felt entitled to the lifestyle he could afford that she couldn’t. Nor that her hardworking h could afford. She clearly had it in for me and the “cushy work free” life she expected I was living (we never really met). Of course at that point my life consisted of me writhing on the bathroom floor dry heaving and crying, “what the fuck is happening to me”, so….

          H now says he can’t believe he got used by a whore. Shocking, isn’t it? don’t shit where you sleep, asshole.

    • Yup, I have enjoyed the sparkle–X is highly intelligent, world-renowned in his field, attractive even at 64, great dresser, can be very charming.

      I am DONE with sparkle at the expense of integrity. Know what I find sexy now? Kindness. Self-effacing humor.

      • Yep Tempest, that’s my X also……although he’s younger at 51. I backed him, admired him, pushed and supported his career. He used my input my creative knowledge to further his career.
        And lied and cheated….in many ways.

        I am totally with you that sexy is Kindness. Self-effacing humor.

        Mrsvain….yes honest. integrity. loyalty and biggest of all KINDNESS..

  • For me, I think I saw more in him than was ever really there. He was so kind to me for the first 2 years and then the abuse started. Slowly, erratically and totally irrational. The confusion is what kept me there so long, the Jekyll and Hyde.

    Now though, he tells me that he knew what he was doing. He says that the manipulation and abuse were deliberate and it is my fault for not standing up to him.

    I know that is not true. I did try as best I could. Of course I was trying to use reason and coming from a place of love, wanting to resolve and understand, I didn’t know I was dealing with crazy.

    He is and never was all that. He claimed to be but never really succeeded at anything. Fired from 2 jobs in 10 years. Started his own “contracting” business with no skills.

    I honestly can’t believe that I put up with this man. I guess I was just hanging around waiting for the good guy to return.

    The slow descent into abuse, it almost seems like I was in a fog while living with it. The cheating turned out to be the kick in the ass I needed to get away from him. Divorced for 7 months now. It still hurts but not because I want him back. I think it hurts because I finally had to face the reality of who he really is and that the man I loved never really existed.

    • freedom2live, your post resonates so much with me.

      Ironically, when I first met him, I didn’t like him and tried to avoid him. My single friends are the ones that pushed us together. But when he tells the story of how we met, it’s all about how I wanted him from the beginning. When we first met, he didn’t want to hang out with any of my couple friends because he didn’t feel he was good enough. He was also unhappy in his job and wanted to change but was afraid – I encouraged and supported him through that. I made more money than him initially and was in a corporate environment. He always seemed to feel less of himself because of it. Like you, I tried to use reason and come from a place of love but I didn’t know what I was dealing with was crazy.

      Over the years, he worked hard and smart, or at least I thought he did, and moved into a management position. Now I’m wondering if he lied and cheated his way there. Our daughter arrived and even though I continued to work, it took a back seat to my family. He passed me in salary. That’s when the abuse became noticeable – it was there all along but vague. Again, like you, I can’t believe I put up with it once it became noticeable. I guess I made family, jobs, and life the most important things to me. That’s when I spackled for him, waiting for the good guy to return.

      You are absolutely right – the slow descent into abuse made it seem like a fog while I was living it. And ‘the cheating turned out to be the kick in the ass I needed to get away from him’ too. The fact that I let him abuse me for so long coupled with this >> ‘I think it hurts because I finally had to face the reality of who he really is and that the man I loved never really existed’ is what I struggle with every day now. Eventually, I’ll get past it but it’s not an easy road.

      • BBCheater…….no it is not an easy road. For 10 years I thought he was a very decent, upstanding man. Then…….slowly I started noticing things here and there and red flags here and there and I tucked them all nicely away like a believer ought to do!
        I know now that he NEVER loved me and used me as his frontman to look like he had a normal, happy life with his employees and peers. I also now realize that the 3, yes 3, ex wives he had that he said was bi-polar, manipulative, liars, cheaters etc…..was actually him. And I believed him!!! This sickens me!

        • IHaveHate – YES to this > ‘used me as his frontman to look like he had a normal, happy life with his employees and peers.’ I actually told him that we, my daughter and I, were a facade for him….he used us to look like a normal, family man.

          I think he loved me as much as he is capable of loving someone. That may be none at all or some snipit of love but definitely not real true love.

    • OMG. “the manipulation and abuse were deliberate and it is my fault for not standing up to him”
      This is sick.

      • Yes, it is sick. It’s the oddest thing now to see him for who he really is. He always had a way of twisting things until I thought I was causing the anger and now I see it clearly. It never was me, I could have been anyone. He has treated everyone like this. I just did not know. He lied to me about who he was, what he thought, what he had done.

        Even now when he says these things, I don’t know if it is a lie or the truth. All I know is he is and abusive asshole. That is my truth.

        • Hey it’s been 7 moths for me to since my divorce!!!
          I still mourn too but not because I want him back. Just sad about the manipulation I was going trough, him and his Mom against me:( both narcs!!

        • That’s more than your truth, F2L. It is THE truth. Have you heard the latest story on the news about the documentary regarding that heinous rape & murder on a bus in India a couple years ago? The filmmaker interviews one of the rapists who says it’s the victims fault for fighting back. Deranged minds always have a reason it’s not their fault. Your XH is just a different version of the same psychopathy.

          • NWBiblio, that just gave me chills. The coldness and heartlessness of it all and then to blame it on another, just incomprehensible.

            The things he has stated are just so twisted. “I abused you our entire marriage and I hate you for that. You were supposed to save me”. Or , “I kept my promise to you to keep you safe. Now you have learned to never let anyone abuse you again. I made you strong”.

            Blaming me for the abuse and then taking credit for my surviving it. Just so twisted.

            I do believe that he is probably some kind of cluster B. It doesn’t even matter though, he is devoid of empathy, compassion and from the things he says, not much in the intelligence department either.

            • OMG freedom – I heard a similar line of shit. He had a friend coming over A LOT and I asked my stbx to ask him to stop coming over so much cuz I felt like I had to stop what I was doing to entertain the guy until he came home from work. Since then – I have been accused of ‘cheating’ with this guy and it was MY RESPONSIBILITY to ask him to leave. Also – since we’ve been going through our divorce all kinds of shit has come out of the wood work. Like – my stbx just recently told me the reason I got fixed after our last child (18 years ago) was so that he KNEW HE COULD NEVER CHEAT ON ME if he were the one who got fixed! Whatever! That was news to me! 18 years ago when I had my daughter I was ok with getting my tubes tied because I knew I didn’t want anymore kids. We discussed it and decided if we were to ever ‘break up’ he told me he MIGHT want more – and because I KNEW I DIDN’T, I got fixed. Now suddenly he tells me the reason he didn’t is because then he would HAVE TO BE FAITHFUL? Well – he may have been “FAITHFUL” in the physical sense, but buying another phone line behind my back to sext/chext other women….. Is NOT FAITHFFUL dumbass!

        • Mine told me the abuse was deliberate too. He wanted me to be so miserable that I would be the one to walk so he could be the guilt free good guy. Sick and cowardly.

          • Lina…..Though he never admitted to this (of course!), I’m convinced thats exactly what the X was up to too! I’m certain he wanted me to be so miserable so that I would be the one to leave and he could tell everyone that I just left and whatever he would want to add to it.
            Well, I guess he never figured I was such a loyal hanger onner!! I was a trooper! Yes indeed, I stuck it out (till I figured it out)!
            I really do trust he sucks guys. I just am sooooo angry that I feel like he got away with murder (of my soul, mind, psyche, etc). I can’t seem to come to grips with being ok with this part; I will send that final letter. I won’t rest till I do!

            • Yes, they don’t expect us to stick it out because they wouldn’t. They don’t get loyalty and commitment, let alone love. It used to hurt me so bad to know that he never loved me until I figured out he can’t truly love anyone. He doesn’t know what real love is.

              • That seems like so much more work than just being honest and saying, “this isn’t working for me.” All that to be the good guy? And they don’t even come off as the good guy. Somebody needs to design a course for high school students that teaches people how to let go if something is not what they want.

            • IHH, I believe my ex was doing this to me too. Looking back I see that he started ignoring me a lot more around the time he got involved with his grad student. He stopped going to lunch with me, he started traveling more, and when she moved to another town he became despondent. It was also around this time he became so detached from me that I became very depressed.

              He’d go on business trips and I’d be looking forward to him coming home so we could do something together. I was desperate to connect with him, but he’d make an excuse about needing to do something outside all weekend when he got back. I remember asking him “do you just need time alone to unwind?” I remember he just stared at me like he had something to say but said nothing.

              I remember telling my counselor that being ignored was just as abusive as being hit. In fact it might have been easier if he hit me because then I’d have recognized it as abuse and gotten the hell out of Dodge.

              Anyway, I do believe he was wanting me to become so miserable that I’d call it quits so he wouldn’t have to. It blew my mind when I realized he had so little personal integrity. He used to be one of those people everyone looked up to. Some of the greatest geniuses in history had feet of clay.

          • My x was abusive for years before cheating and leaving. I think the true shift came when I did stand up to him.

            I came home from work the day after a raging episode from the previous evening. He was there waiting. Waiting to do the dance of I am sorry. I shut it down. I extended my arms, palms up and said, “no more. Do not ever tell me again that you are sorry. Stop treating me like this. I am sorry means nothing without change.”

            He stopped saying “I’m sorry” but everything else remained the same. I look back on that time now and it seems as if I just shut down. I stopped living completely. I worked, did the chores but was just numb.

            Now I feel raw, exposed still but I am beginning, just beginning to have times of happiness again and some times of peace.

            IHaveHate, I feel that anger too. I feel that I want some restitution and then I realize, there is nothing that I want from him.

    • F2L – I could have written your post nearly verbatim.

      The only thing I would have left out was my X never admitted he knew what he was doing – and that it was abusive. He has never owned that and never will. He did however, over the course of our 30 year marriage, mention that I should have stood up to him (he maybe said it 3-4 times in all those years). I DID try from time to time, only to have it artfully shoved right back down my throat.

      The reason I stayed so long was because I kept waiting for the good guy to take over the bad guy. Because, when he was good, he WAS and I was so connected with him. But what I didn’t understand was that he really was irrational and that the bad guy was as much a part of him – in a permanent way – as the good guy. I really had no chance but didn’t get it.

      Like you, I don’t miss him, and didn’t from day 1 that he was gone from my home. I can look upon the good times we did have and appreciate them for what they were. What is SO hard for me more than anything else is ALL the wasted years. I can’t get them back. That’s half my adult life (and the good years at that).

      • Raising my hand as well! Twisted rage, I cheat, I’m a lesbian, he is having little birds following me etc. He denies the abuse and in his reply forms he noted that “he had said some things but neither of us were always on their best behavior at times during the marriage.” Shit head! I try not to dwell on the time spent on him and focus on what I have done with the kids. It is hard but I do not him.

    • Freedom, I am right there with you: “He always had a way of twisting things until I thought I was causing the anger and now I see it clearly. It never was me, I could have been anyone. He has treated everyone like this. I just did not know. He lied to me about who he was, what he thought, what he had done.” My Ex said to me in one of our post DDay “talks’ before i finally went NC, “you uniquely bring out the anger in me.” If you read the Lundy Bancroft book “Why Does he do that?” you see that this is a LIE. They know what they are doing. The anger emanates from them. They choose to inflict it on you.

      I am so sorry you went through this. I lived the same nightmare. Ex’s narc rages were always simmering just beneath the surface and the contempt that he felt for me (why???) was palpable. I found out later that he did all this to his longterm relationship before me (well, that “overlapped” with living with me for our first 7 years). I hope you have found some peace.

  • for me it was just to be a part of the ‘coupled’ club. Pathetic, I know.
    I was ashamed to be single and I hoped beyond hope we would get married. Luckily we did not and that turned out to be the best thing ever. I am now no longer ashamed to be single. When faced with the choice of being single and not fucked around vs. being coupled with someone who abuses you…well, it’s not so scary anymore.

    • Same here HM, I’ve never been married…. when he proposed… I thought me meant it. If I hadn’t gotten pregnant right away he probably would have gone through with it… but he didn’t have to as he already had me tied to him. I wasn’t ashamed to be single but I wanted him to “want” to be married to me. Now… knowing the full spectrum of his financial predicament… I am SO thankful that we never followed through. SO glad to NOT have to share in that pile of leftover shit, he was financially ruined before I met him and somehow… somehow he managed to f*ck it up even worse. Wow.

    • There are people in line waiting in line to be as lucky as you.

      I once saw band called Twisted Sister and Dee Snider spit into the audience numerous times throughout the show. I moved away to the back of the room immediately disgusted. My Ex didn’t understand what my problem was. The point is that all the women stayed there as the spit flew. This was in a small club with a minimal cover. Yes ther will always be another woman/man just waiting in line to be disrespected. Staying with someone who has blatant disregard to preserve status of any sort is a very hard road. Thankfully, we have a better choice than putting up with such disrespect. The ow/om can’t see the phlem but it is there nevertheless. Gaining a life is the best stAtus ever

      • Thank you for this Donna. My cheater has got great game and EVERYONE thinks he is awesome. Handsome, charismatic, Charitable, generous, kind, wealthy, etc. Only I know the other side. I KNOW there are a few – and one special person – waiting in the wings. * I will say that when I confided in my best friend she confessed she always felt like he was wearing a false face, a mask. She is the only one not singing his praises.

        • Sanity is more valuable than money. A narc with followers. One good friend is all you need. The others are shallow like him no doubt. I have met most of my ex’s ow and not one of them was special. We have morals and that makes us special.

      • @ Donna How disgusting…. Dee Snider spitting on people… who does that shit? wtf?

        “The ow/om can’t see the phlegm but it is there nevertheless.” (LOVE that) In my case…. she has been warned lol. Her response to cheater asshole about the “dirt” I shared with HER husband…. “As I told you before… she’s not going to run me off!” Remember that bitch…. we will see who has the last laugh. Muahahahahahahah

        • Oh my the desperate chump, the one that is willing to take all the glitter your ex is willing to bestow on them despite knowing the truth. My eX’s current girlfriend is fully aware that only a year before he began love bombing her he confessed to 8 yrs of adultery with the same sex partners while married to me. And what is worse is that people are encouraging the relationship as if being with her will keep him on the straight and narrow. No pun intended.

          • This is something I needed to see here. I have often said that my husbands Schmoopie is a hardup HO with self esteem issues because she put up with his shit for two years. There were times when he would bring her here from another state and bang her all week then tell her he really didn’t love her and drop her off just short of the state line for her sister to pick her up! He would come back to me and stay anywhere from six to nine days and then leave me to show up on her doorstep and she would take him back! But by the same token, I would take him back also, but I was after all his legal wife! Truth of the matter is, he was playing us both and the ego trip was first class for him! I am ashamed to have played his game for so long, but if I were single/divorced like she was then I would have sent him packing. I just figure she can’t find anything/anyone to touch her with a barge pole so she hung in there and took his shit! Well, I filed and got rid of him and I feel like I won the lottery cause I got the shit that counts! My kids, grand kids and family that respects me. Then I went to mediation and got the rest of his assets! Yes indeed, she can have Mr. Sparkles! I have what I need thank you!

            • At the end of the game they end up being truly fucked!! And we never have to play again. Instead of classy they end up with trashy. It’s one thing to fuck the whore getting kibbles from us and another thing when the excitement of sneaking around ends and with daylight. What looks good in the dark is frightening in the morning. Oops! That is one skanky whore.

              • So true Donna, but now he is stuck with his “bad choice”. When I finally kicked him out for the last time I told him he had better hope that “fat ass” really loves him because his option with me was unavailable in the future. I wish you could have seen his face. He didn’t seem quite so “happy” and I thought I was going to have to get a crowbar to move his ass out of the house. He just seemed to move a lot slower for some reason. Oh well, no worries for me now!

          • @Thankful, I actually believe that SHE is an equally desperate for attention love-bombing narc as well, she is a (married w/3 boys) physique competitor and quite impressed with herself. I swore they are both having a mid-life crisis..both definitely WS’s….reeking of entitlement. I have possession of SEVERAL of their texts and their schmoopie talk is rather disturbing, I’ve mentioned in previous posts that it was very childish, middle school level mentality. Both cheaters…hmmmm wonder how trust is going to play out there…..I’m waiting for the fall out. Looking forward to it actually.

            • NCStevie, I found all of the sexting between the ex and Schmoopie and it is unbelievably childish and middle school! We are talking about a woman in her 50’s and a man who is about to turn 60! It’s shocking at first, but once the divorce is final and you have settled in a bit read it again! You will laugh your ass off!!!

              • My ex is 46, schmoopie is 40, and I already told him…. “the shit you two say to each other is almost comical, I’d probably laugh if it weren’t so f*cking pathetic.”

            • Jen, the greatest accomplishment is leaving them. They self destruct on their own. You can hold your head up high and the cheaters will continue to lie to themselves. They really do have limited potential especially when they no longer live in the stable environment we provided when they were cheating. Trust that none of it was your fault. I hate the expression, you need to move on. We don’t have the on off switch cheaters are hardwired to enable them to discard at a moments notice. I just realized that when they are fucking their AP’s they are really fucking themselves. The minute they lose the compassion, unconditional love, and stability their wife provided, they want it back!!! They flip the switch and have the expectation we will still be there to further their future pursuits. I truly feel that it interrupts their game. Hmmm, now what am I going to tell the AP’s? I laugh at the thought that now that he is with his disordered ugly AP and divorced it will be more difficult to find new supply. His narrative can no longer be, my wife… hoo, poor me. The switch I had to use was no contact and that was so very hard but necessary to detox. He is trying so hard to get back into my life SO he can tell his future AP’s we still have a good relationship. He is STILL cheating living with his AP. FUCK him, this will never happen in my lifetime. Jen, having a cheater out of your life is the accomplishment of a lifetime.

              • OMG…. yes, YES, yes!!! Could not agree more with this 100%…. it’s all peaches & cream in their distorted, fantasy land until they lose the security, comfort & stability that their wife/ family provide them with…. makes me sick, beyond pathetic.

      • So you said, “[I’m] not gonna take it! And no [I’m] not gonna take it! [I’m] not gonna take it! [I’m] not gonna take it, anymore! (Just you try and make [me]!

  • I now view people through this lens. You cheat, i dont care who you are, what prize youve won, what great thing you invented, i disregard those “great” things. Why? Cheaters are abusers. Period. Just like i wouldnt appreciate the beauty of a murderers painting or a rapists music. Cruelty is cruelty. Give me the complete library of men and women who have been faithful, thank you very much.

      • I agree with Scott. It wasn’t always this way but after everything I’ve been through, now when I learn this about someone I can’t help but see them differently and find myself pulling away. It’s an indication of character or lack thereof.

        • One of my favorite authors is Dickens but I hate the person he was. I try to separate the work from the man but it’s really difficult for me now.

          • I am able to compartmentalize the folks that will never be personally in my life. When it came time for Clinton’s term #2 I voted for him. Someone asked how I could do that and I replied-well I wouldn’t marry the d-bag but I kind of like the way he’s running the country. In the spectrum of dishonest politicians I didn’t find him any better or worse than the rest of them.

            I feel the same way about authors and other entertainers. That’s just me.

            • I agree–I’ve made the distinction between public & private morality for years. Take John Edwards–one of the biggest personal scumbags to cheat on his wife during her cancer treatment, lie incessantly–BUT, he drew attention to the plight of people in poverty more than any other politician since LBJ (another personal loser, who nonetheless launched the War on Poverty and signed the Civil Rights Act).

              And let’s not forget MLK, Jr. himself–amazing admirable as a civil rights activist, but a cheater.

              • Plenty of people – politicians and others – are trying to draw attention to the plight of the poor. Why was John Edwards able to draw that much attention? Because he had the looks and the charisma to do it — NOT because he actually cared. He had no morals in public or private life; he pretended to care because that is what he thought would get him elected. And, maybe, he did it because his wife was pushing him in that direction (SHE should have run for president). Same goes for LBJ.

              • I can’t pretend to know what was in Edward’s mind, but LBJ had a deep sympathy and love for his mother, who was ruined by rural life and hauling buckets of water to the house every day. That helped motivate his views, so I”m not sure blind ambition (of which he had plenty) purely accounts for his trying to help the poor. I think some of his concern was heartfelt.

              • I also voted for Clinton twice, and I can’t say I’m sorry I did, but what Edwards did was horrific.

                I feel very sad for Monica Lewisky who was just a stupid, young intern who got sucked into his power. She was hurt the most by that. I doubt that Clinton saw her as an affair partner.

                What Edwards did was incredibly horrible. His oldest daughter forgives him, so I do believe that even cheaters/narcissists are deserving of compassion. Her older brother was killed in a car accident. She thought as horrible as that situation [her fathers infidelity/lying] was, nobody died. I have great respect for her.

            • I feel the President of the United States should be a person of strong character. I can’t get my head around Clinton, JFK, and Thomas Jefferson. All were definitely cheaters that made good contributions to our country. Fine, I thank them for the contributions but they are not men I admire.

              • Yeah, I think anyone has the potential for cheating (or whatever other bad behavior) and that just escalates in correlation with power/status. I wouldn’t put cheating past either of the Bush presidents or anyone else, either, but maybe the wives were content to stay in the dark & eat their shit sandwiches. I mean, how would we ever know?

            • I’ve had trouble with this too, but I also have to compartmentalize. I mean, who didn’t love Robin Williams?

              • i was one who didnt love Robin WIlliams. i couldnt stand him in mork and mindy and havent seen any of his movies that i consider admirable. mrs doubtfire was tolerable but i cant watch it over and over. but that is just me. i know i am not in the norm on a lot of things. i also cant stand jim carrey either.

              • I do love Robin Williams and it bothers me so that you can almost always see pain in his eyes.

                I have never and would never cheat, but we all come with different strengths. I also would never commit suicide. I figure as bad as I feel, it’s not for me to choose when I go. I don’t even put my pets down.

                Maybe we need to just let our cheaters go and focus on our own strengths. We can’t make them be faithful. I do have some judgements about their weaknesses but in the end that’s not my place either.

                Robin Williams presents like a person with bipolar disorder and he did a lot of drugs early on. Maybe he did the best he could. Mental illness is not a choice.

            • I agree that there were cheaters who have been great political leaders but the reason they got elected is beause they were “sparkly”. There are plenty of decent politicians out there who will never get elected because they get outshined by the narcs. Michael Dukakis comes to mind as a decent and capable politician who was rejected because of his bland personna.

              • Think of Jimmy Carter – who only lusted in his heart! A one term president. No personal scandals – still married to his first wife. An honourable statesman today.

          • If I recall from a New Yorker article, Dickens left his wife for another woman. The movie version of Dr. Zhivago used to be one of my favorite films. I”l never watch it again because of his cheating with Lara.

            • Yes he did and treated her horribly. His mistress was seventeen and he was middle aged when the affair started. He was horrible to his children as well. He wasn’t a nice person at all to say the least. And I don’t cut him any slack because his father went to debtors prison and he had to work in a blacking factory for a short time. Even his work involving reforming prostitutes seems a bit “off” when you read about his true character.

              • Oh, and after he died his mistress told someone how “she loathed the old man’s touch.” It’s all quite sordid and pathetic.

            • This is what pisses me off! These movies and books romanticizing affairs. Society romanticizing affairs. Someone PLEASE do a documentary on the ugly truth of affairs. How it emotionally destroys a family. All the collateral damage. The often times years of abuse, lying, financial pilfering to support a double life. Sacrificing time,energy emotions from their own children. How about someone poll all the healthcare professionals about PTSD, emotional breakdowns, women and men ending up on medicine or in the hospital. I had nightmares for six months straight! How can this be legal?! How does it just get swept under the rug?! (My cousin just discovered an affair and ended up in the psych ward for 3 days!) entire families needing emotional/mental care. Spouses being left with nothing or nearly nothing. How in the hell is it legal to do this to another human being? We need laws passed where having an affair is abuse, where the perp is held liable along with the AP if they knowingly enter into the affair. Both parties should be held accountable. They both knowingly inflicted damages. I am certain if healthcare were vocal and the shame taken away, laws could be passed to make these MF’rs accountable for their actions. I first held my H accountable, after all it was his choice. I now see that the AP is also culpable if knowingly entered into the affair. They perpetuate and encourage the continued lying, spending, etc. they become accessories to the crime. I see red every time I think of this. It is just not right. Nearly fifty percent divorce rate? I bet if ppl were unashamed and told the truth, nearly all those are from affairs. In which case we would have nearly fifty percent of the population could potentially support passing a law. Just my two cents.

              • Oh and the AP is not just an accessory to the crime they are accomplices. They aid and abet, encourage the spouse and malign us. They lie they cheat and they spend OUR money. That is stealing. That should be punishable by law. That should be prosecutable.

              • I agree willowchump, the AP’s are not innocent. Granted he used multiple strategies to get them into bed. Yet there were consistencies on his part. They were always vulnerable including, recently divorced women, married women, and chumps. He always gained empathy from each and every one by complaining about the lack of affection he received and how he was SOOO unhappy. For him it was always about sex, power and control. He always dated three at a time. Many of the AP’s thought he was a knight in shining armor and had recently left abusive men or had experience with an abusive relationship. The chumps who had quite a bit going for themselves always dumped him immediately after I called them. He ended up with a fellow narc possibly bp given her criminal record and behavior. Her entitlement fueled his and he wanted everything. He ALWAYS left their phone numbers and evidence where I could find it. He enjoyed every last kibble. I like the 50 percent idea and making a movie about the realities of cheating and the impact it has on families. Unfortunately, it would tip off Narcs and they would go further underground and update their cheating rules. However, I am for changing the perception of the romantic aspects 100 percent. Popping the hopium bubble to the masses would certainly increase the divorce rate freeing more chumps!! I can’t emphasize enough how finally facing the pain of the life I led with a cheater has made me stronger and gave me the shove I needed to file. Yes, I spend many a Saturday night crying, however it is not for the loss of the cheater, as he is repulsive. He is divorced, living with his AP and still calling OW and placing ads to hook up. I grieve for the person I lost in this relationship, myself.

              • Amen Willow…my thoughts exactly!!! Let’s get that action goin!!! Let’s all STAND and MAKE A LAW!

          • Lets leave the historical figures out of this! Remember that a divorce was not always an easy thing to get, and in the past people did not always get to freely choose who they were going to marry. Today, there is no excuse not to honor the one you have freely chosen. If you cant, then take the route of an honorable divorce. Those options did not always exist in the past.

            • If you mean Dickens, he did chose to marry Katherine Hogarth. And there was no reason for him to treat her the way he did regardless of whether or not divorce was an option. He was very abusive to her.

              • I just meant generally. I dont think we can judge people from a period in which an honorable divorce was not an option. That doesnt mean they couldnt very well be utter jerks, Im sure many were. I think it clouds peoples current understanding of cheating, for which there is really no excuse, to conflate it with a historical situation in which people didnt have the choices we now have.

        • I agree with Scott and HM. I didn’t always think this way either but I do now. Won’t listen to Jason Aldean anymore, for example. I know it won’t make any impact, but I certainly dont want to “support” people like this.

          • OMG…I thought I was the only one…Jason Aldean…freakin loser! He not only cheated on his wife…he taught his lil girls that Daddy could disrespect women! When the best thing you can do for your Daughter is to LOVE their MOTHER!

    • Scott, I agree with everything you said.

      I think some of the reasons I stayed too long with my cheater are that I still had dreams that could only be realized with a husband, my kids were hurting really bad and a divorce would add to their pain, and one of my kids had severe health issues. I kept hoping my husband would become the man I needed him to be.
      I finally filed because I couldn’t keep living with his continued cheating and other painful behaviors.

      • I, too, stayed with my sex addict cheater, hoping he would become the man I needed him to be. He used recovery language to gaslight me into believing he was changing. The dream of rushing to the hospital together when our grandchildren were born someday kept me hooked. A wise friend (also married to a sex addict) told me, “if that’s why you’re holding on, you need to know that my husband cheated when every one of our seven grandchildren were born, because he felt old”. After five years of trying, I filed for divorce, ending a 25 year marriage. I can honestly say that I’m just as excited about having grandkids someday now as I was when I was married. Dreams can still come true without cheaters in our lives! My price of admission for freedom was huge. I gave up living in a 10,000 square foot house and a huge monthly budget. My new little house is cute, and living on a small budget isn’t all bad! His “gift” of making a lot of money was more like a “gift” to manipulate in sales. I’ll take my simple life and find my own cheater free dreams.

        • Good for you My Walls Will Sing Again! I too wanted that wonderful grandparent/ retirement dream with Cheater Mc Gee and he was in every vision of my future, but then I came to the realization that I could have all that and without putting up with his BS! That was my AHA moment. Then I started placing him in my own head into his Schmoopies life and imagining how she is going to deal with his extraordinary BS. I figured if she “loves” this idiot so much then it’s time for her to take him and his ego on fulltime! It was liberating! I couldn’t be happier! Now I can’t even guess if she is “happy” with lover boy, but I don’t care! They got what they thought they wanted and I am got what I wanted. Karma is a bitch. But they can deal with it now!

        • What happened to fifty percent??? Lord that scares me. I am thinking I get fifty, plus something for all the money he spent on ho ho’s and the AP. I am talking luxurious trips around the world, gifts maybe a house. and me the buffoon believing it was all business trips and long days at the office. Instead he was living in pussyland. Evertime I think of it I want to puke.

          • Have your attorney request credit reports or bank records. See if you can track some of this money complete with dates the money was spent. I would ask for one half back. If I had gone to court I was going to get him on dissipation of marital assets! I didn’t agree to entertain Schmoopie and I know I wasn’t having any fun either!

            • I discovered he took out large amounts of cash before each trip. 5 – 10k. What was the need for that? Hmmmm… It all just slowly killing me. Don’t want the particulars of affair, just want to find as much proof of spending as I can.

              • You will have to pay to get the records. If you have a paper trail and assets in an equity state you can get more than 50 percent. Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean 50 percent. It really depends on where you live. If he has a pension you may also get more than 50 percent. In my case the cost was not worth the benefit because my cheater is so limited. However, my lawyer did put something in our agreement regarding undisclosed assets. He will have to pay my lawyer and give me 50 percent of hidden assets if and when they are found. Hoping for the best for you!

    • I agree wholeheartedly with Scott, and here’s why: we covenant to be faithful to one person when we get married. Literally ONE PERSON. I recall my Dad’s best friend, a wonderful man, saying that if you can’t honor and be faithful to the one person you vow to love and be faithful to in front of God, your friends & your entire family, then it says everything about the kind of person you are. It doesn’t mean you aren’t talented or good looking or successfully…it just means you are untrustworthy and deceitful. Because when you really think about it, we don’t have ceremonies to declare our desire to be forever faithful to our children, bosses, jobs, companies, our friends, our mothers, even our best friend, or our car insurance company. We do, however, swear before God to be faithful to our spouse, however–in front of God. In front of our grandmother, our neighbors, cousins and best friends.

      The covenant of marriage means something to people who value their word and their honor. So if I meet a talented banker/doctor/lawyer/artist/athlete/singer and they are an unfaithful husband or wife, I don’t need to know much more about them as a person–the act of betraying the one person they swore to love & protect forever tells me exactly who they ARE…beyond the talent, beyond the money, beyond the artifice and the things that really don’t matter.

      I think once you’ve been betrayed, you don’t care about money or talent or other trappings of success. I can acknowledge that someone is all of those things–rich, talented, successful. But the person they are is a different story, and in my experience, all of the money and talent and success tastes like ashes in my mouth when I know that someone has violated the one person on this earth to whom they swore to be faithful. It’s that simple for me and I don’t need to inquire further. I have disengaged from cheating “friends” and acquaintances, and I feel nothing but relief. I will never trust them as a person–period.

      Why? Because someone who is capable of violating the trust of the person they publicly promised to love most would not hesitate to lie, cheat or betray any other person–including me, their business partners, children, family or others. Dishonest people do dishonest things, and there’s nothing more dishonest at it’s core than infidelity. It’s the hallmark trait of people I don’t want in my life.

        • Great post, Sara! I agree, infidelity is sinking to the most profound depth of deception – it a person can sink that low, then cheating on family, friends, employers, or even on their income tax, is child’s play to them. Their dishonesty spills over into every facet of their life because they know no other way.

          • Agreed!! Great post Sara ~ I can honestly say that I am more angered and disgusted with his utter disregard for what this has done, and what he HAD to know it would do, to our son as well as our shared children (his, mine, ours) NO child deserves to have their entire world destroyed because their Father can’t resist some random piece of ass just because it will mend his damaged ego.

      • I remember saying (maybe even sobbing) to my ex: “We stood before our family & friends in church & pledged to love another & forsake all others. You just slapped all those people in their faces because they believed in you.”

          • He stared at me with shark eyes. The very loving man I knew for over 26 years had turned into a monster the moment I found out about OW. He moved out 3 weeks later & filed for divorce 2 months after that. He was my everything but without me knowing, I became his nothing.

            • Oh, how my heart breaks for you hurt1 but also for myself and all the other Chumps. When you say, “he was my everything but without me knowing, I became his nothing”. I know we all identify with that comment. It is just terribly sad for all of us.

        • hurt1, I said almost the same thing to my ex. But they suck! 🙂 And they think they’re above everyone else, and that they are somehow justified in not honoring their vows because they are so special. You just have to remember that one day you will wake up and be happy again. Happy–and thankful. Thankful that you didn’t waste one more hour with a someone who doesn’t share your core values. Hang in there–it does get better! I felt almost 100% better exactly 2 years from D-day.

      • Sara, Awesome post. You nailed it. When I have to talk to people who are known cheaters (business), I can’t help but think, “Is he/she really speaking the truth?” I feel that these folks have had way too much practice and can lie and still appear truthful. So I always do additional due diligence before I take their word for anything that matters in the business decisions I make.

        When it comes to friends, I absolutely want nothing to do with cheaters. Life’s too short to allow pond scum to contaminate my world.

        • I recently watched the movie “The Other Woman”. It was the story of my entire married life (10 years) and I had NO CLUE. NONE! Especially with serial cheaters (which my ex was) it is about putting up a great front while secretly living a very deceitful life. They lie because they feel entitled & empowered. I’ll go so far as to say it’s never one single affair or mistake–it’s how they live every single aspect of their life. When I searched, the deceit was everywhere, including in our finances and his business dealings. He was cheating on me while cheating on his other affair partners! When you’re an honest person, your mind just doesn’t work like that. You can’t hardly fathom that your spouse could be living a whole other life. You don’t think to check his phone, follow him to the gym, check his emails, receipts, etc. Your mind just can’t work that way, because when you’re honest, you instinctively think others are, too. When you find out how rotten people can be, you can be infinitely more careful in every aspect of your life in order to protect yourself. Your circle gets smaller but you choose to be with people who are much higher quality!

      • Very well said! Whenever a politician/businessperson is caught cheating, people will say, “Oh well, their personal life has nothing to do with how good a job they are doing” and I always disagree for the reasons you put forth.

        • Thank you Sara – there is no 50 shades of gray here. If cheating is abuse and families are subject to deceit and dishonesty, children are taught to keep secrets and vows mean nothing, then WHY would talent be admired? Simple truth, love and respect are all that is ever lasting. Ya got it or ya don’t.

          I don’t always have time in my life to be around good and decent people, why would I waste a second admiring someone who’s a cheater?

          • Exactly! It’s about priorities! Who do you choose to have in your “inner circle”? Not cheaters and liars. Who do you spend your time looking up to and admiring? Not cheaters. It’s really that simple. You can appreciate people’s talents despite their cheating, but why bother too much with them when there are so many GOOD people out there to spend that energy on!?

      • Sara thank you,
        Just before reading your post I got a phone call from the cheating eX of a friend of mine, calling to wish me a happy birthday. I was cordial and accepted his wishes but he then wanted to delve into my seperation and the health of my youngest child who is on chemo as if we were long lost BFF’s.
        He was quite taken by surprise when I stated I had no intention of acting as if we are friends. He tried to justify his action claming I only had her side of the story. They had issues they fought.

        Did you cheat?

        But, but, but……

        No! Did You chose to cheat.

        Yes eventually but, but and now I’m sick and doctors don’t know why…. And in the past I have always been there for you and X

        You cheated on your wife Because of that action I do not wish to engage with you, that is my choice. And that is all I going to say.

        I hung up and read your post.
        Omg My Ex and I sang at his wedding my X was one of his grooms men. He like my X vowed before God, family and every other whiteness to honour, love and cherish forsaking all others. Yet are quick to point the finger to justify their own empty inner core.
        Thank you again for your post.

        • I love this! I love this because I used to be so much more tolerant, so non-judge-y of people who had cheated on their spouse. Now, I can hardly hide my disdain for them and I make a conscious choice to avoid these people. You hit the nail on the head: “Did you cheat?” And if the answer to that is YES–that’s all I need to know. I don’t care that your wife had been too busy with the kids, that you “felt disconnected”, “needed to find yourself”, etc. Because people feel that way all the time…ALL THE FREAKING TIME!…and yet they choose to resolve it by helping more at home, taking their wife on a nice weekend trip, or otherwise putting that energy into their MARRIAGE and KIDS in order to reestablish that connection. I am choosing not to have you as a friend if you choose to resolve those issues by putting your d**k into another woman. Period. If that’s too harsh? Then so be it.

      • Well said Sara! I would like to quote you on my FB page once my divorce is final if you don’t mind…

        • That is so kind of you, and YES! Feel free to quote away! I apologize for all of the spelling/grammar errors. Also feel free to correct those. I was furiously typing away and had only 8 minutes to do so before a conference call–I should have edited my post better. But here’s the story behind my post. I hope it gives someone a laugh.

          My Dad’s best friend taught me that lesson when I was 12 years old. There were about 15 families from around the country and we all vacationed together at a fishing camp/resort in Canada the same week each year. Most of the families only really knew each other from that one week together each year, but we had a lovely time each year. The summer I was 12, one of the men showed up for the week with a new, younger woman who was NOT his wife. He also had three kids whom he’d left at home with his wife. He bragged that he had just left his wife for this woman.

          As they were cleaning fish together one night, with all of us kids nearby, my Dad’s friend John told my Dad that Doug was an idiot and what does it say about a man when he can’t manage to be faithful to the ONE person he swore before God to love and protect? John was a bit older than my Dad, but he said that it really defines who someone is as a person when they could do that to their wife and children. That has always stuck with me.

          The other families wanted nothing to do with Doug after he showed up with his “new girl”. All of the kids were upset because our friends, Doug’s kids, weren’t there. My Mom & the other wives were crushed for his wife. It was my first real dealing with abandonment and cheating, and I didn’t like it one bit–it soured the entire vacation for every single one of us. My Mom worried every day about Doug’s wife and how she must be feeling, knowing we were all on “her” vacation with this wretched new woman. Meanwhile, Doug was a big mouth bragger who acted like he’d won some trophy. It made everyone queasy and we all just wanted the week to end.

          There is one rather funny “plot twist” that you might enjoy if you enjoy potty humor mixed with justice (and if you don’t appreciate both, stop reading!). My middle brother in particular has a heart of pure gold and is also quite the imaginative prankster. He had been very close with Doug’s son and was crushed that he wasn’t there. My parents explained the situation to my brother (then 8 years old), and my brother was so upset for his friend that he cried. Later that night, when the rest of us were in bed, my brother snuck out of our cabin and went down to the dock, where he took a huge dump on the floor of Doug’s fancy boat.

          All hell broke loose the next morning. Naturally the entire camp saw and heard about the obviously human poo in Doug’s boat (and a lot of people thought it was really quite perfect). Doug was incensed and demanded a confession. It was the talk of the resort. No one confessed.

          My brother admitted his ‘dirty deed’ to us on the 12 hour drive home, and when he told them what he’d done and how, my parents (who do NOT condone such behavior) laughed so hard that they had to pull the car over. Our family still laughs about it 23 years later–Poor Cheater Doug and his Homewrecker going to the dock and finding my 8 year old brother’s turds in his boat. Fitting, somehow. 🙂

          (And all of the families changed their vacations to another week so that we’d never have to see Doug again.)

      • My STBX said he’d really like a Christian marriage (I was an atheist). I agreed so we were married by a minister, before God. And guess what, he is the one who has broken the covenant twice. His first excuse was that I had emotionally abused his ‘holy temple’. Now he says he is even willing to give up on his religion to get rid of me. In the end the atheist valued the covenant more than the ‘Christian’.

        • Pupsticle, I should have been clear–swearing & promising publicly before your family and friends before the universe is the key–so why do it if you don’t believe it?! If your ex believes in God/the Bible like he claims…well, then I REALLY hope he likes flames.

          My ex was a Jesus Cheater, too, and he cheated with dozens of women, including at least one other married Jesus Cheater, She had the gall to send me dozens of texts detailing how *I* could become a better person. She quoted Bible verses, sent me prayers she said for me, along with well wishes. And she sent me those texts while she was committing adultery with my husband and getting pregnant by him in our home (while we were still married, or course).

          I have found that Cluster B personality disorders don’t discriminate based on race, religion or gender. It’s sad but true. You can find disordered people of every type and sort, and it’s always disappointing. You will be so much better off very soon. Please hang in there and have faith that there are much better days ahead for you after your rid yourself of this cancer.

  • I tend to harp on about my depression… I would have put up with a lot because I fear that no one else will accept me as I am. Hell, the ex didn’t even do that. What I really fear is that no one else will tolerate me.

    There was a recent post on Captain Awkward about something similar. The common answer is that we all deserve love and someone who not only tolerates us but treasures us. Hmm. Think I’ll pop on down to the partner store and pick up that model, thank you very much. I know things don’t work that way, but it’s a dark, scary world when I fear that the only person I thought would tolerate me won’t even do that any more.

    What? How dare you suggest I have some self-esteem issues to resolve!

    • I wasn’t a lot of fun to be around either, but I have an excuse. I was depressed that he was fucking around. He didn’t love me the way I loved him. I started drinking, and apparently when I drink sometimes I say things the cut a person to the core. I am not as good at playing dupe when I have a buzz going.

      WWDSG, I think you have to give yourself a break. Your depression probably comes from not being able to make a bad situation better. I think we blame ourselves because we are searching for a way to fix things and we can’t control what they do or feel. I hate to admit it, but I miss him. I seriously doubt he misses me. I find that depressing.

      • @ Jen & WWDSG ~ I wasn’t a ton of fun myself… but neither was that selfish asshole. The difference is that WE, even in our state of depression or yuckiness…. would NEVER have cheated on THEM. If they had approached us about counseling… or getting help… would we have said “yes” instead of giving them the finger and running out and finding someone else to bang to make ourselves feel better. We wouldn’t have screamed back at them and blamed them for all that is wrong in the world.

        I miss mine too, and like you Jen… I doubt if he misses me either, or our beautiful heart broken son (IF he does he hides it very well). I try not to internalize it because it really isn’t about us, when I really think about WHAT that says about him….. that he either is NOT capable of or simply unwilling to have ANY remorse for the pain HIS fuckedupness has inflicted on our son is absolutely more than what I can stomach. I am ashamed for him.

        I can SEE the discomfort all over his face when our son cries “Daddy, I miss you, please come home. Why do you want to live at Grandma’s??” All that asshole can muster up is stupid shit like “ok, let’s try to be a big guy.” REALLY??? you stupid selfish motherf*cker… he is SEVEN…. he is supposed to cry about this… he is hurting. I told him not to say that stupid shit anymore, told him i don’t want him making our son ashamed of his pain or tears.

        • Yes, that is so unfair to your son. It’s one thing when they hurt us, but when they hurt the kids I really think they are monsters.

          He said to me once, “I guess it’s just easy for me to turn it on or off because I was hurt so much when I was younger.” I take this to be a reference to one of the first girlfriends he loved caught fucking a friend when he came home early from work. But none of that had anything to do with me, and I wouldn’t do that to the least favorite boyfriend I ever had.

          My son was saying, “but dad does x” to justify some unacceptable behavior. I told him flat out, “but dad isn’t a nice person. He does the best he can, but he just isnt. Have a heart, be better than that.” Of course my son is almost 20, but he also has high functioning autism. He knew exactly what I was talking about and seemed relieved that I wouldn’t accept less from him. They are relieved to have one parent who is responsible in heart matters.

          • I wasn’t fun to be around because it was as if I constantly had to think for two people plus parent three kids.
            I was alone even when we were together. I was sexually rejected both outright and often due to his inability to get it up. I was constantly questioned over my state of mind, due to my irritability and at times irrational behaviour. While being told to let him help me, to trust him, there is nothing we can’t face together, all while he was cheating with random partners. I did the counselling, repeatedly I have had so many variations of counsellor, that now I am learning to be one I know what is coming. But non of it changed what was happening between my Ex and I. I felt a constant failure to him and my children. 15 months post d’day and I am doing well, my kids are good, I am studying, my youngest has 11 months of oral chemo to go, I am divorced but having to take X to court to obtain property settlement, my life is in limbo as to where we will live, and the dysfunctional cheater has moved on to his next cover story. Am I depressed? probably a little fuck who wouldn’t be. Am I on meds? No! Why. Because although I have at times struggled with depression. Yes to the point of being hospitalised, I am not a victim. And was determined to build inner strength And I came to understand that the biggest problem I had was HIM. And with him gone went several of my health problems.
            Love to all.

            • Thankful,
              I hear you about building your inner strength, but I am considering meds. I am two months out of it, so I think that is time enough to process the initial grief. I can’t afford to go into a hospital and I don’t want to drink myself into a ditch. That would be really unfair to my son.

              I am not 16 with a ton of opportunities. Also, I’m not hugely interested in opportunities as I really did care for this man. My job is not incredibly satisfying, so it’s not enough of a distraction.

              I’ve taken Lexapro before and it really did help me. If I don’t feel better within a few weeks I will get a script.

              I know my mental health is not dependent on this man, but just try and convince my brain of that right now. I have been relying on this blog to get some of these feelings out because I don’t want to write drafts of emails I know are not in my interests to send. In the end, I will probably need to see my friendly nurse practitioner who is tweaked enough to do anything I ask. (Yes I know that’s horrible, but Lexapro isn’t the worst med you can take.)

              I guess it’s just a matter of being smart. Our stupid cheating exes are not the top of the gene pool. I don’t want to be angry or sad or superior. I just want my life back.

              • I fully understand what you are saying Jen when you say , ” I just want my life back”. I am about two weeks out of my final divorce settlement. I know the feelings you have are more about the “limbo” phase. I assure you that once you settle that issue it will be easier to slog through the emotions you are feeling about your dysfunctional ex. Once you know what you are actually going to have to work with in the future it gives you some solid footing. Then you find your every waking moment isn’t filled with thoughts of the cheater and you are better able to steer your life and thoughts to a better place. You DO in essence get your life back. You will feel so much better and I personally see my ex for the pathetic dope he actually has become. Following his sex organ. Makes me kind of pity the idiot actually. His life is crap, but no longer my problem. I say, good luck with that Schmoopie!

          • @ Jen ~ way to go Mom 😀 I have TRIED to tell X that his failure to instill “consequences” and “accountability” into his children (from previous marriages) is crippling to them. They grow up thinking it is okay to shit all over people and they will just keep doing for you… because…. well…. just because damn it (entitlement??? creating future narcs?) Kids NEED boundaries!!! Watching MIL’s attitude about the affair and the demise of our existence… it became VERY evident where he learned that bullshit…. and WHY he is the way he is… duh. of COURSE it had to be something wrong either “with” me or that I “did”.

            And Jen just because you feel angry about this does not meant you ARE angry, you should be pissed…. the sadness… same thing… it comes and goes. Three days after he left… in the midst of my medical dilemma…. he was fighting with me like crazy… I called my oncologist and asked for something for my anxiety, I swear I thought I was having a friggen heart attack. She prescribed a low dose Xanax, I never ended up taking it…. but I have it… I hate meds, always have and I try to avoid taking anything unless I absolutely have to. I am 6 months past DDay #2 and it’s 3+ months since he left and I STILL can’t sleep through ONE night, it’s better now… I used to wake up every single hour all night long. I still wake up 3 or 4 times every night and can’t sleep past 5:00am. Progress? I think so lol.

            @ Thankful ~ it sucks to be going through so much, so glad you understand that HE is the problem. Hope treatments are going well for your youngest, nothing worse than watching our kids struggle with health issues. I have the same dilemma with our future living arrangements. I have been a stay at home Mom… so no recent work history and I can’t rent my own place without some work history…. can’t afford to live where we live now once I am living on my own… so do I pack up my son and further destroy his existence…. new home… new friends….new school?

            F*cking assholes….they just shit all over everything and walk away leaving everything in shambles behind them and then expect someone else to clean up.

            • Jen do what will work for you to find that strength you need. You are two months out. For me at two months out I had nursing staff approach me in the corridor while my daughter was an inpatient demanding ( in a loving manner) that I eat something or they would make me. I barely slept, I didn’t eat was overdosed on coffee and walked around like a dear in the headlights. I would ask you to give yourself more time. There is no hard and fast rule to the greif process. If some had of said to me twelve months ago. You will be happy and positive and excited about what your future may hold I would have told them to fuck off. But it is the reality of my life now. Tonight I celebrated my 43 birthday and my divorce that became final a few days ago.
              Life goes on, I can either grab it with both hands and run with it or I can hide in my bed and cry. The choice is mine.

              • And Jen, Thankful just said it, choice!!! We now have a choice. We are NOT victims! We were victimized by some selfish people, but we can now walk away and we are free at last to choose to be our best! No one can take that from us. Unfortunately for our dysfunctional victimizers, they have to live with the mistakes they willingly chose. I believe that IS karma! Our lives are now filled with bright possibilities and theirs? Ummmm, not so much! Pity them, they are pretty sad characters!

              • Thankful and Roberta, I really appreciate the encouragement. I just turned 43 as well. I am so sorry you must go through this while your daughter is sick. I just don’t know what to say, but I have a son with autism so I know having a child with special needs is a unique kind of heartbreak.

                I do believe it will get better, but it sure as hell sucks right now. I hang onto the thought that his OW probably became less interesting after I withdrew from the triangle.

                And as I said that, I just felt like I was in high school. God help me, the next man I meet better be a grownup.

    • WhichWay, I agree that “we all deserve love and someone who not only tolerates us but treasures us”. But I think we deceive and limit ourselves when we think that only a romantic/sexual partner can provide that. I get LOTS of authentic love from my kids, certain members of my extended family, and most consistently from my friends and my cats. Yes I would love to find that ‘partner store’ where they have a whole shelf full of good people to choose from! But I refuse to believe I won’t be loved as I deserve to be loved (and as I love back, too!) until I have a new partner.

      I know that an unhappy relationship and personal difficulties can leave us without those loving relationships, but friendships and pets are something we can all cultivate, so that we get, as well as giving, the type of love we deserve!

  • Honestly, I see this sort of thinking as mostly foreign to chumps as we do not view the human being as a commodity in general but as a person. It is assumed that we stay irregardless of the game the cheater has. Our word means something to us. It’s not a cost-benefit analysis. Cheaters on the other hand likely do this analysis about chumps all the time. Kibble/ego supply anyone?

    • I agree, DM. I did not get married so someone for his/her status.

      Status is fleeting.
      Looks fade.
      Reputation these days is measured in news cycles.

      I got married because I thought I’d found a good character…when in fact I didn’t realize I was spackling over some red flags.

    • DM, you’re so right, this isn’t even on the radar for chumps! But my cheater wasn’t smart enough to do this analysis. Otherwise he would NEVER have cheated. He realized later that he’d made a very very poor exchange, both in life practicalities and kibble supply, but it was too damned late.

      He wouldn’t bother with this type of analysis because, hey, there weren’t ever going to be any CONSEQUENCES to his behaviour, were there? NEVER! That narc doesn’t do consequences, doesn’t do thinking about his choices, not the impacts they’ll have on him, and certainly even less the impacts it might have on people who loved him and counted on him, like his kids, his mom and me. He does what he does when he wants to do it, and everything will be SO FINE, because he’s ENTITLED!

  • ChumpLady, you must have superpowers because I woke up to an explanation to what has been keeping me up at nights and occupying my thoughts during the day.

    I’m sure you know my story by now CL. STBEX cheated all through our marriage, with a child born from one of the numerous affairs. I stayed on for so long because I saw his better qualities, he was a good dad to our son, he had a great job, was hard working, did not drink, was ‘nice’ to people, helped around the house… he had a lot of the qualities I would still want if I ever married again …the thing is he did not love me, he made it obvious he did not love me, he cheated continuously and despite forgiving him each time, he was not willing to do anything to regain trust. He was emotionally absent and abusive… He never lied about his feelings when he stopped loving me but he DID NOT want a divorce, he believed his “good qualities ” were enough ” most men cheat, who needs love” and he was truly insulted after I filed for divorce after 14 years and he is very bitter about it… The truth is he was only present physically…he was long gone years before I filed.

    THE THING IS…for some reason I cannot fathom, I’m starting to second guess and regret my decision to divorce,, if I’m honest maybe it’s because I’m starting to see that a lot of marriages I thought were happy are not, I’m beginning to realize a lot of men cheat. Many of those that do not cheat have loveless marriages, could be alcoholics, lazy unemployed, some marriages I thought were good were fa remorse than what I had. I began to think, should have I stayed?; Should I have ignored my belief that love,more spect and faithfulness were the bedrock of marriage because he had good qualities that are absent in so many other men?… I know what your answers to this are Tracy. What I do not understand is why I feel this way after the misery of a marriage I was in? Trust me I’m not longing for a relationship with any other man…it is not even on the list of my wants or needs…I’m just a chump who hates she’s longing for a man who she was never enough for and who treated her very badly all because I believe he has good qualities

    • I’ve also struggled with this. (I’m still with my husband and love him even though he fits the underachiever narc role pretty much spot on. That’s another story.) I’m 30 and when I look around at my peers and marriages in general I see a lot of entitled narc behavior. I start wondering, “what’s the point of any of it if you just end up being the source of someones discontent unless you pick one of the few who can be happy in a relationship long term?” If I divorce, Ive decided to take comfort in the fact that I lived my life according to my ideals/values. That’s all anyone can do. In marrying the man I loved when I was 20 and having children, I was being true to myself. I didn’t understand narcissism, my own FOO issues, or even the risk I was taking by marrying in the first place, but that’s alright. We get no guarantees in this life, none. We can only judge ourselves based on what we knew THEN and who we were. If I’m divorced, I will never remarry. I’ll get my PhD, raise my daughters, maybe date, but I won’t ever walk this particular path again. I think the key is coming to peace with the fact that you can’t force a particular outcome, even if you desperately want it. Find another definition for relationship success that doesn’t involve a long term life partner. Then, you’ll be happy whether you find the one or not.

    • 13YearChump, you need to remember the misery. I hear what you’re saying. If you look at things with a cool, analytical eye, you say to yourself that maybe you could have lived with it all. CL always asks, “Is it OK with you? What are your deal breakers? What’s acceptable to you?” But when my head was giving me conflicting answers, a very good therapist told me to listen to my body instead. How was my stress level, my physical health, my mental health. That’s how I knew I was done. I was stressed to the point of no longer being able to live the way I was living, or something was going to give. Your body doesn’t lie to you, but sometimes your head does.

    • I believe the second guessing and regret are totally normal. I felt the same way. I was very concerned with whether I had an objectively “good enough” reason to end the marriage, given that my XH had “good qualities”, as you write. I second guessed and questioned and dithered and dallied for a year until I moved out. And then I dithered and dallied for another four months before I finally filed for divorce.

      I think my hesitation was for two reasons, both of which are on me and that I had to (and continue to) work on. First, I was addicted to my XH. The up and down abuse cycle is proven to be emotionally addictive, and I was always looking for my fix from him. The makeups and reconciliations, getting his approval; I was all hooked on it because I was looking for external validation of my self worth. I had to go cold turkey, and rely on myself instead, and boy did I sweat. Second, and related to the first, is that at the time I left I did not value myself enough to stand up and say I don’t deserve this. To say that no matter what good qualities you might have, cheater X, they do not outweigh the abuse you inflicted. Think about how you’re feeling and see if any of it might be due to these types of things.

      It’s normal to remember your ex’s good qualities. He obviously had some, or you never would have been with him in the first place. But it sounds like you have made a rational, healthy decision that the pain and abuse he inflicts outweigh those good qualities, and that you need to move on to protect yourself. Trust that gut feeling, it’s right.

      • The deal with looking for an objectively legit reason to divorce an abusive , disordered type is that the abuse is , often, subtle ( but fairly relentless). Folks who have not been subjected to it , do not understand what it is like.
        That is why, for me, the cheating was a Godsend. It was a bright line deal breaker which outsiders understood.

        • Arnold, you are SO right on with this! My ex would carefully modulate his subtly abusive behaviour, backing off when I was getting to my breaking point, ramping up when I let my guard down …. The cheating truly was a godsend, the bright line, and my kids and I are so much happier in our day to day lives without him around. I think that’s damned sad, because it’s not what we wanted – what we wanted was for him to more consistently treat him well, as we treated him, so we could be happy WITH him. But I now see that this would never have happened, and am actually grateful for the affair, in a way.

    • 13year, I think we all deserve to be loved and cherished. That’s what you signed up for, right, when you got married? You wouldn’t have walked down the aisle thinking “I can’t wait to marry a person who doesn’t love me, doesn’t respect me, will cheat on me, and will treat me like a cook, babysitter and housekeeper, kinda like Alice on the “Brady Bunch.”

      What my old therapist would ask you is: Where else in your life have you longed for love and validation from an abuser?

      • “Kinda like Alice on The Brady Bunch.” LOL!

        Yep, that’s pretty much it, right there. Thanks for the great laugh! 🙂

  • Yes… agreeing with Scott here also; but being a bit objective here. “Great” things/inventions are intrinsically beneficial to society. A cheater may have an (uncommon) stretch of time where they actually concentrate of doing something good, and produce some grand innovation, art, et cetera. But at heart, they may be hoping to use this grand invention to bait persons into cycles of abuse, or kibble dispensing.

    I won’t discard a great thing/invention solely on basis that the cheater created it – I would weigh it on its merits. However, I can’t/won’t support a cheater financially, or otherwise.

  • Every so often a sentence makes me stop and I know I’ll remember it because it resonates with me. “Most of our cheaters are underachievers, never living up to their full potential”. Wow – This was pretty powerful for me, and the next line in my head immediately was “that’s why he never wanted me to live up to my full potential”…chipping away at my dignity so I always felt lesser than him. Yes – I gave him THAT much power.

    • Same here – he felt we were in competition. The thing is… I had no idea. Apparently, I was always “winning.” He resented that; all the while, I thought we were on the same team. Winning for US, not me. That should have been glaringly obvious, as my apparent “winning” benefited HIM. HE wanted to win… he just didn’t comprehend that you have to DO something, to accomplish that. heh.

      • I’m with you guys. He resented that I could make money doing something I loved.

        I can’t say he was an underachiever. He had a decent job with many cushy perks but was miserable. You’d think he was out digging ditches in the cold. This was a job he really wanted in the beginning and I have to admit that he worked hard to get it. But like everything else in his life, including me, he soured on it after awhile.

      • Insist – that reminds me of my own ‘unknown competition.’ My stbx has been playing pool for 20+ years. I’ve always supported him and attended many of his league nights and tournaments. In 2007 I decided to start playing. I got good – very good. In the 4 years I played, I was top shooter on my team twice, was top woman shooter in my league and won 3 tournaments in one year – including the end-of-year tourney, which was state. My stbx HAS NEVER done that well. It was about 2012 when we started having problems and when I think the cheating started. I think he was JEALOUS! Here he’s been playing FOREVER and I come along and kick ass in no time. I look back and wonder why he never watched my matches……in fact, when I won state – I CALLED him to meet me for a drink to celebrate. Although for all those years I was there for him til the end, always cheering him on and supporting him. I have since put down my stick, but plan to play again once I get the hell outta here! How stupid, huh?

        • Just a side note – I went out with a friend last weekend. I played 2 games of pool (with guys). I ran the first table, then just beat the next guy with his 5 balls still sitting on the next table. After that, I had no takers. Just an FYI – guys hate to be beat by girls….regardless of what game you are playing.

    • Yes. In hindsight, I can’t help but see the little moments that I think helped push him over the edge of deciding to leave me for Schmoopie. I used to compare our marriage to the analogy of pushing a giant rock up a hill — I thought we were pushing together, but it seemed like every time I stopped pushing, the rock never moved. IOW, I was doing all the heavy lifting. Well, about a year before Dday, I cut way back on that. I kept the house running, bills paid, etc., but the “extra” stuff (especially as directly & exclusively benefited him), I cut WAY back on. In particular, I remember a 2-day layover in Iceland where I just kinda wanted to see what it was like (FYI, it’s super cool), but he evidently had some grand designs of finding some hidden hot springs to soak in, or a waterfall no one else knew about (common kibbles shared by many are not as tasty), but did he do any research about that? No. So on Day 2 of our stop there, he was very angry, sullen, depressed, and he confessed this was why, that he’d wanted to do something else, but of course he hadn’t set it up, so we just wandered around the town, went for a scenic drive, … *I* had a GREAT time!

      The point is, he sucked at the follow-through. I guess I should consider that whenever it pains me how little he was willing to work to resist Schmoopie and talk to me and work on our marriage, instead of scooting out the back door. That guy never worked on anything.

      • THIS ^^^ “The point is, he sucked at the follow-through. I guess I should consider that whenever it pains me how little he was willing to work to resist Schmoopie and talk to me and work on our marriage, instead of scooting out the back door. That guy never worked on anything.”

        THAT right there is EXACTLY what infuriated me!! Not only unwilling to “work” to fix us he wouldn’t even soften the blow with one ounce of true communication, asshole wasn’t even sorry. And KNOWING how HARD he was working at winning her over.. the HOURS texting and talking on the phone and dropping everything to go meet up with her when he wouldn’t take ONE day off to spend with his kids. HER…. the CHEATING… THAT was the only thing he was willing to put effort into? Really?

        Mine just wanted me to pretend like Mommy did, that nothing he had done was wrong. I was supposed to let him lie and cheat and just eat the shit sandwich and be nice. I offered him everything…. immunity…. offered to stick by him and trudge through the entire mountain of SHIT if he would just come clean and lay it all out on the table…. stop lying and hiding. He either wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. I stood my ground. I didn’t do it gracefully…. but I did it.

        He isn’t a bad guy, he is just so ungodly selfish, he has always come first… always. It has always been about him…. I just got tired of standing on the sidelines clapping and cheering him on for being a selfish asshole. That’s his Mother’s job, she’s good at it.

        • Wow! I could have written that! Mine did the same thing. Just extraordinary effort to please his Schmoopie and crickets for me! Absolutely ZERO effort!

        • It seems they see us as an adversary. I think they are working narcissistic mommy issues out on us. That is infuriating because I hate his mother! Augghh!

    • XH and I work in the same smallish professional community. When we first got together, and for the first half of the relationship/marriage, he was we much more prominent and experienced in the field than I was. At some point during the marriage, those roles reversed. I started getting a lot of attention for my work, and his public status slipped dramatically when he left a high profile job to start his own (not very successful) business.

      When I confronted him on D-day, one of the major ways he blame-shifted was to say that he felt “emasculated” by my success; his actual word. That he was jealous that I was getting so much attention, and he was in a dead end gig, and he blamed me for making him feel bad about himself and his career. He felt that my success was making him look bad publicly. That was one of the most F-ed up things I have ever heard.

      I told him that when he was the more successful one, I of course aspired to be as accomplished as he was, but that I never wanted to take what he had away from him. I was proud of his success and what he had achieved; and then I worked hard to get my own achievements too. I never wished he wasn’t successful because it might make me look bad. It was so messed up that he wanted to take away what I had, and that he felt like a lesser person because his partner was successful.

      That was one of the biggest things that prompted me to leave, because that kind of thinking is truly disordered.

      • Same here. We are in similar academic fields but I made more money than him in a private university. I tried to get him a job at my university because he is brilliant and I was proud of him, but every time he messed up the interviews and said that he didn´t want to work where all the snob rich kids studied (FYI. there are many brilliant not wealthy students on scholarships who prefer my university to his).

        He wanted to continue being a martyr for his badly paying underfunded university (and so I probably couldn´t run into him and his OWs). Now he accuses me of making more money than him so that he doesn´t have to pay as much for childcare, etc. I think he was always jealous of me and competed with me, but I never realized it because I didn´t have the same attitude. I always thought our individual succeses contributed to the couple and the family. Many people who know us thought we were an awesome couple in that way.

        Interestingly his three OWs are grad students or lecturers who make half as much money as he does (so like 1/4 of what I make). Karma thing is that even though he can continue to show off his brilliance and importance to them, he has no money left to do anything with them that we used to do (“academic tourism”, etc) !

        “S/he who laughs last, laughs best” as the saying goes..

      • So sorry DF, yours is a very sad post. Real love is being THRILLED that your spouse is doing well, or wins an award, or gets promoted, or is admired by others. Real love bursts with pride when your spouse is successful. Being threatened by or in competition with your partner isn’t love… a sad commentary, but also a useful one as it’s a good red flag to watch out for when dating again. If someone doesn’t want the best for you because their own ego is to fragile to handle it, it’s time to kick them to the curb!

    • The cheater I married also was full of potential when we met. However, I think he was find with me earning the money. He was ok with me working as hard as I was able/wanted with no complaints. But I wanted so badly to stay at home with our son. It was never going to happen. Looking back now, I see how hard I worked and maybe he tried to keep up and just got to the point where it was just too much work. And now, 7 months separated, he is still looking to me to run his life; to handle the hard things like child support and division of assets, the separation agreement. Ridiculous. Everything I am doing right now in that regard is to save myself and my son from financial devastation. I am not helping him in any way.

      • conniered – I hear you!! Mine is also sitting back waiting for me to handle the division of assets per our separation agreement. Truth is, I am doing what I can do simply to be off of anything joint with him as soon as possible. But he makes it difficult. We had a car that is debt free and my name needed to come off the title. So I asked him to meet me at DMV to take care of it. Even though this is an asset going into his name only, he argued with me via email about why we had to do this and then just stopped responding to my emails. About 2 weeks later, he emailed me with a date that he could meet me there. I can only think that it falls back to an entitlement thing – as long as I was asking, he didn’t want to do it. But if he thought he was driving it, it was fine. I’m sucking it up and doing what I have to to get all this done. I keep reminding myself that my goal is to get him out of my life. Once the last piece of paperwork is done, I’m going to celebrate – not sure how, but I will.

    • That was my 1st XH!!! OMG. Chronic underachiever. Still is, and is on OWife #3. I’ve lost track of how many APs there were. Partly that’s due to meh but mostly it’s due to that I can’t count that high 😀

  • My cheater had no special gifts. He wasn’t a pillar of the community, or a leader, or even an involved friend in an active social circle. He was largely absent as a spouse and father. Since he’s been gone, my life hasn’t been all that different in terms of the day-to-day responsibilities of work, kids, and home. I wish I had a good reason for paying that price of admission for so long.

    • I was just thinking that, SE: how non-different my day-to-day is. I always figured life is full of compromises. So XH wasn’t this or that, but no one is perfect and overall it still seemed like a “good trade.” OW tipped the scales, and in hindsight it’s for the best.

      • Yes! THIS! My life is not much different day to day, but the exception is I don’t have to worry about Mr. Cheater pants “needs and wants” and it makes life so much easier. NWBiblio, I can definitely see that we may have been married to the same guy when I read your description of your trip. My ex was exactly the same way. He expected me to be the “cruise director” and if he was bored or unhappy then I paid Hell! Isn’t it astounding how these cheaters share so many of the same characteristics and behaviors. I’m pretty sure I’ll be just fine and happier staying single! I do want to mention our last trip when we went to Disney World with our daughter, her husband and our two grandchildren. He seemed distant, but relatively satisfied. I found out later that his Schmoopie stalked us to Disney and the one day that he begged off going to the park I am sure they were together! Now isn’t that special???

        • Roberta……now theres a trigger for me (yours not going one day to disney to be w/his whore).
          Every trip we went on for 10 years, he ALWAYS did the hotel’s massage thing and was gone for what I’d call noteworthy. But in the 2nd to last trip we did, Hawaii, (it was miserable because he helped to make it that way for me during his stripper lust days; I didn’t know of any cheating yet) his massage thing lasted like close to 4 hours!! REALLY? While dummy me stayed in room waiting on his highness! Well of course that was when he was cheating and I’m sure he was on the phone with her and all their ‘i love you’ ‘i miss you’ that they both texted all the time! BTW, this stripper that he had to have moved in with him and withing 3 months was out of his house because he put an order of restraint on her!! KARMA!!!
          He now has his sights set on a 22yr old; probably another stripper or streetwalker. That seems to be his drug of choice. He’s 54 and a fucker!

          • IHaveHate, yep! Every trip we made I was actually sharing him with his HO, but I didn’t realize it till after the affair was revealed! Suffice it to say that I spent hours alone and he was off somewhere usually texting or calling this HO! I have many, many triggers! It has ruined so many memories for me! I hate him for that!

            • “the man has to pay for sex and still thinks he’s all that and a bag of chips? Pathetic…..”

              This.Is.My.Stbx.Exactly. He pays for the underage, or underage Asian “strange” and he thinks he’s hot. He thinks they really want him & that people look at him & think wow he has a great body for 46. What a loser! And when I caught him he was parked directly in front of one of these places with his big ass Mercedes with personalized plates.He truly feels no shame though ‘cuz dontcha know he feels entitled to it and I’m not the boss of him. What a sad legacy to leave for our small son

              Yes, these men are out there in masses. 40+ year old men paying for some random “strange.” Why do you think there are so many massage parlors, Craigslist ads, etc. around? Because there is such a high demand for it and these women are making tons of money off these losers.

              As one of my male friends put it “Guys don’t care how many men were “there” before them, they are just happy they are “there”

              Ewwww…..I’m going to go take a bleach shower now

              • Add to the list Tanning Salons. I have a friend who knows a man (married) who goes to one of these tanning places to get blown. Ewwwwww, gross !!!!

            • Tempest……..on your comment of being pathetic bc he has to pay for sex. Positively he is pathetic. BUT he doesn’t have to pay for sex, it’s just his preference. He’s a sicko!!!

        • Things are no different with me as well because while we were married he lived single/married and left me married/single.
          We began dating in HS. He went to work with his dad in a self employed business and I went to college. I finished college and he moved in with me when I got a job and were married about six years later. The thing is I never thought that he was below me. I loved him at the time and took my vows seriously.
          I know now that he was NEVER committed but until child mediation when he reared back in his chair with a smirk declaring out of the blue that I was” college educated” that I was caught off guard with what seemed like resentment. I was thinking this man is crazy and WTF does this have to do with what the mediator is talking about?
          Im still trying to untangle that remark. Did he mean to convey that I made more than him so he would not have to pay support? If that was the case it would not matter because it was simply about visitation. Crazy shit!

  • No pause here to divorcing lying, cheating, obfuscating, sordid scumbag Bill Clinton. Read Christopher Hitchens’s book “No One Left To Lie To: The Triangulations of William Jefferson Clinton” for an excellent analysis of a character flawed individual. He and opportunistic Hilary deserve each other. Hilary spackles widely – his infidelity was “a vast right wing conspiracy”. And the semen stain on Monica Lewinsky’s dress was planted there by the CIA. Right. A despicable couple.

    • Bill and Hillary Clinton are a rare breed. These two deceitful, narcissists represent an extremely rare arrangement between two pure users who work in synergy when need be to gaslight and abuse anyone who stands in their way to getting what they want! Just look at how she broke the rules on this email thing and how she sat in a hearing blowing off the deaths of the folks at the embassy! Of course it wasn’t really her fault don’t you know!!!! Why are they picking on me????? Remember Bill obsfugating with his smart ass question when being questioned about Monica Lewinsky? “Define it.” The attitude is, How dare we question them? True narcissism on action!!!

      • Unless you have been inside a marriage, you have absolutely no idea what goes on within it. Don’t like the Clintons, that’s your business. But, from my perspective, their marriage is off limits. Just as we don’t not like people making assumptions about us and what happened in our marriages, it is equally unfair to judge a person based on whether or not that person stayed married. Speaking from personal experience as a”public” figure who had this type of situation play out in my own life, I can promise you that you have not a single clue about what Hilary may or may not have felt and why she decided to remain married. You have absolutely no basis to know how she felt. To this day it pisses me off when I hear people pontificate about what they would have done in my situation; easy to judge it, hard to live it.

        • I am with you on this Violet… Public couples have a very different kind of arrangement. If you don’t know what goes on in anyones marriage, then you are doubly blind to what goes on in the marriage of public couples. Bill and Hillary, FDR and Elinor, Warren Harding and his mistress, Newt Gingrich… the list goes on and on… A long time ago, when Harry Reid was first elected to the Senate, Pat, wife of then Senator Dennis DeConcini asked her how she intended to be the wife of a senator. She responded by saying that she intended to be an island of sanity for her husband. Wise Pat, said, this is a cesspool, don’t let him out of your sight. Look at what happened her her husband. I am with you Violet, don’t judge public political couples until you have lived it.

          • Not judging the marriages, but, I don’t know why anyone would need to hold Bill Clinton to a softer standard in Cheaterville than any of the rest. Politicians such as Clinton (on both sides of the aisle), I figure, have a dishonest streak that likely runs into ALL areas of their lives, beside cheating on their wives/SO’s.

            • The comments were about the Clintons-plural. I find Hilary bashing, based upon her decision to stay married, confusing. If we don’t want to be judged for leaving, why should we feel that it is okay to castigate her because she stayed? One’s view of her is usually based upon one’s poltical views and not on any intimate knowledge of the woman or her life,

              • A long time ago, when I worked with a state gov… I became thoroughly jaded. I was expecting the people in politics to have a much higher standard, wanting the very best for the people they serve… what I found, politics is about sex, money and power, in any combination there of. It doesnt’ matter what side of the isle… in fact a friend of mine used to head up the secretarial pool for the legislators… her first instructions were… these guys are going to come after you with their pants down. If you lower your knickers, you get fired and they go on to be governor. Alas.

            • Just one more comment about the Clintons’ marriage. This may or may not be true, but, I do remember a few political people at the time, saying or implying that Bill and Hillary had some kind of “arrangement”. She knew what type of person he was with respect to women, and she was willing to turn her cheek – as long as he didn’t make a fool out of himself (and everyone else connected to him). Well we know what happened there and she stuck it out for whatever reason.

              With respect to Hillary and infidelity, IF, and I do mean *IF* she KNEW he was unable to keep it in his pants, *AND* had the said arrangement, then I don’t consider this cheating. She gave her OK to his behavior.

              • And I agreed to be a friend with benefits. Five nights a week. The other two he did… what he did. It is humiliating and none of it is Hillary’s fault. Nor is it Monica’s who in my opinion got the worst end of the deal. I do think someone should crucify Linda Tripp. I live on the edge of DC, so the thought of her playing a naive Monica at Pentagon City makes me want to vomit.

        • Violet: After Bill’s infidelities leaked out, pretty sure that Hillary felt all the horrible feelings that the rest of us chumps felt – gutted, bewildered, appalled, marginalized, devastated. The list could go on. She is only human – being a public figure does not diminish her humanity. I find the concept of a “public marriage” an interesting one. Strictly speaking, a marriage is a legal contract between two people, who ostensibly should love each other. If couples in “‘public marriages” are sticking together, despite publicly known infidelity, only to placate or save face with their audience, then they have misunderstood the meaning of marriage.

          • But it is their marriage, not ours, and they have the right to define it as they see fit. Frankly, my point applies to all marriages. No one knows what goes on inside a marriage except the people in it. You have no idea why Hilary made the choice she did, nor does anyone else. I know of lots af marriages that look great on the outside, but that are rotten to the core. Optics-or public judgement- I could care less about I am comfortable judging the circumstances and choices I made in MY marriage; I am not comfortable bashing someone who made choices about HER marriage.

          • I agree, tflan, they are misrepresenting marriage. Here at CL we spend a lot of time decrying the media depictions of cheating as normal or as something us chumps should just “get over.” I (now) believe that Bill and Hillary Clinton’s relationship have a lot to do with the normalization of cheating over the past few decades. A lot of very influential people (including his wife) have been defending or dismissing Bill Clinton’s behavior for years. At the time, I myself thought his behavior was a “private” matter and something that was between he and Hillary — now I feel completely different. Here at CL we believe infidelity is abuse, right? Would we support a physical abuser for president — or would we just separate the person’s “personal” life from their “public” life? And how would we feel about electing someone who stayed in a marriage with an abuser in order to further their own career? We may have sympathy for that person (I would) but want to elect that person to higher office? – no way! I agree that a “public” marriage (much like a royal marriage) can be different than a “private” one but, but does the general public undestand that? I just could never, ever knowingly vote for a cheater again.

            • Absolutely Lizzie – If Bill had ever whacked Hillary and left a few bruises, he would have been kicked out of office so fast his head would spin. But somehow, it’s OK to publicly humiliate her over and over again. Didn’t the phrase “bimbo alert” originate from his handlers, who apparently procured women for him? Imagine the web of deceit he wove by co-opting his employees to participate in his adultery. Scary.

          • I don’t think they only have “public” marriage–to this day, Bill Clinton says Hillary is one of the most fascinating people he knows, and that he loves to come home & talk to her. Marriages are like covered pots–no one knows what is inside one.

            I personally would not have chosen her “stand by your man” position in the face of public humiliation, but don’t feel compelled to judge her.

            • l find some of the posts about the Clinton’s marriage to be unsettling. Chumplady’s blog coins infidelity as an abusive act. That it’s best to get out of an adulterous marriage, sooner rather than later, because past behaviour determines future behaviour. That divorce is nothing to be ashamed of and that new beginnings, although difficult, are the path to a happier and more fulfilling future. And that sometimes being judgemental is the way to go.

              So, let’s take a look at the Clinton marriage again. Bill abuses Hillary by being a serial philanderer. Hillary hangs around and takes it. “We don’t know what’s going on in the marriage”. Actually, we do know very much what was going on in the marriage – infidelity. Do I believe Bill has mended his wandering ways? No way. He’s just gone underground. Past behaviour determines future behaviour. Many chumps have a hard time leaving their cheaters because of financial pressures. Hillary is a full fledged lawyer – could easily get a job at any high end legal firm. Today, Bill says “Hillary is one of the most fascinating people he knows and loves to come home to talk to her” – a statement which was not demonstrated by his past behaviour. In fact, Bill did not come home many a night to spend time with his fascinating wife. Bill lies – why should we believe him now?

              Why are these people getting a pass? Because they’re celebrities?

              I am done with my rant now!

              • Its really just a quarter of a step away from being full blown Switzerland on the situation.
                Fuck it. If people are public figures and are cheaters they deserve just as much derision as someone who’s un-famous. And yes, I will judge them accordingly. I don’t give a toss if someone is world-famous – in fact if you are, you should be setting an example of decent behaviour for others.
                This ‘normalisation’ of cheating being socially acceptable is furthered by people who pussyfoot around the issue.

              • Okay, Tflan, you make excellent points! But it is Bill getting the pass, not Hillary. We really don’t want to pile on the victim, right . Would I recommend she leave? yes. Would I have recommended she leave when the Monica Lewinsky story first broke? Yes, I was appalled. But the ignominy has to be heaped on him, not her. She may have made a foolish judgment to stay, but we don’t know her reasons were political, and she is not the one who violated her marriage vows.

              • This has nothing to do with giving anyone a “pass”, but their marriage on their terms is their right. And frankly, if I had to vote for cheating Bill Clinton over faithful Mitt Romney, I would without hesitation. Why? Because there are more important issues upon which for me to base my vote. If that is viewed as giving someone a pass, so be it. But just because I feel that the Clinton’s marriage is none of my business does not mean that I somehow condone bad behavior or abuse.

              • I agree tflan. There seems to be some kind of pass for Bill Clinton on this blog and I find it unsettling too. He is not a man of strong character and he does not deserve admiration. He sucks just as much as the rest of the cheater clan.

    • Really liked Hitchens. Clintons make me want to take a shower.( more than my usual every other week).

      • Of course Hitchens himself is a bloviating self-contradicting gasbag lying piece of self-aggrandizing shit. (but how do I really feel?) Yuck. Dunno about you, but economically I did better under Bill-dog than any Prezzie since.

        Oh, and the email thing? it wasn’t a State Dept regulation UNTIL John Kerry, so he’s the FIRST Secretary of State to have a .gov address.

        Don’t believe everything you see on Faux news. Or anything, really.

        On the other hand, would I have either married or stayed married to Bill Clinton? Oh hells no! But wow is he smart, and, apparently charming too. Narkle sparkles galore. But as Violet says, the inside of other people’s marriages is their own.

        So let’s not confuse politics with marriage, eh? I mean, if we want to look at personal character failures, howzabout that Bush family fortune founded on Nazi collaborationist money? (Or Barbara Bush not wanting to “bother her beautiful mind” about the dead soldiers from her husband’s war in Iraq.) Way to go, team!

        Finally, I’m very protective of Hillary–she’s a Sister (class of ’69). We stick together, pretty much regardless. And she’s incredibly competent. Smart, funny. Stands up for women’s rights, worldwide. I love that. Go girl.

        • This isn’t the forum for getting into a debate on the merits of Christopher Hitchens, but I did want to point out that he *isn’t* any of the things you call him. What he is, is dead.

          • Good point, thank you Arnold. Nil Nisi Bonum and all that.

            Marezy! Secret handshake! “Wellesley Wellesley, only to be there,” eh? Ironically, I met crapweasel while I was working there…. oh, my. Well, maybe that’s why my kid went to Smith (I was still very happy & proud.) I was CE/DS, but ’86. If you want to share, go ahead.

        • I do not think Clinton is all that smart. I estimated at around 140, which would be on the low side relative to most of us on this site.

    • I have been thinking a lot about Bill and Hillary Clinton lately with Hillary’s impending presidential run. I hate the thought of her in office, not necessarily because I don’t agree with her politics but because I think she represents something that I can no longer tolerate. Yeah, she probably thinks of herself as a modern-day Eleanor Roosevelt but this isn’t the 1940’s. No champion of women, equality, and fairness should put up with as much as she has from her husband. Especially if you believe that infidelity is abuse! The fact that her marriage is still intact, I think, sends such a damaging message – one that we see in so many of those disgusting HuffPo articles implying that “everyone does it” and to “get over it.” I now believe she is a terrible role model and would hate to see her become the first female president. We can do better!

      • So tired of the Clintons – and I am not even American! Hillary stood by her man because she felt that without Bill’s political cache, she would not rise in the political ranks. Sad, that she would think that way and not trust her own excellent credentials and connections. On the other hand, perhaps she knows narcissist Bill all too well, and was anticipating a smear campaign if she ever dared to divorce him. Then she’d be without a sparkly husband and without the high profile job. Hillary’s political ambitions got the best of her – she’s made a deal with the devil and she’s OK with it.

        • I cannot see her worried about a smear campaign, considering the source would be Bill.
          Who is dumb enough to smoke dope and not inhale ( or dumb enough to expect folks to believe that crap)?

        • Whatever Hillary’s reasons were, she was not the one getting blown by a subordinate. I just don’t think we should hold what her husband did against her.

          • I feel bad for her, just like any betrayed. Puzzling, though, how she stayed with him. Her choice, though.

            • Not puzzling at all. He was the POTUS. As smart as she is, she is a woman. We have some obstacles to jump over. She is smarter than Bill and he knows this. He backs her. I think this is an example of loyalty trumping sex. We should be happy, we are complaining about sex trumping loyalty.

    • Hitchens did a year as a guest faculty member at my U when I was in grad school. He was a piece of work, but brilliant.

  • From my perspective, this is where the “sunk costs” entered in for me. If you were with a partner who might achieve great things, you probably made a lot of sacrifices to help get them there. Especially if they were full of potential but a total mess in trying to realize it. You sacrifice a lot to keep them going. Not just your career, but a ton of your time and energy and personal life as well just keeping them marginally socially acceptable. And they’re usually attention whores-they want you with them 24/7. Then by the time they’ve achieved some success, people accept some of their “eccentricity” and they don’t want you for that role anymore. They want to be admired and adored by new people who have no idea what they were like 20 years ago.

    • BANG ON, DoneNow.

      Many times, over the course of our 12 years together, I set aside my wants for the needs of my spouse… to me, that is a Great Symbol of Love. Selflessness and Generosity. I didn’t choose to be a stay-at-Home Mom to be “lazy.” I saw it as showing him that I trusted him to provide. I had always made more money. I loved working. I took my new job as a SAHM/Housekeeper very seriously. I constantly took on paid work, while at home, to keep up his confidence. I downplayed my part to up-play his – to shore up his self-worth enough to have as a base for doing the Great Things he was then easily capable of, he blamed his insecurity and need to find other sources of esteem-building – false kinds – from other women, on me. Because after over a decade of that, with me getting no appreciation in return (he resented me for being so much aka “winning” the competition I didn’t know we were in), I had nothing left to give. Quite truly, I was spent entirely.

  • Amen to this Donenow! I decided to forgo furthering my education while my husband earned his PhD! Telling me that I would NEVER have anything to worry about because with his education he would be sure to take care of me, I didn’t need to get a degree, just take care of him and he would see that we lived a wonderful life! Yeah, right! He was totally out the door with his PhD in his hands headed to Schmoopie! I sacrificed tons in almost 41 years of marriage then the asshole gave me shit about spousal support knowing he left me and then I was diagnosed with lung cancer! His whore got lifetime support from her chump, but she wrote on one offer I made where support was requested, “Roberta can work” and suggested only 2 years of support!! This from a HO who does not work and gets lifetime support and is 8 years younger than I am!!! Wow, just wow!!!

    • Roberta, after 41 years, he should be living in a box under a bridge. I’m sorry about your cancer diagnosis, and I hope you’re doing well.

      • DoneNow, he will be living in a box under a bridge if his well heeled Schmoopie dumps him. She pays for nearly everything for him and I cleaned his clock in the divorce

    • Ohhhh Roberta!!!! This has my blood boiling! They BOTH deserve a nice place in an inferno and quick! I have a hard time being patient waiting for karma!!

      • Thank you, Tempest, IHH and DoneNow. IHH, don’t worry about that Karma bus. I have a feeling it’s been circling his block and hers, but not to pick them up, but to run them over. It has only been a bit over a week since we settled and I know for a fact that things aren’t the wonderful fantasy they thought it would be! Oh well, it’s hard to feel bad about that so I guess I won’t!!!

        • I think Schmoopies spackle the divorce/support/property distribution situation a good bit, in their grandiose, entitled worldview that they know everything. Then the judge hands them a plate full of reality. Yeah, she arrived at her conclusion that “Roberta can work,” but for support in a situation like yours, that has little to do with the judge’s decision, especially if the judge isn’t an idiot.

          • Not to mention the dumb skank has no business being in your divorce settlement anyway – thats an issue between you and your POS ex-husband. The entitlement of this whore is mind-boggling.

            • Agree, I told my now ex husband that I didn’t get to decide her divorce settlement, so she should stay the hell out of mine! But my ex asshole actually would cc her on his emails to his attorney! Guess that’s cause she was paying for his divorce and attorney! She is a piece of work! In the end all her manipulating meant zippo! I got a very generous settlement! Now she is all up in the process of amending our taxes! She’s a peach! But the kicker is he always owes the IRS and she will no doubt pay his taxes too! I have decided that my husband is just an expensive “pet” that I can no longer afford! Let him blow through her money, I don’t care cause I have all of his!!!! Bwhahahahaha!

              • Good for you Roberta!!! I can just see them driving along the road and hitting a pedestrian and flooring the gas pedal. There has to be a stronger word for entitlement. Its never to late to take classes!

  • Mine did OK when he was self-employed and I was helping him run that business. But then after we sold the business he was too good for any other employer. He was fired from 8 jobs in 10 years before he went back to self-employed. I was really sticking to those marriage vows, but the numerous affairs made it difficult. He wanted me to eat those shit sandwiches for his own little smug self to watch and he sadistically enjoyed my pain. I read a quote about narcissists that aptly explained something I didn’t understand before: You are “forbidden to flourish.” Mine left when he realized I out-shone him…without trying to.

    • “Forbidden to flourish” with a narcissist? Well, that explain why Jackass kicked me to the curb when he did.

    • Absolutely forbidden to flourish! It took me SO long to figure this one out! When the ex and I met, I was somewhat more established in my fledgling career than he was, so it seemed to make sense to me that I would do some bending over backward to help him get ahead, too. Then I stayed home for a bit with the babies, so supporting his career felt like entirely the right thing to do. Then my career was more stable than his, so … Then it became clear that ambitious getting ahead and making $ was more important to him than to me, so ….

      So I kept bending over backwards, working more hours to contribute more to supporting us, doing WAY more childcare and household responsibilities so that he could work overtime, doing way more so that he could take extra certification programs and then an MBA ….

      And that whole time, he treated my work as if it were stupid and useless. I am no star, but I have two good jobs, in which my work is respected and appreciated, and where I actually help people. But he despised the kind of work I did, and how I did it, and didn’t hide that from anybody. And he did NOTHING to support my career or make my work life easier. He couldn’t even fucking be bothered to get home on time the evenings I worked, to be with the kids, so I could get to work on time (which in the type of work I do, is extremely important, time is not flexible). There was a huge ‘you are not the boss of me’ flavour to that, although I didn’t realize it until recently. This went on for years, no matter how much I explained, cried, or eventually yelled about it. If I had had a brain, instead of just a heart, in those years, I should have just quit the evening work, and if we lost the house because of the loss of income, it could have been on him.

      The weirdest part for me, after all those years of treating him as if his work were so much more important than mine, was the realization, just recently while looking at old tax returns, that aside from when I was home with the kids, I ALWAYS made more money than him each year. The first year he made more than me was the year I kicked him out (which is a good thing, as that justifies his paying more child support ….).

      One more fucked up thing that was fucked up in that fucked up relationship!! Grrrrrrrrr……

      • Yes that was exactly it, Karen. I too found myself doing more and more of the work. So while his world became bigger and bigger, mine became small. He had quite the great life while I supported him and raised our children. Even going to work afforded him freedom. He went away on vacations for work, for play, while I stayed home to “save us money.” Compartmentalization, to be sure. Another sign, He didn’t want me in his life anyway, right? In the time I have been away from that disordered fuck I have found more time to focus on what I want and nobody is telling me what I should or can’t do. I too have begun to live. I still feel responsible for taking care of the people he walked away from but I now have the freedom to be who I want to be.

  • He was definitely a very complicated man beat into who he became. If you are talking about, “Born into this”, there is a lot more to the story. His best poems were edited out and will be put into another film.

    His wife married him knowing all his insanity. He did not hide it from her. She saw him go through all his girlfriends and then married him anyway when he was done messing around. He was faithful to her, but his depth of depression and maniacal highs, I’m sure, were harder to bear than she thought in a marriage.

    Stayed with him to the end…maybe at a great price to her. I met her once. Very beautiful, petite woman. I had a part in the development of the documentary.

    I, too, am drawn to these men. From deep pain comes music, poems, and art. From utter joy comes the same. I am choosing tenderness in my life, now.

    The same man who bullied his wife wrote this:

    your life is your life
    don’t let it be clubbed into dank submission.
    be on the watch.
    there are ways out.
    there is a light somewhere.
    it may not be much light but
    it beats the darkness.
    be on the watch.
    the gods will offer you chances.
    know them.
    take them.
    you can’t beat death but
    you can beat death in life, sometimes.
    and the more often you learn to do it,
    the more light there will be.
    your life is your life.
    know it while you have it.
    you are marvelous
    the gods wait to delight
    in you.

    • Well Calamity, if he was “complicated” I know I will be sure to pass on that type of man in the future! I watched that video and I was appalled by his behavior! That being said, my ex seemed to be a “simple” man. Unfortunately, I now realize he is just a simpleton! I think I’ll just get a dog or a cat to keep me company, thanks!

      • Smart move, Roberta…you’d be appalled at some of his books, too.

        He was all over the place. He spoke and wrote honestly from his perspective as an alcoholic and a working class man.

        He was also a very, “Dirty, Old Man”.

        I think “complicated” is actually too light a term for him.

    • CJ, thanks for that. I’ve always been conflicted about my love for Bukowski’s writing. I think his books featuring Henry Chinaski are so witty, profound, and sometimes gutbustingly funny. As a woman I felt like I “shouldn’t” like someone like him so I kept my love of his writing to myself. These days, however, I don’t care so much what other people think and accept that he probably was an asshole and extremely hard to live with and he was a brilliant writer and poet.Could he still have been a great writer and NOT be an abusive alcoholic? I doubt it.

      • Albert Einstein was an abusive cheater too. And you know what, all of his most famous works were made when he was married to his long suffering physisist wife. Nothing really substantial came out of him after they divorced. I have always wondered…. hmmm

        • I’ve also wondered about this… She actually graduated at the top of her class with a degree in physics while he graduated at the bottom of the same class. Then there are many original writings containing his work on the theory of relativity in HER handwriting…

          Considering how horribly he treated her and their children, I kind of hope for her sake that he didn’t pass her work off as his own. She ended up dying penniless and alone while he obviously became quite famous. Not that his horrible behavior would be any better if she hadn’t heavily contributed to his work, but you just have to wonder what would have been going through her head at the end. If she reached “meh” on that level of betrayal, she’s a saint.

    • I love Bukowski’s work, always have and always will. His poetry got my through some vey tough times and that’s why I liked him-because he embraced the shittiness of life, revealed in it, in fact. He recognized that all of us humans have feet of clay, himself included. My absolute favorite line of his is, “If you want to know who your friends are, get yourself a jail sentence.” Adversity tests us, as it did him.

      Is Bukowski my “hero”? Not in the sense that I believed he could do no wrong. But then, I don’t believe that about anyone. Bukowski was a very flawed human being, who was not afraid to show his flaws to the world. Indeed, he revealed in his imperfections and exploits, made them larger than life. Which is why people enjoyed his work-because it made them feel less alone, less “fucked up.” He could laugh at the absurdity of it all and, through his work, we could laugh with him.

      Would I want him to date my daughter? Would I want my son to aspire to be him? Hell to the no. But I can make a distinction between Bukowski the poet and Bukowski the man because I find his work to be an honest and artful depiction of the underbelly of the human experience.

      • Sort of the opposite of toxic shame… bring all your flaws to light and a big ways and helping everyone else wtih theirs.

    • I have never read this poem before today. Thank you so much for sharing it, CJ. Absolutely stunning.

  • My XWs’ success or status never entered into the equation. I loved them, and was committed.
    However, I am positive that my failing to be a superstar was a big factor in their decisions to cheat. I am average, have a decent job, pretty decent at a lot of things, but no star. Hypergamy kicked in big time, once they realized I would only be making a comfortable living and that their efforts would also be required to support us.

    • Sorry to hear that, Arnold.

      Fact is, most of us are average (including myself), and yet cheaters think they’re above-average somehow. However, as we know, they have a fatal flaw that indicates otherwise.

      My ex-wife was a little deluded on the whole money thing. She never thought I should make more money, and in fact complained when I spent 2 nights per week getting an MBA to increase my income. She claimed money wasn’t important to her…and yet her tastes for travel and home location indicated otherwise. I have NO patience for people who claim that money isn’t important to them, and yet insist on international travel, plus multiple other vacations, every year.

      When I filed for divorce, my ex suddenly changed her tune. She claimed she “supported” me during the first half of our marriage when our income was 60% her and 40% me. I think it upset her that I now made more money than she did because I put in the hark work and effort, and she would not enjoy the fruits of that labor because she’d been shagging her colleague.

      • JC, interesting. I made more money than my STBX when we first married but he passed me in salary when our daughter came along. He now makes about $30,000 more than I do however, he told the mediator that I had the potential to out earn him in future years. I thought that was such an odd thing for him to say and my response to the mediator was ‘well, if I could be earning more, why wouldn’t I be doing it now.’ Needless to say, it wasn’t a factor in our mediation outcome.

        I’ve built a successful career but I also value work-life balance. I think my focus on work and myself was so lacking because of the ‘crazy’ when he was in my life. Now I’m free to focus on my work, earn credentials that will allow me to advance further, etc. and he won’t have me taking care of personal things for him so he will have to do that himself. I don’t care if I ever out earn him as long as he is gone from my life. Work-life balance will always be important to me regardless.

        • ByeBye,

          I agree with the work-life balance. Even though I now have my MBA, I still work at the same company because they provide very flexible work schedules, and they expect you to only put in your fair share of work for a fair wage.

          I can’t imagine having to deal with a mediator. My ex-wife and I didn’t have much $$ to split. Initially, she was gung-ho to fight me over not much money (see the “I supported you…” BS above). But, I think her family talked her into leaving it alone, combined with the fact that community property state laws are quite clear on how to divide things.

          Good to hear you’re free of having to take care of his personal things.

  • Some people know they’re assholes. They either don’t mind being that way or mind a bit but not enough to CHANGE… which is why they know themselves so well and can write so succinctly about it. “It takes one to know one.” Charles Bukowski is no exception. Or Ayn Rand. Mark Twain. Et al. Assholes who knew themselves well. I’m grateful for their insight. A kind of bravery, in truth… to say “I’m an asshole and this is why you should be wary of those like us.”

    The rest? The ones who are assholes but won’t admit it? Those are the cheaters.

    • I’m a bit of a pop-culture/film geek, so I’m on IMDB a lot, looking up actors, seeing what other films they’ve been in, etc. And IMDB has a “quotes” area — it’s a bit amazing how many of these swarthy actors just come right out and say they’re not likely to be faithful … Damian Bichir, Idris Elba …. Well, I guess if you know the price of admission, then it’s your hard-earned dime you’re spending.

      But, yeah, guys like my XH who will insist with his final breath that he’s a “Good Guy”? That’s the dick move.

    • I agree. I think the lesson for us chumps is that we can also design and lead a similarly focused life in which we are in creative control and focus on getting our needs met (in a healthy way) and have standards and boundaries, but just without the assholeness. Replace assholeness with vulnerability and kindness, but mainly, with honesty.

      I’m tired of being a codependent and playing the victim role, and I do want to forge ahead in my own way and put my talents out there. But I still don’t want to be a dishonest asshole.

        • I’m not so disenfranchised by current male/female relations that I feel the need to completely go my own way. I don’t want to project the actions of my wife onto all women or all relationships (just like I don’t think fellow female chumps should do the same to men). Perhaps hypergamy has run amok as many in the manosphere and evolutionary biology sects proclaim, but I think that I can still be my own person, maintain a long term relationship with a good woman, while being both true to myself and attractive to my partner without worrying that if I make one wrong move, she’s going to jump in bed with the next guy who comes along that makes more money or has a bigger … IQ. But I will continue to work on my picker, and be much better prepared to identify red flags early on, and have the strength to end things if need be.

          I suppose if I went in that direction, my friends have recommended the Deida “Way of the Superior Man”, as a good balance between masculine strength and honest relationships without the borderline misogynistic tendencies of the MGTOW crowd.

          Having already had kids, I don’t know if I’ll get married again or not, but I admit it … I still want to get laid 🙂 ..

          (and fact is, I’m just not a “player”)

          • You could go modified MGTOW. But, I agree, if you T levels are still high enough, it is , virtually impossible to abide by strict MGTOW.

              • Men Going Their Own Way – I’ve heard of it before, but I’m no expert. I’d try to summarize her, but since I’m no expert, I’d recommend googling it.

            • Aww Buddy..great post. I also so want to get laid again. But, that’s about all as far a relationship I can take..but I miss it. Of course, I can’t get laid w/o that relationship. Figure I’ll be celibate for life..sigh.

              • She chump, I feel ya, but I doubt it. Without trying to envoke Oprah “the secret” crap, I will say we do attract what we want when we are ready. I for one, am not ready, but I will not be giving up my sex life for this bad experience. Just wait till you are ready.

                We are so different than our cheating counterparts. It has to have meaning for us. That takes longer, and will be equivalent to fewer partners. Still, I’d rather be me than them. Wouldn’t you?

              • I’m still going through the divorce, so I’m no where close to thinking about relationships yet, so I really have no idea how my post-trauma love life will play out. I’m not going to give up on the possibility, but right now, I just want peace and sanity and to end the suffering.

              • Buddy, I’m right where you are. I need to get healthy with myself. I do get really lonely, though.

  • I watched my cheater rise from a very poor high school student to the head of a department at a University where he won all kinds of accolades. I do think the confidence and “sparkle” it took to do this is what drew me into a relationship with him in the first place. There were many things I admired about him, and many things I learned from him. I enjoyed being a professor’s wife and was raised to admire education.

    The cheating wasn’t outright in my face, it was often done under the guise of “a business trip” or “meeting with a colleague.” That’s what hurts so much. All the time I spent alone while he traveled to become Mr. Wonderful, all the lonely hours I was a home while he was out conquering the world. I kept believing at some point he’d realize his career wasn’t the most important thing in life. I hoped to have more time to spend with him in retirement, but he tossed me out after all those sacrifices. I could have had a life where I pursued things I enjoyed instead of supporting another person’s goals and dreams. It was like putting all my money in the stock market just to watch it crash as I needed it for retirement. Still, I chose to support this man and put his career over mine because his earning potential was so much bigger than mine. Those were my decisions. It wasn’t that unusual for women of my age to do this. My best girlfriends in college also married professionals and supported them over their own careers. In fact, I worked a lot more than my girlfriends did over the years, starting a business in my home so I could care for our kids. Even though I didn’t make what my ex did, my work was important to me and I enjoyed contributing to our income.

    • Well said Lyn, this is where my resentment and anger come in. I sacrificed my own desires and aspirations for this asshole and then I was not only kicked to the curb, but I was expected to walk away from everything we had built. No way!

      • Yeah. Lyn and Roberta, I think you just cannot do that these days. Same for the guys. You work your ass off and when your wife cheats with the pool boy, she gets custody and alimony in this paradigm.
        I liked being raised with my mom at home. But, these days, with all the cheating and divorce, it is not a good idea for either spouse.

        • I totally agree Arnold. I actually had a very nice career in Northern Virginia, but I relocated because my husband had a stroke and he wanted to live a slower lifestyle. I actually would have been elgible for retirement with full benefits in 2016 but I gave it up for the sake of his health! And look what I got for trusting him! A swift kick in my ass! Our marriage was pretty long term and I thought solid so I had no reason to believe it could ever end this way! It’s been a nightmare!

          • We are the same vintave, Roberta. We were sold a bill of goods really the marriage paradigm. Watched too much TV.

              • Yes Arnold, I suspect you are around my same age and era. We got caught up in a revolution of sorts where all the stereotypes of the past were being dismantled and “new” ideas were being experimented with. I feel for you guys here at CN cause I know men seem to get burnt pretty bad in divorce even when they were the betrayed. The guile of some cheating women is unbelievable! Talk about cake eaters. By golly, some not only want the cake, but the whole pan!

            • I’ll definitely be there soon and you bet. Still have lots of family and great friends and we always welcome new friends. Makes our lives richer!

    • One of the many “reasons” my ex used to justify his decision to cheat his way out of our marriage was that I had a “job, not a career.” I am college educated with dabblings in a masters degree. He made 5x more than I did & traveled away from home a lot, but my job had flexible hours that allowed me to do all the errands, take pets to vet, shop & wrap all gifts for his big family, do most of the cooking/cleaning, etc. His ow was a subordinate in an admin asst job. WTF?

      • hurt1, you and I are twins. That is EXACTLY the same scenario I went through. Ex also made 5x what I did. Everything I tried to do had to take a back seat to his career. OW was a married grad student who rode his coattails up the career ladder.

  • STBX is smart, funny, charming, relatively handsome and a “great guy.” I truly believed that I was lucky to be married to him. Even after I realized he was a selfish jerk, I still felt so lacking in any worthwhile attributes myself that I stayed, assuming no one else would ever want me. Putting up with his sarcasm, rage and put-downs was the price of being married, and being married was an absolute necessity.

    Then I found out he was a serial cheater, and not such a great guy. And after while, being married didn’t seem quite so necessary anymore. I paid another kind of admission price to get OUT of that marriage, and am finding it the best money I ever spent.

    • I paid another kind of admission price to get OUT of that marriage, and am finding it the best money I ever spent.

      AMEN Kristen!

  • Chump Lady,

    I compartmentalize the crappy behavior my most loved and respected artists too, otherwise I would not be reading many books, listening to any music, etc. I just went through a long William Burroughs kick, and wow, not only a murderer (yes, a murderer) , a terrible father and prone to bullshit magical thinking… but I like his writing. We do not marry our creative heroes, thank goodness. It can be a trap to get into the cult of an artist and completely buy into their bigger than life narcissism worship.

    My ex? She was (is) charismatic, high energy. beautiful, and amazing athlete, a complete get-it-done person. Since I did not know the truth, I unknowingly compromised myself to a pretty miserable point to be “the guy who married her”. She did thrive on that attention, and as soon as my health went for a few years I was not devoting my energy into adoring her she found someone else. Also, for heaven’s sake, she was not going to take care of an ailing spouse. Now that’s charisma!!!!!

  • A cheater’s creative talent / ambition / success is just sparkles. It has nothing to do with whether or not he/she is a good lifelong mate.

    My family used to marvel at my ex-wife. My immediate family, friends, aunts and uncles, and parents friends would say that they wish their sons could find someone like her.

    She wasn’t famous, but she did have an artistic bent. She was smart, charming, cute, and fun, and she seemed to have a limitless supply of energy. She put in a lot of effort with the family, created things for them (photo books, etc.), and was an amazing hostess. And, most importantly, she appeared to adore quiet-old-introvert JC. He was so lucky to have found her! I’d say that everyone in my life (at least outwardly) adored my ex-wife. Yes, some people saw through her charm and how she used it to get her way. But people were willing to accept that as “the price” of being with someone so great–and generally, “her way” was not something terrible.

    But, once the cheating started…oh BOY!

    Nobody, and I mean *nobody* in my support network had any patience for her. No one even mentioned all the ways that she was amazing. Instead, they said:

    “How could she do this to us!?!”
    “Ohhh, just thinking about her makes me so mad!”
    “She tricked us!”
    “She’s such a whoring skank!”
    “I don’t truck with no bitches!”
    “Do you still have contact with the moron!?”
    “I hate her! I hate her! I hate her! I hate her!”


    All of these judgments came from the women in my life–friends, sisters, aunts. The men had a much more logical, detached stance, as in, “She cheated. You gave her several second chances. She took none of them. Ergo, divorce.”

    So, yes, I was entranced by the sparkles. So were my family and friends. However, once my ex-wife’s true character came out, they all reminded me that these sparkles were just that: sparkles. They are the superficial sheen that makes life with someone superficially better.

    But, without the foundation of a good character underneath to support it, sparkles are really just cheap glitter.

    • My first wife was similar. Very smart and good looking etc. Life of the party.
      But, one member of my family, apparently, had her number, my dad.
      He was really street smart ( raised homeless in NYC during the depression) as well as book smart( asked to stay and teach at Harvard Law School after graduating) .
      When I told him about my wife’s cheating, he was dying of cancer. weighed about 100lbs, I bet. But, he took me aside and said : Arnold, your wife is the most insincere person I have ever met.”
      I will say that women, caught on to her faster than men, presumably because of her looks.

      • If only people would tell us that sort of thing before the wedding instead of biting their tongue and keeping it to themselves.

        And if only we would have listened had they done so!

  • I wonder what others think of this theory… I once read that often gifted and brilliant people are “overdeveloped” for lack of a better word in that part of their mind or psyche where talent lies, and therefore are undeveloped in other areas – such as emotional intelligence, empathy, ability to love, etc. Sort of like a person who is blind but whose other senses are unusually heightened. Or an autistic person who has brilliant math abilities. I had a friend in high school who was and is a very gifted painter but has struggled with interpersonal relationships all her life. She has a limited ability to relate to others, to have empathy and compassion even though I know she tries. She sees others only as extensions of herself, to mirror herself. Is this the same as narcissism, or that this part of being human didn’t get the same “juice” as her tremendous talent got? Don’t know…

    • My guess is that they lack development in emotional intelligence and empathy because they’ve been able to get their needs met and get what they want due to the status afforded them by their talent. And even though this approach meant they treated others badly, they either didn’t suffer repercussions or they didn’t care about the repercussions (Next!) or they somehow were invigorated by the drama.

      But I don’t think it is due to being overdeveloped in their talent area. I just think it is laziness and selfishness.

      • I generally agree with Buddy.

        In the order of importance of personality traits, someone is first manipulative, and second especially talented.

        Manipulative people have developed skills over time to get their needs met in a certain way. If they have talent/status in some manner, then they leverage that to get their needs met. But if they don’t have special talents, then they’ll just find another way to manipulate people.

        Not all artists are manipulative, and not all politicians are cheaters, and not all musicians are cads. (For example, Tom Hanks has led a boring, stable life, despite being one of the most famous actors people of the last 30 years.)

        I agree that they develop a crutch–a way to interact with others that is not healthy. But this crutch is still based on manipulation, not status/talent.

          • Interesting about Hanks. I did not know that about him.
            seems like many times on hete, when someone is held up as an example of fidelity, it turns out he or she was a cheater, too. Paul Newman and MLS come to mind. I think there were a few others, too.

            • It’s too bad cause my dog became so much healthier when I switched her to Paul Newman dog food. God I loved that dog. She loved me more than any man ever did.

    • Hi Wiser Finally,

      Just wanted to say, having spent 5 years as a support worker for people with visual impairments, I really must point out that, despite the myth, people who are blind DO NOT have unusually heightened other senses, and the myth is generally resented by these people and others (i.e deaf / mute) who have sensory impairments. I think the myth is born of observing people having to rely on their other senses to negotiate living in the world. Senses (touch, smell, taste, hearing/sight – depending on your particular sensory impairment) do not develop heightened efficacy when one sense is impaired, but it may well be that you are less aware of how much information you are gleaning from your other senses while you live in a visual world. It might seem picky to point this out, but the myth does cause harm to some who have a sensory impairment and find that the general assumption is that they somehow are made superhuman in their other senses – it’s simply not true.

      As for your HS friend – it sounds like she is on the autistic spectrum. Not so much that she has been gifted in creativity at the expense of interpersonal relationships. Autism is a complicated syndrome that is often characterised by singular thinking and difficulty connecting with other people. If you like, people on the autistic spectrum are wired differently. I really don’t believe all of humanities super talented people (in whatever field) were/are autistic. Nor do I believe they were all wired to be cheaters or incapable of respecting societies mores.

      Just my 2 cents 🙂

    • My son has high functioning autism and he does have empathy.

      People with autism have difficulty knowing how to generate a fake, social response. It doesn’t mean they don’t have feelings for other people. It means they are honest instead of saying the polite thing everyone expects you to say.

      • Jen- thanks for that clarification. It’s interesting to note how important fake social responses are to most “normal” people. I wish it weren’t the case.

  • My story is that I have either Low or No Expectations. It is a defense mechanism, of course, if you have No Expectations, you cannot be disappointed, because you aren’t looking for anything wonderful to happen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t turn off that hopium fueled “wish” factor, that you will find love and companionship and honor and integrity. So I secretly look for the unicorn, while riding a jackass. I talk about transportation, when what I would really like is a wonderful trip. That’s my problem, and I have to deal with it.

    But with regard to Low Expectations and wanting to be married, I unfortunately do not know any couples who are truly happy. Everyone I have ever known who “couples” reaches a place of discontent, some faster than others. They may start out with Great Expectations, but they end up, at best, tolerating each other. This is a pretty sad state of affairs, I know, and tends to make me a bit cynical.

    I was raised with the expectation that I would marry and have a family, and I always expected to work and contribute, because my mother did. I expected a mutual effort toward the care and feeding and shelter of the family unit, because that is what my parents provided. I did not expect love, because I didn’t see any of that — but I read about it in books, and saw it in the movies. I wanted it, of course. I did not expect encouragement and praise from my husband, because I NEVER got any of that from my father. He was impossible to please — no matter what I did, I could have done more, should have done better. My mother loved and praised me — but (probably to counter act my father, and her father) she went too far in the other direction, and expected me to be the vision of perfection she had of me. So there was a lot of pressure, and the expectation of hard work and limited success. I think it made me something of an overachiever in my youth, and instilled a fierce work ethic. I also never expected to attract anyone from the “rich and successful” class — my parents were first generation college, and came from a solid working class background. They were very aware of “class” and how they were regarded. They educated themselves, against tough odds, and provided a lower middle class raising for their children. That was a step up from where they started, and I don’t think either of them ever forgot it.

    So when I dated, I didn’t prescreen or prejudge my suitor(s) based on where they actually were — I looked at their potential. That is really a deadly thing to do for a chump — you expect them to obtain success through hard work and responsible actions. You expect them to want to be better off than they are. You expect them to tell the truth and be faithful, because to be anything else makes no sense ( to you). Perfect fodder for a manipulative narc to love bomb. Promises, Promises! Knowing full well he would never keep any of the promises he made. Seeing me as a loyal, hardworking, chump who would provide the mask of normalcy for him while he squandered every opportunity he ever had.

    Once you see how you are used as a chump, it changes the way you regard everything. While I do not rule out the possibility of meeting a male counterpart who has the same chump values I have, I do not feel it is very likely that I will. Older and wiser, I meet my own expectations and live the life I can provide for myself. I don’t believe much of what I see and hear from anyone, but I do watch actions closely. I can appreciate art and literature for it’s own sake, and I have found that the less you know about the artist or writer or film/tv star, the better off you are. No expectations about their private lives as a person — no disappointment.

  • CL I think there are A LOT of women who are quietly eating shit sandwiches; tolerating their cheaters for a “better” life. I have a couple of friends who are – but one in particular.

    This lady caught her husband cheating, and, he was verbally abusive to her. He is a CEO for a large insurance company. She was going to divorce him; but, decided to live an open marriage because the marriage came with all the fun life perks she could do with him, or, on her own if it suited her. A monster house in a great neighborhood; Trips, (2) Mercedes, a Cadillac SUV, Golfing, Skiing, fully-paid-for college tuition at some great schools. The price? The kids are barely getting by in college, and aren’t doing well in their relationships. And, she sold her soul.

    I’ve seen them together at functions and it is painfully obvious they are quite dysfunctional.

    • Not a huge fan of Jackie Onassis (a cheater with her BiL), but I was reminded of this quote re: your friend who sold her soul for a McMansion & Mercedes, “If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do matters very much.”

  • My cheater has game… I am very attracted to people who have game, and I like to consider myself someone with game. But when it came down to it I needed to decide whether I wanted to live in this abusive marraige with my cheater, a famous, nearly fucking knighted climate scientist, or dumpster dive. I knew I could live another 30 years dumpster diving but I didn’t think I could manage another 10 years with him. So dumpster diving it was. At some point I will describe the price my kids paid, but not for one moment did I regret it.

    • Ringinonmyownbell–I think our situations have been very similar, from past postings.

      I was curious–did you think your kids paid a price because you stayed with him so long, or because you left?

      • I will answer you Tempest in a forum soon. They paid a price for both but mostly that I stayed with him so long and the insidious damage he did to me.

  • I’m right along with you Ringin’. We were no where near wealthy, but, now, definitely worse off financially but it is so, so worth it. My son is only too well aware we’re better off too, thank God.

  • My ex has game, at least professionally! But didn’t when we met. He is an important executive with thousands of employees who depend on his running of all the company’s operations in this state. He definitely enjoys having syncophants scrambling to make his life easier every day, and has an inner posse supporting him. He loves his status, and is happy to be thought of as a player in this business community, along with doing the usual stints on charitable boards and splashy community support through his company. I’m pretty sure he suffers from what I call Master of the Universe syndrome… As in the Wolfe novel. Normal rules don’t appear to apply to him.

    When we met at ages 19 and 20, we were two Midwestern college kids with nothing, but we were willing to work hard. We had nothing for many years. Went through the usual steps on the way up the ladder with needing to travel for business and move many times for job advancement. My resume, of course, became a study in job hopping. I had always believed in his potential and talent, and despite serious trespasses against me that began long before we actually had that much material success, I forgave and stayed with him because I loved him and believed in his potential in all things. I’m also seriously guilty of sunk costs and smoking the hopium pipe that he would regain what I thought was his real self. Time went on, more shit piles up, and finally on his last dramatic, ill-timed walkout, I said enough, surprised myself, and filed. On top of many other things, I think the fact that I knew him before he was successful, and know of so much not-so-nice shit he’s done, was a factor in his replacing me. That maybe he didn’t like seeing his past when he looks at me, and it’s just too much trouble to do the hard work to save a long term marriage when he can just hop to the ready and waiting bed and start fresh.

    The new woman does not know him as anything other than what he is now, Mr. Successful Executive. She had no skin in the game getting him there, no history to provide balance, no scars from him. What little he might have had to reveal throughout the twenty months of pretty high conflict divorce proceedings ( he was not happy that I filed and took control as the petitioner, he was supposed to give me my walking papers) , which certainly does not represent all that was problematic in our life together, was probably quite modified if his massive amount of revisionist history is anything to go by. I can’t imagine she would want to be with him if she had any knowledge of even what was on the divorce papers, but then again, maybe she does know (She could actually be the one who brought the STD into our lives) and just doesn’t care, she got what she wanted. He needs to stay on his best behavior with her because of his ongoing degenerative orthopedic issues that will always need a nurse after surgeries, but it will be interesting to see what happens if he ever reveals his true self with her.

    I did have an acquaintance tell me recently that I should be prepared that he will be great with her, that he will be faithful and be everything for her that I hoped he would be with me, and for a while that made me angry, as if this meant that I should realize that I wasn’t worth being faithful to, not good enough to bother trying. Then over these last few days I have truly come to realize he was seriously flawed by the time he was a young teenager, long before he met me, and I can see the signs and behaviors were always there. I’m finally seeing that if he has been this way for over fifty years, he isn’t likely to become a miraculously healed individual just because she gives good head, but that he may, now that he is approaching sixty, need to make this work because it will be much harder after retirement to sell himself anywhere else.

    • The person who made that remark is no friend. It might well be that your X and the new woman will present a nice face to the world, but he isn’t going to change at his age. I think how hard it is to change for us chumps, even with therapists and this board and all the incentive in the world. And cheaters, as my therapist points out about Jackass, like things easy and convenient.

      It can’t be said often enough: our job here on the planet is to develop ourselves on all fronts and “love our neighbor as ourselves,” which is not by turning ourselves into utilities and doormats for someone else. But I’ve acquired that understanding by making early every mistake in the book.

      As for notable cheaters and assholes, I can admire their genius without wanting to know them personally or admire their often chaotic personal lives. Over the years, I have know a bunch of writers. Many of them have uncanny capacity for empathy and observation of the human condition but find relating to actual people or taking care of their needs to be very difficult. Many have struggled with alcoholism, which I take to be a way of self-medication (and an implicit sort of entitlement to allowing others to pick up their responsibilities, as in our discuss the other day). I lived with one for a decade. I generally refused to spend any money on an Angelina Jolie product but I got talked into “Maleficent” and enjoyed it immensely. The danger, I think, is not in appreciating the films or poetry or political contribution but in confusing what their genius creates with what their character is.

      • Thanks for the reassurance LAJ. And didn’t we all totally “get” Maleficent’s anger at betrayal, and totally live and breathe that scene with her striding across the land, her face stone cold, dress and hair flowing, with the stone wall flying apart as she passed! My mother even called me after seeing it with my nephews and said, “I thought of you, and hope your anger carries you through to safety.”

        • I had forgotten that scene but nearly fell apart when he took her wings. Such a tremendous metaphor of ultimate betrayal, stealing someone’s central gift for power–and that from a shockingly unrepentant serial cheater.

    • I’m with LAJ here and I agree. He will be different, but let’s facade facts, he is really a shit stain and that’s hard to hide cause he’ll tend to smell soon!

    • That’s pretty LOL Dr. 😀

      I still can’t watch a Bragelina film anymore though – and that’s a ruddy shame cos I used to really admire Brad’s acting ability 🙁 (Angelina – not so much, to be honest and horribly superficial, I’ve always found the crack in her bottom lip really, really distracting – the thought that it must really hurt would never leave my mind and I’d be mesmerised thinking about it, miss entirely what the film was about, just obsessed with wanting to give her a tub of vaseline to ease the pain I was imagining, that’s not good is it)?!

  • Morality is morality to me..regardless if its private or public. Why do we blurr the lines for famous people? You have to hope it was for the benefit of the greater good of man…part of me…a very large part of me thinks its just feeding that big fucking EGO leaving a legacy behind. They want their name attached to something historical.Its about fame and the importance that this country in particular attaches to being a celebrity. Celebrities get special treatment.Princess Diana( not to take away from the good she did) and Mother Teresa. Both died on the same day…who made it to front page? We are a sick society.

  • ‘The Great I Am’ is brother to a fairly famous rockstar. Losing my connection to those sparkly kibbles did have something of a regret attached, I’m not going to lie. It wasn’t up there in the top ten reasons why I was so devastated to being getting divorced from him, I don’t think it’s even up there in the top twenty reasons, but it was one other reason. In the end though, despite probably never being on the AAA list at the Royal Albert Hall anymore, it certainly hasn’t been reason enough for me to be looking at ‘The Great I Am’ with anything but loathing and repulsion 😀

      • Thanks Dr 😀

        His brother was ‘alright’ – quite a lot ‘up his own arse’ as I suppose must be pretty common for folks living in the rarified air of ‘celebrity’ – but he was always ok with me, so what can you say? Some of the folks I met via brother were great but guess I’ll not be seeing any of them again. Still, none of them worth having ‘The Great I Am’ in the same orbit as me. So, bye all, nice to have known you, but ….

  • Reminds me of the Poem, “The Second Coming,” by Yeats.

    “The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity”

  • “Most of our cheaters are underachievers, never living up to their full potential. And yet, others do. They really have gifts.”

    My ex is a conundrum in this regard. Before separation, he had a very successful career, was well-regarded in our town, we had a lovely home, I was SAHM homeschooling our son. He was successful, and very, very sparkly. I guess you could say that he was living up to his full potential at this time.

    Then we separated, he quit the job to become an actor, and the rest is history: his “acting career” is those videos on YouTube, he has been conned by a wide variety of people, he hasn’t had a regular job in four years and he was homeless and without a car — he’s now living with his dad and it appears he will be remaining there long term. Yet in his own mind, the past four years IS his full potential, and he is now living his dream and is an inspiration to everyone daring to “follow their bliss.”

    He’s pretty much crazy though, although that didn’t really show in its full glory until after our separation.

    • GIO

      ‘Yet in his own mind, the past four years IS his full potential, and he is now living his dream and is an inspiration to everyone daring to “follow their bliss.”

      ‘Methinks the lady doth protest too much’ – is what comes to mind when I think about your mad-as-fish ex! Guess he’s going for the ‘If I wish for it hard enough. If I believe in it strongly enough. Then it will be’! Magical thinking. Probably stay like that forever because his alternative is having to admit to himself that he’s delusional.

  • Wasn’t there a famous author who not only openly cheated on his wife but said horrible things about her to the public and press and after his death, his wife found love letters he had written to her. She gave them to her son/daughter(?) and said, “Here. Give these to the [insert museum name], so people will know he once loved me.”

    Who was that? I wish I could remember.

  • WOW! Great post CL. My ex-cheaterpants is a physician, and one of his fellow MDs was also a cheaterpants. Before my ex got involved with AOL-sex chatroom slut MOW, he was telling me about this doctor. He was having an affair with a female police officer, and when the nurses in the labor room would call him that he had a patient in labor, he would tell them to contact him for further updates on his pager. Then he’d leave the house, telling his wife he was going to the labor room. But he really went to his AP’s house. Finally, someone sent his wife an anonymous note saying her spouse was cheating. So she confronts him saying “You better not be fucking anyone” and that was the extent of that. She so loved being Mrs. Doctor, she even had it on her license plates, “xxx Doc”, xxx being her first name. I thought it was pathetic. No way did I for 1 nano-second think about staying with my ex when I found out about his wuvie and the no-tell motel. Being Mrs Anything, being married to a doctor, the big house, none of it was worth having to eat shit sandwiches and be treated with anything less than respect.

  • “Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln.

    • Mark Sanford’s wife, Jenny, said that she watched her husband be surrounded by sycophants who helped turn him in to the ego driven person he is today. He felt completely justified in cheating on her, lying to his constituents, and abandoning his jobwhile he visited his mistress in Argentina. John Edwards lost a child, the worst thing that can happen to a parent, and then his wife got breast cancer. Instead of saying to himself “how can I help my family manage these horrors” he decided to have an affair. I cannot imagine what the lastmonths of her life must have been for Elizabeth Edwards. If you notice, one is a Republican and one is a Democrat and both are idiots. Although, for the most part, our personalities are formed by young adulthood, there is still Plasticity in the brain so that outside influences can take what appears to be incipent narcissistic personality and push it over into true narcissism. These two men had yes-man surrounding them all the time and they became caricatures of good people. Both cheated on their wives who had been stalwart supporters of them.

      • Here’s where I’m stuck on this post: if most of us agree with CL that cheating is truly abuse and you could replace the word “cheated” with “kicked me down the stairs,” then I can’t compartmentalize it, separating the genius from the cheater, just as I don’t cheer for all the NFL players who kick the shit out of their kids and girlfriends, and I won’t ever pay to see anything with Bill Cosby in it.

        Having worked with highly powerful and successful people in politics, law and the business world, my view is that cheaters and the character-compromised abound at the top of most fields. Many (not all, but many) of the most successful people in the world are total assholes.

        I don’t shrug at it, I don’t compartmentalize it. I see them for all they are and will make my career, family and relationship choices accordingly.

        • BestPath, I think many fields end up with a majority of assholes at the top, because the assholes will do whatever it takes to get there. Manipulate, use, get others to support their rise but never reciprocate, etc. And many are smart and sparkly!

          But there’s also an American prof, can’t remember who, who thinks that some people may start out fairly ‘normal’, but after spending years surrounded by syncophants and being told how amazing they are, and having people cut them slack and bend the rules for them, they become more and more entitled and narcissistic. I could totally see that happening, if the person didn’t have a very strong character to begin with. So Jimmy Carter stayed true to his moral character, but Tiger Woods … not so much.

          • Then again, some have been assholes forever! Can’t imagine Dominque Strauss Kahn was ever a nice, caring, moral person!

  • Sometimes when I think about all of the not so nice things I have said or how I think about my now exH I wonder why I ever married him. The truth is he was a good person. I fell in love with the good person that he was to me. I believed he would never hurt me. I believe I could count on him.

    His cheating destroyed all of that. Based on his behavior to me, I no longer liked him let alone love him and so I ended it. I do not have room in my life for people I cannot trust. They could be talented, good looking, have lots of money but in the end if they are a cheater…….they are no longer in my circle!

    • I feel the exact same way about my STBXH. Mine was a good person in so many ways for a long time but the cheating and abandonment nullified the good. Those “small” red flags during our marriage were probably much larger than I thought. The lost potential is heartbreaking, especially for my kids.

  • I generally exclude cheaters from my circle of friends, but I apply what I call The Heart Surgeon Rule to my interactions with the larger world. That rules says, if my child needs heart surgery, I will call on the person who is best at performing heart surgery, regardless of whether they’re a faithful spouse. That is, I treat cheaters the way I was treated by my cheating ex: I’ll have you in my life only to the extent I need you and you can be of use to me.

    A little cynical perhaps, but I love the people I love more than I hate cheaters.

    • yeah, Nomar. I don’t know anything about the guy who just fixed my Subaru, but as long as he does a good job, I don’t have to know. Maybe that’s ostrich-y. Heart surgeons? Not so much. Choose wisely.

    • Great analysis. Love the line, “I love the people I love more than I hate cheaters. Exactly how I feel!

    • // , It might explain why so much of our society has gone that “heart-surgery” / “Subaru-fix” route.

      People love the people or things they love more than they hate immoral people.

      • Well, I wasn’t talking about a Subaru. I was talking about a child. And specifically, a situation where the child’s life might be on the line. So, yes, in that situation, the issue of sexual morality takes a back seat. When picking people for my social support system? It’s front and center.

        But I also think that healthy people feel love more deeply and more enduringly than hate.

    • Not me, I’ll take the second best who didn’t cheat on their spouse. Cheating indicates a better than thou feeling, a God complex. I don’t want someone like that operating on my kid. That said, we don’t know everything about each other. I guess my point is that there is always going to be someone else who can fix my Subaru, someone who has integrity.

  • These high profile, super sparkly cheaters—whether they are celebrities, doctors, poets…whatever….I see their success as someone who has exploited their “talents” in order to achieve maximum kibble procurement.

    Mine did. He hates people, with a passion. Can’t stand listening to their problems or dealing with their crying (his words). He went through graduate school in order to become….someone who has to intimately deal with people’s problems and their crying.

    Why? Because that way, if one source of kibbles is soured, there are a hundred others in line. I think it depends on the level of effort that the kibble chaser wishes to expend, that guides their choices of professions and their drive to develop talents.

    Some are lazy as the day is long, because they’ve found a rich vein of kibbles in someone or a small group of someones (spouse and family)—and others find that big fish in a small pond doesn’t work for them–they need unending kibble supply–ergo, celebrities and politicians.

    Simple as that.

    I think that a lot of this judging of the spouse that stays with a cheater—is projection. It is what WE would do if WE were married to that particular cheater. That being said, nobody ever said that the Chump has to be a well-adjusted, mentally healthy person, either. They can have serious mental issues all their own. That doesn’t make the cheating “okay”, at least, not to US—but it “may” make the cheating “not a big deal” to that particular chump.

    There is no rule that says that a Chump has to be a victim. The Hillarys and the Humas and the Elizabeths–you have no idea why they stay. For all we know, it was an “arrangement” from the beginning. There doesn’t have to be trust and love and all that—it can be a cold, hard, business agreement.

    Does that feel uncomfortable? Some people do it. And you know what? It says a whole fucking lot about the Chump to me—their personality, their character. I think Hillary stays because she gets from this arrangement what she wanted. Why does it shock people that maybe she didn’t marry for love, she married for position and may just be as big of a narcissistic asshole as Bill? Think that’s just in the realm of what a MAN would do?

    My first FIL got married to my MIL for a green card. He told her that, it was an arrangement and she took the deal. She outsmarted him, though…and got pregnant. He said, as soon as this kid goes to school, I am divorcing you and you go back to work and I will support the child. Right before kid #1 is school age….she gets pregnant again. She did this 4 times. Her boys are 6 years apart. Each time, he told her, “This is it. As soon as THIS kid is in school, I am divorcing you.”

    Well, she got her fondest wish….to stay married and a kept woman to a man who despised her and treated her children like shit. All four have their individual mental issues as a result. But she got her way.

    He cheated on her the entire time they were married, up until he became too ill (kidney disease) and then passed away. He fucked her over in the will by giving everything to the 4 boys and nothing to her except the house. She was too old to go back to work—so she went hat in hand to all 4 boys, crying poor—and had them sign their inheritances back over to her.

    She promptly squandered $300K in a matter of a year. Trips, redecorating, new clothes and car.

    So, there are two sides to everything. Just saying that nobody knows why a woman or man stays in a marriage that WE would abandon. What I DO know is that when one of these spouses complains ad nauseum about their cheating spouse and no matter what anyone does to help them out of the situation—they continue to stay? No sympathy from me.

  • I have never admired the work of Bukowski. He always struck me as a narcissistic, misogynistic poser — a lot like Henry Miller. Women are merely props for these types of men. I don’t think any cheater “has game.” They reveal themselves to be empty and pathetic. Maybe the worst of this sort ever was Ted Hughes. Who has not one but TWO wives (and mothers of your kids) commit suicide because of your manipulative mindfuckery? Maybe he could write good poetry, but who gives a shit? Poetry is meaningless if it’s just feigned. Lot’s of people can wield language in effective and provocative ways — but they still suck.

      • Hi. I don’t know that person’s work, but I’ll check it out. I heard Saul Bellow was a lascivious guy also — always showing up at faculty parties with female grad students etc.

    • Charles–I have long thought that about Hughes. To drive two women to suicide with his cheating and manipulation, and then get glorified as the British Poet Laureate.

      • It’s weird isn’t it? Obviously I don’t know the back story — but still, what a track record!

  • Besides the threadjacking shenanigans I got into up thread–apologies for getting carried away, buttons were pushed, yadda.

    I always admired crapweasel–professionally, he was extraordinarily competent, I thought (we met at work)–he was really good at a lot of things many software dudes aren’t : he could write, run meetings, communicate well…. of course I’m (at least trained as) a sociologist, including work & family, so when he hit his career peak mid 40’s I thought it was perfectly normal–he didn’t want to do senior management (although he complained when he lacked control). I still admired him, and used to say I would be happy to downsize our life so he could do his theater and music and whatever.

    I mean, it’s true that the kind of education we gave Daughter is costly, but it was my highest value and priority–that remains true. I would sell my house in a heartbeat if she wanted more. My parents provided, their parents even did the ggrandparents. It’s an important family value, and a helluva lot better than cheating!

    So it turned out that crapweasel nursed a grudge…or many of them…as his professional accomplishments were no longer gaining him upward momentum, but were status quo (but he was certainly recognized by his peers in addition to me) he was unsatisfied.

    The number of times I asked what was wrong, how I could help…all that chumpiness, for work, for family, for flying to the fucking moon… never got an honest answer.

    It turns out that what he wanted was to pick up college girls 1/2 his age–whether he managed or not I have no idea!–and of course par for the course, he lied about his age on the CL ads, and AM ads, and the other sites….God, these people. You know, those “dating” sites use your zip code, so any other single, or cheating, people you know in your town–they’re all circling each other on the same cheezey websites. Barf.

    Everything just got worse and worse and worse–the worse it got, the more he lied, and vice versa. It was like my marriage fell down a rabbit hole. But I wonder if he was ever in it, completely.

    My daughter said to me the other day, “but we had good times too, didn’t we?” My heart really broke– I said yes, of course honey, but It’s hard for me to sort out what was really going on. I do think lots of the times were good, when she was little. It’s why I was so completely knocked over and knocked out to learn about the cheating and lying. It came completely out of left…or some…field, for me. I thought I was at least tolerably married. Apparently the answer to “what did I know” was, nothing.

    And yeah, he definitely had to drag me down, weigh me down, Everytime something good happened to me, professionally, he made sure there was a home crisis, so the attention swung to him, and I had a hard time managing. Every time. Asshole.

    I keep telling myself that it’s better now, that I got out with my dignity and integrity intact. But mostly it’s my loneliness and lack of purpose that’s intact. I lost my home, my work, my family, my ability to concentrate, or sleep. shit.

    • “Everytime something good happened to me, professionally, he made sure there was a home crisis” oh shit this resonates so well… I had never realized it ! Exact same thing in my case

  • Charles Bukowski’s poetry is as popular as it is trite. He’s like the American version of Kahlil Gibran, full of platitudes, tautologies, references to popular culture whose veils have varying levels of thickness, and the sort of plain old bullshit people like to read.

    It resembles a more pretentious version of Jaden Smith’s twitter feed.

    • I don’t understand why you hate Khalil Gibran. What you say of him, you could say of Paulo Coelho. Paulo Coelho does reuse texts found here and there, and offer them as easy prose (by the way, his latest book, “Adultery” is awful, and would deserve an article by CL). But Khalil Gibran was here first, when New Age did not exist, he is a great poet revered and respected by Lebanese and westerners alike. The “plain old bullshit” you are speaking about, is mostly the vast amount of American sub-literature that appeared in the name of “self-help”, and it had time to evolve beyond what Gibran wrote in his time, maybe that’s why his poems do not sound as good as they were then, anyway it’s unfair to insult his work.

  • “references to popular culture whose veils have varying levels of thickness, and the sort of plain old bullshit people like to read.”

    With all due respect, I fail to see any similarities between Kahlil Gibran’s and Charles Bukowski’s work.

    Kahlil loved woman and seemed not afraid of them while Bukowski was quite the opposite.

    Please give me an examples of the poems you speak of for the comparison, coward.

  • “Because she was willing to pay the price of admission to be The Wife of…”. Well then she deserves what she gets. Instead of trying to make a name for herself, she gravitates around a famous person. She is a gold digger in my eyes. I can’t stand women who are proud of being married to… Be proud of your own achievements, people.

  • Tellingly, my XH liked Bukowski, whereas I didn’t, preferring Raymond Carver. The two writers certainly have their similarities; alcoholic, abusive to women – gifted. However Carver got sober, became faithful, became a better writer- even rewriting work he’d done when drunk. He changed.

    That for me is evidence that you don’t need to be an abusive alcoholic to be creative. In fact that whole tortured genius mantra is a myth. It’s just become useful to those a la Bukowski (Ernest Hemingway et al) who don’t want to become personally accountable. Who want to hang on the personal identity of ‘the misunderstood’ because it does indeed give them a pass to people who will put up with the craziness.

    My ex was once a front man in a band. Thirty years ago. Yet still he believes in sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. He still believes that one day his creative genius will be recognised (the paintings, the novel). He just needs the right people around him. The right women. Women who gasp at his latest creation, or think he’s just been unlucky. Women with finance, contacts and sexual favours. He didn’t want a wife. But then I didn’t want a husband like this, I have my own story to write.

    • Something’s died in me,” she goes. “It took a long time for it to do it, but it’s dead. You’ve killed something, just like you’d took an axe to it. Everything is dirt now.”
      ― Raymond Carver, What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

  • I want to reply to all of you, but particularly,”Jen”, although I can’t seem to find the thread I was looking for. Anyway…yeah, I’m the one who started the thread, “How could he turn into a completely different person…” a couple of weeks or so ago.

    I guess I’m just reaching out for some help and encouragement today. For the first time last night, my 6 1/2 year old daughter got teary at her dad’s apartment (it was his night to have her) and asked to be brought home (back to me). The text exchange my STBXH and I got into was so hurtful, as usual. I am 7 months out from D-Day and separation (I mean, they were only 48 hours apart!).

    Jen, I can relate to the drinking part. I rarely did it (my STBXH was a tee-totaler because his mother is an alcoholic), but when I did, which was only socially, he berated me and ignored me. All the years of his not giving me any attention in social situations—having to be the coolest, funniest guy in the room, added up. Sometimes, I would drink past my “buzz”.

    I can say that I am now on Cymbalta + Wellbutrin, and lorazepam for the crazy-ass anxiety/sobbing attacks that come out of nowhere. If not for my sweet girl and these meds I dare say I would be here right now. When I read the hateful things he says to me via text I just cannot believe it is the same person.. Of all of the pain he has caused in mine, and our little girl’s life, I can’t reconcile the vile hatred that seems to spill out from him.

    I still cry every single day, and wonder what happened to our family and my life!

    • Tears came to my eyes reading your post.
      It is all about control and justifying their adultery.

      Your family is not gone. YOur family is now you and your gorgeous daughter. Make your life with her, your friends….

      I hope that you have a therapist. Get one. Talk and keep talking about the truth.
      Get it all out. Take your meds. Take long walks. Do not let him get you down.

      You can do this.

      • Tracy, I decided to read some of his poetry to gain insight as to why a woman would stay with this raging alcoholic who obviously demeaned women. He was a very interesting critter indeed. In particular this poem was one of the most telling.

        I often stand in front of the mirror alone,
        wondering how UGLY a person could get

        On my grand finally of DDay’s I sent the EX numerous texts all ending with, “What do you see when you look in the mirror” and “What are you”. This was before I knew he was a narcissist.

        CB also wrote, “alone with everybody”

        The most interesting poem I found was Roll of the Dice. That was an eye opener and helped me understand the crap shoot mentality of the disregard phase that leaves chumps wondering what the fuck happened

        In Oh Yes, he wrote, “there are worse things than being alone, but it often takes decades to realize this and mot often when you do, its too late, and there’s nothing worse than too late”.

        As someone who loved a narcissist for 41 years I know it is not too late for me to gain a life. It will always be too late for the narcissist because they do not change. Better for them to be alone with the OW/OM than with loving chumps.

        He wrote:

        I am my own God
        we are here to laugh at the odds
        and live our lives so well
        that death will tremble
        to take us

        • Nearly 41 years for me also Donna, but I don’t regret ridding myself of him! Thank God I finally woke up!

      • SmartEnough,
        “It’s all about control and justifying their adultery.” -BostonIrisher is right.

        I am so sorry you have to go through this and watch your daughter hurt too. I know something of what that is like.

        There were occasions he was cruel, and I know this man well enough to know that isn’t really who he is or how he feels about me. He is ashamed of what he’s done and he is trying to cover it up.

        The only thing I can say, is don’t allow him to see it hurt you.

        We are just more grown up than they are. Again, I am so sorry.

    • Try to practice having limited contact with him. That means your text messages are informational only, and only have one or two short sentences. Remember to tell yourself every time he spews hatred at you, that these are the words of an asshole. Just see them generically like that. You can study them, and try to see them objectively. Try to separate yourself from his words, because his words are NOT about you at all.

      NEVER reply to anything angry he says. If he texts you to say that your daughter wants to be picked up, and you’re a bitch, and you’re horrible in all sorts of ways, just cut off the bullshit, and only reply to what matters in that text–your daughter wants to be picked up. So then, instead of arguing with him that you are not a bad mother, and he’s so mean, and why did he have to cheat, you only reply, “What time?” And if he replies that you are horrible and he has a great life without you in it, you ignore that. If he replies 4 pm and you better be on time because you’re always late and that’s why he cheated, then you reply “I’ll be there at 4.” And that’s it. You can’t text him as though he’s supposed to be your confidante, your friend, your ex. You have to treat him as though he chose to walk away from your family. And you DO have a family. Don’t ever let your little girl believe otherwise–it would break her heart. YOU and SHE and anyone else in your extended family ARE a family.

      This sucks. But I promise you that it DOES get easier. You have to understand that part of the healing is going through the fire and feeling the pain. Pain means you’re alive. But you also have to be strong, and resist the urge to fall apart and be led by his cruelty. You have to take charge of your life, and do something productive with your life, and be a good role model to your daughter and even to yourself. Do something that will make you proud of yourself. You have it in you–that’s why you’re here, looking for help. You’re here because you KNOW there is something better in this life for you. HE does not determine for YOU what or who you are. You do that.

      It really does get better. Really. Trust us. And trust that he sucks. Oh HE sucks, all right!

      • This excellent advice. When I stopped reacting to my first exes tantrums, everything became easier. He still had them from time to time, but they would be followed up with voice mail apologies. I wouldn’t have thought his ego was capable of an apology before. Once I treated him like a business transaction, his behavior improved.

    • SmartEnough, huge hugs to you today.

      Now, take a deep breath. Slow down.

      Sweetheart, you are only 7 months out of this—you found out he cheated AND kicked him out a day later? Good Lord, woman!! That is AMAZING. Amazing. Courageous, smart, mamma bear protecting herself and her cub, in your face badass!

      You’re on anti-depressants. That is good. Some of them take awhile to work, and some never do–so you have to get reevaluated, okay? Take it slow. Talk to your doctor and your therapist, don’t try to do this by yourself–and I mean, without professional help. Friends/family are great, but they are biased. You need a trained professional to listen to you and guide you through these tough parts.

      The combination of anti-depressants and anti-anxiety meds—I’m not a fan. That isn’t to say they are not useful—you should not be taking Lorazepam for 7 months, though. They are SHORT TERM meds, not long term. Please consider speaking to your PCP or therapist about weaning off of benzos. It’s just not a good thing to rely on them, and like ANY other drug, the longer you take it, the more you need in order to achieve the same effect. Please reconsider these drugs.

      About the hateful texts. It is so difficult, isn’t it? I know. Even as long as I’ve been gone from Crazyland–I still have flashbacks of certain things he said–that eventually fades, SM, but not right now. He’s still doing these things to you–they are your present and constant.

      My best advice to you, and I know you will find this hugely painful–because it sounds to me like you are still stuck on hoping that he’ll “come out of the fog” and you will get your life back. I’m not judging here—we all went through this. You cut him off at the knees as soon as you found out–you didn’t do the dance, you didn’t live with this idiot in your face being hateful day in and day out once his mask fell off–most of us did. We had time to process and WATCH the person behind the mask and internalize WHO THEY ARE.

      You need to go NC as much as you can at this point. When you text? “Jane is to be picked up at 6. thanks.” “Jane wants to come home. She is crying and it’s all your fault for throwing me out and look what you’re doing to our daughter…..blahblahblah…” “Ok, John. I will be there in 15 minutes.” PERIOD.

      You take those hurtful texts that he has written so far, download them and save them for your lawyer. You don’t want to “hurt” him right now, because you are afraid that if you do, and there was a “chance” to get back together, you just blew it! No. That is Cheaterspeak for “hey…if I make you feel shitty enough, you’ll take me back and give me back the cake pan!” Noooooope.

      You email him only the pertinent facts. Period. Businesslike. I know it hurts. OH. And tell him what you’re doing with the shitty texts, emails and messages/phonecalls (you are recording them, btw)—you are going to give them to the COURT to view. Wanna see how fast those stop? NPDs and sociopaths hate the sunlight—you keeping his nasty little secrets, like not telling authorities about his abusiveness is you keeping his secret. Don’t do it. Flood that room with light. Sing like a bird, as CL has said. SING!

      You reach out and you find as much help as you believe you need. DO NOT do this alone.

      SM, he didn’t “CHANGE” into a different person. When you internalize this, you will understand. But for now, you have to believe and trust that he never CHANGED. People’s personalities are pretty much set by the time they hit 15, and some even before that—short of a life shattering event (war, horrible accidents, life threatening diseases). They simply do not change one day from a good person into a hateful person.

      He is acting this way because you are taking away what he wants. He wants the easy lifestyle, he wants the perfect image, he wants HIS WAY. You are standing up for yourself, and he doesn’t like that. He can’t control you and he doesn’t like that. He can’t control what you say to your daughter and he doesn’t like that. He doesn’t like answering to his friends and family about his adulterous behavior—-you get my point.

      He is a child throwing a tantrum, going through rage/pity/charm, seeing what works on you in order to get his way. THIS IS WHO HE IS AND WILL ALWAYS BE, SE. He was nice when he was getting what he wanted from you and the situation. Now he’s not. There is no reason to be nice.

      Please take care of yourself, SE. Talk to your therapist, your lawyer and your circle of support. Reach out. You cut this guy off at the knees once before and you need to do it again, pronto.

      Good luck to you.

    • SmartEnough, probably everyone on this board can relate to “crazy-ass anxiety/sobbing attacks that come out of nowhere”; that seems to be a common response to massive betrayal. I’m glad you’re getting help with that via medication. What you’ve gone through is a trauma–as if you had been attacked by robbers or in a car hit by a train. Remember you are in recovery. You must be both gentle with yourself and strong enough to be putting together a rehabilitation plan for yourself. (Mine was exercise, yoga, writing, photography, reconnecting with friends, prayer in massive doses, reading positive stuff, meditation, and learning about character disorder. Everyone does it differently.) Just as you would need to work at rehabbing your body after surgery or an accident, you will need to work at rehabbing your mental, spiritual and emotion “bodies” after this terrible trauma.

      And please stop texting with your STBX. STOP TEXTING. You have a daughter so you can’t go No Contact entirely. But why should he have an instant access to your home, mind and heart via text message? Set up a dedicated email account (gmail works well). Use that to communicate routine business. Check it once a week. Make it clear that if abuse continues, you will move to snail mail to communicate unless your daughter has an emergency. Texting is such a great tool for fast communication with people in situations where you have no strife. I’ve got 2 friends who love to get into text fights–the kind of people who text with some issue in their life and then blow up at me because I’m not jumping into the fire with them. I’ve just told them to STOP or I won’t return any messages. That fixed that problem, but taught me that texting can produce many, many human conflicts that are unnecessary. Texting gives your STBX an immediate outlet for his injured ego and a way to hurt you. It gives you pain. Good luck–sending prayers your way. You will make it!

      • Smart Enough, listen to this most excellent advice from Miss Sunshine, SMoth, and LAJ! You will do fine and you will thrive. Your cheater is pissed and he knows he’s going to be toasted. This is why they try so hard to engage because they hope they can save their wretched asses once it goes before a judge or mediator. They know they are going to really lose it all and THEY are just Desparate to get you to justify the incredible mistake they have made! Do NOT let him have that advantage! Listen to these incredible survivors.

        • Yes, they play on your emotions to negotiate a better child support order. Don’t fall for it! I wrote off $4,000 and neglected to get a child support settlement that reflected his increased earnings. HE PLAYED ME!! And my son is autistic. That money could’ve meant better health care, speech therapy, etc.

          It’s not personal, it’s business from now on. Please SmartEnough, learn from my mistakes.