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Why Did You Leave?

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breakupBoy, we really bled a vein with the last post here “Why Did You Stay?”! UniquelyMe had a good suggestion, which was to follow that post up with something a bit more uplifting — Why did you go?

(Assuming you left. A large subsection of cheaters just seem to go “poof!” Abandonment being another topic altogether.)

What was your final a-ha, can’t-take-this-crap-another-minute moment? How did liberation feel?

Today, let’s inspire the other chumps who might not be as far along on the journey — how did it feel to take back your power?

(I may leave this one up until Tuesday, as the weekends tend to be slow. And we’ve got good stories, folks.)

Viva chumps!

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to try and work it out. But then one day I realized that I was getting nowhere and he needed to face his own future without me or the kids. Once we closed on the house in early December, he moved locally and I moved about an hour away… my brother’s home (while he was in FL) and there I stayed for 5 months. The kids were away at school and I could grieve and renew in peace. It was a snowy winter and on those days when the snow made the driving treacherous I stayed with various friends close to my old home. It was then that I really felt my grief lifting. By the time spring rolled around, I was ready to move on and bought my own apartment and with the help of friends, moved in. I haven’t looked back. In my late 50’s, time is too short to wallow in memories and grief. I am happy. I look forward to my new adventures and in a few more weeks it will all be signed and OVER!

    • You are such an inspiration to me. I’m almost 4 yr. d-day and still struggling w stay or leave. My age keeps me thinking I should stay, I have so few friends and no family to lean on at all. I’ll really be on my own after a life time w someone.

      I ‘m hoping and hoping for that “bottom out,” to come soon, because the longer one puts off, the harder it becomes.

      I’m so envious of everyone who finally had enough, and brave enough to do something about it.

      • Jane, I stayed for 7 years after Dday and smoked the hopium pipe daily. I was so stubborn, the only way God could get him away from me was to strike him down dead, which He did. It was about 3 months after he died that I realized how much easier life with without his incessant criticism and anger. Being alone is better than living with his crap….just dont go to Chick FIl A and see all the old couples together, thats depressing.

        I have said to my close friends…if Jesus walked in the room and said that He decided a mistake had been made and they were bringing my husband back to life, I would say “great, his kids and parents will be thrilled!” and then I would google “divorce attorney” . I have dreams where he is alive and Im never happy about it, I just want to get away from him.

        I have gone through bad bouts of being mad at myself for not having to courage to leave him. I gave him WAY WAY too much of my life. Your dirth of friends may be directly related to being married to an abuser…you CAN go out and create a new life for yourself. Im 50 and in 4 months I will marry the love of my life, he’s NICE to me (imagine that !)

        Living through his death has shown me so clearly that life REALLY IS FINITE, you only have x number of years …do you really want to live your finite years like THIS?

        • Amen. Just amen to everything unicornomore says. Life is finite. Nobody deserves to throw their only life down the toilet for these Narcissistic, pathological freaks.

        • “Your dirth of friends may be directly related to being married to an abuser” – totally. He would make people feel uncomfortable, I would have to chat twice as hard to make up, I never felt supported socially. In the early days I would nag him about his ‘shyness’ – it never occurred to me that he was so self absorbed he just could not be bothered with other people.

          • So true, Patsy. My cheater would rudely retreat into his island of self-absorption, rarely engaging or listening to anyone else. He couldn’t be bothered with other people unless they were blindly attentive to one of his tales of self aggrandisement. Needless to say, after awhile our invitations dwindled despite my efforts to be uber likeable.

          • I complained during my marriage about the sad and strange feeling of not having close girlfriends anymore. Now after a year of having kicked the cheater out I am recovering male and female friends from the past and making new ones. Several of my old friends have told me that they couldn´t stand being close to my cheater because of the way he treated me. And my new friends can´t believe what I have been through because they see my energy so fresh and unstressed.

            Please Jane, realize that your cheater IS the cause of you not having close friends, but most importantly, he is the cause of you doubting your self-worth and your fear of being alone. He has manipulated you into believing that you can´t live without him and that life is far better giving him cake than with being on your own. Wake up! You need to get rid of him and not waste a second more of time on a looser cheater. The first step to loving yourself is realizing that you don´t need to be with people that don´t respect you. And he surely doesn´t!

            • Yes!!! Having to work so hard to make others feel comfortable, chat twice as hard! It was mostly with my family though, he was so charming to his friends and family. No one wanted to come to my house anymore but they did not want to hurt my feelings and tell me why until after the divorce.

              So isolating.

              • My first ex labeled all my close girlfriends lesbians to ridicule me and scare me away from them. It didn’t work, cause it was just so stupid. I do have a few lesbian friends, and they are not interested in me sexually. They are pretty awesome friends. All my friends aren’t lesbians or evil feminists. I mean I’m a chump, but I’m not stupid.

                He also tried to isolate me from my family. He was a very mean person. I have always seen through him and my son (with autism) also sees through him. Even his wife sees through him. She knows I have her back if she needs to leave. That’s how bad he is.

      • Jane, I’m 63. Age doesn’t need to be a factor. My parents have passed. I have one sibling whom I rarely see. No kids. I have a few really good, true friends, which makes me rich. You can make friends, even when you are older. In fact, those friends might be part of your life for reasons other than “we lived across the street from each other.”

        But rather than languid in limbo–take baby steps. Pull together financial records. This is important even for happily married people–to know what the exact financial situation is. Make copies of stuff, including anything that confirms the affair. Find a good therapist and spend your time there figuring out what makes you happy. Then start growing whatever that is. And sit down with a good divorce lawyer to learn your options.

        I think it’s just as important for older chumps to make good decisions about the future, because we have less time ahead of us. Why waste a year or a day? Life is so precious. Even if you decide not to leave your H, at least start building a hap pie, less isolated life where you are.

      • Jane, I wonder–if you decided to leave because you know it’s the right thing for YOU, and that you can only control YOU, and that you really DO NEED to control YOU rather than passively wait for things to change all around you, then you could muster the courage? And then I wonder, if you did leave, and PROVE to YOURSELF after all these years that you DO have the ABILITY and RESPONSIBILITY to leave, would it be like throwing open the curtains to a dark room, and letting the light shine in? Would you awaken something in yourself? Would you, after taking a BIG step, finally begin believing in yourself because you EARNED your self respect, and exercised your will? Would YOU GROW STRONGER and stronger with each step? Would you realize, perhaps for the first time in your life, that you can and must do for you? (Who taught you to be so passive? How did they do that? How has it served you? How has it hurt you? How will YOU change it?)

        I wonder if, when you broke away and started making your own decisions (GOD, IT FEELS GREAT–TRUST ME!) that you would suddenly or maybe even slowly begin to realize your own strength, and you would begin sending out a new vibe to others. You would most certainly have the compassion of a formerly-stuck person who’d earned her freedom, and also that wisdom that can only come from doing something that once seemed so hard, and then seemed necessary–vital, even. I wonder if, after that, almost without being aware, you’d approach people–your soon-to-be friends with self-confidence and inner joy and peace and enthusiasm for hard-earned freedom. You might find that you are irrepressible, and grateful. You might realize that you get and give joy when you focus on YOU, and that this is, in fact, your primary responsibility in life. After all, what do YOU have to give if you are nothing? Who are you, Jane, and who do you want to be? Who, besides you, can make that happen? You get one chance at life, Jane. Break away–take that first step–so that you can finally figure yourself out. You owe it to you. You owe it to nobody else but you to be your own #1.

        • If you don’t respect yourself, nobody else will.

          Self respect starts with and comes from willful action that is self-serving and rooted in strong values. What are your values?

      • IMHO, living with a Cheater makes life…unhappy, isolating, unwell, unbalanced. I could never figure out why my life felt like it was passing me by, and that while I had everything I ever wanted there was something missing. My ex very carefully buried me (figuratively!) and it was over many long unhappy years with him. The kids and I however had a great marriage 🙂 . Life is exhausting with the disordered, they are big time disengaged. Looking back I wished I would have left him long before I had children with him.

      • Jane —

        I really felt alone when he sprung all this on me too. I thought all our friends were his friends but once people knew what was happening, the friends came out of the woodwork! Find someone you can confide in and life will start to change. I wish you peace!

      • Jane, you are not getting any younger and the years slip by so fast. It is even more important that you get out now and not waste any more years. I have had women in their 70’s and one in her 80’s that left; if they can do it so can you. I am not trying to talk you into leaving but if you are that unhappy and you wish you had the courage to leave; I am telling you that you CAN do it.
        There is always an excuse why the time isn’t right, you need more money, you have no friends, it’s Christmas, he said he would change (again) I thought of them all and when I left I didn’t have anything, in fact if I would have left the first time I thought about leaving but didn’t because I thought I needed to save some money first I would have been in a lot better shape. The longer I stayed and tried to prepare to leave the more he got off of me, the more he destroyed, (including my self confidence)
        Call a women’s resource centre and join a women’s support group, talk to other women, make friends, find out your options. You don’t have to leave but at least you would know your options and might create a support network and feel more comfortable about leaving because you will know exactly what is available to you.
        Right now you are imagining all the things that could happen, all the bad things and they are holding you back. I am not saying it will be easy but it probably isn’t as bad as you are thinking it will be.
        At least if you educate yourself you are making an educated decision.
        Good luck!! btw I left with nothing except my dog and slept in my truck for a month and I was 51. I won’t say it was easy but now I can say it was well worth the journey to get here.

      • Jane, I would have never left my X and the bottom fell out too many times. Each time it was worse than the last. What makes him happy? Cheating and keeping a loving faithful wife? What makes life unbearable? Being a loving faithful wife to a cheater. Save yourself. There is no loneliness greater than standing in that pile of shit and waiting. The time you waste on him is self defeating. The time you put into yourself is rewarding. I didn’t think I was strong either until I shifted my energy from focusing on the mindfuck to eliminating it for good.

      • Jane,

        I so understand how you feel, but listen to everyone who is telling you to seriously consider leaving. There were three years between D-Day #GodOnlyKnows and the one when I really had no choice but to leave. If I had left the first time I suspected or knew of any cheating, I would have been that much younger than I am now (almost 60) by many years. My age was one reason I feared leaving – that I would spend the rest of my life as a lonely old bag lady while he happy gallivanted with his OW, or when he marries her, his new wife. I didn’t even believe I would be able to go to the grocery store by myself, so tied was I to him.

        You will never be the best you as long as you remain with him. Living with a cheater is consuming and draining – and you don’t realize how much until you are way from them. I will not tell you that it is or has been easy, but I can surely tell you that if you give yourself the gift of leaving, you will one day ask yourself while you stayed so long and why you were so afraid. FEAR – False Expectations Appearing Real.

  • On DDay and for a few days afterwards, I wanted to stay. My ex was lying to me at that point– claiming that nothing happened, etc. We had been together for 17 years and had three kids together, so I was all on board for making it work and hoped that we could work through his online stupidity and get past it.

    As we went through those five days, though, I didn’t see a man who was truly remorseful and wanting to do everything in his power to make things right. He said things like he “wasn’t sure what he wanted” and even claimed that the OW “was also his best friend” (after knowing her for about three months). Looking back, it’s clear to me now that he either wanted to cake eat, or he wanted to scare me into submission: “Be a nice, cooperative little wifey who rugsweeps what I’ve done, or I’m going back to her!” I think he expected me to do all of the apologizing and changing since I clearly drove him to cheat. So, I started to feel in my gut that staying might not be the right decision.

    My ex then made it easy for me to leave. On the fifth day after DDay, my non-true love revealed to me: Yes, he had actually had sex with her several times without protection, and the relationship had gone far past the internet and a one-time, harmless meeting where “nothing happened.” I remember distinctly feeling like I had been punched in the gut by the one person who I thought had my back. At that point, I realized how very little I apparently knew him, and I no longer wished to be married to this stranger who treated our marriage and family so callously and who didn’t care enough about my physical health to put on a condom. I told him then and there that I wanted a divorce, and I never looked back.

    Five days of supposed reconciliation was hell… I can’t imagine trying that on a long-term basis. Leaving was absolutely the best thing for me to do.

    • My ex then made it easy for me to leave. …my non-true love revealed to me: Yes, he had actually had sex with her several times without protection…. I remember distinctly feeling like I had been punched in the gut by the one person who I thought had my back. At that point, I realized how very little I apparently knew him, and I no longer wished to be married to this stranger who treated our marriage and family so callously and who didn’t care enough about my physical health to put on a condom. I told him then and there that I wanted a divorce, and I never looked back.

      Me to a tee. Thanks for this.

      • And, for me, the fucking of a stranger, and the complete disregard my stbx had for me and for our CHILDREN (OUR CHILDREN!!)–this was the Get Out of Jail Free card. You see, I knew before D-day that I’d put up with enough through the years. THIS was just the last straw. He knew it, and I knew it.

        It was jarring and terrifying and exhilarating, like a free-fall through arctic air, but I knew I had my own parachute, I just had to pull the cord.

        He said he’d thought about coming back to the family, and trying to work it out, but realized that I’d never forgive him. He didn’t want to have to live a life of perpetual repentance. And he was right. It was a self-fulfilling prophecy–only a COWARD thinks like this. Only a spineless COWARD wouldn’t fight for his family, on the basis that it will be really hard without a guaranteed outcome. A coward knows that there isn’t any substance within him–nothing for ME to fight for, nothing for ME to admire and honor and respect. He doesn’t even know who he is! And he won’t find it between the legs of a needy woman whose empty praise is eventually just empty praise. So he chose what he thought would be easier–and thus he chose to live as a coward, and that is suffocating, and NOT easy. Every day he wakes up next to the worst mistake of his life, hapless and helpless. And he knows that anyone worthy of any respect has NO respect for him. He is not honorable.

        Truly, I stayed, and HE left. I was relieved. I knew that I could not LOVE someone for whom I had no respect. Feigning love is the death of one’s soul. I valued my SELF.I was able to leave because I have a fairly strong sense of self which was reinforced by separating myself from him. I could leave because I love–my children, my parents, my true friends, my work, my hobbies, my dogs, my future plans. Closing the door behind him has left a lot of room for whom and what I truly love. It has made me a better person.

        I can wish and hope that he will grow and learn, and for his sake and the sake of our children, I can hope that he is growing out of his cowardice. I know he has revived an old hobby–maybe he’s getting really good at it and achieving some self respect from that? Who knows. I only control myself.

        • My turn to quote you:

          “Feigning love is the death of one’s soul.”

          You are spot on. That’s exactly how I felt– if I stayed with him, I’d be slowly but surely dying inside a little more each day. My ex has also continued to prove to me that leaving him was the right choice. His behavior only continues to become more and more selfish and hostile.

        • Miss Sunshine, your comments about cheaters being cowards is spot on. When cheater ex tried to come back a year later (we were already divorced), our son thought he would “fight for us.” Duh. Cheaters always want the easy way out.

          • Throughout my marriage he set it up so I would fight for him. He never fought for me. My reward for tolerating his cheating through forgiveness was always putting us back into the infatuation stage of a narcissistic relationship. And that equaled sex to him. That is where cheaters thrive. But when I expected true intimacy he could never produce. They are incapable. That shoved him into the next phase of withdrawal, insults, and cruelty. Then it’s back to ho shopping. Next right back to disregard. That was his pattern for years. He finally admitted it was always about the thrill of the chase and sex. Miss Sunshine’s words described him perfectly. He would rather funk strangers because it was easy. He is a disordered coward. We often get stuck on the OW thinking they are somehow better, more beautiful. They are NOT. It is so true, “every day he wakes up to the worst mistake of his life”. Thank you for that Miss Sunshine.!! I met her and as horrible as it felt THIS is where his fantasy left him when I detached from him and filed for a divorce. It was a long time coming. The disordered X stated he thinks about me all the time AFTER he got his copy of the divorce settlement from the lawyer I paid. That is where they end up in life waking up next to a sleazy whore!! THAT is the best revenge, WE get chump change and find Tuesday and have the potential for MEh!! Thank you lady with a truck! You opened my eyes wide!!!

        • Print! Miss Sunshine, THIS! “Every day he wakes up to the worst mistake of his life.” Yup, in a nutshell, karma come home to roost.

        • “He doesn’t even know who he is! And he won’t find it between the legs of a needy woman whose empty praise is eventually just empty praise. ” – THIS.

        • “And he won’t find it between the legs of a needy woman whose empty praise is eventually just empty praise. ”

          ^THIS^

        • Miss Sunshine,

          Mine too felt that he would want to come back if I could guarantee that I could forgive him and move on. I knew that I would spend the rest of my life checking up on him and always believing he was lying. The only guarantee that I could give him was that I would never be able to trust him again. So he took the easy way out and bailed. It hurt at the time, but now I am filled with gratitude that was what he decided to do. My life is now what I want it to be. I read so many times during the separation/divorce process that my life would be better once I was through it. It just never really believed what everyone said. Boy, was that a mistake.

          Mine also wakes up to his biggest mistake. He rolls over and sees in her face the disconnection with his children, the loss of his home, destroyed friendships, abandonment by family, huge debt, inability to afford his favorite hobby and most of all embarrassment. That’s a lot of negativity all wrapped up into the person he said was good for him.

          • Yes!! After one MC appointment, mine wrote me a letter saying he wanted the “old Tempest back,” but that if I was going to stay depressed, and jealous, and angry, he could so no alternative but divorce.

            By the time I received the email, I had already filed ; ). He’d been told it takes 2 years to heal from an affair, but I was supposed to be over it in 7 weeks. Jackass.

            • Total douche move by the cheater. I heard that one. “How am I supposed to deal with this affair if you’re just going to be all angry and depressed?” Hey fuck you and get you shit out of the closets.

          • Staying strong, yes she will always remind him of what he lost! X lost a good woman, respect of his children and grandaughter, a nice home and basically all the connections he had to a good life.

          • My ex said the same thing after she was caught having an affair – that she would go to counseling and reconciliation if I promised her that I would forgive her first.

            So cowardly, and that she would give absolutely no effort for what we had for years and the wedding we had not even a year before.

            She also screeched at me: “I won’t apologize for this forever!” This was on the day that I discovered what was going on, yet, when I asked her if she had thought about what would happen if she was caught, she said she had just not thought about it.

        • “Only a spineless COWARD wouldn’t fight for his family, on the basis that it will be really hard without a guaranteed outcome. A coward knows that there isn’t any substance within him–nothing for ME to fight for, nothing for ME to admire and honor and respect.”

          This!! OMG this!! You are so right on Miss Sunshine!

          • My soon to be x says since there’s so guarantee, it’s not worth attempting. Just easier to stay with OW.
            I’m grateful for her taking him off my hands. She can have him.

        • I ,too, feel the cheating was a blessing. I was so sick of walking in a minefield. By the time I figured out she was cheating, the years of abuse had taken quite a toll.

          I

            • Qualifier I selected is June, 3, 2015, in Madison Wisc. Open in Late June in California, I think around Sacramento ( will check).
              I head to Florida next week to start preparing. Minnesota has a site, too, but I opted to get out of town to play as Minnesota is really full of ex tour players and spot is really difficult to get. It will be a long shot in Wisconsin, too, as, typically, there is about one spot at these sites with about 40 guys playing for it. Lots of big time, players , so one needs to get lucky.
              But, it is just a one round qualifier, not like the regular Open, which is 36 holes in a region and then another 36 in a sectional, I think.
              So, if I get hot and can keep nerves down, it is possible. It will be fun to play in the qualifier, anyway. Last time I tried, I had just turned 50. I am 61 now, but play a lot better for some reason. Just cannot hit it much more than 260.
              Thanks for asking. in the unlikely event I were to get this spot, I will advertise for CL. Maybe play alongside Greg Norman, a notorious cheater, himself 🙂

        • “Only a spineless COWARD wouldn’t fight for his family, on the basis that it will be really hard without a guaranteed outcome.”
          My husband said he wanted to work on our marriage, but what he really wanted was for me to forget, and do all the work. His words: “you need to take a leap of faith.” Really?! I told him HE needed to take that leap if he ever wanted our marriage to work. He was never willing to do the work because I couldn’t give him a guarantee that I would stay after he put in all that hard and humiliating work. So be it. I can guarantee you life without me will be 20x the work that getting our marriage back on track would have been.

          • ItsaJourney: “My husband said he wanted to work on our marriage, but what he really wanted was for me to forget, and do all the work……I can guarantee you life without me will be 20x the work that getting our marriage back on track would have been.”

            Your words resonate with me–mine just wanted me to “look forward” and forget about the affair/s. The problem with working on the marriage is…they CAN’T. Working on a marriage is about devoting time and attention and love and resources to another person, about sometimes putting their needs before yours. And most cheaters CAN’T. Their poor characters have become too embedded by adulthood, and the bad behaviors & entitlement snowball as they get away with affairs for weeks, months, and years.

            • Here, here, Tempest. I agree.

              Nothing short of an act of God could turn these disordered humans around to do the work it would take to get their marriage back on track or think of someone other than themselves.

              My eye is becoming more keen to recognizing these mutants.

          • “I can guarantee you life without me will be 20x the work that getting our marriage back on track would have been.”

            Yes, yes, and triple yes.

            Well said, IAJ.

      • anyone worthy of any respect has NO respect for him. He is not honorable.

        Oh my…thank you for that EPIPHANY!!!!!!

  • Ha, ha. I didn’t leave. I chucked him out and changed the locks. Delivered his possessions in black garbage bags to the lobby of his corporate building. Put most of the good stuff in the charity bin first.

    Once a Cheater shows his real stripes, I fall out of love real fast. Life is too short to put up with them.

    Financial? I ALWAYS keep my ducks lined up. Never ever become financially dependent on another person.

    If you can fast forward on the MEH, the good parts come along a lot sooner!!

    • Great lesson for people everywhere: “Financial? I ALWAYS keep my ducks lined up. Never ever become financially dependent on another person.”

      • I completely agree, and will make sure my daughters have some nest egg in my name (so it doesn’t count as community property if they ever divorce). That way, if they ever need money to escape the same kind of situation as me, they have it.

      • Lesson learned there– I will never co-mingle my assets with another person again. I think I can love someone without sharing a bank account with him!

      • No truer words have been spoken. Take it from one who made THAT the second biggest mistake of her life. Marrying my X was the first.

        • I always had my accounts separate after he took off for Florida when I was in my last year of grad school. He was once agIn following his DREAM of living there. He screwed around and I lost my home. I was homeless with two children. I ended up there chump that I am and I found out his expectation was that I support him while he screwed around. Left him there and he returned home 4 months later crying. Fast forward 14 years later and he has the same fantasy with his new ho that he says will support him. Can’t wait for that to play out! Having separate savings, bank accounts, and credit cards helped me survive after he discarded me for the LAST time.

    • Here’s the thing: I was a financial advisor for years while married. Because of that, I got a close look at the way a lot of married couples organise their money. People so often have this lovey dovey approach that “everything should be shared”. Baloney.

      The single most disastrous thing that women do is only have a joint account with their spouse. Yes, even if money is tight at first, ALWAYS keep your own account on the side. No’ it’s not about lack of love or trust, it’s about your future and assurance that you will be OK no matter what happens.

      Assets keep the power in balance. Of course if divorce happens you have to split everything, but at least it stops Cheaters from pissing away YOUR money on the OW, or booze, or porn.

      I remember my MIL clucking at me for even having a job. Good thing I did.

      • Same for both genders. If you are with a Cluster B, which is likely if you marry a cheater, they run your finances into the ground.
        I was working 3 jobs, getting 4 hours o f sleep a night, trying to keep us sfloat.
        men and women need to separate finances .

    • I’m with Marci on this one – “Financial? I ALWAYS keep my ducks lined up. Never ever become financially dependent on another person.”

      More great advice “The single most disastrous thing that women do is only have a joint account with their spouse. Yes, even if money is tight at first, ALWAYS keep your own account on the side. No’ it’s not about lack of love or trust, it’s about your future and assurance that you will be OK no matter what happens.”
      I have always worked and always had my own money – marriage has never changed that. I’m now remarried but still have my own bank account.

      When DD came I served Cheaterpants with papers so fast it made his head spin. The solicitor asked him to leave and after a month he finally went. I’d had 7 months of his nastiness and gaslighting and DD was such a relief, as I knew I wan’t going potty after all.

      Thank goodness I was paying the mortgage! He was spending loads of his money on his AP and getting into debt, He would probably have defaulted on the mortgage to take his floozy to hotels. At least I made sure my credit rating stayed good.

      And thank goodness I didn’t give in to his pestering to have a joint a/c !!

      • Juliet — I love the part about “filed so fast it made his head spin”. I’ll never forget the indignant text I got after delivering cheaterpants’ clothes to his office in garbage bags! The OW sent me an email saying how cruel I was…as if it wasn’t cruel of her to screw my man in my bed in my house while I was away earning a living to support him! I laugh so hard when I think of those two losers … They are a perfect match.

        Strangely enough, I used to wonder if I was cynical and mistrusting to keep my own investments separate. If I hadn’t, I would be neck deep in doodoo now. Oh, and a keylogger on the home computer is good insurance too. Trust em, love em, then verify 🙂

    • So right Marci! All women should preach this to their daughters from the time they are a zygote until they leave the nest. No matter what; keep working; keep your independence; keep your job! NEVER take for granted that your significant other is going to be around to take care of you. Our lives can change with every breath we take.Whether it’s death or divorce.

      My mother never stopped preaching this to my sister and I. We were very lucky because we both grew up in a time that our girlfriends were all being told to “marry a doctor”. My mother’s message? Don’t marry a doctor-become one. If not that, something else that you can make a good living doing!

      I took a little time off to raise my sons, but I pushed hard to get back to work much to the chagrin of the ex. It was one of the most common fights between us in our 27 years. He never had trouble spending my paycheck but god forbid my job would ever get in the way of his good time.

      Thank god for my mother and thank god for listening to that particular piece of advise!

      • I always told my daughter to have a profession – a career that enables her to earn a living whatever her marital situation – she trained as a teacher.
        Her marriage lasted only 6 months before imploding into debt, lies and cheating.
        I provided a roof over her head until she got her breath back. She found a nice little house to rent, met a new man, and can provide for herself and her child on her own income. Anything her ex contributes is a bonus.
        I only wish my mother had given me the same advice..

        • I tell my son to never agree to the stay at home mom deal. If she cheats, you are hosed as regards custody and, potentially, alimony.

  • I had no choice but to leave. I was literally driven out of my house by my own children, at the direction of their father. He’s a coward, and used his own children to do his dirty work. I haven’t seen or spoken to my boys in 18 months, as they refuse to have anything to do with me. I’m so much better off away from that dysfunction and I know once my boys get out from under his influence they will find their way back. I will never give up hope.

    • Wow Jam, you are strong. I will be praying your kids come back to you soon and with clarity and respect.

    • Unbelievable! These entitled fucktards should never be parents. Hugs and one day your kids WILL see the truth. Hard not to after a while. My kids believed their father’s whole never had anything in common spiel up until he ditched them.

  • My rational side says file. Be an example to your children. Stop accepting lies abuse and money being wasted. Stop the cycle. Show your kids to not accept abuse no matter what. Stand up for yourself. Stand up for your kids. The emotional side says stay. There’s so much history. So much future to lose. Graduations, weddings, grand kids, etc. I don’t want to share my kids with an ex. Or an x’s SO. My feet are glued to the ground. I want so badly to detach emotionally and to have the guts to MOVE my feet. And not dance. Which by the way I now realize I have been doing my entire marriage. Does that mean cheating was going on that long? My current guesstimate is at least 15 yrs of cheating.

    • In what way do you think you will lose the future? All of the things will happen whether you divorce or stay married. You already share your kids with the POS. At least you could have a future where you share it with someone who respects you, even if that someone is only you and your kids. Get pissed off on your own behalf, it’s like spraying some WD-40 on your feet Willowchump!

      • YES!!

        And you get to keep the best parts of your “shared” history. However, you get to discard the worst. you may find that your best memories of your history are those where the cheater wasn’t even there–I have come to realize that my ex who was given so much credit for being SUCH a GREAT father really wasn’t there much.

        I get what’s keeping you there–I felt the same way. “What about the grandkids? What about future holidays?” Then I realized that each of my kids is going to one day have their own families, anyway. A functional family will always become blended and messy anyway (in a lovely way!). That understanding helped me a lot to move forward.

        If you wait until you are unemotional before you detach, you will never detach. You’re not a robot. You do have a soul. This is really hard. And you do it anyway. And you reserve your heart and emotion for the people and things in your life that are WORTH it, not for something dead, not for a heartless bastard.

        Fast forward to that wedding you’re thinking about. You have two choices, not three, my dear. This choice–you’re admired as a strong and loving half of a couple–that isn’t on the list. Here’s why: you only have TWO choices. The first is that the wedding guests are whispering to themselves that your “husband” is a jackass cheater, and you are desperately clinging to a dead marriage. Who does he keep texting, anyway? What WAS he doing last night?
        The second is that people are whispering that you two divorced because he’s a cheater. He looks bloated and terrible. You, on the other hand, seem to be doing really well. You look great. You seem really happy. And you ARE happy, because you’re at your kid’s wedding, surrounded by people you love. Everyone seems to be congratulating you. You’ve been up to [pick a few] traveling, sewing, exercising, dating, gardening, knitting, visiting your grandchildren–you are in LOVE with life!

        What’s it going to be?

        • wow for a minute there I thought you were talking to me. I am having an off day. tomorrow is the day he told me he was having an affair. I was emotionally long gone from him anyway but I never thought he would ever do that. Surprise. So it is almost a year and I am still in this house of ours, still working at my piddly job, seeing my daughter and grandkids as much as I can and dreading July 1st when I have to go to my daughters wedding in Cuba and asshole and his sidekick assholette will be there. I tell myself these are all my friends and family and I have done nothing wrong, I can hold my head up high and I am the Mother of the Bride. Where he is yes her father but a cheater and plus he brings her too. Sigh it is constantly on my mind. Some people only have to spend one day with there Ex at there daughter or sons wedding and Im stuck a whole weak on an island with him. plus the divorce isnt final yet. I feel he will look at me and go look she still doesnt have anybody !!!!!!!! No I dont sooo not ready for that. But thks for this post made me think again and change my silly thoughts . xxx

          • minime1224, you don’t have anyone yet because you have an inner life, you don’t need to “find yourself in someone else’s crotch”. You are are rockin, he’s the sad asshole who cannot bear to be alone with himself for a minute. Not even to be respectful to family by leaving his assholette behind on daughters wedding day. You are not stuck with him on that island, you are with your daughter and if it gets too much go get a massage or dance with the cabana boy :). Hold your head up girlfriend!

            • thks Datdamwuf I like that I have an inner life but she talks to much lol Today is one year and he freakn texts me after Ive gone no contact since July 1st. about his fn taxes. But I wrote back. Dont have your forms. That was it hee hee

          • you dont have amyone yet because you are still married. you said your divorce is not final. that is all the ammo you need. he is the low life who didnt honor the marriage vows. you have honesty and intregrity.

            i bet you find he is not going to be happy being there once you spread the word what a piece of shit he is since he brought his homewrecker and your divorce is not final. well now everyone knows why you are divorcing him.

            hit him first with that and tell anyone who has the balls to say anything to you. YOU are right HE is wrong and he is taking proof for everyone to see.

            good luck. have fun blowing him off when he starts sniffing at your skirts. and have a wonderful times without thinking or worrying about him.

            be strong! good luck

            • Yes, you can be proud. I am so impressed that you are willing to do this for your daughter. You are clearly the “mother” of the two women fighting for the baby Solomon wisely decided to devise in half. You are the one who choose your child’s welfare over justice.

              • Thks Mrs Vain you are dead right we are not divorced and he has carried on all year as though we were. I dont think he will be sniffing around me ever. I havent said more than two words to him in the whole year. We have been together for 34 years its as though he never was ever a part of my life, its really weird how that goes after you split and you realise what an ass your best friend turned out to be.

            • thks Jen I would do anything for my daughter and trust me this has been on my mind since last year and its getting closer and closer yuck The only good thing is my daughter unbeknownst to me asked him to stay at another resort. whoot whoot We never talk about him ever. I made sure she knew what he did besides she is 31, and left it at that I never talk about him, and never told her the anxiety I have thinking about being with him and slut for a whole week.

              • To be honest I don’t know how you are going to do that. It sounds incredibly hard, but you certainly have the moral high ground. Are you taking a friend with you? Not a man, I mean a girlfriend for support?

                Hopefully, seeing him with another woman with propel you to meh right away. I mean what kind of jerk does that at his daughters wedding?

            • To be honest, I got the most attention from women when I was not at all interested in a relationship.
              I was happy being alone and had some peace, finally.
              I have been with my beautiful,kind girlfriend for 3 years now. We met when neither of us was looking. She is a chump, too.

    • Here’s the other thing about kids. They are going to grow up. And you are still going to be with a cheater. A wedding? Maybe 2-3 days out of your life. Same with graduations and christening. If you count Christmas, you are talking about maybe 30-40 days out of the next 3650,

      I think your emotional side needs to remember what you wanted for your life and your marriage. Certainly not 15 years of cheating. You are stuck because you imagine the future will be worse than the present. There isn’t a whole lot worse that to be married to someone who is lying, cheating and misusing marital assets

      • That whole last line, LAJ. Life is wasted on crap, and that is all it is with a Cheater. Better choice: Go live a beautiful authentic life. Damn right it’s scary, but there’s a lot to be said about living a great life versus a sad one.

    • Willowchump–do you want your children to see your H’s emotional abuse as acceptable and the norm? They will follow what you model, NOT what you say. Trust me on that. Set an example that good treatment is expected from spouses and get the hell out.

      • Tempest, this is so True. I remember my mother lecturing me about not being concerned about what other people said about me – yet – she live her life worrying about what other people thought of what she said or did. Guess what – I wound up the same way (until recently).

        I am glad that my son didn’t have to endure one. more. day. of my X’s abuse of us. I finally had the guts to stand up and do it. My kid is SO much happier. He might actually make the Honor Roll for the first time since 6th grade (he’s in 9th) – after FAILING two subjects last year because of his asshole father.

    • Well, obviously it’s up to you what sort of compromise you want to make for your life. But I have to echo Dat: Not only does the future come, divorced or together, but what KIND of future? A future of knowing he’s cheating, of feeling cuckolded, of letting that many more years of abuse & neglect take its toll on YOUR life?? No one here is saying it’s easy. But I think a good number of us come out of the darkness and realize there are some awesome experiences awaiting in a cheater-less life.

    • WillowChump, my mother was selfless and sacrificed for her children. It was horrible. I wished she would leave him as I cried myself to sleep. I learned well. I too wasted my life with a disrespectful man. My children begged me to leave him. Do it for your children.

    • 15 years is a long time. That’s basically a double life.

      Someone who can lie for that long is capable of, well, anything. Do not think that if you place nice and R that he will at least hang around. It is really a crap shoot. He could stay married to you his whole life. Or, one day he could just up and disappear with an OW. Or, he could get fired from his job for misconduct. Or….

      My point is people like that are not dependable. He is only thinking of himself. Behavior like that has consequences. Consequences that always come home to roost eventually, and you don’t want to be attached to him when they do. There are plenty of examples of long suffering spouses who lost their homes, savings, have to deal with OC’s, the cheater gets really sick or injured and then needs a nursemaid, gets in trouble with the law or the IRS, gets fired from their job and can’t or won’t get another – and on and on. It’s not a matter of IF staying with a cheater will screw up your life, it’s a matter of WHEN.

    • Willow, mine was never happy. He let me know he told the other woman he was unhappy for the past two years. I looked back at all the family pictures and they made me sick. Living my life with a man that was going through the motions was torture. We can’t get those years back but we can have joy with our children and create authentic memories minus the cheater. Mourning the loss of what it could have been is normal. Staying when it can never be is a huge burden to bear. It is not worth the sacrifice.

  • I went to a lake, a cemetery and my parent’s house.
    (aside from the fact that police escorted me out & he filed… Btw, one shy cop said quietly, “You deserve better.”) I left.
    At the lake, I thought about Ex and it dawned on me that I could not help him, so I stood up, walked to a friend’s house and felt the tug of my whole energy ‘moving on’.
    At a small cemetary, where I went for peace, I silently cried out…” All you dead people, go fix Ex. ” And the sun was shining, and in my mind I heard a chorus, “No way. His heart is dark. We aren’t going there. ” And I kinda was like, “Shit, they heard me.” And yep, Mr. Sparkley is more creepy than a small town graveyard.
    At my parents house, I realized that I am not ever ‘seen’ by Ex. I still wanted to go back, but it wouldn’t have been ‘me’. So I got pulled away from Ex and I left him through choices when those crossroads came up.
    I am glad I am out of there. It would’ve been better to have left sooner. I honestly did my best with what I had. I owe a few friends a big ‘thanks’ for their help in getting me away. And my GLBTQ boss. He was a lion for Christ. 🙂

    • Friend–Zombies would not even eat your X’s heart, it is so rotten.

      And you’re right–he tried to steal “you.” I’m so glad he didn’t.

    • I’m glad you’re out of there, too. I dreamt that your ex was in front of me in the road and I hit him with my car. No remorse. If you ever are tempted by regrets, picture him and OW sitting down to a feast. And we all know what’s on the platter.

  • I knew the very night of D-Day that I had to end it, when he seemed to turn into a completely different person right in front of my eyes; the lying, gaslighting, blameshifting, those things were bad enough. But even after I begged him to do counseling with me, to take some time to figure out what he wanted he responded coldly, in a monotone and said such outrageous, uncaring things …. my survival instinct kicked in despite how heartbroken and hurt I was. When I even said “have your fling but stay with me,” he coldly said, “No Muse, that would never work because I already ran the sharing idea by her and she won’t go for that.” I couldn’t believe my ears. He never ran any Sharing Idea by ME!… I realized then in my gut that he had not one iota of respect for me. That he was NOT the man I thought he was all those years.

    We’d been together 16 years and I’d never suspected cheating till that night though in hindsight I do see there were some warning flags but he hid it very well. I was in shock and traumatized, but the final death knell, when I knew I was going to kick him out and our relationship (we weren’t married “yet” after 16 years of promises), was when he said this:

    “If it doesn’t work out with her, I can totally see us getting back together again.” I responded, “you don’t understand. If you are leaving me for another woman you are NEVER getting back together with me. EVER.”

    I still would have, though, as I was still filled with hopium and still spackling like crazy. Painfully, after 6 mos of doing Pick Me and him saying MORE heartless things to me (just two months from D-Day, in one conversation he said snidely, “You and I are not an ITEM, anymore, Muse.” Item? seriously? after 16 years and shared families, our entire history together, poof, just gone? Not an item? he said, “I don’t know what happened, one minute I was 100% committed to you and then the next minute I was 100% committed to her.”

    When I instituted NC is when I finally saw the light. I stumbled on evidence of his previous affair 5 years before. I went in search of and found evidence of even more affairs. It hit me like a ton of bricks to realize he’d been a serial cheater and had been deceiving me since Day One while living off of my finanical largesse those man years. But that has also been my liberation…. realizing that the way he was that awful DDay night, was the real man. That cold snake is who he really is. Whether it’s a personality disorder or like my kids say, (not his kids, btw) “Mom, he’s just a bad person!” doesn’t matter to me anymore.

    So proud of myself for doing what was right, that awful night in July 2013. It felt like cutting off my own limb to save my life, because I truly loved him, but what I loved was the mask, not the man behind it.

    • Muse, as I read your story my chest began to feel heavy. So familiar. So heartbreaking. And then, to discover his sordid history is the fatal death blow. We’re so devoted that it takes this kind of revelation to finally (and fortunately) move us forward. Glad you made it out.

    • I know you know my story and you’ve shared so much, I feel like I know yours. And I was just thinking of my own “kiss-off line” from XH (“I don’t think I love you the way I should love the woman I’m married to, and I don’t think I ever have, so I don’t think we’re worth trying to save.” — And I was thinking, I should embroider that on a pillow, so I can just punch it every time I think of those words. Forever seared on my cerebral cortex (I’ll bet they show up if I ever need an MRI), I just wish I could scrub them away, especially the “never have” and “not worth saving” bits.
      If I make a pillow for myself, do you want one? (Hugs, Muse — you are mighty.)

      • Thank you, NWBiblio, what a shitty thing for your XH to say. It’s bad enough he said the first part but “I don’t think I ever have” ?? rubbing salt in the wound. My pillow would say “Yes, I’m better off without you!” on one side, and on the other, my own little cognitive restructuring phrase that I made up that often helps me slap myself whenever I get wistful over “good” times (the lulls between walking on eggshells w/him).. “Don’t be bitter, be better!” because honestly, I know, and the night I told him he had to leave our home, that I am thousands of times a better person.

      • Don’t let that stay in your mind NWB, it’s him, not you. My ex told the therapist “I never loved her, I just needed a safe place to stay”. Fuck em all.

      • NWBiblio, I know exactly how you feel with those words seared into your brain. What’s seared into my mind is what my ex said as he was looking out the window on the door he was getting ready to walk out. He said “When I look in my future, you’re not in it.” That scene has played over and over in my mind and traumatized me again and again. Finally I decided to recreate the scene in my mind. Now both of my grandmothers (who are no longer here) are standing on either side of me as he says this. As he goes out the door to leave my grandmother who was strong after being abandoned with 5 kids says “You will survive this.” The other grandmother who was so loving says “You are loved.” For some reason recreating this scene in my mind helps me to get over the trauma of what he said. Maybe something like that could help you too.

      • NWBiblio

        Yes, but he is the real loser because he chose to waste his time by staying in a relationship he did not want to be in. You were in a relationship that you thought was real and therefore your time at that moment was not being wasted.

        We all come out of these things realizing how precious time is, but we were fooled, They on the other hand were the orchestrators of the situation and could have been doing something else with their lives.

        These things really are that petty and are incapable of thinking of the future, and only their wants and needs in the present.

        • WOWOW!!! I know this is a late post. But, as newbies to this situation, I am reading the archive as I’m sure other newbies will, too. I LOVE it- “the loser because he chose to waste his time by staying in a relationship he did not want to be in. You were in a relationship that you thought was real and therefor your time at the moment was not being wasted!!!” Such strength I gathered from you post, ty, ty, ty!

  • Unfortunately I had one of those “poof” abandonment spouses. As soon as she could move to be with him, she left and I haven’t heard a thing since. Probably for the better, but it never gave me the chance to finally decide. I will never have closure and will always doubt myself. It’s an enormous hit to my self esteem and confidence.

    • Marked, you can decide she did you a favor and you can decide to work on trusting yourself again. It’s hard and I’m not all the way there but it can be done. Jedi Hugs dude!

      • Marked711….Mine poofed too. And get this. Five months before he did he insisted we renew our wedding vows on our anniversary. He went from 100% committed to me to 100% committed to her within 24 hours. That’s how that guy rolled. Unfortunately I found out about his history AFTER we got married. He left a lot of shit out. But his new Schmoopie….she’s different. She’s SPECIAL. She’s the Real Deal this time. She’s convinced she got her man.

        • ha ha, my cheater actually SAID that to me… “I don’t know what happened! I went from 100% committed to you to 100$ committed to her in five minutes!” I said, “that defies the meaning of the word “committed.” But this was from the same man who described himself as “fiercely loyal” to me, and said his activities with OW consisted of him “defending us against her.” Yup.

    • Marked, the “discard” is very hard to recover from. I hope you are doing the reading here about narcissism (see Dr. Simon). There are also several good sites that explain the narcissist devalue and discard moves. It helped me to understand that this happens to other people and has little to do with us, the discarded. I know that it’s helped me regain my confidence. although I’m not ready yet to think about another relationship.

      • Marked711, Mine was a “poof” too. It’s been 5 years & I know I’ll never “get over” the abandonment. He left me financially ok in retirement – 15-20 years from now. Went right back to school to became a paralegal thinking it was the right move financially. So far I haven’t been able to find the job that’ll help me be secure. My self-esteem was been permanently damaged as well.

        • Hurt1. I too am struggling to find a full time job with benefits. I get called for interviews all the time! Stay positive though and do what you love. I recognize when I don’t get a job it IS a blessing in disguise. I believe my gifts will find a home I just need to keep putting myself out there! There’s a reason people who win awards thank those who said, “You will never do this!”

      • I wonder sometimes if it’d been better for XH to do the “poof” thing too. But then, I realize, the way he made me feel leading up to the finale—it wouldn’t have mattered. He successfully destroyed something so intimate in my nature–the ability to trust–whether he died or he poofed or he had to be carted off by the police—it wouldn’t have mattered.

        Hurt1, hang in there. The economy is pretty bad. I’ve come to the conclusion that sometimes, when you don’t get that job you think you absolutely want or the house/apartment that you think you need or the relationship you really want—there’s a reason.

        You might not ever know why, but when something is just SO FUCKING HARD—you have to fight to get everything that goes along with it and to keep it you have to keep eating shit sandwiches—that is a clear sign that this thing isn’t worth it.

        Life isn’t supposed to be that hard. When it is—there is something wrong. Some things you can change, some things you can’t. I am beginning to believe the whole serenity prayer these days—please help me change the things I can change and cut the bad parts loose.

        • I wish mine would have died when he had the chance. Just think….I would have been the grieving widow and got lots of support and the life insurance!!! Yeah, the life insurance! My house would be paid for and I’d be set for life.I could have a little shrine in the back yard to old St. What’s His Face. Haha!~

          • That was the plan – for him to die first. The pre mid-life crisis husband set up everything financially so I wouldn’t have to sell our home until I was ready. I could still work if I wanted but money would not be a worry. He was so concerned for me.

            Well, I got a fate worse than death. He took away the only family (his) I’d known for years (my parents are deceased & my brother lives on Guam), he took away the financial security (I’ll be ok for retirement 20 years from now) & he took away my self-esteem (for now.) 5 years after dday I have to sell my paid-off home as I can’t afford it on my salary. The real heartbreak is that I don’t know where I’ll go. He took away the future of us.

    • Me, too. Runaway Husband, essentially. The book (“Runaway Husbands” by Vikki Stark, applies to wives, as well) has been very helpful in getting past the shock of abandonment. My own story has a bit of a twist (see below), so I did actually leave, just to get back SOME of the power he took from me.

      My therapist asked me the other day if I would take him back if he came back to me now. (It’s been almost a year.) I asked, “What does it matter? He’s not coming back.” And he said it helps to reframe the idea in your mind that the choice is still somewhat yours (restoring power & control). I found I was unable to easily shout out “Hell NO!” like I wanted to, but I had to admit (to myself mostly) that, knowing what I know now — about his lack of accountability, his narcissism, how easily he threw away 16 years of marriage… No, he’s not a person of quality, and I do deserve better. And, sadly, his absence *IS* better.

      You’ll realize the same, eventually.

      • NWBiblio, you’ll come to a point where not only will that NO come spilling out but you will involuntarily look like you are about to throw up. When my therapist asked me that question and saw my reaction, she smiled and knew I would never take cheater back.

      • NWBiblio, I think my therapist feared I would take him back. He repeatedly said some day he will come knocking at your door. It really freaked me out. Finally I asked him if I should buy a gun. He doesn’t ask anymore.

        • Thanks, guys. I *WAS* there, “No WAY would I every take him back!” but I’ve backslid a bit, reconsidered my part in the whole thing, which just led to more self-induced mindfuckery. Guilty. The whole things is just such a fucking shame, y’know? His behavior, my self-punishment, all those years thinking I meant as much to him as he did to me but he just “couldn’t show it,” the fact that I found all you guys who’ve gone through similar if not the exact same thing (like it’s so common, and I just never knew it would show up on my own doorstep in this form)….

          These days I just shake my head and leave it behind. But that sort of question just makes me sad (not yet jubilant, CL, sorry) that the answer is, “No, I wouldn’t.” Not so much sad for me, for the loss of “us” but … just the whole damn business.

          • It helps to look beyond the euphoric “I won the pick-me” and now we can get back to normal version of what having him back would really involve.
            Just think, he is back and all yours. OW is gone and the drama is over. Maybe your kids are grown so its just him and you. Your dream came true.
            How long before it turns sour – no trust – lots of resentment – questions that will not go away – the problems that were there before all this – after a while the old life no longer exists anyway.
            This familiar looking stranger and you…..

          • NW, we all have choices. Cheaters make that choice. They blame. Your role in their script is to accept the responsibility for their actions. They get no consequences. Your part in this? It’s all on the cheater. Not you. Hold your head high.

  • 8 months after 2nd Dday, which was only 6 weeks from the first, I decided that I did not like my new role as marriage police. I slowly began to emerge from the madness. I was tired of driving to and from work silently crying. I was beginning to look closely at the years spent in misery. Memories of the name calling, the mental abuse, the times it turned physical; my mind refused to let them be buried anymore. The memories not only refused to be silenced, they were screaming to be heard. Then on a cold January day I awoke and said enough. I pulled up my big girl panties and filed. May will be year since the finalization of my divorce. It’s been a year of self discovery, of reconnecting with old friends, of finding peace. There are days I am angry, sad and disgusted at how long I tolerated the mistreatment. At how weak I had been. But I am beginning to forgive myself for allowing it to happen. At age 45, I know that I am at my prime and I have vowed to make the most of the now and forget about my wasted 30’s. I am keeping my eyes on Tuesday and feel I am almost there.

    • Blindsided, you are mighty. And wise. Wise to realize what it took me too long to realize, that I too was tired of being sad & worried about our marriage all the time. — May will also be a year for me, so I’m looking forward to the passage of this first year of anniversaries (my wedding anniversary would’ve been two days ago — I filled the day with plans with friends, and it sped by just fine).

      Here’s to a better life, fewer tears.

    • Blindsided, emerging from the madness is a perfect way to describe the moment you realize the abuse. It took a therapist to make this happen for me. I am still recalling moments of his disturbing behavior, verbal abuse, and mental torture. Toward Tuesday!

  • I committed to R but with a timeline of my youngest’s high school graduation. In my gut I knew I’d never get past the infidelity completely but did the ‘don’t look back & regret not trying’. So that was my deadline & despite an honest attempt at R I also worked on plan B. The ex trickle-truthed his way thru the first months of R, I kept uncovering more, he kept lying & manipulating his counselor for ‘atta boys’ then holding them up against opinions from my counselor & our marriage counselor that were less favorable.
    I never felt R for him was anything more than trying to save face/damage control. Never felt he loved me & in fact it was clear he felt very adversarial toward me (I outsmarted him & found out his shit so *I* must be the bad guy).
    The last straw came when 3 of four counselors suggested he had some tendencies of sex addiction & recommended specialized therapy, but his counselor (who was lied to) didn’t.
    The ex appointed himself the expert, read up on the subject then diagnosed ME as the sex addict, not him.
    I’d been feeling the D-word on my lips for several months but that was the Aha! moment I spit it out & have never looked back since.

  • After March DDay Saddam lied and gaslighted me quite well, until July 3 when he sat on my porch at the end of a nice “date”, I asked if he’d go to fireworks with me the next evening. He proceeded to tell me a story about going to a friends a couple hours away, and when I offered to go with he got more elaborate about how I would hate the barbeque cos it was an AA thing, etc, etc. And eventually with sad sack eyes, how he wasn’t sure he’d be able to go at all with his anxiety… I also asked him point blank if he was still seeing OW, he said “I haven’t seen her” I accepted all of this.

    But next afternoon I realized just how fucked up that little story was, I kept hearing my fathers voice poking at me. That voice kept saying, it’s bullshit, go look. So I drove to the OW’s house for the first (and last) time, his car was parked there. No one home, so kernel of truth, he was going to a barbeque, the rest was bullshit.

    By the time I got home I was done, I wrote him an email “My Dad is seldom wrong, mores the pity, I’ll get a lawyer next week so we can start legal separation”. He sent me a whole lot of pity me shit and then blame shifting shit, even called me a stalker. When all that didn’t work, he insisted upon meeting me the following Saturday to talk about us and made the same shit promises in the email, almost verbatim, as he had before.

    So he came over, sat on the porch and I told him we were divorcing and he kept arguing and telling me lies and making excuses. The most telling one was this “I said I hadn’t seen OW, I didn’t say I wasn’t going to see her”. See, he didn’t exactly lie… what bullshit. I just kept saying I still loved who he had been, but I wasn’t interested in who he was now, we are divorcing. After a while he went in the living room and just sat there for an hour. I finally told him to leave, go to his apartment (the one he got so he could (work on himself, yeah right).

    From that moment, I no longer wanted Saddam in my life. I did not love him any longer, he had shown me who he was for 3 months, all the love was burned out of me. That evening I was so at peace, my mind was clear, the clamor and jangle of conflicting desires was simply gone. Liberation felt like peach and contentment, a feeling of release as I began drifting off to sleep.

    That should have been the end, nothing left but sorting out the financials and divorcing. Instead he attacked me that night (as I wrote in the “Why did you Stay” comments). I spent 8 months in hell with the sick motherfucker before I got away. Instead of mourning the end of a long relationship, I ended up with PTSD and depression. I ended up mourning the loss of my greatest strengths, among those; optimism and trust in people, trust in myself most of all. I lost a naivete that was essential to my soul. I have regained some peace and some joy, I’m working on the rest.

    I take my que from the hummingbirds, they migrate over 2000 miles – 500 nonstop over the Gulf of Mexico to get to my yard. Those are some tough bad ass birds, even they can use a little help now and then. Time to go put out the feeders for the first ones to arrive. Jedi Peace ya’ll!

    • Dat,
      Thanks for sharing. I could relate to so much of your experience, especially in terms of those lies accompanied by such fake sorrow and anxiety…Love the words of your dad. My dad said, “dust that motherfucker off your shoulders and don’t look back.” I’m NC now, and it’s tough each day.

      Regarding hummingbirds, it is said that they carry the souls of our ancestors.

      • Now you made me tear up. If they do malbecrioja then I’ll bet the hummer that always shows up early and leaves late is carrying my Dad’s soul. He was a bad ass too. Jedi Hugs!

    • “I said I hadn’t seen OW, I didn’t say I wasn’t going to see her” — It never ceases to amaze me the slimy juvenile shit that comes out of cheaters’ mouths. As if this is some “game” with “rules” that can be gotten around! Jesus, it’s not a fucking logic class, it’s a marriage!

      Good riddance to bad rubbish, Dat. You are super-mighty!

      • It truly is amazing “the slimy juvenile shit that comes out of cheaters’ mouths.” Dead on description NWBiblio….Mine told me that he never TOLD her that he loved her. When I called him out on the fact I have copies of the emails and texts where he clearly he said that he loved her, he stated he just TEXTED that he did because she liked to “play” that way and that texting and telling someone face to face is completely different. He said she knew that he did not love her, and that he loved his wife. Seriously? Where do they pull this crap from? I’ve worked with felons for over twenty years and they often lie just about every time they report to me, mainly to keep their freedom, but my ex’s lies were so far off the chart I seriously thought he was speaking to me in tongues. It’s always a play on the EXACT words. You could be standing in the pouring rain with them and they would say the sky is sunny and blue. SMH….

        • Yes. My H would tell me ‘there is no one else’. Because he had broken up with her the day before, because his family were coming, and therefore he was telling me the truth that there is no one else.
          You cannot deal or live with that kind of thinking.

    • “That evening I was so at peace, my mind was clear, the clamor and jangle of conflicting desires was simply gone. Liberation felt like peach and contentment, a feeling of release as I began drifting off to sleep.”

      Very well said, Dat. This describes exactly the way I felt when I knew that divorce was the only way forward. Such relief! I too didn’t realize the long odyssey facing me before I’d actually make it to being truly divorced (about 50 days to finalization now!). Though I didn’t have to go through the same level of trauma you were dragged through, right after I knew the marriage was over, I picked up a Darth Vader key chain to keep as a talisman to see me through the process. I wanted something to remind me that I needed to be powerful, and that I should try not to worry about having to be too nice. I’d been “nice” for too long.

      I love how you took inspiration from the hummingbirds. I think all of us chumps need some sort of inspiration or talisman as we wade through the crap!

  • I just got fed up with him threatening to file for divorce (I didn’t discover his secret cheater life until four months later) and did it myself. He was pissed I hired an attorney, thinking I’d just take whatever he deigned to give me after 20 years of marriage.

    He used the fact that I filed first against me with our kids, but it backfired on him when they discovered he was an epic liar and had a bimbo on the side (and had stolen money from our family. They don’t blame me now.

    I’ll never regret pulling the trigger on our toxic marriage.

      • DM, finding out about his other life gave me twisted validation as to why he treated me so dismissively and callously for years. I was nothing more than the hired help to him all along. Discovering his affair and theft of our family funds only fueled my resolve to defend myself and my sons against such a hateful and selfish man.

        We’re doing so much better without him.

          • I kicked my husband out of the house after reading that book. It clicked for me too. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I can still see our kids’ faces when we told them dad was moving out. Their hearts were broken and they didn’t understand. I wished I would have made my husband tell them why he had to leave that night. I did the best I could at the time. I told my kids everything a few months later which helped them have some peace. Now they want nothing to do with him. They don’t want to live in the dark with him. Dr. David Clarke’s book just further confirmed that making him leave was the right thing to do. Thanks for that recommendation on your site DM.

  • I walked into my favorite coffeeshop one morning and the thought came: i wonder if he is still cheating? My gut immediately said YES. then i asked myself: how sure am I about this? And again, in a split second i thought: 110%. Of course he will deny it. So my next thought was this one: who will i trust to tell the truth? My heart or his mouth?

    In that moment i had a BIG AHA moment. A week later i told him i dont think the cheating stopped (after 5 DDs) and i am done. He moved out of my room and a month later out of the home. He did not protest too much. He found someone on plenty of fish even “before” he moved out but i am sure -TRUST YOUR HEART NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY!!! – they were having an affair long before that. That’s why he left so easily.

    This man is a serial cheather. Dozens and dozens of hookups over 17 years. And NOW he founf someone he wants to be monogamous with. Rolls eyes.

    Lose a cheater GAIN A LIFE!!!!! i tell people i am seperated and they would always say: i am so sorry. Then i would tell them: no, it’s cause for celebration.

    • Hahaha…my ex, at one point, liked to state very adamantly ‘I’ve changed!’. But of course you have, sweetness. Despite the fact that final OW was just one of several when I discovered your cheating you suddenly are madly in love and will never, ever cheat on that sweet young thang.

      Give me a break. The night I found out he was making plans to see a different woman from the sweet young thang he ended up with.

      While I know I shouldn’t care I look forward to the day she discovers he’s cheating, mainly because she was and remains an asshole towards me.

  • I’m not even sure in hindsight what was the last straw…there were so many of them!

    I lost track of the OW, there were so many that I didn’t even bother to add new ones to my notebook (yes I kept a notebook with OWs’ phone numbers and other investigative info). I gave up trying to follow the money that wasn’t coming into our household.

    I guess I had just grown sick of all the drama he brought into my life. I like peace. I don’t like surprises like, hang up phone calls, missing money that causes late bills, tax garnishments, strange emails, shit on my sheets and on an on.

    I think the final straw that made me leave right then was when I discovered he had been altering his electronic paystubs, and had been doing so our entire marriage. He finally got sloppy and copied and pasted the same line twice and it hit me in the face. When I confronted him he just shrugged and offered a very lukewarm “oh, I’m sorry, you know I don’t like to talk about money. I was just trying to avoid you nagging me about stuff”. I wasn’t even mad really. Just tired. I realized that I couldn’t live with him one more second. No more planning. No more getting my ducks in a row. Living with someone that deceitful I would never be free if I kept “waiting and planning for the right time”. So I just got an apartment and left.

    I left while he was at work. I left all the furniture and stuff. I took only my car, clothes, cat, my computers and a few personal knick knacks. I left him in the underwater house he wanted to buy with all the nice furniture that I bought on my credit cards, and all the household fixings (linen, cookware, etc). I didn’t care.

    My life is once again peaceful.

    I can pay my bills easily because my income is predictable. No unexplained “shortfalls”. The IRS doesn’t bother me. Noone calls my home and hangs up. No more wasted time investigating whores or going through cell phone bills, credit card statements and such. My sheets and bathroom are always clean. My computer is free from virus and popups because I don’t surf porn. And when I go on vacation, I don’t have to play Captain Cheer to anybody’s Mr. Grumpy Complainer Pants. Oh, and my cat very much enjoys not being kicked or shoved.

    I should’ve left sooner.

    • Captain Cheer to Mr. Grumpy Complainer Pants – ding ding ding!

      When I look back now I realise that so many of our holidays were me jumping through hoops to think up fun things for everyone to do and in the end I would get pissed off and fed up and just grumpy as fuck, because I could not figure out why none of my efforts were appreciated or even noticed.

      Now, when I go on holiday with the kids we have a blast. Loads of laughs, few arguments (some, because they’re stroppy teens, but normal stuff), and we all have ideas about what we want to do.

      • Same here! Going anywhere with the ex was like hanging out with Debbie Downer, and what’s most embarrassing is that other people noticed it but were too nice to say anything to me about it. I love that I can go somewhere with my kids, and we just have a good time– I don’t have to worry that my fourth “kid” is bored or unhappy.

          • I’m triggering from this line of comments. I took X, daughter and daughter’s friend to an outdoor rendition of “The Tempest” last June. X spend the ENTIRE play (which I paid for) sulking and giving me the silent treatment because he was worried the two 13-year olds would misbehave. THEY were perfectly fine and attentive. Guess who ruined the evening instead.

            And I’m curious–do those of you who had serial cheaters like me think his a**hole behavior (which popped up sporadically throughout last summer) is a good indicator that he was on to another affair? It just struck me yesterday that the multiple devaluing-behaviors and silent treatments from last summer were similar to those I experienced when he had the affair from 8 years ago that I knew about.

            • Quote: And I’m curious–do those of you who had serial cheaters like me think his a**hole behavior (which popped up sporadically throughout last summer) is a good indicator that he was on to another affair? /quote

              Yes. This is one of the big indicators: the betrayed spouse cannot do anything right. Why? Because you’re not the affair partner. You have been measured and found lacking in their tiny minds. Trust me, you really aren’t.

            • Tempest, I think you’re bang-on with this (in that he was probably banging someone). Your post made me remember an eerily similar experience I had, the spring before I left my ex (this is pre-Dday). There was a fundraiser (one of many) at a local restaurant, and everyone in our blended family was supposed to be going. A few days before, my ex started picking fights with me about whether or not my kids should go, as they didn’t particularly like the cuisine at this restaurant. He wouldn’t let up on it and got actually pretty nasty (or I guess I should say nastier, since he had been horrible to me for months by that point). I kept saying, “It’s not about the food; it’s about showing solidarity as a family,” knowing that of course my girls wouldn’t show up and start making a fuss about the food or anything else for that matter. In fact at the fundraiser their behaviour was impeccable, which is more than I can say about my ex. Later I found out that the reason he made such a big deal about it was that the event was sold out, and he had been hoping to take the tickets from my girls and give them to Schmoopie and her kids.

              Nice, hey?

              • FMT–yes, it is so lovely when they not only treat us badly while already treating us badly, but then try to rob their own children to benefit the affair partner. More evidence that we are well rid of them.

          • Donna, it’s funny when you realise that he was the one dragging everyone down and now that he’s no longer coming along we have a fabulous time.

      • My ex-wife was also a grumpy twat when we did things I wanted to do.

        I realize now that it was because she, like all cheaters, was a spoiled, little brat, and that this was a way to begin to isolate and control me because I eventually gave up on doing things I wanted and let her plan all of our activities and isolate me from my awesome friends.

        I am still trying to forgive myself for this and I get very upset but I can say that I truly loved her, but no relationship requires this much sacrifice.

  • I sometimes think I have read too many books, seen too many movies and watch too much TV. I love a logical plot and a resolution within a reasonable amount of time. I hate sloppy narrative and illogical thinking. So, all this means I prefer the world that exists inside my head to the real world that exists outside of my mind’s control. I believe all this contributes to my chumpiness.

    Part of the development of character comes from seeing examples of it displayed by others. Unfortunately, we only see a moment in time, a snapshot of life if you will, where the character is displayed at that moment. Our hero’s are hero’s because we know so little about them. We do not live with them and do their laundry and endure their bathroom habits, or have to listen to them ranting about a sports event, or the fact that we somehow allowed the pantry to run out of it’s supply of popcorn. Therefore, we develop this ideal of a spouse — in our minds– who never really existed in the first place. When we meet and lust and decide to mate for life, we are doing so based on data gathered in a relatively short amount of time. We are normally on our best behavior when we are “dating”. We gloss over problems,(red flags), because we set our sights on the big picture — the life together in the long run. We are foolish. With the divorce rate over 50% for first timers and higher than that for second or more timers, we need to change the way we choose domestic partners.

    I know that this is not romantic. I would prefer romance. Realistically, I do not expect it, and I have come to believe that real romance can only develop over time, after the glow of lust has worn off, and after you have discovered what living with another person really entails. True love is not about sex and entitlement. True love is being able to trust and depend on a spouse to do the things necessary for your survival as a couple. True love takes out the trash without being asked, and true love anticipates an impending argument over nonsense and exits to another part of the house before those words which can never be taken back fly out of your mouth. True love has very high standards which are difficult to uphold, and evidently is beyond the abilities of the majority of the population. I still believe it exists, even though I have not personally seen it work — thus I am probably a perpetual chump — but I will certainly be much more cautious if I ever enter into another potentially long term relationship. I am a chump, but I am NOT stupid, and I have the ability to learn from my mistakes, and have worked on my own character flaws. I can change myself, and have. I am much more cynical about others who SAY they have changed — I have to see the proof myself to believe that.

    So — the reason I stayed was that I had to educate myself and work on myself until I was strong enough to leave. I had to get my ducks in a row, and protect myself as much as possible. Mostly, I had to give up on the possibility that the relationship could be redeemed. I had to accept the evidence that I had married a mirage. I had to accept the fact that I was never a real person to him, but just another source of income, convenience, and was key to the mask of normalcy that he wanted to show the world at large. I never really knew the entity beneath the mask, the portion that I saw when the mask slipped was enough to cure any delusions I had harbored, and kill any hope which still existed. Once I realized and evaluated and processed all that information, I had no choice but to leave. Living with that knowledge was beyond my ability to spackle. Quite simply, I had had enough.

    • Yes: “I had to accept the fact that I was never a real person to him, but just another source of income, convenience, and was key to the mask of normalcy that he wanted to show the world at large. I never really knew the entity beneath the mask, the portion that I saw when the mask slipped was enough to cure any delusions I had harbored, and kill any hope which still existed. Once I realized and evaluated and processed all that information, I had no choice but to leave.”

      Well stated.

    • “I had to accept the fact that I was never a real person to him” Your post reminds me of another “ah hah” moment. In his emails he called the OW “hon”. That is what he called me, That is when I realized my ex never called me by my name/ I could not remember the last time he’d said, or even written, my name. I even searched my years of emails from him, looked at old birthday, and other cards he’d given me. The envelopes had no name at all, the cards were all addressed to “hon”. I’m not “hon”, I have a name and an identity, I am not interchangeable.

      • “I was never a real person to him” yes, this. I was a scapegoat and quite an effective one at that. You cannot love what or whom you blame. I was simply the receptacle for his angst.

      • I noticed this too. He NEVER called me by my name, which made it very awkward to talk to him once the shit hit the fan bc he would start with, “Babe…” and then scramble to correct himself.

        Now he deliberately uses my name and does it in such a way that I can tell he thinks he’s bothering me, lol.

        In my new relationship, I call my boyfriend by his name and he calls me by my name for the most part. A pet name here or there is cool with me, but if it’s all you ever call the person, that makes me wonder about your sincerity and the authenticity of the relationship altogether.

    • Beautifully written.

      I, at 31, and coming up on six months (April 1st) since my divorce, still believe in true love, romance and human decency.

      However, I think you addressed a common trait in chumps – we marry based on potential. This begins the spackling process and puts the onus of the relationship on us because we are working hard and building for a future that we hold so dear, and this allow the cheater to sit back and go along with the ride.

      The next relationship I have will be a mature, adult one, where I am not attempting to control her through co-dependent kindness, and instead realize I can only control myself.

      I also intend to keep my mouth shut and observe the red flags and then act accordingly, and ask probing questions such as: “Tell me, what do you think about Eat, Pray, Love?”

  • I had an argument with him about why *I* got married, what my idea of marriage was. It lasted 10 minutes. I said that I wanted someone I could love, trust and grow old with, with a modicum of happiness in there somewhere—and I expected that my spouse would BE trustworthy and lovable—and love/trust me in return.

    He said, “You want unconditional trust? (I guess I kinda nodded here) Then get a dog.”

    Even oblique death threats didn’t knock the wind out of me as much as that statement. I don’t know why. So, a few weeks later, I went to the pound and adopted. When I saw how cruel and mean XH was–especially when everyone was playing and happy with the new pup—I knew. Nothing was going to change this person, his aggravation at anything spontaneous with me was something I had grown accustomed to—but to act like that towards an innocent puppy?

    He’s gone, but we still have the dog—which has brought nothing but kindness, love, trust and faithfulness to this house.

    • Good for you, Sphinx! The dog is a better “human” than the x could ever even dream of being.

    • Imagine–he knew he couldn’t provided the kindness, love, trust and faithfulness that the dog does.

      • LAJ, after reading my reply and then all of the other responses here—I thought, “How stupid you are, Sphinx. These good people had some of the most traumatic ‘ah ha’ moments, and here you are talking about a dog.”

        It’s what finally did it, though. Cheating, porn, drugs and alcohol, constant threats to our safety—and I took all of that and thought I could fix it or at least keep me and my kids “safe” from it. Watching him jealous and angry at a PUPPY brought a clarity of the absolute ridiculousness of him and his whole schtick.

        I’ve had a nasty few days–and I didn’t want to talk about the more sinister and disgusting things Asshole did to me and the kids. It was my “ah ha” moment, but so much bullshit preceded it, that it was just the straw that broke the back of my marriage.

        Thanks for not laughing or saying how stupid. I know you guys would never say that—and that’s what’s so amazing about CN—I can say the stupidest things and not be put down about it.

        If anybody doubts—I would advise adopting a pet. They lower blood pressure and all that—yeah—but it’s the faithfulness, the honesty–dogs never lie. They love with their whole being. Our dog has brought stability and love back into a situation where lies and deceit and anger and anguish were the daily menu.

        • Sphinx, in my book mistreating a puppy is the lowest of the low. Nothins stupid about figuring that out. I think you were very wise….Hugs!!

        • Hey Sphinx Moth, talking about your dog isn’t stupid. As Tempest pointed out the other day, you can tell a lot about people by how they treat animals. We might be able to make excuses for our cheaters in how they treat us, and even our kids, but pets are completely dependent on us. That’s one hell of a litmus test!

          I’ve never shared this little gem before, but my ex used to love making really outrageous statements for the shock value. Think Eddie Murphy in Delirious. “Look how clever and far-out I am!” A couple of times he joked about his cat, and how he liked to put cat food on his private parts when nobody else was home and then let the cat lick it off. I think about this now and am sickened. Who the hell makes a “joke” like that other than a profoundly disturbed person?

        • I think that often cheaters reveal the truth when they think they are being clever or superior. He thought he was insulting you by saying only an animal could give and receive trust from you; what he was revealing was his own inability to trust and give trust. And I’m writing this with a very loving cat trying to crawl onto my shoulder. Animals do indeed model that unconditional love we all long for, and how people treat animals speaks volumes about their character. I’m glad I didn’t say anything stupid about your post. It touched my heart, for sure.

        • SphinxMoth, we do become so accustomed to their disturbing abuse as it so naturally flows towards a loving spouse. When they aim and fire it at the helpless and weak it is striking and observable. A puppy? An eye opener. X’asshole humiliated a homeless young man. It was gross and sick. These are such warning signs as they reveal the truth.

          • I found it so strange that my x was actually jealous of the attention I gave to my dog early in our relationship. Fast forward twenty years and learning a wealth of information about the disordered and I finally get it. At the time I kind of wished I had the type of guy who loved animals as I did. Maybe some day, maybe not. I have them and lots of times that’s enough. Either way it will be very telling if I meet someone whether they are a compassionate person or not in how they treat animals or even how they react to how I treat animals.

            • or jealous of his own children!! I have stories galore about mine behaving badly when the kids got the attention instead of him. My favorite was his claim that the marriage went bad because I was always doing things “for other people.” WTF–for about a decade, the only thing I did was my job & childcare.

              My therapist said, “He was right–you were doing things for *other* people–the children, and not him.”

              • So true Tempest about the children. After my then young daughter and he would be in a fight (in the way siblings fight since he turned out to be my second child, ugh) he would say I was taking her side and undermining him, favoring her etc. when there was no way I could support him in most of his actions. She was way smarter than him emotionally as a ten or eleven year old and now I see how hard that hard to be for her to have to fight with a disordered man who was supposed to act like a father instead of a petulant child. I did support her but it wasn’t until he left and after I tried to figure it all out that I could really see how bad that had to be for her. There are still reverberations in her life (two short term teen relationships with narcissistic types) that I’m trying to circumvent and support her through the best I can with what I’ve learned. Is she just repeating what she knows? I keep trying to help her see things as they should be even though the teen years are so narcissistic to begin with.

        • Sphinx

          No one here would laugh at you. I read every post and pretty much every comment dating back to 2012 until I knew I would be safe to share.

          And I have been.

          I am sorry about your crappy days. I still get very angry sometimes also. I usually try to run or lift weights when this happens because at least I know I can make myself so tired that I do not care about anything except the physical pain and exhaustion, and that this will pay off, and it has.

    • Sphinx Moth, I wanted to let you know that when my X concluded our interactions with a final harsh abandonment (he snuck through the house, got some of his crap, and was going to move out of the state without saying goodbye) I could accept that he was able to do that to me. In my state of shock though, I could not begin to fathom how he could do that to our beloved dog.

      That thought served as a very important mirror for me to hold up to myself. I could get that he would want to treat the dog better than me?!? I mean, she is fabulous, but so am I!

      Those dogs have so much to teach us and show us. I’m ever grateful for mine…and that he left the state so I don’t have to share them. It did take two heart wrenching years for her to stop looking for him, especially when we were out walking and men with his build would walk by.

  • I didn’t leave…at first. I was huffing and puffing on that hopium pipe like there was no tomorrow. After Dday, I was going to “fix” my marriage. I was going to be a “better” wife. He would realize his “mistake”.

    He wasn’t remorseful. He didn’t stop f****** the Howorker. He would always love me, but….

    The months of false reconciliation were demoralizing. Although I knew in my heart that it was over, I was doing the pick-me dance. No wife should have to “try out” for a spot in her husband’s life and/or be the marriage police.

    Those 5 months did allow me time to process the death of my marriage. When Dday2 arrived, there wasn’t the wailing of shock and betrayal like before, but just a sad resignation that a 30 year commitment was over. Dday2 was the ammunition I needed to move into action.

    I didn’t leave. He left. I consulted an attorney within the week. The papers were served within a month. He was “shocked” that I would do that to him. I guess it never occurred to him that I was shocked he f***** the Howorker.

    I wish my a-ha moment had been Dday. But a chump is a chump is a chump. The moment I saw the evidence that he hadn’t ended the affair was THE moment.

    I can’t say that liberation has been all wine and roses. This shit is hard. But I will take every day with my new life over one day of living with my lying, cheating Xh. Liberation is not a trouble free life. BUT liberation is knowing that I am worthy of love and respect, and I am not going to settle for anything less!

  • I received a FB message from one of the OW. I opened the message up at work on my LARGE screen monitor and it included a dick pic XH sent to her. I will never forget the shock I felt in that moment – I staggered to the bathroom where I could sit and cry with some privacy. Over the years, there had been signs here and there that he was unfaithful and I had always told myself that – if there was something to it – someday someone would come forward. Someone finally had. It actually took me 2 days to confront XH with what I had learned; when we finally had time to talk face to face (I waited until no kids were home), he showed no remorse whatsoever. I screamed and cried but my anguish only seemed to enrage him. He ended up leaving the house with his hands over his ears screaming “shut up! shut up! shut up!” He came back the next morning to get his clothes and filed for divorce weeks later.

    • Wow, Lizzy. The OW and your ex sound like Dumb and Dumber. Nothing says “classy and mature” like sending a dick pic of your cheating lover to his wife, or running out of the house upon being confronted with your fingers in your ears and going “lalalalalaICAN’THEARYOUlalalalalala.”

      The only good thing about this story is that it must have killed any latent desire you had to reconcile with this POS. I am so sorry, and I hope you and your kids are doing mighty on your own!

      • Thanks, FoolMeTwice. You are exactly right – ex’s behavior was a blessing in disguise. I had no desire whatsoever to reconcile after his childish display. And yes, my kids and I are doing mighty! I have gone no contact and kids are also mostly no contact.

  • I left the morning after DDay, just over a year ago. I knew by his tone and his demeanor that I meant nothing to him. He never had the balls to tell me that there was someone else (of course she promptly moved in after I moved a small amount of household goods).

    That morning, my friend looked me in the eye and said, “He’s a liar”. She opened her home to me while I waited for my scheduled surgery.
    I spent six months there – when I was recovered enough, I retired from my job, filed for divorce, and moved closer to my son and his family in another state. I never cease being thankful for my friend and her husband. They saw the truth of what was happening and they saw though his bullshit.

    I truly don’t know what else I would have done – if I stayed – it would have driven me crazy. And Heaven knows I was in no shape to be alone at that juncture – even without the surgery problem. I was in such pain I might not have made very rational choices.

    Found CL one night – more healing happens here than anywhere else. Meh is right around the corner for me. I keep reading the chapter in Tracey’s book on the hallmarks of Meh. It’s probably not a line you cross and know you are there.

    I’m still lonely and I’m not over being very angry, but I’m much better and starting to enjoy my new life.

  • The first time I kicked him out( bed on the lawn storie) he returned after 3 months of living in Tweeny Boppers dorm. He said he wanted to work on us… Though refused marriage counseling. In the months that followed he pushed hard for us to acquire a rental property under the guise of being an investment. When i said no we couldnt afford it he let it drop or so i thought. He continued to pursue the second prperty and was taking our child after school. He told her ‘ would you be mad if daddy moved out? I could get a house nearby. ‘ She told me. When I ask him about it he lied and said he never said anything like that. Of course the bank sent notification of his application for a mortgage… He lied said he never applied. He found out that he couldnt acquire the property as a primary residence because we were still married and on our first houses mortgage. He tried his best to convince me it was a rental. I asked to speak to the broker… ( i already had the card) and he said it was a private sale. I called the broker who was surprised to hear from the clients wife. Broker was told we were in the process of a divorce. Told the broker that was news to me. The broker of course contacted Idiot. Idiots explanation was ….’ He must be confused. I told him that we were going to divorce months ago’ …. Yes please pull this other leg it plays jingle bells.
    I did not need to see the writing on the wall and instead took my investigations underground and dint confront him. He had frequent phone contact with Tweeny bopper and email with her and the banks. I was collecting everything I could including meeting with a lawyer and making a parenting plan. All the while he his sitting on the couch texting Tweeny … I am cooking dinner. The weekend of Tweeny’s 20 birthday he got a call from ‘ the guys’ the wanted to go out. He returned 12 hours later. I asked if he had spent time with Tweeny since it was her birthday. Phone messgaes indicated the met. This lead to an explosive arguement…. He telling me how insecure I was and how it was preventing him form wanting to stay. He denied speaking with her or seeing her. But couldnt give me a name of one of the guys he was out with’ ya know… The guys. The guys from work!! I said ‘ i need a name. I know all the guys.’ He then said I was being ridiculous and refused to answer the questions. Said he was a grown man and he didnt have to answer to me. This was his way of ‘trying’ at our relationship. I asked him what he wanted and he said for the hundreth time’ I dont know’ I went and sat on the gagrge floor… Something I started to do when I needed to cry. I dont know why there… The smell maybe.. It was his man cave. All the tools. Car stuff. I would cry. Long and hard there. On the floor… Sometimes pressing my face to cool cement for relief. It was the only room in the house where I felt nothing in it was mine… My grief wouldnt matter to the objects in here. He would take all of it when he left. The decision was made on that floor. The hardest decision I had to make and it was without him. We decided the paint colors in the bathroom. The name of our child. The medical decisions for her. Every decision together. This decision was mine. And that is when I knew.
    The next weekend he had plans to take our child to his parents for the weekend. I did some serious soul searching and realized my life was a big lie and he was never going to make the call… He was going to force me to do it. That way he could sit back and justify … She was unhappy too. I rallied the Mom squad over that weekend ( with two bottles of tequilla) and I announced my decision. I was done. I told them I anticipated it would get ugly and that I needed everybodys support. They poured the shots… And i drank them…. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. They sobbed with me. I was tucked into bed floor licking drunk and babysat in the morning with scrambled eggs and ibuprofen. I called him at his parents and told him when he returned he would be moving out. He of course was livid and berated me. Telling me that it would have never worked cause i couldnt get over it. He went on and on… Attacking my very soul… And I let him. I knew it was only the beginning.
    That Sunday upon his return he moved back in with Tweeny( though he claimed he was at his cousins) I started living as divorced from that day forward. The months that followed were hell… And still is. I have suffered threats, abuse and violence.
    I was a girl once … And despite my crappy upbringing …. Had dreams. I am trying to find that place again… Through all this madness.

    • dear clip, you just brought tears to my eyes as I pictured this moment on the garage floor. we have all had that horrible moment… “The decision was made on that floor. The hardest decision I had to make and it was without him. We decided the paint colors in the bathroom. The name of our child. The medical decisions for her. Every decision together. This decision was mine. And that is when I knew.” Your Ex is a cowardly lazy shit. I don’t even want to KNOW how old he is, chasing a 20 yr old. i so relate to this too: “I was a girl once … And despite my crappy upbringing …. Had dreams. I am trying to find that place again… Through all this madness.” you still are the same person! you will get there and you are getting there. thanks for always telling the straight up truth in your posts, too.

    • Clip, you moved me so deeply with your story, and the way you told it made me feel like I was right there with you on that garage floor. It makes so much sense that you would have made your decision there, and intuitively you must have known that you were laying it all down in a place where none of your own stuff was. A way to detach a bit from the horror of what was happening. You sound like you have a kick-ass group of friends, and from your posts I know you to be a kick-ass woman as well. Like you, I had a crappy childhood, and all of the shit I went through with my cheater simply confirmed the life view that I was born into: that the world is a scary and dark place, and that the people closest to you will abuse and betray you in the worst possible ways. But, somehow, I never really believed that, even during the worst moments growing up. There was that one little ray of inner light that never got extinguished, and it’s been growing and growing since I left my ex. After 18 months away, my inner child is alive and well, and I still have my dreams. I’ll be goddamned if I let that cheating mofo be my last word in love and intimacy. You will find that place again. YOU WILL. Even when you’re talking about a negative experience, your posts contain an energy that literally leaps off the page, and I’m always so glad to see your comments. Super duper chumpy hugs to you!

      • Like many chumps here, you are such a good writer, Clip. One of the best reasons to leave, I think, is that inner girl or boy who hoped for love and a happy life. So many chumps want to protect their children from pain and disappointment but forget that inner child who deeply needs love and protections. Those of us who had crappy upbringings, as you put it, feel not only the wound of betrayal but the wounds of childhood rejection, abuse and neglect under that. Fool Me is right; if you can articulate this stuff, you will work through it all to make a wonderful life. And indeed, we feel both your powerful energy and your honesty “that literally leaps off the page.”

    • TheClip–what a moving, and a horrifying story. That you could live through that and be as mighty as you are, and as helpful to new chumps, is a testament to your inner strength.

      We chumps who come with background family issues are too often content with emotional crumbs. We deserve better.

      (I, too, got the “you’ll never get over this so we can reconcile,” BS. Damn straight. I will never get over it. Nor should I have to. I’d have healed faster if my X had plunged a dagger in my back.)

    • TheClip, I admire your strength. It’s such a relief when we don’t have to spend all of our time thinking through their stories for the flaws and listen to the spin. Two months before DDay x wanted to buy an investment property with me. It was really him planning with his whore. She makes little money and he can’t get financed. Drama free is better!

    • It’s impossible to ‘get over’ something that hasn’t stopped happening. You don’t rebuild after a flood until the waters have receded. You don’t rebuild after an earthquake until the tremors have stopped.

      The power that chumps don’t realize we have is that while we can’t make the earth stop shaking or the waters stop coming, we don’t have to wait patiently for it to happen on its own. We have no control over what the disaster does, but we can get up and get out of the disaster zone.

      I know that now of course, but I didn’t then. I didn’t come to my own senses in the end. Someone had to do it for me. It took a marriage counsellor telling my ex he was a coward for him to admit he wanted out. But honestly, all he’d been trying to do with the hundreds of reconciliation chances I gave him was figure out how to turn back time to before d-day and be a better liar. I don’t know if the marriage counsellor saw his cake-eating and chose to be gentle, or wasn’t that experienced with cheaters.

      Anyways, being out of limbo was a relief, even if I hadn’t initiated it.

  • …while packing up 30 years of my life in this house with xmr last night…I found my journals that I had written in, almost daily, for the first 15 years or so…OMG! I only read a little bit in one for 1986…1986!!!!…and that was enough to prove to myself that xmr has ALWAYS been who he is today. I am 1 month and a few days out of a 2 year divorce and reading my young woman journal proves I should have NEVER married him EVER…I shouldn’t even have DATED him! I just disappeared in that 36 year relationship. And I just never noticed.

    I realize now I probably would have stayed, forgiven the cheating and lying AGAIN had he not started beating on me. …that is the only difference in all these years. I left because of the PHYSICAL abuse.

    • I had a similar revelation when I found in my desk after DDay a letter I’d written in 1997 to Ex when my kids and I had only been living in Ex’s house with him for about six months. I’d neatly and lovingly typed a very logical heartfelt plea for him to communicate better with me, or do counseling with me … this was in reaction to his rages and shitstorms of anger over simple innocuous stuff the kids did, or left their backpack in the “wrong” place or something. He took my letter and angrily in Full Caps wrote comments all over it like “Lame!”, “Not true!” etc. then proceeded to write so hard his pen went through the paper… one page was crumpled then flattened out again.

      His scribblings described how “intruded on” he felt (wait, he asked us to move into his house??!!) when one evening, I stepped into the spot he was intending to step into, in front of the sink. He then described in detail how the next day, while I was folding laundry on the bed, he came into the room and pulled the sheets off the bed, dumping my laundry pile on the floor; in the letter comments he expressed his indignation that I was so “stupid and selfish” that I failed to realize that THIS was exactly how I’d “made him feel” the previous day when I stepped in front of the sink. I remember that moment and just being plain confused, saying “Why’d you do that?”

      I should have realized then and there that he’s fucking nuts. But no, chumpy little me apologized to him over and over and over again for 16 years to every little slight that “made him” feel bad and angry. Read Lundy Bancroft’s book if you haven’t already done. It explains Why He Does those things!

      In my 1997 letter I had said if “we” couldn’t change how we “communicated” (his rages) I was going to take my kids and rent an apartment. What in God’s name ever made me stay????? I was so vulnerable, single mom, divorced 4 years, really wanted to believe Ex was a “good guy’ who could be a stepdad to my kids, and a husband to me. WRONG! abuser, sexual abuser, and then I finally found out, serial cheater. I was never phys beaten but subjected to years of manipulative, out of control anger and raging. Not minimizing your physical abuse..

      He had to nerve to sit there after I told him he had to move out, and through crocodile tears, sob, “I bet everyone is telling you you’re better off without me!” Yes they are I said. “But what do YOU think?!” he sobbed. Before dday, I said, I would have told them they were wrong. after that, absolutely.” He sat and cried. He wasn’t crying for me. He was crying for his own pathetic little sad victim self.

      • Your story reminds me if my first ex yanking the pillow out from under my head in bed. He said, “you don’t deserve this” and threw it on the floor. It seemed so weird. We had fought about something, but I don’t deserve a pillow? That’s just kind of nuts.

        I spoke with his wife last week and she said something to the effect of, “you got the worst years of him.” I made her tell me she has backup to help her if he should get out of control. She knew exactly what I was talking about and said yes, she has church and family. The fact that she understood, tells me that he hasn’t changed, and I do fear for her. I let her know she can come to me if she ever needs help.

        There are very few redeeming qualities to my first exes character. Picking good women is one of them.

      • Ex did stuff like that to me. Such memories! Two come to mind. Once he bopped my son on the head for no reason. I bopped Ex on the head and said, “Don’t do that to my son!” He spent hours drilling an apology out of me! I never thought what I did was inappropriate, but I conceded bc the argument was too much. #2. He kicked me out of the house once for calling my mother… Because, dontcha know, the things I was saying to her were his feelings about his mother (who had just visited uninvited… while my Mom didn’t come)… So I HAD to stop talking to my Mom to digest HIS (angry at me) feelings & by being frustrated (that he hung up on my mother), I was unfair to HIM. Gag.
        Muse, abuse is so subtle! But looking back, it is like, Duh. The cheating should have been my escape… But I chose (after years of gaslighting) to believe that it must be my perception that was off.
        Ask my sisters, I was a feminist in high school. Ten years of Master Underworld and I was afraid to even ask for a glass of water.

        • They wear you down over time till there’s just about no self esteem or self protectiveness left. And the cheating most definitely opened my eyes. Sad to think I would have continued submitting to that other crap, for many more years to come.

          • Muse, “I was never phys beaten but subjected to years of manipulative, out of control anger and raging. Not minimizing your physical abuse.” I would never think you would minimize anything of the sort Muse. Just want to say, the rages are a form of physical control and abuse, if they don’t work then it escalates to the physical. My ex controlled me through his rages and anger, very threatening. On a conscious level I believed him that he had issues to deal with and he would not hurt me, on a subconscious level those rages and threatening demeanor frightened me and they changed me substantially. Back to rages are a form of physical abuse; when rages don’t work anymore abusers escalate, usually they threaten suicide – another abuse tactic before actually hitting you. Hope that made sense!

            • Yes, it made sense. I guess I’m just conditioned to say physical abuse is worse. But honestly, when I say “non-physical” abuse I am talking about his finger about an inch from my face pointing, his shouting, accusing, blaming, screaming at me for hours on end. It used to happen about every couple of months. It would start with the silent treatment, for days on end till I stupidly took the bait and asked if something was bothering him. Cue the onslaught of raging at me for not having read his mind and then the litany of complaints and the victim screed he always spewed at me. I agree with you (and so did my therapist and my attorney) that Ex was controlling me through fear and domination. And when I say “non-physical,” I had forgotten till my now grown son reminded me of one incident where son came in the rm, and I was crouched in a corner on the floor with my hands over my head and Ex was standing over me, screaming at me. Sometimes during the rages, I would try to leave, and he would follow me. If I went outside, he came too never stopping talking, shouting, controlling every single word of the “conversation.” If I grabbed my car keys he grabbed them first so I couldn’t leave.

              I don’t know if it would have ever escalated to phys violence but one time, he did get into a phys altercation with a sibling of mine in my home, as they were arguing over which one of them was being more abusive to me.

              • God, Muse I am so thankful you were able to able to escape this controlling asshole!! Men like this are so scary.

              • Mine never actually hit me but he was trained in hand to hand combat and he would remind me that he could snap my neck in a second..I think there was a time or two when he had my head in his hands when he said it (I never thought he would DO that, I wasn’t scared but I look back and realize that was a mean thing to say.

                He also raged and raged badly and if he was driving during the rage he drove as if he hoped we would all die…there were times when I was sure I would net exit the car alive.

                At about the same era as D day, he told me that I “deserved to be beaten” for some minor infraction (probably calling him on his shit)…he said he should beat me in a way that made it sound like he spared me because he was such a good guy.

                So how did a guy say SUCH mean stuff to an otherwise intelligent person and I didnt see it as abuse? He had a keen wit and amazing sense of humor but said things in a way that could NOT be discerned as serious or a joke…I knew him for 29 years and could NOT tell when he meant something or when he was “kidding” and he used this to his advantage. If he wanted to hold me accountable for something he would say he was serious if he wanted a pass on saying something mean, he was “kidding”.

                I tried to get him to see this as a dysfunction that really really hurt our marriage …I was too stupid and manipulated to see that he had no reason to stop this, it worked so well for him, he could say ANYTHING he wanted and later just claim it was a joke…it was masterful and it worked…for a long time.

              • Muse,its only in hindsite and when we have safe distance that we realize how we suffered by there actions, albeit physical or verbal.
                I was reading through your story and an image of my ex cleaning his automatic weapon popped into my head. As he was looking through the site he aimed it at me and made the pop pop pop sound… And said’ i could do it. ‘ the look of horror on my face made him laugh and he told me to stop being ‘ so serious’
                Abuse is abuse. How ever it is delivered.
                All i can hope is one day… Just one fucking day… he will be made to feel the horror.

              • And that is abuse that would have eventually become “physical” Muse. My ex told me if he wanted to kill me he could use a knife from the kitchen or hit me once. The threat IS physical harm, your gut knows it could happen so you do what they want.

      • I’ve read a few of my letters to my ex, in the days before D-day, and the earnestness of them makes me cringe. They almost sound unctuous to me now. BLECH

        Like you said, Muse, they wear you down. But I think there was a point, maybe for all of us, where we knew what we needed to know. Oh to have a time machine and go back and act on that knowledge!

    • Wow. This is SO comforting to me. I did the same thing — finally got the courage to go back and reread my journal from the beginning of our relationship, and it’s all there from the beginning. I didn’t feel connected to him, why didn’t he give a crap about our sex life, how was I ever going to make this work, would I be able to get him into counseling??? I think it’s my upbringing with an alcoholic dad that warped me self-esteem and made me compare MY marriage to that of my parents, and I kept thinking: a) it could be worse, and b) he’ll grow out of it. Yes, it could be worse, but it could’ve also been better. Looking back, I’m a bit embarrassed to have stayed so long.

      • They were disordered from day one. We need to do a better job of educating young women. Young women should not suffer as we have.

        • I agree, R. My father was severely abusive to my mother. He raged daily. I swore I would never put up with anyone like him. I found myself a Good Guy. After saying that, I understand why I can’t date.

  • I left because after 25 of ‘reconciliation’ with me doing all of the heavy lifting, with me living a mantra,’that’s ok Ring, single mother’s do this all th time’ with his only offering up 10 words a day for communication that on the day of my daughter’s college graduation, on the way to a fabulous vacation that I had done all of the organizing for, he got frustrated and said the truest words he had ever uttered. He screamed at his daughter and at me, not once but several times, “I HATE THIS FUCKING FAMILY’ I was done… and from then on out, it was just a matter of time. Nothing in the years since has convinced me that I did the wrong thing. He went back to his AP, probably because he ‘promised’ her that if we ever broke up, he would look her up. Lo and behold, she is still single, never married, no degree, not even a BA and two little dogs dressed up in elves outfits sitting on Santa’s lap. He is stuck here and she won’t leave eNVy. Can’t wait to see how this happily ever after thing works out. Popcorn please!

    • OH HELL Ring, I just lost my breath!! ’that’s ok Ring, single mother’s do this all th time’
      That’s EXACTLY…word for word what my ex said to me when I was home with our first newborn and he was having an affair and away constantly…..Holy Hell they are all cut from the same cloth.

      I have been reading through these comments and want to write my story….to vent a little, but completely fascinated by the common thread we all have. Sheesh…..they really are too much.

  • I didn’t leave, I told him to leave, for two reasons:

    1) It was deadly apparent that he was going to try to have his cake and eat it to (I need time, Nord!)
    2) I found out about a bunch of other affairs, so learned I had married a serial cheater

    It took me a bit to go NC and even longer to really accept the truth about who he was and is, but once I went as NC as possible I started to heal. And he went into rage mode and tried to destroy me. I’ve survived by the skin of my teeth at times but now, more than 3 years later, things are getting better. I doubt I’ll ever have the lifestyle or money flow that I had when married but honestly, other than a few things I don’t miss any of it. What I do miss is thinking my kids have a good father. They don’t. Their father is a manipulative asshole and sadly he proves regularly that he still puts himself above all others, no matter what. Figuring that out relatively early on helped me stay firm on the leaving bit, although I really did struggle because I hated losing what I thought was a wonderful life and family.

    It was a mirage, though, and as sad as it was to face that it helped propel me forward. I am so glad that person is out of my life. His spiteful actions after I kicked him out and was open as to why I was divorcing him made me not quite hate him but certainly look at him with utter disgust.

  • Five months after my first Dday, I found out I had a malignant brain tumor. A few months later, I had surgery and was doing well physically. Waking up every day with the nightmare that my husband of over 20 years wasn’t who I thought he was, was ongoing torture.

    At this point, I was already neck deep into “recovery” with my sex addict, porn addicted, hooker hiring, cheating husband. He was the chairman of the regional SA group, attending multiple counseling sessions per week, attending many SA meetings every week, had a sponsor, and appeared to be a new man. We were also in marriage counseling at an office specializing in sexual addiction. I was also going to individual counseling to heal from the blast of this betrayal and figure out my role in this (haha).

    We had recently sold our company, he couldn’t work for a few years due to a non-compete, so recovery became our life. We spent over $100,000.00 on counseling. I really believed that he would be the “miracle” and our marriage would be restored.

    Fast forward five years. My brain tumor returned. My recovery poster child of a husband began to distance himself from me. I knew things felt weird, but it wasn’t a good time to delve deeper into the truth. Eleven days after my second craniotomy, 65 staples in my head, I picked up his phone and found the same escort site I had seen five years before. That is when I had my moment. I said to myself, “I can’t grow old with this man”. I called him into the room and told him I was done. He needed to leave the house that day.

    Two days later he came home to pack his office. I took his laptop and told him I was going to have it looked at. He grabbed me, threw me head first into a giant cement pot in our entryway, and left. My daughter had come home from college to spend the night and called 911. In the 28 years I had been with him, he had never touched me or my children. I had already called an attorney to file for divorce, but this just made it that much easier. Four days later I filed for divorce. Two black eyes, a broken nose, and 65 staples in my head.

    Three years later, I am doing well and on the verge of thriving. I can’t say it’s been easy. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I have truly taken it one thing at a time. I had to sell my huge house, but am comfortably settled in a cute little one. I have focussed on my relationships with my kids, now 18 and 22, healing, and being around a lot of friends that have been where I’m at.

    I can’t say I regret doing 5 years of “recovery” with my sex addict husband. I know in my heart that there is absolutely nothing more I could have done. I valued my marriage and family so much, that fighting for it was worth the chance. I can say that the second round of betrayal hurt worse than the first. He learned the language of recovery to manipulate me into thinking he was a new man. Healing myself has been a long, hard road, but it’s happening. I can honestly say that I haven’t been as lonely once since filing for divorce as I was married to someone with a secret life.

    • I hope that monster spent some time in jail for his actions especially considering you’d just had surgery! Your story is astonishing. I’m hoping your health is better. U deserve peace and happiness.

      • Thanks, chumpfor 21. My health is great! After being charged with 2 felonies, facing 6-16 years in prison, he ended up only getting 30 nights in jail. Even the attorneys were astonished at his skilled manipulation of the system. He got work release, 7 days a week, 12 hours a day, so only had to sleep in jail. As awful as it was, it showed me his true colors and made it easier to move on.

        • walls, that is a travesty of justice. Your Ex is a sociopathic creep, and you are right, people like him are skilled at playing the legal system. So sorry for you and what you’ve been through. Glad you escaped him and have the support of your children.

          • Can someone please explain why they become so angry when they are exposed? They know they are doing something wrong, they know we are not of the character that would also do such things, they probably even know they have a chance of redemption. Why are they mad at us, when they are the ones acting out? It is so hard for me to understand how someone can, for lack of a better word, “sin” and then be mad at the people you trespassed against. Guess that’s the Catholic in me, but I just don’t get it.

            • Cheaters who are narcissists get mad for two reasons–(a) their power has been taken away. Knowledge is power, and so being deceitful gives them an upper hand over chumps. When a chump discovers their secrets, the power imbalance shifts away from the cheater, and that makes them angry. (b) Impression management is important to them, which is why so many cheaters are charming or pitiful by turns. When exposed for doing something they know is societally condemned (like cheating), their Impression suffers, and that makes them angry.

              • Huhn! Lightbulb moment just now–thanks!

                I’m convinced my ex is a covert narcissist. His impression management consisted of being the pitiful, riding on the formerly charming self. Where he’d long ago been the volunteer dad, which all the SAH moms found harmless and charming, now he could be the pitiful–as long as it didn’t get out that, no, we had’t just “split up,” because “things didn’t work out.”
                What I couldn’t figure out was why he was so ANGRY! After all, he got what he wanted, right??
                Ding!
                He’s angry because what was supposed to look like pitifulness now just looks creepy.

              • Bingo. My ex remains angry and hates me to this day. So do many people in his narc family, mainly because I refused to play the ‘we grew apart’ game, and instead said flat out that he not only had been cheating, I had discovered he’d been cheating for a long time. That killed the narrative that the marriage had simply gone bad or that he met the love of his life. Now they all act like he simply ‘fell in love’ and whoopsie, who can control that? They conveniently ignore the fact that he had been cheating for years, as it turned out, and that the final OW ‘love of his life’ was not the only game in town when I discovered what was going on. Even she pretends that isn’t the truth – but it’s why they all badmouth me to this day, because I told people and they know the truth is out there.

                Very inconvenient for them. 🙂

    • my.walls.will.sing, you have amazing strength and resilience, I am so glad you are building a better life. I agree with you, being alone is no where near as lonely as living with ex.

      agree with chumpfor21, hope the bastard went to jail.

        • And thank you for sharing how your ex gamed justice “Even the attorneys were astonished at his skilled manipulation of the system.” My ex was so careful I never had a witness, no one believed me at first. It’s good to know I am not alone in having lived with someone who could lie so well.

      • Totally agreed with Dat. My.walls.will.sing, you are phenomenal. Many blessings to you and your kids, and I hope your ex goes to the burny place.

        • Thanks for the blessings, FoolMeTwice. My ex will eventually go to the burny place, unless a miracle happens. I must have chumpiness left over, because sometimes I just feel sick about that. A million chances to change, and he doesn’t even take one. I must be getting to meh over him, because I rarely even have thoughts as to what he’s doing. I just wish he would pay what he’s court ordered to pay. He disappeared out of the country without leaving a forwarding address, so I can’t even file a contempt charge. I’m choosing to focus on life instead of him.

          • Hi, my.walls.will.sing. I have 14 days left on a site that tracks people’s addresses. If you want me to look up cheater so you can get your $$, email me the info (name, age, likely state he is in) at tempest.ariel2014@gmail.com and I’ll look it up for you. (The only caveat is that very recent addresses may not show up yet.) Might as well get more use out of my $21.95!

  • I got tired of being “broken.” My FOO issues were always at fault, no matter what the situation. I always had to better myself with no definition of “better” and no end goal. It got to the point where I couldn’t function any more, and thought I was alone, and had no friends. Finding the cheating was a get out of jail free card. Because I had nothing to give the narc any more. My soul was empty.

    Guess what? My FOO issues have faded into the background. They will always be a part of me, but I make my own decisions now. I have the same friends that I’ve had for years, and I’m slowly moving on. I’ve read here for months about people doing projects for themselves. I’m finally doing a project for myself! I’m making a home yoga space in my basement. It has taken months to get to this point. I have to close now because I have some furniture to make shabby-chic.

    • Yeah, I got that too. Funny, thing, though. I’ve been doing some form of counseling/healing for 25 years, while he recently went through several major life crises without really ever unpacking them. Yet our relationship issues were all about my FOO issues? Sure, dude.

  • I was left and surprise surprise mine was a serial cheat too and I just gobbled up those shit sandwiches for many of the reasons stated above. When he left, I did the pick me dance for almost 4 months until he decided to file for divorce and set up house with his AP. – Those 4 months were hell. Although I know I would have stayed longer if he wouldn’t have left, I’m so much happier now that he’s gone!

    I’m at peace, I handled everything myself anyway, so it’s not much different except I don’t have all that extra garbage of trying to make him happy. He cheated more times than I can count and I stayed because of fear.

    A friend of mine told me “Don’t cry… he’s doing you a favor” – and she was right. It took me a long time to realize it, but I finally did.

    He is getting married next month to her, and I planned a girls night out. It will be a night of celebration for me too – fancy that! My only regret is that I didn’t do it myself, and that it took so long. But, that being said – if I had done it earlier I wouldn’t have my two beautiful girls. So I can thank him for that.

    I just turned 51 – have been officially divorced for 3 years and IF I decide to let someone into my life to love, time will tell. I will do my best to no let fear get in the way again.

    Peace my friends…. peace…

  • I left because I knew I’d never trust him again. At least not the way that I wanted to trust my husband.

    He’d had unprotected sex in our family home.

    He’d lied over and over for a long time to me, therapists, family.

    He was a heavy drinker.

    I left for my own physical and emotional well being.

  • I left when i felt so hopeless and knew everything was fake in the house. I was going to have to have a conversation about college tuition and it was so stressful i ended up in the emergency room with hives. It should not be hard to talk to your husband. He abandoned us, abused us by neglect, emotional abuse, verbal abuse, sexual abuse through cheating……
    He knew where it was headed and cried not to leave the house BUT he would move me out if i felt i needed to leave. I already had a lawyer and was going to the local domestic abuse facility for help. He was going out of town and i knew it would be months before he went again. I rented a truck the day he left and family and friends moved us out within four hours. They said keep it under two because he was two hrs away but two kid’s rooms and 30 years of stuff took a bit longer. I still have stuff to ask for in the settlement that i left behind. It was a new moon and i was scared shitless running on adrenaline. My brother had passed away the year before and i was able to move us into his home.
    He was served papers and I kept us out of sight for about three weeks.
    It has been 5 months with just over 3 with NC. It is up and down but happy to report that one of the kids who was really depressed for years from this shit, seems to be progressing through therapy. It is great to see a smile! They are NC as well.
    When i told my son I was moving us out he asked, “why?” I said abuse. He asked if he had ever hit me and i explained there are other types of abuse. This is not normal. He agreed but at his age i know he does not fully understand because it was our normal. The last thing I said was “and we matter.”
    I think that was the motivation. I finally found a little bit of self worth and looked at the kids and decided WE MATTER!

  • I left when I finally had a moment of clarity, when I realized how he’d been carefully carefully getting all of his financial ducks in a row, and I’d been so blind to it. Things like refinancing our house but putting it only in HIS name, WTF? Buying himself a brand spanking new Mercedes while I tooled around in the old Volvo. Pretty sure he bought AP a new car too, we’ll never be sure on that one—transaction conducted in cash. Having the so-called *support* payments his crazy-ass family had agreed on that I’d been firmly against to his alcoholic mentally ill brother (who subsequently tragically suicided) come from my personal checking account go to his family, what was I thinking? What was I doing?

    Realizing that when the college president he reported to left and the new one came in and caught on to his sleazebag act he’d be out on his ass, as would his schmoopie–and they were, in a matter of weeks. It took a loooong time for him to get another job, and it was at a C minus school at best. All the while him sweating it out and living off of and cheating on his AP soulmate,
    I was finally in a position to open my own medical practice, not work for someone else making peanuts, and I didn’t want him to be able to claim any part of that or my potential future earnings.

    So I kicked his ass out of *his* house.

    He was actually shocked when the judge offered me spousal support payments (timing is everything–filed well before he was let go from job #1) and relieved when I said that I’d prefer to make it on my own–no way was I going to let this creepo license to look at my books indefinitely. Also shocked as he’d by that point alienated our teenaged daughter that the judge didn’t order any child support whatsoever. And shocked that the judge was offended when my exhole requested a portion of what would be my future inheritance from my Dad—who thirteen years later is alive and not quite that healthy but hanging in there very much alive. And I really think exhole believed that I had no right to HIS retirement all those years I was a SAHM and he was hassling me with spreadsheets about how much money I spent on Pampers and diaper crème.

    Now my practice is bursting at the seams–I don’t even list in the Yellow Pages because I don’t want to be found, I pick and choose which patients I see. I happily work one day at the county clinic with indigent children because I want to, and I can afford to, and those poor kids need and deserve excellent care and I want to help provide it, even if I’m paid peanuts.

    Adult daughter is on to his b.s.–she’s been financially abused by him too, though I’m helping her right that. Ex doesn’t understand that if a parent co signs on loans so that their child can live beyond her means with no income then if the kid defaults on the loans there goes your cruddy credit, and your sad financial situation gets even sadder. Helped her rent a palatial apartment she can’t afford so he can have his trysts there–in her bed no less. Ick.

    Yes, for him it was all about the money, my money and the appearances, including my propping him on when he was drunk and making all the excuses, I was raised to always know the right thing to do, the right thing to say even in the most awkward of situations. That served me well because my marriage was twenty three years of awkward situations that I made look like the Great freaking Gatsby. AP now wife doesn’t have the social skills or intelligence to know how to pull that off, so ex has to try to handle himself on his own.

    Guess it doesn’t appear all shiny anymore, as the so-called friends drop off one by one as they catch on to the act, and the speaking opportunities dwindle and it’s just him again an aging dude with too much time on his hands, and no money to buy friends with.

  • This was a great idea for a followup. I stayed because I couldn’t stand the thought of my kids having to grow up in a divorced family. I absorbed blame from her for her bad choices for 2+ years (serial cheating, drinking and driving, verbal abuse). Then her APs wife told me at a cub scout meeting that her husband was having an affair with my wife. This was affair #4 that I knew about. After the initial shock wore off a bit, the bulb just went off that there was nothing more I could do to save our marriage and family. Then some righteous anger took hold and that is when I filed. So it is more than 2 years later and I am finally actually divorced. Don’t have to say “Soon-to-be-ex-wife” anymore! Now she is my EX-wife. Don’t feel sad about it, nor happy. Just meh.

    • I really think cheaters calculate that their spouse will do even more work in the relationship when there are kids because they know we are good people and do the right thing such as put the children first.

      This unfortunately allows them even greater freedom and gives them even more social credibility, and too often it seems the betrayed spouse keeps going because they do not want to cause their children pain.

      The truly despicable thing is that the cheater knows this and takes it for a ride.

      That is why I believe they have no soul.

      • I completely agree Tony. My EX-wife was always so concerned about her “image” as a mom. So worried about what other people thought. The truth about her motherhood? Not so important to her, apparently. It was all about appearances.

  • I chose to continue loving him through him telling me that he was divorcing me because I was “a bad wife” and assuring me there was no one else. I loved him through finding out there was an OW. I loved him through hearing him shift blame and be mean to me post D day. I loved him through his 18 month absence. I loved him when he came home and acted like nothing ever happened. I loved him until he died and I gave him a hero’s farewell and said nice things about him to his friends and family.

    Then I found the stuff he had squirreled away in his private papers. Photos of OW (who he had broken up with 7 years earlier) and hotel receipts that indicated that his “trickle truth” was peppered with “trickle lies” and I dropped the papers on the floor and walked away leaving my love for him on a pile of old paper.

    Im relieved that Im not Mormon where were supposedly married for eternity…my time with him here was more than enough..WAY more than enough. If I died in 5 minutes and got to Heaven, I would go out of my way to avoid him.

    I seriously regret that I never got the chance to physically walk away from him. My fellow chumps may enjoy the part of the story where I ran across OWs cell phone number a year or so after he died…their affair was so underground that their co workers didn’t know, so she likely wasn’t told when he died (she had since left that world) but I acted like she surely knew and sent her a very casual text making reference to his death. I hope she thinks of him as her great lost love and she pines away for a few decades.

  • I knew I had been putting up with years of emotional abuse, alternating with periods of some warmth and good times. But as I started to sink deeper & deeper into a depression the past 3 years, I withdrew more and more from him, while still putting on a good public face. At one point that he was being difficult, I even remembered thinking, “I wish I had evidence that he’d had an affair so I could leave.” Prescient, eh? And sad–that it took that, rather than the emotional abuse itself, to leave.

    After a summer of devaluation and sporadic bad behavior by him, he gave me the silent treatment while on vacation with friends for NOTHING that I had done. That was it–I told my daughter I was going to ask for a divorce. He pulled it together, but my mindset was that I was waiting for the other shoe to drop.

    A month later, what drops is not a shoe, but a 50-ton MAC truck–I found the notes preparing for his visit to the sexual harassment officer regarding an affair with a student 8 years prior, and some cryptic notes suggesting another dalliance with an undergrad. Even though he only admitted to an emotional affair at first, in my heart, I knew I had given up enough self respect over the 24+ years, and that forgiving an affair (or affairs) was asking too much of me.

    Moved out of the master bedroom, started looking for sublets while he was at a conference. Nothing panned out, so we stayed “separated” in the same house. Each time I made moves to leave or brought up divorce, he would panic, ask for pity, and say he’d do the right thing–make a MC appointment, for example. But when I would assent, this would put him back in the driver’s seat and (narcissist that he is), he would renege on his promise. for example, after agreeing to make a therapy appt., he sent a long email with HIS list of demands for me to work on in therapy (having not gotten the memo telling him he had NO bargaining power because of his affair/s). I would tell him I wanted a divorce, and then the panic/pity/promises would start.

    Gave him 2 months of separation to hang himself with each reconciliation attempt (see Naugahyde Remorse), while backing myself out of the marriage one step at a time. I finally filed, with my children’s blessing.

    To anyone considering NOT filing, or waiting for your cheater to file–DON’T. File yourself, either through a lawyer or pro se (but then get a lawyer). It felt *fantastic* to take control of my life. Allowing the cheater to emotionally abuse you (which is what cheating clearly is), AND be the one to file is unfair to you, and keeps you in their clutches.

    FILE. And my kids have been better by not having cheater around.

    • Tempest, you are mighty. God, the gall of these guys never ceases to amaze me, reneging on promises like they’re ten-year-old kids haggling over who gets the upper bunkbed, rather than matters of the heart.

      I agree about the filing thing. It was the only decision I had left, but I took it and ran with it. Drove that bus with the pedal to the metal, from Dday to Divorce Hearing in 45 days. Boom! Done! No time for Schmoopie to get her hooks into my money via him. Preserving my dad’s inheritance and this house I bought with my savings, etc. — all still mine.

      Yes, control. The thing they try to take.

      • My Dday occurred when my ex asked me for a divorce, I was blindsided. But I knew then there was an OW because he’d been acting weird off and on for about four years. I just never thought he’d cheat! Lol. I spackled, we were working hard, raising three kids together, and dealing with life. My ex had secrets though and I never thought to question his stories. Looking back it was all.The normal Cheater stuff. Hard to be present in a relationship when you are not. On Dday I knew I couldn’t fix our marriage. Twenty eight years together and he treated us like shit accessories to HIS life. I let many things go but fought for a fair settlement. That too was a joke. Vacations, hell every day with a Cheater feels like walking through quicksand. Did I file? No, he was a peace officer in the county, with influence, waiting period was six months and I was abandoned in our home along with our three young adults (two in high school) one away in college. I was afraid then, still am. It was truly a mindfuck. He vandalized my home when I left his HIV test out for him to see (I discovered this in his desk drawer dated two years earlier). So many of our situations are complicated. My community thought we were the perfect family until one day it just blew up. My ex was a nice man until he wasn’t. Chumps, do what is best for you. Your gut will know.

        • Drew,
          ‘ he was a nice man… until he wasnt’ Yes and no. My guess is much like myself you were the fixer in your marriage. To friends and family we were the golden couple. When I stopped ‘fixing’ thats when the seems started to come apart. And then he ran before he had to explain anything to anyone. The first time he left our house…. His parents didnt even know. I had to tell them… As well as the girlfriend…. He was a coward. Once I broke the news about the girlfriend… He then started taking her to family functions…we were still married. His family ‘ pretended’ that nothing was wrong… Like I didnt exist. POOF! Gone. He walks in on the family fourth of July party with his 20 year old GF. Nobody said a word. and just like that I was replaced.
          Like on a Wii game…. My Miii was plucked from the game and her is tweeny… Nobody seems to notice…. So fucking wierd.

    • I should add that the wish he had been unfaithful so that I could leave was an abstract one; now that I know what it feels like to ACTUALLY have been cheated on, I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.

      • Tempest, I believe your wish had already been granted. Your first two paragraphs were so akin to what I experienced in my marriage. I think when I became depressed and pulled away from ex was when he decided to divorce. It’s no fun to have icing and cake when your wife is no longer playing the game (my ex had an exit affair but knowing what I do now I would have to say he’d been at cheating quite a bit longer). It is why you felt bad. Aside from the obvious abuse.

    • I agree–it is really empowering to take action and as Nike says JUST DO IT. After D-day and unbeknownst to my cheater, I was out looking for apartments, and on the afternoon of his BD party, I saw a place I liked and made a verbal agreement with the landlord. That evening, I told my ex I was moving, went to the party and had a fabulous time while he stared off into space with a blank smile on his face. He never knew what hit him. The next day, the landlord came to our house, I signed the lease, and within 2 weeks my kids and I were gone.

      Despite the horrible circumstances, I really did enjoy looking for things of my own to replace everything I’d given up when I moved in with him. I think he was really shocked to see my glee at finding a complete set of really groovy Pottery Barn dishes in pristine condition, for practically nothing on Craigslist. Like I was supposed to be gnashing my teeth and tearing my hair out at the prospect of leaving him. Nope. After that he did not see me cry even once.

  • after finding out my ex husband had been cheating on me our entire marriage, I left. I had a 3 & 2 year old and found out at my clear STD test that I was pregnant. I was scared shitless. I was a SAHM. But I just couldn’t see staying with someone who spent 8 years pretending to love me, and was banging skanks the whole time. I remember being so worried about my kids, and then I never wanted them to ever think that behavior is ok. I deserved a real life. Not that fake bullshit!

    • Whoa, Tallula. You are mighty! One of the realizations I had near the bitter end of my marriage was that I couldn’t bear the idea of my daughter growing up and finding out one day that I had let her dad repeatedly cheat on me. Family secrets never stay secret. I wish that had been enough of a realization alone to push me off the doubt cliff.

  • I took my kids and left because he said he was thinking of killing me and my children. His exact words were “When I am depressed, I think about killing you and the kids and then killing myself.” As cheater ex had been diagnosed as bipolar six months before, and I knew from information I had learned in my new job as a psych nurse that sometimes people with a diagnosis of bipolar actually do kill their families…..well the alarm bells went off in my head.

    At that moment I knew we were done and the kids and I were going to be gone. Laying the groundwork took some time. I just had to hope I had enough time to get enough money saved to get the kids and I out of there safely. I worked as many extra shifts as I could. and told cheater ex it was for xmas money.

    In The midst of that cheater ex used rape to settle an argument one morning. Once I got a hold of myself, (spent a couple of hours being hysterical that morning.) I knew leaving was absolutely the right thing to do. That callous act ripped any remaining pieces of the veil of illusion from my mind. If he was capable of doing such a soul crushing thing to someone he supposedly loved, well murder was not far behind. In short order, I got a restraining order,…. he was served at work the day the kids and I moved into the place i had rented.

    From then on, In his twisted little cockroach narc mind, cheater ex was the victim ….and forever more. Anything I did after that to protect myself and my children….well I was just torturing the poor sausage.

    He filed because I couldn’t not afford to. . The divorce was final in March of that year. I got legal custody because he was continuing to unravel and frankly, I just did not trust his judgement. The judge agreed in that. He did not agree on supervised visitation, however. That enabled cheater ex, in late July of that year, to kidnap and murder my youngest son age 14. A week later cheater ex killed himself in another state, along with a buddy, It was almost two weeks before my boy’s body was found. It was the most horrible two weeks of my life, bar none.

    The reason I bring this whole sorry mess up from time to time is to warn fellow chumps. Don’t underestimate what disordered cheater narcs are capable of. In my wildest dreams I could never imagine that cheater ex would have killed the one person whom he loved more than anything in the world. I guess now I would have to amend that statement to…..to the extent he was capable of. Anyway, I say, watch your backs and don’t put ANYTHING past them. Don’t believe the “good” persona, it does not exist. They really are sharks in sheep’s clothing. And for heaven’s sake, if they threaten you, even in passing, take them seriously. The time around leaving a disordered cheating narc….well, that is the most dangerous time of all. When they realize they have lost complete control of the situation. That is when they become desperate to reassert that control, and when the true shark emerges from under the sheep’s clothing. Trust it. Believe it. Protect yourselves and your children.

    .To quote Maya Angelou….”When someone tells you who they are, believe them the first time.”

    • Tessie,
      The reply below was meant to aknowledge Portia, further up. I still don’t get how commenting works on this site.

      It was much later that I read your story, and I am completely horrified. Also, my first ex has this capability. I had dreams of him standing over me, ready to strangle me, but I am not sure they were dreams. I realize that I am lucky our son is autistic. That made our value go down and he is not too invested in owning us.

      I am so sorry. Thank you for letting people know how deep and dark this can go. I was pregnant during the OJ Simpson trials, and the publicity helped me realize what a narcissist/psychopath is capable of. They need to teach this stuff in high school.
      Jen

      • You’re right, Jen, this needs to be taught. (I’m doing my part at the college-level. In one of my 100-people classes where it is an appropriate topic, I now have two weeks devoted to narcissism, infidelity-as-emotional-abuse, and physical/sexual abuse. If I can prevent even one chump per semester, I’ll be happy).

        • Yes! Tempest. So many of our youth put up with others who just abuse them. Nobody should ever be with a soulless Cheater (and this is just one thing in their Disordered). I too believed my ex would never hurt me until the day he asked me for a divorce. He wanted out, I simply agreed. That whole devalue, discard thing about Narcs is spot on. The last four years of my marriage were this. I woke from a nightmare the other morning of my ex pointing a gun at my face and pulling the trigger.
          Tessie, I think it’s wise to warn others. We need to be cautious. People are unpredictable. My ex says one day I’ll look back and remember the “good times” and I know I won’t. He was out to destroy me. Emotionally, physically, financially. I will not be glossing over the truth ever again. Tessie, every time you tell your story it resonates and pays truth forward. Someone will pay attention and learn from it. Saving lives is no small thing.

        • That course should be called De- or Pre-Chumpication. Like getting your MMR vaccine or something. Can you imagine how many of us might have been avoided years of heartache if only we’d recognized the signs? So glad you are teaching this, Tempest!

        • Tempest, I have posted a story in the forum for you to check out. It doesn’t involve infidelity just the danger of having a relationship with a Narcissist

          • Hi, Koru: I just checked 4 pages in of the forum; do you remember how long ago you posted the story to help me know what page to look on? Thanks!

        • Tempest,

          You will save the sanity of more than a few of your students bringing this out in the open in a classroom setting.

          This is great news!

    • Nothing I could say could convey my awe of you. Nothing could convey my sorrow that your child was murdered.

      My heart and respect go out to you.

      • I agree, of course, and Tessie’s willingness to tell this story to successive waves of chumps coming here on the site can save lives–and help chumps understand why speckling and denial are so dangerous.

      • What Miss Sunshine said. The only thing I could add is my love for you and your mighty, generous spirit.

      • Tessie,
        You did everything right! The danger is real. The fear is there for a reason.
        You are so right in all the advice you share. No sane person makes such horrible threats. I am humbled by your story. It needs to be heard. Some people operate outside of the realm of even imagination.
        You are an inspiration. Good job with finishing nursing school!

        • Thank you for your kind words everyone. If my story can save just one life, it will perhaps make something good out of something horrible. That is my wish. .

    • I’m sorry you lost your son Tessie. I can’t even imagine… Thank you for sharing. I often wonder what my husband will do when I file. I’ve only seen glimpses of rage, but since Dday I also don’t feel confident that I really know him. He’s been using injectable steroids, and I think that may be a contributing factor. If I ever feel that I’m being overreactive, or paranoid, I’ll remember your story. My heart goes out to you.

      • itsAJourney–you are right to be scared. Take every precaution if there is even the slightest chance that your H can be dangerous (and injecting steroids increases that risk).

  • He walked out, but I’m the one who decided to divorce. He said he was remorseful and wanted to reconcile, but he never stopped lying. I woke up one morning and realized I didn’t believe a word out of his mouth and I’d be an idiot to ever trust him again. Nowhere for any relationship to go after that.

  • I left as soon as I knew there was someone else. Mine was not a serial cheater (as far as I know). I consider my Dday to be the day XH sat down & told me he didn’t think we were worth trying to save because he didn’t feel that way about me and never had. Ouch. Of course, I asked if there was someone else, and he said no.

    But of course there was. The memories are now very hazy, but there were about 10 days between Dday and the day I told him he had to leave, and I’d be hard-pressed to remember the sequence. But I started hearing OW’s name more & more in those 10 days (she works for him, and she too was getting a divorce, at age 25 — how convenient!).

    I kept asking why why why why why…. No good answer. Did he want a separation? No. Counseling? No. (Funny enough, when I then said, Well, I guess it’s divorce, he balked and said, “Wait, I’m not talking about THAT!!” as if there were some magical third option!) — Well, I reminded him he’d promised me he would go to counseling if our marriage ever got to that point so, by god, he was going to go! — At the MC, after an hour & half where I felt like I was sitting on pins & needles, my whole life resting on whether the MC could work a miracle, and I felt we were actually making progress, the MC suggested an exercise for us to work on to appreciate each other more for the next 30 days. — The look on XH’s face was terror, at spending another 30 whole days! working on “us.” Even the MC saw it and backpedaled to two weeks — same look. It was right then I realized, “Oh my god, there’s someone else, and he can’t bear to keep it in his pants for even two more weeks to work on a 16 year marriage!” I knew right then I meant nothing to him. — That was our one & only MC session.

    So I started snooping on his phone & finding text messages between him & Schmoopie. Nothing incriminating, just with that flirty tone, lots of smiley juvenile emoticons. You know, L-O-V-E. (heart heart heart)

    And the final straw was him getting ready for work one day, cleaning out the passenger side of his truck. And I knew right then, it was her, this woman at work. So I confronted him, and he said, exasperated, “Well, I told you I had feelings for her.” — Umm, noooooooo, I’m pretty sure I’d remember something like that…. The next morning, he asked if I wanted to talk about OW and, I’m still amazed by how calm I was about it, I said, “Yes, I’d like to hear what you have to say.” And he said it wasn’t any little old crush, but that she was “important.” I still can’t say the word “important” without remember how his voice cracked with emotion when he said it. So I told him he had to leave.

    Sorry, this turned into a much longer story than I intended. But I left when I realized he loved someone else. If that’s not “over,” I don’t know what is. I have shitty self-esteem. I do. That’s my problem, I’m working on it. But no WAY do I have such low self-esteem as to be cuckolded within my own marriage. Fuck him. He wants someone else and to have completely disregarded all our years together and all the sacrifices I made for him, for us? Well, hit the door walking, buddy boy.

    • “(Funny enough, when I then said, Well, I guess it’s divorce, he balked and said, “Wait, I’m not talking about THAT!!” as if there were some magical third option!) ”

      The third option is, “having my cake and eating it, too.”

      Let’s even grant that both chumps and cheaters have FOO issues–there is a HUGE difference between having a problem that makes yourself the victim (us) vs. having a problem that victimizes other people (cheaters).

      • And in no way do I believe that his infant Schmoopie is really “important” in the way that someone would be important to you. Remember, he was going for cake in the beginning….and there were probably lots of kibbles in the infatuation and sneaking around stage.

    • Heh…when I handed ex divorce papers to sign, maybe two months after I kicked him out and he was fully seeing other women, he became enraged and refused to sign them. It was hilarious. here’s this asshole fucking other women openly and then he gets pissed at me for handing him divorce papers. He actually said, ‘I’m not ready for that’. Well, I was, and that ball started to roll.

      • It’s invigorating, isn’t it? Seeing the disbelief in their eyes? Like years of pent-up frustration finally taking the reins and rolling right over these poor sausages! I remember telling him years ago (about something else entirely), once I set my mind to something, my will is unstoppable! That’s what happened after Dday, and I think he’d never actually seen me in all my powerful glory — sobbing and hysterical about the loss of my marriage but still GETTING SHIT DONE!!

        • Yeah, it annoys ex that while I was devastated by the family blowing up (which he loved seeing, I think) I have managed to pull my life together to the point where I’m starting to think I*ll be ok. It seems to really piss him off. I think he’d rather I end dup on the streets. Which tells you just what sort of man lurked underneath the nice guy exterior.

  • I also assumed the upbeat mood when we traveled. God, he complained about everything unless it was what he wanted to do! I was lucky in that aspect that he was uninvolved because he did not go with us often. The last one we all went together was about six years and when the kids found out he was joining us they were shell shocked asking why? The youngest did not even think he lived at our home anymore. I think they were much more clear about things than i was. It was a complete disaster (PTSD) kind of disaster. The oldest at 14 said never again and kept her word. The youngest endured one more year and we never had another with him. The three of us know each other well and have a great time when we go together. He recently said he felt we leave him out or changed when he walked in. Clueless that he made those choices and they do affect others.

    • Traveling with my x was a nightmare. Always picked a fight with me. Eventually we coped by having him travel seperately… By car or plane.

      • Yeah, what IS that? My X used to pick fights when we traveled too. Didn’t matter if it was several days, a day trip – or just going out to eat. it wasn’t every time – but damn near.

  • Why I stayed: Pride. I didn’t want to be a single mom of three kids or the stigma that comes with it. I wanted my kids to have opportunities that double parent households can afford to give them. Cheaterpants was my second husband and I didn’t want to be a failure at marriage AGAIN. People in my family don’t get divorced. They also don’t cheat, though.
    Why I left: I finally realized my home was already broken. My kids had the stigma of being with a dad/step-dad who was an asshole and all their friends knew it. He would love bomb me every time I tried to leave with all of his sayings “you’re the love of my life. You mean everything to me. I can’t live without you. No one else means anything to me. Everyone knows how I feel about you.” I realized I had to plug my ears and watch his actions. I good therapist helped me with this. He continually told me ” you know what the right thing to do is”. Took me 6 months of planning, paying off bills, saving money, and applying to grad school, but I finally left!
    I’m 2.5 years out from D-day with my masters, my sanity, and three happy kids. I haven’t met anyone that I want to date but we are all okay. And that’s what’s most important

      • Thanks so much LAJ! A really good director at work influenced my resilience. She believed in me when I couldn’t see my worth. I love your input on here. even if I don’t always comment, I like your posts 🙂

  • I’m just happy to see a Sunday post!!! I hate having to wait until Monday for the next Chump Lady entry. Should I seek treatment for my condition? I might have a problem.

  • I left when it became too dangerous to stay. He wouldn’t leave and I really feared for the safety of my kids and me. He’d had some kind of mental breakdown but was also on some kind of megalomaniac power trip as though he controlled our world and nothing I could do or say mattered. I thought he’d attack me or take our baby. In the end I waited till he was asleep, grabbed the kids and we just took off in the car. I was terrified but went to my brother’s place. After that it was a matter of hiding till I got the necessary court order to keep my children safe.

    • I’m sorry you went through that it’s a terrifying situation. I hope you are in a better place now, a very safe one. Jedi Hugs!

  • All the post here touch me. They touch me so deeply and give me so much hope. I am still married to my cheater. I went to periods thinking what on earth does he want, why is he still here and hasn’t left me if he is so in love with the OW ? His cheating and what we portrayed to the outer world of being a family, was the biggest cognitive dissonance for me. But nowhere back then on my radar was it to take charge, to take the wheel in my hand and to drive me to a better place. I felt powerless. Today, after a long journey I learned so much about myself and I understand that my FOO has a lot to do with my high tolerance to this emotional entanglement and disfunction. I wanted to give up the responsibility of taking care of myself, I thought it would be so much easier if he would leave but at the same time I was terrified of him leaving and I wanted to save the family. I wanted for my children to grow up with happy parents a solid family and a golden retriever (which was the only thing that we had).

    I think it was Uniorcornomore who mentioned how her husband had to die and how this was the only way of separation from it. I often thought, if my husband would just die then I could move on with a clean bill. He never did leave, at least not physically, emotionally he had checked out a very long time ago. Our relationship is an empty husk.

    After first D-Day I was determined I can fix us. I did everything that is said to be done to get your marriage back on track. I demanded no contact with the OW, I forced my husband to write a letter to the OW (I told him what he needs to write) and I told him I need complete honesty and transparency (which of course I never got), I even conversed with her and thought she got it.At the same breath he had already lined up another AP. He lied with his words but he was damn honest with his actions. His action told me with every move he made that he doesn’t care about me and that it is more important to eat his cake than being available for his family. How much more proof do I need? What am I holding on to? The pick-me dance did not work and trust me I danced holes in my shoes.

    The good news is, It has finally sunken in. After grieving so long I finally have reached a point where I can see a clear picture. It took years. The real break through came one day after we had a nice day on the beach with the kids. When we were back home he went into the shower and had left his phone on the counter (a very rare occasion). The phone rang, it rang so obnoxiously loud that it caught my attention, it was almost as it was saying: ‚WAKE UP YOU FOOL” Looking at the display I was shocked, I immediately recognizing the OW’s phone number, it was burned into my memory from the dark past. It threw me off so bad, how naive must i have been. How could I have failed so badly in fixing this. We are living 4000miles away and this son of a gun has lured her back in, after all the work I did for us. From then on I started the real process of healing. This was it, there was no more illusion left, reality had given me a phone call.
    I finally understand, non of his cheating was my fault and I am not responsible for fixing him. All of it is wrong, CHEATING IS WRONG and I can be damn right about at least that. The pick-me dance didn’t work and the hopium pipe I was smoking can only be a peace pipe for my own sake. I have gained insight and understanding why I am so resistant to leave. I am closer to the light than I have ever been before. The moment I stopped dancing, the music stopped and the light went out in our relationship. There was nothing coming from him, it was all me trying to make it work.

    I decided I will be brave. I am in the process of seeking legal aid to get informed about my rights. I am still very chicken about it and the fear of not being able to be enough for myself and the fear of not being able to make it finacialy on my own and to take care of my children creeps in often, but I will stand my ground I will take the leap of faith. I owe it to myself.

    • I was too scared to leave and I was wrong…that is why I chose to come back here and tell my story…Im so glad it helped.

      You DO owe it to yourself. Like you I tried to fix with everything in my being and couldn’t but it wasn’t that we failed, it was unfixable.

      • Unicornomore, I feel that I already wasted too much time. If the dang FEAR wouldn’t have stopped me so much in the past, I could have had some really good exits. We had a chance to live in Europe for a while, I was on home ground. At that time my husband discovered that he was not well, and ended up having open heart surgery, he got several bypasses (only 44 yrs. old). He made us move back to the US after that , I had just had discovered the truth about his infidelity he kept contact with the OW the whole time we were abroad. I wish I would have had the insight and guts I have now and would have stayed there with my kids. My husband is unhealthy (on every layer of his being, physically, emotional and mentally unhealthy) and sometimes I think if I not get out now, he will die before I am able to leave. What difference would it made to you if you would have left before he died? I would just love to hear you out on that to learn from you and to avoid the same mistake.

        • I dont think he was a serial cheat, so even though he was always a cranky selfish asshole, he was MY cranky selfish asshole and I put up with a LOT from him (that I shouldnt have) . I now think he was a narc and thought himself better than others and facing this failure caused much cognitive dissonance for him. He lied to me about what happened during the affair and I believe that the deep disappointment in himself both from cheating and being too cowardly to tell the truth stewed and contributed to his death.

          For me, one benefit to leaving him earlier would have been that he could have learned that he over played his hand. I tolerated SO much from him, I wish I could have seen his face once he realized that the shit he served up was more than I was willing to take.

          He told me that he unilaterally decided that we would move when daughter graduated in ’14 and I had pretty much decided I wasn’t going with him but before that happened, we had a logistical situation coming to a head that I knew was going to make him lose his shit (the worst narc rage of his life was on the horizon, I saw it coming but he didnt) and I had promised myself that I had suffered the last rage I was ever willing to experience. I had $40,000 saved up and I was going to use it and leave. His death beat me to it.

          He put me down so regularly, emotionally he kept himself afloat by pushing my head under water and buoying himself up as he pushed me down. I would have like to to show him that I was better than that and I could have a good relationship with a worthy partner. My soon-to-be husband is of a demographic that my late husband hated (tall rich/successful white guys) and me being with him would have bugged the shit out of my late H in the most wonderful way.

          D day was 10 years ago and I held on with a white knuckle grip for a LONG time. He died in late 2012…I found the proof that his affair was worse than admitted to in 2013 and Im getting married in 4 months. I will change my name and Im currently purging my house of most of his stuff to welcome my new man into it.

          The other day I did what felt big to me, I threw away all of the love letters I ever wrote him. I feel stupid to give so much love and devotion to someone who valued it so little – I don’t want to read those letters again nor do I want anyone else reading them. I cant divorce him or throw him out so I have had to internally process all this which has been quite a task.

          • You are my hero like so many other people from Chump nation. I can relate to some of it so much. My H is the crankiest asshole you can imagine. H last divorce threat was: ‚As soon as our daughter graduates (she has one more year left) I am divorcing you. Why waiting for that? I really want to beat him to the punch.

            • I put this out there in utter humiliation that I was subject to it but to show would-be unicorns what 7 years of “‘reconciliation” will get you…I am not a bad looking woman, I wear size 4 skinny jeans…Im not person who let myself go (not that a less attractive person deserves to be abandoned either) but even though the women in my fathers family age very well, we all carry a “premature greying” gene and have all gone grey very young.

              Only a few months before he died, I walked into the kitchen to find him uncharacteristically pensive, obviously thinking very deeply on a topic. He was silent…then he looked right at me and very deliberately said “When you get your first grey pubic hair, I will leave you” I stood there in silent shock trying to grasp what he just said to me and he thought I didnt hear him so he repeated himself “I will leave you”. I never said a word. Never confronted him on it (you had to pick your battles with him).

              THAT isnt marriage by any definition I use. What a shitty thing to say to someone. Well I did get a grey body hair …and a million $ when he died. Living well IS the best revenge.

              • “When you get your first grey pubic hair, I will leave you.”

                Well, I’ve heard it all now. Holy Dinah! That’s like . . . man. I don’t even know what to say. And you got $1 million when he died? Good for you!!!

              • Okay unicornomore you can quit complaining, because I don’t have anything and you have $1 million. This is not said with disrespect, you go girl! I am not the smart one for being a martyr.

                We give them every chance availible, but in the end they are not good people. We didn’t deserve this. I am actually glad you held out for your money. I don’t quite understand affair partners who want to snatch it away. I have a child with autism who may never actually grow up. I am scared. He will outlive me.

                So thank you for sharing your story, and please be glad he is gone. Whatever his issues were, it’s between him and God now. You just enjoy yourself and carry on.

                “So take this love and take it down. Climb the moutain and turn around, when you see the reflection in the snow covered hills, the landslide will bring it down.”

    • Schmetterling,
      Hurray! Someone recommended womenslaw.org under the tab: “where to find help”. ♥♥♥ I hope it helps. Supposedly they have special abuse training. I hope you get it all. Make a list of all the abuse. Physical especially! … Even little things like if he ever grabbed your wrist or cornered you. Judges seem jaded about emotional abuse, but they worry about physical evidence and abuse. Take pictures of anything he has broken, neglected, etc.

      • Friend, I love your Avatar! Thank you for the link. I want to read and educate myself as much as I can. Luckily so far he has not laid a hand on me and he is respectful with the kids. But emotional abuse is a big part. He is very cold and distant to me and hardly ever communicates verbal with me. He is excluding me often. I am often afraid to bring up financial issues, because it makes him mad. I used to walk on eggshells so much. He is always angry and resentful and it seems he feels he has been shitted on of course he blames me for it. He rolls his eyes in disbelieve and he is resentful. I have experienced so much stone walling and silent treatment over the past it’s really disturbing that I am still sharing living space with him. As soon as he leaves the house for work or I am leaving the space we share, I can start breathing. He is taking up so much space in our house with all his negativity and inward anger (depression), I can cut the air it’s so thick. but man, can he whistles outside when he is exchanging text with his cake-lady.

  • I kicked mine out.

    Why?

    He was emotionally, verbally, and financially abusive. I stayed with him for FAR too long. Home Depot didn’t CARRY enough spackle, lol! Thing is, I really didn’t recognize the abuse for what it was as I had grown up in a relatively similar atmosphere. That being said, the abuse was getting worse. He wound up getting in significant trouble with CPS, and I would end up with full custody.

    How, or what was the point at which I decided?

    I had been wheeling around in my head about what to do for around 10 years (and this coincided, more or less, with EA D-Day). Talk about indecisive !!! Anyway, I was nearing the breaking point (nervous breakdown. I had been having panic attacks). After several months of even more unpredictable Jeckyl and Hyde episodes, I was NOT feeling well in my head. We were also experiencing an imminent, serious financial problem. He kept doing and saying things to sweep it under the rug. One Sunday afternoon I was sitting on the couch. I looked over at him. He was sitting at the computer playing one of his fucking games and I decided I had had enough.

  • Forgot to add: What was it like to take back my power?

    AWESOME!! Here’s a good example.

    A good friend of mine just lost her son (in the helicopter crash this last week). If my X were still here, he would have been all over me about what to do about communicating with her and her family. No matter HOW I would have reacted, it would have been WRONG in some way, and I would have been berated.

    Without him around, I actually could THINK about how and when I wanted to talk to her, and what I wanted to say, and NOT worry about how it would be perceived by HIM.

    Even though I face a very unstable future, I AM IN CONTROL OF IT. This in itself is very empowering, and I believe my son and I will be OK.

  • My ah-ha-I-can’t-take-this-anymore-moment came when, after multiple ddays, and discoveries, my cheater had sent a bday present to OW, but at the the same time, had to ask me when our 5 year olds birthday was(after I told him it was coming up soon). That was it, I’d had enough and that was my tipping point. Dude CAN remember some skanks birthday that he had known less than a year, but CAN’T remember his own child’s birthday, and yet he loved to say I had my priorities all screwed up….right……

  • I technically didn’t leave; he did. I had no idea why he asked for a divorce and immediately started packing to move out. I refused to leave the house; I did not know what in the hell was going on, but I was not going anywhere.

    However, once I found out what was really going on, he was not welcome home. I was lucky enough that he was too busy crotch dwelling that this never became an issue. I immediately knew I did not want the marriage; it was no good.

    He eventually wanted the house back. I stayed until I was ready.

    • Dr., me too! I refused to leave my home and he was too busy with new pussy to figure it out. It was great to finally live there and make good memories (without Mr Cheater!). My home was foreclosed on because ex lost half his pension and wasn’t about to “share” our second biggest asset. Loser indeed!

  • Tracy, maybe the next one should be recovered chumps telling newbies how to go about leaving. Schmetterling seems to describe the sense of powerlessness that affects so many chumps. These posts are so sad to read and yet those who have said “no more” must surely give hope to those still stuck. Real, concrete, suggestions of how to dismantle a marriage would be so beneficial to so many.

    • I so, so, agree LIG. God if Chump Lady was around 10 years ago? I would have saved 3,650 more days of wasted bullshit with my X.

      • i would love to get some real concrete suggestions on how to dismantle. It does feel impossible to me sometimes, I look at this huge mountain and don’t know when I will be on top. Thinking about getting my shit together is scary but the baby-steps I am making are sure frustrating as well. Like onthehill, I wish I would have found CL when I had my first D-day many moons ago. But I guess the saying: “When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come“ is holding some truth. We have to get to the point of Meh first. I have to create my own magic if I ever want to get out and live a positive and healthy live.

        • Schmetterling, you might want to try posting your situation in the forums, Chumps can give specific advice to you there. Jedi Hugs!

    • Although I understand you, I think that may be difficult because while are stories are so similar, there are so many factors in these situations. One of the things I found in my divorce is that nobody had an answer or solution. I could get advice, counsel, do research, and the like, but ultimately, I was the only person who could know how to proceed. I think what Chump Lady tries to do is give us something to think about or that shot of confidence to take action.

      The best advice I received was from a friend of mine. He was an attorney who was informally helping me out with the legal stuff when I needed it. He never told me what to do. He always said, “Do what is best for Dr. Chump.”

      It was liberating to hear it and became my guiding belief as I went through my divorce.

      So, do what is best for [your name].

  • Cheater ex-husband was posting photographs all over facebook of OW seated on his lap, necking with her on the street and at parties in full view of my friends (we live in a small city and the next day I had 5 phone calls), and publicly announcing that I was his ex-spouse. (Even though we were still married.) I just got sick of the public humiliation. Enough is enough. Couldn’t figure out why he didn’t have the simple human decency to at least ask me for a divorce me before he did these things. For some reason he seemed to take great pleasure in publicly humiliating me…and almost seemed disappointed that I didnt want to prolong my suffering. All I could do was hold my head up high and make an appointment for both of us with a lawyer. I actually paid his portion of the lawyer bill for him to get the deed accomplished. Maybe that was his goal, but it worked! I felt like he had turned my life into the Jerry Springer Show. All of my ancestors had lifelong marriages, and I had always intended to do the same, but when I saw the sleazy behavior I had no stomach for it.

  • I stayed for just under a year after D-day, gave it my all, and left the shared abode a year ago when my ex-partner fell into a relapse and continued with an emotional affair – a fantasy with another woman in another country. My separation from him gave me a whole new perspective. As I put my heart first, I realised the world is full of love and it starts with me being open to little moments of feeling alive and connected to the world and people, and moving towards things that feel good with an open curiosity. I dated myself, dated others, discovered new hobbies, went to festivals, danced barefoot in the mud, gazed at the stars solo, spent more time with my friends and their babies, rediscovered myself and my passions, and realised that I’m so much happier and healthier inside and out, lighter and more optimistic about life without him. No more misery or sadness, I’m done. Although there were times I felt I needed him, I knew that I didn’t want him.

    Through my journey of healing and self-care, I saw my ex come back to me in every way, I had magnetised him back and because it didn’t feel good to his energy back – when I was in his presence I just felt a dark vortex sucking my life force away, I realise that love is not enough, I want to feel happier in every moment not anxious, heavy and disappointed. I delivered the final blow yesterday, telling him it is time for a new chapter, and I don’t want a new beginning with him. I even wrote a long letter in response to his, sealing my words onto paper.

    Some of the stupid bs he has said – ‘There’s no point bringing negative stuff back up’ (as in his bad ways of cheating, depending on alcohol, his acting out) I mean duh?! And my response was ‘Sure, we’ve had plenty of wonderful moments, but we are only at this point, sitting here because of the biggest negative thing you’ve ever done – because of the stupid choices you made!’ Other bs/things he said ‘Nobody’s perfect. You’re not either’, ‘People make mistakes’… ‘In life people can always start again’… ‘There is some good inside of me’

    My ex is emotionally immature. The kicker for me was when he was sobbing and wanting to cradle in my arms on a park bench, and I said ‘No! You’re a grown man! I’m not your mother, pull yourself together!’.. I realised I still care about him, but I’m not even interested in dating a man who’s had an affair.

    This decision was turned over a 1000 times, but my gut always knew that it would be a big fat no. My body told me no, my heart still feels some love, my mind over-analysed. When I was in emotional turmoil in wanting to let go, I wrote a list of the qualities I want in a husband and a relationship, and realised I deserved so much more. When I took back my power, I felt like a self-respecting woman, that I shed some skin, and stretched. I feel more self-aware, wiser, sexier, more beautiful, lighter, more energetic, more vulnerable even, more authentic, softer. I’ve been celebrating my own femininity for myself, and by ‘eck it is attractive stuff. Liberation feels like gliding in the sky, buffed by fluffy clouds. The horizon stretches before me, there is a bright warm sunrise after the sunset.

    And the bonus now is that I feel I have manifested a new guy and relationship into my life! The only thing I didn’t do was to leave the flat earlier, instead of trying to save a sinking ship. Liberation started when I packed a weekend bag and never went back. I got off the sinking ship and swam to save my heart and sanity. And now I’m enjoying myself on a beautiful island with a new man – who is happy, open and just makes me melt. I feel adored and happy about a new beginning. My dream of a family remains the same, it is just that the x has shifted out the picture. 🙂

  • I put up with his emotional affair with a co-worker for most of my pregnancy. Though the EA was over (for the most part) by the time my son was due in September 2013. I finally realized that the marriage was over when he stole money from my bank account just before our son was born.

    I was 9 months pregnant, working past my due date because we needed the money so badly on account of him having refused to make a serious effort to support us, and I was developing pre-eclampsia. Under those circumstances, he went into my bank account, stole money from me, then lied about it to try and cover his tracks.

    I realized that if a man treats you that way when you are 9 months pregnant, about to bring his son into the world, and developing a life-threatening condition, it will NEVER get better. You are kidding yourself. If a man can’t respect you and treat you right when you are at your most vulnerable and needy, he isn’t going to treat you right at any other time of your life, either.

    And that was why I finally asked for a divorce.

    • That is so true! Bridget. Every challenge, both good and bad, is difficult for the disordered. My ex was notably absent the night we married, during all my pregnancies, and births, through the death of loved ones, health challenges, family drama, new jobs, special occasions, vacations, and holidays. You were right to recognize (while young! Kudos) that his actions are who he is.

  • No regrets by the way…..the day of the divorce as I tried to make sure this is really what he wanted he said: “The kids are grown, you are no longer useful to me.” Useful? Seriously he is judging whether I am useful to him. Just goes to show how Machiavellian his thought process was.

  • It was about time I left after 23 years of false reconciliation! Three years prior to the final OW, I went to individual counseling because cheater was again … drum roll … unhappy. I’ve been to counseling before, with and without cheater, but this time I found a counselor who told me to pretty much screw the cheater and let’s focus on me. And that we did. I was getting stronger emotionally and finally figuring out my worth. I honestly thought the marriage was also getting better. It probably was, but with a cheater, it didn’t matter whether the marriage was great or awful because cheating has nothing to do with the spouse or the marriage. Cheating is a one-man show.

    When cheater told me that he didn’t think he could grow old with me, I just knew I was DONE. It was Christmas Day. I didn’t even know there was an OW. I told him to hand over his house keys and leave. That was it. He wanted a hug before he left, started walking toward me, I ducked and too bad he didn’t fall over. He left and came right back, crying, but I didn’t open the door. He went to stay elsewhere and he never came back until he got a place and moved out his stuff. He was obviously shocked how quickly I threw him out.

    I had enough. I have never, ever regretted my decision. I needed to come to a point where I valued myself enough to know that I would rather be alone than put up with the emotional abuse. I found CL 4 months later and it was a godsend because even though I had already filed for divorce, Tracy and Chump Nation gave me the strength and wisdom to stay away from the cheater. Cheater tried to come back a year later, and I stood my ground. Cheater ex is an asshole – yesterday, today and tomorrow – and no way was he going to inhabit my today or tomorrows. Goodbye cheater!

    • Love this! Uniquelyme. And the line, “Cheating is a one-man show.” Yup, unilateral decision making at its finest (sarcasm font here).

  • I didn’t leave. I was discarded but Jackass didn’t want to make a clean break. He needed time. His life was upside down! And there I was, in a hurry! Then I found his FB page with his buddy’s married sister his only friend, dated while he was still apparently committed to me. When I confronted him, he responded with denial, minimizing and rage. NC was a given, since he had essentially stopped responding to me anyway. But there was business to conduct, his stuff to get out of my house, and in the end all of that fell to me. I got one terrifically nasty email on Valentine’s Day, 2014. I still remember going to yoga and crying into my mat. But that was the turning point for me. While my therapist and my best friend I think saved my sanity if not my life in the 4 months between DDay and rock bottom, it was the Chump Lady site that helped me figure out how someone who loved me could treat me that way, could steal my money, leave me financially in a big hole, and just stop loving me in an instant.

    And in researching narcissism, I understood not only the end of the relationship, but the whole 30+ year span, in which I served as a particularly valuable narcissistic supply–up to the point where he had to actually follow through on his claims and commitments.That led me to bang the spackle off much of his past and see that his whole life is an attempt to have something that makes him feel valuable (often a business, sometimes a relationship, and once a child) only to discover that he can’t stick it out. If it’s a job, he can’t tolerate not being in charge. He finds fault with everyone and everything (he quit or had major conflict leading to leaving at least 7 good $65-70K jobs in 10 years that I know of and maybe more by now. Before that, 3 business failures and 2 other professional jobs where he was either canned or quit). He has no explanation for why XW#1 left him. He claims to have no idea. XW#2 was crazy, abusive, greedy–although when I met him, he was still hanging out at her house on visitation days, so go figure THAT. At least 4 married women in the last 10 years. A stint of car chopping in his youth and a near-disastrous involvement with a boss who was more or less embezzling. Maybe other shady stuff–who knows? Very, very smart man, two attempts at an undergrad degree but only managed 2-year technical degree. Spent 7-8 years living in mom and dad’s place but never patched the holes in the ceiling or finished remodeling the kitchen although he paid no rent. And on and on. For me, it was the process not of untangling the skein of his fuckedupedness but unshackling the things I had not wanted to acknowledge.

    There is something about being with a narcissist that acts like a drug. Getting discarded feels like going cold turkey off a very potent narcotic. Getting past that takes time, knowledge, courage and the ability to either value yourself or imagine that valuing yourself is important and possible. My story pales in significance to what many here have endured. I wasn’t married to J and did not have kids with him, thank God. But it is a little mini-case study of a narcissist who claimed to love someone for over 30 years, who swore that his other relationships didn’t work because “they weren’t you.” (ding, ding, ding. Red Flag alert. Love-bombing and Overvaluation.) It’s a case study of how desperately some narcissists will avoid marriage or commitment to someone who is going to expect work reciprocity and partnership and hard work toward life goals It shows. Or as my therapist said, “It got real. He would have to work and produce. It wasn’t going to be easy and convenient. So he ran.” He got caught in 2 marriage and he knew it cost $$$ to get out. I think many, many cheaters here might have left much earlier on except that chumps are so good at over-compensating for laziness, stupidity, and disengagement.

    • There’s a sentence up there that makes no sense. Sorry, it should be–> It’s a case study of how desperately some narcissists will avoid marriage or commitment to someone who is going to expect reciprocity, partnership and hard work toward life goals.

    • This is genius and has such clarity, LAJ. It’s amazing how we chumps have to figure shit out but eventually do and end up where we need to be. I’m sure it’s been hard work getting where you are now, but it’s all due to your own efforts.

      And here’s a clink of the glass to have had the foresight and good fortune to have never had kids with these guys, eh? (CLINK!) I can’t imagine going through this with kids — what assholes these guys are to leave not only their wives (or husbands) but their kids behind…

    • Pretty simple explanation: We get stuck on these guys for the simple fact they they rain sparkles on us.
      And an average life is actually fairly boring, so when the sparkles hit you kinda get a rush.
      Hence why people stick around for it, even when the mask falls off.

  • I had been unhappy in our marriage for many years and had tried countless times to talk to him about it. He would either ignore me or promise things would be better but never make effort. I was so tired of living this way. I knew was always trying to please him but got nothing from him in return. I didn’t comprend what I was dealing with until that fateful night when I realized he was not working late out if town…..

    After 4 months of playing detective and getting my ducks lined up, I kicked cheater out of the house with the help of my attorney. I did it because I didn’t want to feel used and abused anymore. I did it because if I confronted him on my own, I knew he would try to convince me I was wrong and that I would likely fall for it. I cried for days and nights over this decision. And it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

    In the months after, here’s what he did:
    He said what I wanted to hear but didn’t follow through with any of it.
    He continued to lie, deceive, manipulate, and gaslight not only me but our daughter, MC and family.
    He revealed more affairs spanning many years, including prostitute usage. He admitted that he always had unprotected sex with these women like he was proud of it.
    He decided to no longer help me financially.

    Here’s what I did:
    I cried relentlessly over him, what he had done, and the effort he wasn’t putting in to us.
    Educated myself by reading and working with my individual therapist.
    Realized how he had emotionally, verbally and physically abused me for years and that I had allowed him to treat me this way.
    Filed and forced mediation with the help of my attorney. Just need to file the final papers now – hopefully this month.

    I have a long way to go in rebuilding my self esteem. I hope one day I’ll feel good about myself and be able to open up and trust again. It’s going to be a tough road though, so it will take time. I’ll get there someday. CL and all the chumps here inspire me.

    • When cheaters have unprotected sex with multiple partners (especially high risk sex) then come home and subject the spouse unknowingly (thus without their consent) to a myriad of diseases, I consider this biohazardous rape

      • Unicornomore, When I discovered an old HIV test and then looked back at our sex life in those two years leading up to Dday it was no wonder I headed for the shower the moment we were done (and I used to love sex, sigh). I could not figure out why I felt so damn used! Duh. Looking back I think he got pleasure out of the fact he was screwing us both.

        • There were new signs prior to this DDay. He started buying clothes, flossing his teeth and cleaning the car every time I got out of my seat. He sneered at me when I was happy. He suddenly wanted to have sex. He criticized everything I did. He started this affair like all the others, picking the one who would sleep with a boy with a penile prosthesis. He found someone and wanted a divirce. He said he was moving in with our daughter in 5 weeks. I called my daughter and he never told her he was seeing someone. She was furious. I allowed him to stay for a few weeks and he kept trying to initiate sex as he always did when he cheated. When I refused again he said he was staying “away” the following night. I woke up at 6am and threw all his clothes on the porch and took his keys. I told him to stay “away”. What made me finally throw him out was because I thought he was accessing child porn, he said he could never get anywhere with me, and his sadistical enjoyment of degradation on the final DDay. He wanted the divorce but I filed. I didn’t do the pick me dance this time. He was never there for me when I needed him. I SAW him, booted his ass, went for medication, a and found a great therapist, and found CN. THIS saved my life. I divorced the fucking, serial cheating, waste of a boy. No regrets!

    • I finally left after two years of supporting him through sex addiction therapy because he couldn’t kick the porn habit and I had told him that was my bottom line. Also the more he stayed away from prostitutes, the more controlling he became towards me, to the point of trying to dictate which rooms in the house I was allowed to be in- it became abusive. As he was no longer able to control prostitutes as he wished, he directed all his control issues towards me. In reality, I was always going to leave, there is no going back once you find out your husband was with prostitutes for 5 years of your marriage. But you hope upon hope that your reality isn’t real, somehow you think that you are going to awake from the nightmare and that everything will go back to the way it was. I think it just took me two years to accept the nightmare was my reality – once I did that I was able to leave.

      • Free wrote: “I think it just took me two years to accept the nightmare was my reality – once I did that I was able to leave.”

        This is exactly when I decided to leave. I realized it was a real nightmare.
        4 mos after Dday – Divorce 9 mos later.

        Getting happier every day. Especially since he just asked for my wedding ring back again. bwahahahahahaha

        • SheChump–you’re not going to give it to him, are you? Wedding rings are considered a gift, and thus NOT community property. Sucks for him.

  • In a nutshell, I finally (3 years after dday) left because I knew his remorse wasn’t genuine. He was not interested in doing any work to rebuild our marriage after that because “he thought our marriage was over anyway”. It’s funny how I didn’t get that memo.

    I kept lying to myself and seeing the unicorn but it wasn’t there. After our first discussion about how I thought our reconciliation wasn’t really working out he told me “He wasn’t happy either; and he hadn’t been in a long time.” I guess his happiness started ending when I stopped doing the pick me polka to perfection. Actually that conversation told me all I needed to know and I knew it was over immediately.

    I didn’t expect him to beg me not to go, but I also didn’t expect him to tell me he was unhappy for a long time. Not because he wasn’t allowed to be unhappy; lord knew I was miserable but he once again didn’t have that discussion with me until I brought it up. I knew in that instance he was just “cataloging all the times I missed a spot” so he could have a long list of justifications for his next affair.

    That sums it up actually. I knew that staying with him was only going to result in more ddays for me and I’m worth more than that.

  • So everyone, something I just found out while getting my ducks in a row to leave at the end of the year…

    There are some States that have a thing called “Watts charges”. My state (CA) is one of them. What this means is that whomever remains in the marital home will be charged 1/2 of the “fair market rental value” (above the mortgage payments),and has to give 1/2 THAT amount to the cheater after the sale or disposition of the home.

    We own our home outright…and there is a small cottage on our property as well. House is 2400 sq ft, cottage is 800 sq ft, (so that means I will be staying in the cottage when the $hit hits the fan). Rental value of the house is $2K a month, whereas the cottage is $700 a month. Knowing this means cheater will owe ME…and this is one time being a chump will work in my favor. 🙂

    This way, nothing comes out of my share of the equity, but rather, cheater will not get quite so much of his. Reason this is important to know (for those who have not filed yet, or are just beginning the process) is because attorney’s most often do NOT inform their clients of this twist…and this needs to be filed with the divorce IN THE BEGINNING of the process or a Judge will not consider it later because he will likely determine that the cheater had the “right to be aware” and not be caught financially off guard.

    My cheater does not want to leave, and I dont have to leave (cottage!) because I cannot afford to do so until I get the cash from our house, so that means he will likely dragggg the sale of the property out for years. Filing a demand for Watts charges will mean that he will have plenty of motivation not to do that as it will co$t HIM from his share of equity.

    If the cheater leaves and finds out about the Watts charges from his/her attorney, YOU will be stuck with that difference for staying in the home even if you make the payments. If the Watts value is higher than the house mortgage payment, cheater will get credit for that difference.

    You can google this and find out if your state has this.

    Just sayin

  • Congrats to all of you who moved on, or are moving on.

    I left because the cheating never stopped. It was 6 months (that I know of) and counting. Yes, she claimed it did. But my cheater, frankly sucked at lying. The evidence was everywhere! She was really, really bad at it.

    So, if the cheating doesn’t stop…you can’t stay. You have to leave. That’s what I did.

      • Tempest, of course you’re right. But, I was more chumpy then. I believed in “affair fog,” NPD, and all of the BS about shared blame. So, I believed I could fix it (or, I could fix it with my cheater, who would also try).

        It took time…months and months…for me to realize that my cheater wasn’t trying, despite her claims to the contrary (she did, however, accuse *me* of not trying several times!). Around month number 4, I accepted that my relationship with her would never be the same. It took another 2 months for me to realize that there was nothing left to love. The person I thought I loved never actually existed. My bad.

        • I know, JC; I’m speaking from the wisdom of having come through chumpdom. We all see more good in our cheaters than is actually the case, and want to “salvage” goodness that isn’t really there. I didn’t tolerate my X’s cheating, but I was weak in tolerating years of sporadic emotional abuse so I understand where you’re coming from.

          I think my advice was for my daughters, and all of our children, and new chumps–get out before weeks, months, years of mindfuckery wear you down.

  • Or I could find a way to leave (if necessary) and he would have to pay back even more for “use of property” for BOTH buildings even if he only occupies one of them. That’s the law here. But there are some LAZY attorneys or attorneys who do not give a rip about all the laws that could work for you or against you.

    My husband already KNOWS about this law because our housekeeper just went through this. Her ex has been living in their 3800 sq ft house that was already PAID FOR for 4 years after their divorce. She moved out but did not know about this…now it is too late for her to collect this “back rent” because her attorney never informed her. Her ex skated mortgage free, rent free, and their house STILL is not sold. Why give up an arrangement that worked out so well for HIM huh?

    • These two posts about this aspect of property in divorce show how important it is to pick the right attorney–and to ask the right questions. I saw a supposedly top attorney when I separated from my XH (not a cheater). He was full of gloom and doom, mostly about my X taking my pension. And of course, I know of cases where people have lost a lot of money because a spouse exploited every possible source of compensation. So chumps need to be smart and strategic. I knew, in my case, that I could negotiate a better deal on my own, and I did. I wrote the separation agreement myself, using internet tools, and I listed all the assets, including HIS pension, and we went through it and balanced it out pretty well. I let him keep a lot of “stuff” because I wasted a fresh start. But I knew this would work because XH is not a bad guy or a vicious one, and we both have a track record of fairness in dealing with others. But there are many people who have to crush others, who need to “win,” and this also requires strategic thinking and sometimes swift action. I knew a man whose cheater wife quit her job, filed for divorce and won 1/2 of his salary in alimony pendante lite. They put the house up for sale, and got $30K from that, but his attorney held up the distribution because she was slow walking the divorce to play the alimony out longer. He said, “That $30K will eat a hole in her resolve,” and it did. He got the divorce and alimony was done. So perhaps the most important thing is to find an attorney who wants things to move at a pace that will support the best outcome and will be aggressive in serving your needs.

  • he was a serial cheater and I knew he wouldn’t change. It only took me a few weeks after I found out about his cheating ways to come to that conclusion so i said adios and proceeded with the divorce. We were married 25 years.

  • Why did I leave? Well, the decision came after many months of disengagement and abusive treatment, including an EA/PA with an uber-conniving altruistic narcissist who wormed her way into our lives just when we needed to pull together (I could write a whole series of posts just on that hideous experience). All along I attributed everything to the stress of dealing with a sick child, because hey, who wouldn’t be falling apart? But after months of blameshifting and gaslighting, I finally got access to his hard drive and download/browsing histories. What I found there made my blood run cold, and it confirmed my worst fears and the gut feeling that had been plaguing me for yonks. And that was just one device out of the many he used. The day that I confronted him about it, he tried to tell me I hadn’t seen what I’d seen, but I’d taken screen shots of everything and saved them on a flash drive. He also said, “If you can’t trust me, that’s a deal-breaker.” Like the problem was my lack of trust, not his total lack of trustworthiness! During this conversation, he had to take a medical call in another room, and in a flash I was on his unlocked iPad. I saw that that very morning, while I was on our bedroom computer reeling from the shock of having my whole world cave in (you all know that inner earthquake, that’s off the Richter scale emotionally), he’d been downstairs checking out a 19 year-old escort and watching porn featuring a “hot MILF and her young friend.” That was it for me. If you’ve got teenage daughters and your partner is watching teen porn and looking to hook up with teen escorts, it’s time to exit stage left in a big fucking hurry. That’s just what I did, and every time I look at my daughters’ faces, I know I did the right thing. I just wish I’d done it the first time my gut told me something was wrong.

    But that’s the lesson moving forward. The only proof I’ll ever need from now on is the kind my gut can give me. And that flash drive is stored somewhere safe with very specific instructions in case anything ever happens to me. I don’t care how paranoid that sounds. What I have taken away from all this is the unfortunate knowledge that there are real monsters in the world, but they’re not vampires and they’re not ghouls. Sometimes they’re the people closest to us.

    Thank God for CL and CN. You guys affirm for me daily that the flip side is also true, and there is a whole lot of goodness and a whole lot of good people, too.

    • Oh, the ambiguity of Cheaterspeak: ““If you can’t trust me, that’s a deal-breaker.” Of course, in the actual real world, the point is he is not trustworthy. But in CheaterWorld, cheaters want you to trust them regardless of their trustworthiness. The deal-breaker involves your unwillingness to spackle and deny and see that unicorn. The whole narcissist enterprise involves getting people to see something that isn’t there and ignore something that is all too real.

    • Teen porn. How revolting. How hideous. I can’t even bear the thought of a man who behaves like that. FoolMeTwice – it sounds like you were well able for him. You are mighty indeed! I wholeheartedly agree that we need 100% to listen to our instincts. Definately. I have also learned the same lesson as you.

  • Yesterday I packed all his remaining items into boxes and dropped them off at his office. After living on hope for the last year, him coming back only to leave again, I finally realised that I did not know this person at all! I loved him with everything and he just used me. Didn’t even have the courage to tell me on two days ago, that he was going again. I woke up and he hadn’t come home, this after saying to me on friday that he was going to collect his items from her and would see me later. I was sick to my stomache the whole day, I knew something was wrong! I realised that he had taken his toothbrush with him and a few other items. Thats when I realised he never intended coming back! Got one text from him later that day. It’s going to be so hard, I was starting to heal and he waltzed back into my like and now I am back to square one. i know I suffered with PTSD the first and second time and it’s back again with a vengance. I have to work with him still and today will be most likely the hardest day I will ever have, as packing his stuff made me realise that I am now done. Finished with the Bullshit and lies. I feel like the man I loved is a stranger to me, never thought he was capable of such hurt and cruelty. She can now have him. I hope that I never, ever fall for his BS again, ever. I just want to be better, to learn to laugh again and to stop crying. My eyes are constantly swollen and my chest always tight. Heres hoping to no breakdowns when he walks into the ofiice today. God give me strength….

    • Hang in there, deedee! You’ve been sucker-punched not just once but twice, and it’s beyond horrible that you still have to work with such a lying, cheating cowardly POS. He didn’t even have the decency to tell you he wasn’t coming back! But this is the time to channel your inner badass. Do NOT let that creep see you cry or waver! Do NOT give him that satisfaction! Come here and rail and vent, but don’t fall apart for him. Wising you strength and calm, and in addition to CN, hope you can get some counseling. Please keep checking in.

      • Thanks, this is the third time actually, and I didn’t learn, talk about stupidity. I am sitting at work, I am sick to my stomach and I just want to throw up. He will be in soon and my skin is feeling too small for my body, I am trying to breathe normally and stop the tears. I am wondering how I could be so stupid, I never questioned him, I believed him, even after the previous two times. I seriously need to learn how to pick a better monkey. I need to learn to not trust anymore and that because you love someone completely, it does not make them nice people. Here’s to the end of today coming quickly. This site will be my bible from now on. I will read and reread until I really get it…. Thanks Chump lady xxx

        • deedee, take him out of your phone contacts and block his texts. That phone is like a mental Trojan Horse–he has immediate access to your tender feelings, your mind, your home. The phone is a major source of hopium and cheater bullshit, neither of which will help you. You are going through the worse of it now. You will make it one minute at a time.

          • or, if there is some reason to keep his number in your contacts (I still had to text mine about settlement issues & child-related issues), change the name to something more appropriate. After finding some more devastating news about my X’s escapades, he is now POS in my phone contacts ; ).

  • Chump nation I just wanted to say that tomorrow is my Tuesday. I go to court to end my 28 year marriage with a narcissistic cheating man. It is been almost 11 months since D-Day number five, and I couldn’t be happier. I stayed for many years because the kids were young and I didn’t want to have to go through divorce with sharing custody etc. For me that was the right decision, because he has been such a jerk through the divorce process. What should’ve been super simple has taken a lot more time and money because he’s an ass. I cannot believe to imagine what a fight it would’ve been over custody and financial arrangements. I have been stronger and mightier this last year than I ever dreamed that I would be. Thanks to the strange duo of chump lady and Joel O’Steen, I have found strength and I have found sanity. Chump nation has made me realize that so many of us have the same story that we think is unique. The cheaters are toxic in so many ways. For those who are on the verge of walking away and entering into a cheater free life, be fierce be mighty, and God bless as you work towards your Tuesday.

  • R, he had prostate cancer and had the implant. The man showed me NO affection for 8 months while going through the procedure for the implant. Then he had to have it replaced soon after. When he could finally use it he told me he was dating. Two years of being there for him and he was dating. When I called the OW she said you call that sex. Too funny. That was 4 years ago. He has to have unprotected sex because it’s too small for a condom. THAT is why I finally filed. I opened a statement with records of him getting HIV testing in the spring and summer. He was on porn sites, craigs list, and calling, texting women he met at various casinos. He is living with one now and still meeting up at hotels with others. He is a scumbag.

  • I think I really knew the instant he told me (yes, I’m that rare bird who was told). Deep down, a switch flipped. I knew instantly it was over, but honestly? I couldn’t face that. I had so very, very much believed in my marriage, in my life, in my husband, when he told me, “I will never, ever cheat on you”. For so many years my siblings had a great deal more money and outward success, and I always said to him, “but we have a fantastic marriage; we’re so lucky; we have an amazing daughter.” He would (pretend??) to agree. I think over the 25 years the ratio went from 5% spackle and 95% actual relationship, to all spackle and zero relationship. I just kept running faster and faster, like someone turned up the speed on a treadmill.

    Until I jumped off. I decided I would let him take a turn. He never took a turn. That was right around the time when he started looking for outside gigs, I think. So anyway, all in retrospect. The more I look back, the more cracks I see, the more times I worked so hard to make it alright. Even in the very first months, like others here, I found a sad, bittersweet letter I wrote, about how happy I was in the relationship with him but could he be a little more open with me?

    So that was the background. And after he told me about the PA part of things, and I quite naturally started looking, I found 2 years worth of EA, hundreds of photos sent at midnight–which he still, to this day claims are all completely innocent, yar har. He kept saying, “you can’t make me say I did things I didn’t do!”. But of course, he had, and there was an easily found electronic trail.

    Each dip in the pool of smear and sludge gave me the treat of revisiting the pain of discovery. Hence the PTSD. It took me a few months to get over the shock of my world completely exploding, imploding, that I had been so incredibly humiliated, badly treated by the person I loved so much, the father of my child. How could this be? It was the peeling back of the human mask to see the reptile underneath.

    I spent a great deal of time doing the Amazon thing, untangling the skein, all those moves. (Meanwhile his Dr. Hoe took me to court in another state… for a couple of emails… which were actually quite civil, but she, having been to the rodeo before, knew enough to get a jump on the legal threats.) So that was a waste of money, and more humiliation. His friends sent me incredibly hostile and abusive messages of Facebook, so I had to close my old account.

    My friends–not all, but most–completely ditched me, and I learned that for the years of his EA, he had been spreading lies about me in the community about what a horrible, crazy, bitter person I was. So when I freaked out, it played right into his shaping of the narrative. One would like to think people who have known you for 20+ years would have a clue, but, no. So I was on my own My sister, and sister-in-law were chumps and I could lean on them some, but I had to be careful not to overwhelm them.

    Once I knew it was over, it was really a matter of getting out with the best deal I could. And I did.

    So now I’m rebuilding, and despite incredibly painful back issues, brought on by the divorce and its associated work (house fixing, moving a couple of times, etc.), and intense loneliness, and some really bad suicidal depressive swings, I’m hanging in. And, despite all that pain? It;s better than a fake marriage to a cruel person.

    I’m sad that I spent the better part of my life chasing an illusion, but I raised my daughter well, and I’ve done some really solid scholarship. I try to treat people well, and I’ve given a good home to a number of homeless animals.

    So, why did I leave? It was unbearable to be with such cruelty, basically. I have no idea why he decided he need to become horrifically cruel to me, but he did. And I divorced him.

    • NamedforVera,
      I get it. I hear you. Sometimes I think, “I would rather be the cat of a chump than the wife of a cheater.”

    • I remember ex saying, when I discovered all the other affairs after dday, ‘You’re exaggerating! It wasn’t that bad!’. Erm,yes it was that bad and no way was I going to let him pretend any differently. Add that to the reasons I left and why he hates me so much. I refused to downplay just how badly he had treated me and our family, without me even knowing it.

  • How did it feel to get your power back?

    A year ago I would have laughed if someone said my X had the power in our relationship. I did love the man I thought I was married to. Today I know the truth. He was never faithful. He is a disturbed, sadistic,pathological lying,serial cheating, narcissistic, alcoholic, drug abusing, porn addicted asshole. He undermined,abused, and disrespected his wife, the mother of his children. If you met him you would say wow, he’s such a nice guy. That is what I believed. First it was subtle and in the end blatant abuse. Most of the time there are no witnesses and you feel isolated. Even those closest to you find it hard to believe. I got my power back by telling the truth and telling it often. People don’t like hearing about it and it is embarrassing to admit you put up with all the years of shit. I decided I had to get help to get stronger in the weakest time if my life. Knowing your not crazy-inadequate is empowering I found a male therapist who helped me understand what I was dealing with and provided guidance. The most important way I got my power back was to realize he was toxic, like a poison to my life. I maintained no contact. At first it feels quiet and then peaceful. I miss what might have been if he wasn’t disordered. Facing my fears and pain helped me take my power back.

  • “If you met him you would say wow, he’s such a nice guy. That is what I believed. First it was subtle and in the end blatant abuse. Most of the time there are no witnesses and you feel isolated. Even those closest to you find it hard to believe.”

    Donna, I could have written that sentence. That’s just how it was for me, and he didn’t waste any time getting behind the wheel of the narrative after I left. I tell the truth now if/when it comes up, in as simple a way as I can, and the people whose opinion I value already know. You’re right–most of the time there aren’t any witnesses, and it is really isolating and crazy-making. SO glad to be out of all that!

    • I am so happy I never have to listen to his lies. I live better now and down the road I can finally do all the things I wanted like buying a house, traveling, and finding someone who appreciates a classy good woman. When you look back at how limited they really are you breathe a sigh of relief and know you could never get anywhere because of their disturbing behavior. It feels good.

    • Cheaters cause so much unhappiness. When your finally free of the lies, sneaking around, and sickness you can’t fix it is such a relief.

  • I’ve sort of got a hybrid of this topic. I didn’t leave, either. I wanted to work on the marriage and thought he did, too. He worked on it for 6 days, before I discovered he was still communicating with OW, and I had to become full time marriage police (which blew chunks). I did that for 6 weeks, hoping he’d “recover from the fog” and all that other RIC bullshit, before he announced he’d found an apartment and was moving out. I knew within a week of him being gone I didn’t want him back in my house. I spent the next few months recovering and talking to therapists and lawyers and support groups, many of whom said he’d come back. Sure enough, five months later, on Tax Day, he sends me a text saying, “I think I’m going crazy. I broke it off.” I’m on the phone with the SEC, I truly don’t have time for his crap, so I ignore it. A few hours go by and he starts blowing up my phone saying, “Did you get my text? What do you think? I feel like I’m going crazy.” I responded, “I’m sorry you’re hurting, but you truly must be crazy if you think you’re coming back into MY house.” He was back together with OW within 12 hours.

  • Donna, when I took a class on abnormal psychology in college we studied, in depth, personality disorders. The prof said that the sickest person in the home has all the power. That is often why parents of damaged children divorce. The disability/disease holds all the power and throws the entire family out of balance. If you are married to someone with a true personality you are In a world of trouble. They are not capable of change because there is some basic part of their brain missing. It cannot feel true empathy. It can fake it for a while but it is a stretch.
    Although I think divorce can hurt children I saw so many damaged ones due to their family’s toxicity and chaos that a divorce felt like paradise, so don’t stay for the kids. Don’t desert them but move on from the person trying to emtionally,poison you. My same prof said that if every interaction you have with your spouse leaves you sad, depressed frustrated, out of sorts, or any negative feelings he/she has been playing mind games with you. You can’t find a therapist who can fix that person. Their personality is set. How long do you want to “enjoy” feeling crazy? That is what it boils down to. Do you want the sickest person in your family in charge of the emotional, mental, physical health of you and your children?

    • Let it go, i just recently divorced him. He has been living with a bar whore for 11 months. He has had very little contact with out adult children. They have no respect for him and and want nothing to do with either of them. I saw the therapist after he moved out.

    • This is so smart. It’s certainly true in households with active addiction. The drinker or drug abuser and the substance being abused have all the power. And enabling co-dependents are hooked into fixing it, making it better, keeping up the facade, etc.

    • . Do you want the sickest person in your family in charge of the emotional, mental, physical health of you and your children? That is so true.

  • I had moved out of the family home some 3 years before d-day. We were still a married couple (or so I thought) but I couldnt have my kids around his abusiveness. On my fathers 80th. Birthday (he had passed away a couple of months prior to this) xh announced out of the blue that he was interested in someone else (interested? I read fucking).
    I was renting his investment property, and within a week had found a new place to live and moved out. Have maintained no contact for almost 2 years now. The pick me dance never entered my head, I just needed to get as far away from this idiot as I could. And I did. Never been happier and more free than I am now. I’ve just turned 56 and have the best years ahead of me….without him.

  • I didn’t get the choice- he decided his sparkly new life was better and denied an affair for the 4 months it was going on while he was meant to be working on ‘himself’ after I discovered years of covert filming was going on. I SO wanted to be the one to tell him to F off but he just walked away to his OW (married) who forgot to tell her partner for a few more months (have already talked about this so don’t want to repeat myself.)-he continued to pay half mortgage rates and insurance for 4 more months while we reaching an