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Pain Shopping?

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painA chump wrote to ask me what I thought about “pain shopping.” I had no idea what it was. So I asked her, “What’s pain shopping?” She wrote back, “Like when I ask my husband about his affair.”

Oh.

So I googled. Apparently, in unicorn circles, “pain shopping” is that chump habit of hyper-vigilance, you know, where you ask your cheating spouse over and over what they did, and with whom, and how often. You need to stop that, because it’s just “shopping for pain.”

Strange metaphor. I never had to shop for pain with my cheater — he was giving it away for free. The man was like a Blue Light Special of Pain. Aisle 6! We’ve got your secret cellphones! Aisle 12! Multiple dating profiles! And act right now and we’ll throw in HIDDEN DEBT!

Pain shopping, as I read about it here and here and elsewhere, is about dredging up sadness, it’s about choosing the unpleasantness over the work of forgiveness and getting on with life.

As you can imagine, I have a few problems with this concept.

It’s not that I want chumps to stay stuck in misery (I’m skeptical of reconciliation!), I am all about meh! And do forgive if you want to forgive (IMO it’s not mandatory). By all means get a life. But “pain shopping” still sounds like a euphemism for “eat the shit sandwich.”

The cheater would prefer that you not bring up the affair again? Don’t shop for pain! Eat the shit sandwich and stuff that natural impulse to catch them in a lie. Or be comforted. Or see remorse.

Shopping for pain seems to work from several faulty assumptions:

1) That the cheater is truly sorry, so you need to stop bringing it up.

2) That cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures and reconciliation is a fragile, endangered ecosystem that could be destroyed by your bad attitude.

3) That responsibility for this reconciliation is on you. It all depends on your emotional leadership. You’re pain shopping? You’re making a deliberate choice to STAY in pain.

How about THIS SHIT IS PAINFUL? And you’re in pain because you were betrayed, and it takes years to get past this crap. More I reckon if you stay married to the person who betrayed you. If it were as simple as tra-la-la focus on something pleasant instead there would not be a bazillion websites devoted to people obsessing over infidelity.

Let’s put some “pain shopping” through the Universal Bullshit Translator (UBT). These tidbits come from “The Betrayed Spouse’s Role After an Affair” at Marriage Advocates.

I developed a plan to let her see there was hope. My plan would NOT be to change her. It would be to try to motivate her to want to change.

Dude, that’s the same thing. Trying to motivate her to change is, YES, trying to change her.

Put down the codependency and walk away.

My anger and focusing on my pain and telling her about it? I had to stop that. I had to realize that my feelings were mine to contend with and work through. Work through, not ignore. She could help and support, but the feelings were mine. Without remorse and desire in her to help, I would feel all alone, but I wouldn’t later when she decided to try. For now, I had to show her I could and would face my own responsibilities and not make them hers, and I did.

This is fucked up on so many levels. If you hit me in the head with a threaded pipe, yes, the pain is mine. (You there with the pipe, you feel just peachy.) But the larger point is YOU HIT ME IN THE HEAD WITH A THREADED PIPE. The natural reaction to assault is pain.

Yes, I’ll have to work through my pain alone, but IMO part of working through that is avoiding people who want to assault me.

But no, you’re going to work with that, and even though she is “without remorse” — she might LATER try and feel sorry. So you’ll eat the pain on the small hope that she’ll be impressed with you taking your “own responsibilities and not make them hers.” YOU ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR HITTING YOURSELF WITH A THREADED PIPE. She hit you! She is responsible for your injury and ergo your pain.

And another thing — she’s NOT SORRY. You can wait around for sorry, but more likely, you’re in for another blow to the head, IMO.

Finally, I had to let her know – by showing her – that I was not going to punish her and make the affair a lifelong nightmare for her. She had every reason to believe and expect that I would. I accomplished this by promising to not do that and by demonstrating to her how I would control myself.

Sure, let the affair be a lifelong nightmare for you, but why hold someone responsible, who is in fact responsible? Yes, it’s all within your control. If you just control yourself, you’ll make her come around.

We don’t control other people through our self control or stuffing our pain or imagining them with unicorn horns.

It’s great you can control yourself. Now why not put that ability to a greater purpose, like say, giving up carbs for Lent.

I showed compassion for her feelings once she started to try. I knew she was going through withdrawal from the other man and did not abandon her to deal with it on her own. As would be expected, this was extremely hard for me, but it reinforced that we were a team. We were there to support each other, and this let her know I wasn’t going to punish her.

Let me get this straight, dude — you’ll wait on her “sorry” all alone, but you cannot “abandon” her while she grieves for her affair partner?

So fucked up.

Where she was at that moment clearly told me that she did not have that strength. My determination gave me that strength. I decided that my integrity and belief in my vows, “In better or worse and till death do us part,” should be my guide. I believed that marriage was partnership and that BOTH parties had to try hard to keep it going. Yet, she was unable to, so I had to be the rock and strength. I knew that failure was a possibility. I also knew the changes in me had to be permanent – not just to woo her back. I knew it wouldn’t work if I was making changes that were not me or that I would resent and regret later.

You think you can unilaterally change a marriage by yourself.

You put “BOTH” in all caps, although what you’re actually saying is that you’re in this alone because she’s “unable” right now.

Changes in YOU had to be permanent? So you’re saying the problem here is you? I’m sorry, who did you screw outside the marriage? You must woo her after she sucked some strange dick? Seriously?

Listen, if you want to reconcile, the unicorns have a point — you DO have to “let it go”. No one wants to stay locked in a marriage of the Martyr and the Fuck Up. But that’s the mental gymnastics you signed up for — suppressing the knowledge that this person betrayed you. Eating that shit sandwich in perpetuity.

Now, I would suggest you not eat it without a postnup and a ton of demonstrated remorse. You what demonstrates remorse? Answering the goddamn QUESTIONS! Taking the lead on repairing what you broke. Not asking chumps to stuff their pain.

If anyone is “shopping for pain,” it’s these crazy unicorns who don’t ask for one bit of accountability. Talk about a recipe for misery. Geez.

 

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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.
  • “till death do us part.” Infidelity is death–death of trust, death of the sacredness of your bond, death of a sense of equality in the marriage. Knowledge is power, and whoever holds the secrets gets the upper hand. THAT is part of why the chump wants to know details (pain shopping, my ass–more like shopping for less helplessess). Withholding those details is dishonest, puts the chump even further down the marriage phylogenetic scale, and is torture.

    Mr. Letter writer–you can’t uphold a marriage on your own, esp. after wifey has smashed it to smithereens. Run.

    • I love how the vows are brought up, especially ‘for better or worse, til death do us part.” Does anyone remember what also is covered in the vows? “Forsaking all others.”

        • A couple years after divorce was final, my ex — totally out of the blue — texted me, “I should have added LOL to the end of my wedding vows.”

          • GIO – What a pathetic, transparent attempt to trigger you! I hope you didn’t, but I’d have been tempted to text back ‘I thought you did’.

            On D Day, when I’d learned that he’d started the affair 6 months after we’d got married, I asked ‘The Great I Am’ if he’d got his vows out of a lucky bag. Do you have something like that in the US? They are random bags of candy and cheap plastic toys sold to children.

            • I didn’t reply, but admit that after the minute it took me to understand what he meant, it hurt really bad. Not sure why he felt the need to send me that, considering we are basically NC other than very rare communication about our son.

              • Sadly GIO – he needed to do that because that’s how he got his rocks off. He wanted to hurt you (and I reckon that must have been because the divorce was hurting him at the time – even if that was just anger at you for divorcing him) so he wanted to share that with you.

                I’m really sorry it hurt you – I hope it doesn’t anymore. For as much as his vows were worth (as with The Great I Am) he may as well have stuck a LOL in at the end. But you know, that reflects solely and entirely on him – and who would want to be the sort of person who would stick LOL on the end of their marriage vows? As far as I’m aware, being a ‘man of your word’ is a personal trait that society rates very highly, and always has done. As you know, his values are fucked up all to hell and he’s going to run out of people willing to give him a pass for that – probably just at the time he really needs a society to fall back on.

                Hugs
                x

    • This could have been written by my EX. narcissist if I just substitute ‘I’ meaning the NARC. These were HIS expectations.

      Donna I will give you hope that I will stay with you if you can change. I will motivate you with love bombing after you found out I slept with the OW in our bed.
      Donna, I am angry and in so much pain. I did this because of you. You need to work on it. If you faced your responsibilities -giving ME the attention you give the kid, house, and busy schedule, I wouldn’t have cheated.
      Donna, I told you I ended the affair, but its hard to stop. Yes, you caught me at her apartment again, but its over. I just had to talk to her.
      Donna, I know about our vows. If you only tried harder to please ME.

      After all these years of putting up with this, after his final DDay, he told my adult children that I never forgave him for cheating. This was after he dumped me for a sleazy woman he met at a bar. Who meets someone and moves in with them after knowing them for a few weeks? Yes, a narc. Those words came out of my daughters mouth. My children see him now and realize it was all on HIM. Yet I DID make the choice of staying in the pain. I DID take all the responsibility for too many years.

      I was guilty of using the exact strategies in that letter again and again. Those are the strategies that not only keep chumps in pain if they stay as I did; they are the exact strategies narcs use to avoid all responsibility and reinforce their entitlement.

      I think about the pain often as it is overwhelming. I have developed an addictive personality, evidently. After years of this abuse I developed Stockholm Syndrome related to this relationship. I was addicted not only to the narc but also the pain.

      No one told me my relationship was abnormal until I found the right therapist. I know I am not stupid although I felt pathetic when I realized this pattern.

      The question for chumps to ask themselves if they are in this type of relationship is, “Why do I torture myself”. It took me years to finally answer that question. I have answered the WHY. It led me to a lawyer and I filed. My therapist literally had to push me to take this step. I cried at the lawyers office and she said, “You know you have Stockholm Syndrome”. I am now Divorced!

      I personally do not recommend reconciliation with ANY cheater regardless of how much a chump loves this asshole. Forgiveness to a cheater is in my opinion is a pass to sleaze on with more affairs. Forgive yourself for being selfless and give you love to someone who respects and truly loves you! Don’t stay to keep your family intact because he is not intact. You will do all the work and your children will suffer. As time goes on you will lose yourself piece by piece. Please keep your soul intact and LEAVE them to their own destruction. As far as a having a cheater sign a postnup for demonstrated remorse, it will just prolong the inevitable. Lets face it there are so many chumps that found out their husbands were having an affair for YEARS while maintaining the false sense of normalcy in their home environment. These narcs are seriously disturbed. The pain is inevitable and compounds annually. When they cheat you KNOW, get rid of them and never look back. Become mighty, find Tuesday, Meh is real, hopium is not!!!!

      • Donna, good for you for finding your strength! (And good for your therapist for pushing you!).

        I think one lesson our culture needs to learn is that love is NOT a good reason to stay in a bad relationship.

        You can love someone to bits, and still see that they are bad for you, or the relationship is NOT working and is not going to work anytime soon, or ever. And walk away.

        And you can recognize that your partner DOES love you, even a lot, and still see that they are bad for you or ….. (I think addictions are often this kind of situation, or untreated serious mental health issues, or just immaturity.) And walk away.

        We need to start teaching our kids that respect and caring are the foundations of a healthy relationship, and that if those two are not present, or cannot be present, it doesn’t really matter why, and it REALLY doesn’t matter whether there is love on either side or even both. GET OUT!

        • Yes, I think at first it was immaturity on his part. But all the signs for mental illness in his family were there. And I thought I was lucky to have him seeing as he was such a good guy. His mom and one of his siblings are BP. We do need to teach our kids that respect and caring are the foundations o a healthy relationship. Unfortunately, for many like myself we never had the opportunity to experience this growing up. As a young child I couldn’t wait to see Walt Disney shows. He was so kind and gentle. I remember fantasizing about having him for my father and what that would feel like. My uncle doted on his daughter and picked her up joyfully and swung her up in the air. I begged for a turn. At first my EX appeared to have these qualities and I know I held on to that fantasy. I would add consistent respect and caring. After reconciliation it feels like they respect and care until the next phase sets in. Moving on is the only option.

      • Double like Donna! Get out should be the message every chump heeds after they learn about an affair. As the famous saying goes “Sometimes giving someone a second change is like giving them another bullet because they missed you the first time.”

        In the case of cheaters, I would remove “sometimes” and replace it with “all the time”

      • Donna, your words resonate with me. I believe I have Stockholm syndrome too. I even sent CL an email several weeks ago asking about that. This is how serious and insidious the emotional abuse affairs have on us. This is serious shit! Now that the scales have fallen from my eyes I can see and admit there were affairs or hookups thru out the past fifteen plus years. Possibly my entire marriage. Maybe not frequently, but they happened. Donna, I wish you lived near me. That you were my neighbor and mentor. You ARE strong. Just reading your posts injects me with enough strength to keep going. Injects me with that little bit of anger that has been missing from my life.
        Thank you.

        • You have neighbors & mentors. We’re all right here for you.
          (((HUGS))))

          Stay strong.

          It IS some serious shit.

          • Thank you too Moxie! (While sipping at my tears) love all of you here in CN. You all are Bravely sharing so that people like me can learn and protect ourselves (and our children).

    • Tempest…..exactly that a death……I like to refer to it as a murder of the soul and sense of self.

    • well said tempest. i honored my vows, he did not. nothing i could have done could MAKE him honor those vows. so in a way, it was a death. he killed our marriage by cheating and betraying me. i take pride in the fact that i tried my best, i did everything i could to make my marriage work. did i make mistakes, sure i did, plenty of them. but i never gave up and i never killed it. i believe God knows how hard i tried and understands the who/what/why/how/when of my divorce (probably better then i know).

      another famous saying is “Dont ask yourself why someone keeps hurting you, Ask yourself why you are letting them”

      there is only so much we can do, if the other person doesnt want to try, to work it out then all you can do is save yourself.

  • I do believe in sticking it out through the hard times… but infidelity is just not a hard time. It is a deal breaker… and even the Bible stands by those who have been chumped. Matt 19: 7 to 9.

    • IMO it’s a pretty BIG THING if infidelity is the only thing in the bible that allows you to GIVE UP your marriage with a free conscience.

      Matthew rocks.

      • God knows how devastating infidelity is and calls faithful spouses righteous and gives them an automatic out when they are betrayed. They are not required to reconcile. Infidelity and abandonment are the only two reasons that God gives Christians for divorce. That’s it, nothing else- I think that shows how BIG they really are. Cheaters were stoned to death in old testament times. Too bad we don’t have that tradition anymore. Can you tell I’m not at meh yet? 😉

          • Yes it was Thor I was talking about you smarty! I am talking about Yaweh, the Father of Jesus, the God of the Judeo/Christian bible, which I believe is the one and only God. I thought everyone could get that since we were talking about the book of Matthew! Of course, I realize not everyone believes this but I think many, many people respect the Bible’s morals teachings since our country (that being the United States of America) was founded on it.

      • I am a chump and I too had problems with self worth. One of the many things I had to deal with was thinking back over all the years of abuse I tolerated from the NARC asshole I married. I know now that loving him too much, forgiving him over and over, being a selfless loving person were the qualities I possessed as a chump that NARCS love. I was an incredible doormat!! But thanks to getting professional help and finding CL and the support I gain here, I forgive myself and work incredibly hard to regain my self worth. I am still working on being a less ‘sensitive’ chump.

        • Donna, I am a chump too, and an incredible doormat as well. Dancing and twirling till I crash every night. I know I am dancing, but can’t stop the impulse to do it. I react emotionally without rational thought. It’s crazy. But you and others on CN give me strength. Give me the energy and direction to protect myself and PLAN. I have sadly become extremely sneaky and subversive. What has this made me? I am lying and keeping secrets myself now. Even though it’s for self preservation; I have been forced to become someone I don’t know. Desperation and paranoia are not very pretty but I have no choice

          • willowchump,

            sadly, you’ve discovered you are engaged in warfare. Your (hopefully) STBX fired the first salvo in abusing you with his lies, deceit and betrayal. Being ‘sneaky and subversive’ is imperative for you to protect yourself and your family. You know now that ‘the enemy’ certainly hasn’t your best interests at heart, so you must protect yourself. This doesn’t make you a bad person – it makes you a wise person. Stay strong – don’t undermine yourself for having to do what you have to do to keep safe. This is important. He has already shown you who he is, and that person isn’t your friend. Friendship doesn’t look like this, does it? Do what you have to do to get yourself safe and away from abuse, giving him the heads up is not good warfare strategy – he’s had an affair – he’s already stolen a march on you.

            Wishing you strength and self belief Willow – you don’t deserve to be abused and you have every right to save yourself from it

            Hugs

            Jayne x

          • Willowchump-There is a HUGE difference between what your husband did and what you are doing now. If you feel like you’re at war it’s because he threw the first strike. All you are doing now is planning your next move without tipping him off. That’s called strategy, not being sneaky and subversive.

            You’ve got a rare opportunity to get your ducks in a row and get the hell out of dodge. Do NOT feel bad about this even one little bit.

            CN has your back!

        • Yes, Donna, you are mighty! Thanks for sharing your story which so many of us can relate to. I was an incredible doormat too. Far too long through 10 year marriage followed by 16 year relationship. Doormat no more!

        • Just reading what you have written here and you are writing about my life Donna. Hugs.. I was a huge doormat, forgave, gave and got trampled on until he finally found an new victim that he ran off with because I became a shell of a person and obviously wasn’t giving enough!! I put my hand up for self worth issues too. Got counselling and still am, still working through all the kinks in it but am totally at meh. Working on how NOT to let it happen again! x

  • This was so triggering for me this morning. I tried to do all of those “unicorn” things. I hung on for several years after DDay. I even asked my then serial cheater husband, in the spirit of openness and honesty to tell me about his encounters if he felt he needed to “get it off his chest”. He regailed me with all the lurid details. As appalled as I was, I just tried to be supportive, telling him how brave he was. What a chump I was. I wanted to repress my pain to make the marriage a “safe place” for him. I did the “pick me” dance constantly.

    In hindsight, he wasn’t confessing, he was bragging as he is a major narcissist. I think he was happy to be able to tell me how “fabulous” he was and what he “got away” with. If you want to get really grossed out go to Bigdoggie.net and check out the instructions for using online escorts. My ex was a VIP member.

    • This triggers me too! I was told by porno king that I needed to “own my own shit” And “stay on my side of the road”. I had to be respectful of his shame and not keep “hammering ” him about it. Oh, and I was to STOP sabotaging his “recovery” from using images of teen girls to masturbate to. I had to tippy toe around him, lest I shame or trigger him into going back to porn.

      Hell to the NO. FUCK that shit. I can promise any chump out there, that is serious crazymaking shit. Do NOT do this. Please. This about sent me over the edge. I became so sucked in to finding and keeping a unicorn, I completely lost me. Completely. I am just now, after 18 months, filing for divorce, getting an order of protection and lots of therapy, being me again. Of course living with a lying, gaslighting, hide the turd, MFPOS, anyone would be to half nuts LOL.

      You don’t own it, you can’t fix it. Period. Get out. The house is on fire and the arsonist is standing right next to you. RUN.

      • “Hell to the NO. FUCK that shit.”. Oh Irish! That had me in stitches . Lol.My stbxazzhole said he was molested as a kid, his mom ddidn’t take care of him and papa was a rolling stone!! U name it? He used it as an excuse to dog me!!! “I never had friends..I wasn’t popular in high school…I had to wear raggedyj clothes to school…my daddy never came around…we moved a lot….I didn’t know she was coming on to me…ad nauseum . He blamed being molested for everything! And here I was finding resources and book etc trying to help him !!! Since when is a fykd up childhood an excuse to treat ur spouse like shyt? And he never felt “comfortable” telling me what happened in his affairs…to this day I don’t know if he was with men or women or both. 10 Years of gas lighting and I was ready to combust!

      • Irish, there are so many disturbing aspects to these cheaters. There are layers upon top of sick layers. What shocks us is normal for them. Glad your getting the order.

      • I should clarify. I got the order of protection in June 2014. I have a contempt hearing on March 19th because he has not been paying the court ordered support. As a sahm for 14 years, I am, like many women here, struggling mightily financially. I filed April 2014, but it has taken until now to stop feeling so crazy. I am really afraid of this hearing. Custody will addressed for my 4 children still living at home. I am so anxious, but I do not carry any guilt for divorcing him. He did this. To me and our children. He owns that shit, not me. I am tired of reooening the wounds he caused, over and over. It a waste of time and precious energy.

    • Yes, this is so true. I got to hear all about how a 20 something was into him and how great that made him feel. How she was so young and perfect
      that she didn’t need lubricants for sex. Ugh…the things I had to hear all in the name of “approaching the infidelity with love” as instructed by the marital therapist. If I could go back…

      • Linda, my ex who by the way is 63 years old has said similar to me and he has also commented on the small hands that Cambodian teenage prostitutes have. He is going to relocate there very soon and it will be sex on tap until things stop working!! Interestingly, we Chumps do notice their “short comings” so to speak but never say a word. We just love them anyway. No longer I must add.

        • Your POS ex, beautiful Maree, likes “small hands” because they make his DICK look bigger. And that’s all that matters…but I bet he’s paying for it all the same. What a tool! You are so lucky to be free of his crap life. You deserve every thing beautiful.

      • Linda: I got to hear that he did it because “She’s tall, and beautiful, and she dressed provocatively, and she pursued me.” Also, because he was “bored.” And, BTW, “lots” of women have approached him over the years, but this is the first time he ever acted on it.

        R-i-i-i-i-ght.

        OK, he’s 50 lbs. overweight, and not very likable. (After the fact, many folks told me they previously didn’t feel comfortable talking to me because I was with him, and they didn’t like him.) I’m SO sure there’s a line of women waiting to give him a blow job.

        And I’m NOT in it! Woo-Hoo!

        Maree: “Interestingly, we Chumps do notice their ‘short comings’ so to speak but never say a word. We just love them anyway. No longer I must add.” ^^^THIS^^^

        • It’s the Chump Lady cartoon of “The muffin top that launched a thousand affairs.” No one stays young and nubile (or young and with staying power) forever. As we age, we adjust to each other. This is no big deal when you love the other person.

          The difference between Cheaters and Chumps is that Cheaters will use the Chump’s physical appearance against them–ignoring the fact that beautiful people get cheated on. Chumps, on the other hand, look at the whole package. The thinning hair and the muffin top are endearing features on the long road together.

        • you just told everyone story. fill in the blanks “She’s ____ and _____, and she dresses _____ and she pursued me” also because he was “______”

          i just thought this because in my case “She’s short and fat, and she dresses like a teenager, and she pursued me” also because he was drunk.

          haha, i bet it would work on everyone of us here. 🙂

          • It does work. She’s “not fat” and “not lazy”. She dresses ” phat and fresh” ( direct quote from an email from a woman in her FORTIES). He did it because ” it took him back to his youth “.

          • Hey, Mrs. Vain, if she was married and semi-literate, maybe your X and Jackass were dating the same woman…

        • Sixyearchp, they lie about the ow, looks. Mine left me for a DREAM GIRL. That is what he calls all of them in a recycled poem. They love to stick pins in us to shut us up. They should be so humble..

  • The reason chumps keep asking questions is because we need to know wtf happened. And it’s unlikely we were told the whole story the first, second, third go round…

    • We Chumps will never be told the whole story, ever. Cheaters always keep a bit in reserve. It is how they keep us off balance and unsure of ourselves.

    • My very wise therapist told me, “you will never know ALL the truth of what he did this side of heaven. Your job now is to accept that and build a new life – build a life on YOUR truth – far, far away from him.”

    • i STILL dont know WTF happened. but like donna said, i had enough evidence. actually what did it for me was having the married slut CALL me and tell me that “he doesnt want you anymore” while he was sitting right there next to her.

      check please, i am done.

      • MrsVain, my ex sent our then 28 year old son into tell me that “he doesn’t want you anymore” and my son is still abusing me to this day with the ex’s blessings. Our ex husbands are cowards pure and simple and yet mine is loved by everyone. Staggering to say the least.

        • Maree….you know why your coward is loved by everyone? For the same reason mine is. They are MASTER manipulators! They’ve had so much practice, it’s second nature! AND they are VERY GOOD at it.
          This is what’s scary!
          I can hardly wait for their asses to be punctured with a pitchfork everyday (ie…hell), just like they punctured our hearts!

          • IHH, I agree but do you ever find yourself wondering “maybe I have been in the wrong all along, and I really do deserve what has happened to me”? I know I was chumped but my self doubt is so crushing at times particularly when my adult children prefer the ex and have cut me from their lives. Maybe this is my karma!!

            • Maree–have you ever axe murdered anyone? choked a small kitten with your bare hands? Pushed a toddler into oncoming traffic?

              Didn’t think so . Ergo, you did not deserve that MF’s infidelity nor his stealing your children. Put a stop to those thoughts. You were victimized, same as all of us.

            • Maree, I asked myself the same question many times even though I know as you do that this is not our fault. Just thinking about your EX using your child in such a cruel sadistic act is evidence of his twisted vengeful hateful self. Maree, there is an amazing book called The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Please read it because it will help you recognize the many tactics these monsters do to control and abuse. The best part is that there are very effective strategies to STOP the dance they so expertly initiate. It may help you with your children also. I read this book and it helped me deal with the narc father I had to be around until my mom died. You, Maree are worth so much more. Please, know that good people like you have good energy.

            • No Maree, you did not deserve this at all and you are NOT the dysfunctional one. There is a warmer place in HELL for a cheater who pulls his kids into the mix to justify doing such sinful and heinous things! He’s a monster! No two ways about it!

        • Maree, this is going to sound really harsh, but at 28 your son was well old enough to see how evil what HE did (and fuck that his evil father instigated it) – coming into his mother and relaying that vile message. At some point we have to take responsibility for our selves, and I’m figuring when you are pushing 30 you should be well old enough to turn around and say ‘Dad, I’m not getting involved in this’. I’m so sorry your children turned out to be so lacking in human decency as their father evidently is. I can understand why you would start to think ‘well if even my children would be so hateful towards me, then maybe I deserve the hate’ – I know I’d feel the same way. But seriously, ANY human who could allow themselves to do what your son did is not someone I would even want to know – I don’t care what justifications he might try to make – it was a shitty thing to do, by a shitty character and I’m sorry, I know he is your son and you must still love him, but I am pretty disgusted tbh. It seems to me that their father modelled scapegoating you and they (your children) inherited his disordered personality. Perhaps the truth is, you were the one that didn’t fit in with that evil cabal – you weren’t disordered, so, like a pack of animals, they turned on the misfit. Well, good for you Maree – who would really want to fit in with such a bunch of soulless, conscienceless, unevolved lowlifes. Sorry to be speaking so badly of your family Maree, but it disgusts me how they’ve treated you.

          Hugs

          Jayne x

          • Tempest, Donna, Roberta & Jayne, thank you for such supportive comments. I appreciate them more than you know. Only yesterday my son sent me a text saying that “he was appalled at WHAT I am”. He finds it hard to believe that I have any friends and many other nasty comments. I was a SAHM for 16 years and I loved it. My family with my ex husband was all I needed and wanted and for it to end up the way it has, has devastated me but I have to accept that our family of 4 has now been reduced to 3 with me excluded. I am starting to accept that my children are more like their father than me and in a way I suppose that is a good thing because my son tells me I need help and is ashamed to call me his mother. I did email my ex the other day after 15 months of NC and told him he should be ashamed at how he has encouraged our son to speak to me and treat me and of course I did not get a reply. He is a master manipulator who has won and I know he would have smirked when he received my email. He has to be loved at all costs and he is.

            • Maree–seriously, Block your son from texting or calling. He is chip off the old block and an asshole just like his father. Until he sends flowers and an apology one day, you need him out of your life. Even small doses of arsenic will kill over time.

              And trying to guilt dad into improving either his or the son’s behavior will never work because he has no conscience.

              You do not need to subject yourself to verbal abuse from ANYone. Stay mighty.

              • Maree…..I’m speechless! I really am. I am SO sorry about the deplorable way you are being treated. I’m quite sad for you as I have a 28 yr old son too and it would be devastating to be treated the way you’ve been.
                I get my feeling hurt easily too and keep it to myself mostly.
                Back to your question a while back about if I ever thought maybe I deserved it etc. My answer…..NOT 1x EVER did I blame myself. I absolutely know that I am a very good person with a great heart. I treated him very well, like most of us on here did, but he was very good at being a liar, sneak, and a phony. He treated me very well for most of the years together with him, but the last couple years that he was so involved with his stripper, he was very hateful with me. I knew something was VERY off though he constantly used his beautiful dead son as the excuse for the way he was treating me. Now that I know all that I know now, it absolutely sickens me to the core that he went as far as using his son. It’s beyond anything I can fathom!!! I’m crying right now thinking of it! I HATE HIM SOOOOO MUCH!

  • When I began to read your post CL, I thought the topic of “Pain Shopping” would be about going to the mall and impulse-buying to try to make the pain go away!

      • I thought it was about the fuck you presents I used to buy myself every time he cheated. He never gave me gifts. It even reminded me of going shopping with him and his asking my advice on the clothes he was going to share with CUNTry girl. Sorry he said he liked country!

          • You may use it. I am not a name caller but she lends herself to them. I coined this one because my ex HATES country music and has all his life. Evidently, he took her out in my car because there was a country station on my car radio. When I asked him about it he smiled with excitement and said” I like country” in a sexual way.

        • Donna….I went shopping with the XPOS too so he could impress his stripper (he’s like a bitch in heat with shopping!).
          A friend on his once told him that he looked like a pimp! hahahahhaha Had gold rimmed sunglasses, very young guy jeans, donald pliner shoes, rolex, porsche……..he was on the cunt, I mean, hunt at 52!!! (now 54)

  • I did this for a short period of time during my False R with X. I just had to stuff it down, not talk about it, let him grieve her, and all the others I didn’t know about yet. Swear to God, that’s the closest I have ever felt to insanity. A few months of that, and I felt I was going nuts. My gut was screaming to me, this isn’t right !!! But for the sake of trying to be a better me, to make him want to be better, I did it. Until I just couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t take anymore accidental sightings of her near my house, no more of our friends telling me he is still seeing her, no more of him sending her gifts, while not even remembering our 5 year old’s date of birth, no more secret Facebook accounts and private messages, no more OW#2 and OW#3 all at the same time, Just. No. More. I walked off that crazy train, and have never looked back.

    • FreeatLast, amen. I was at my craziest when in therapy and getting NO honest answers to my questions. He’d promise to talk about it in therapy where he felt “safe.” Then we’d go and he’d derail the conversation and talk about all the pain he was in. I went into the bathroom stall outside the therapists office and cried my eyes out after each one. Another week before he’d talk to me again. I almost got in a car accident from driving while angry. I just wanted to be treated with respect. Continuing with the lies and dishonesty is the least respectful thing you can do to your partner after infidelity. Well, that and having another affair! I never had any hope we’d work it out after that.

      • Same here with the therapy, went to 3 sessions, and I called it quits with that because I found out he was still seeing her. All during therapy he wanted to talk about him. He ONLY thought the session went well, when I just sat there and he spoke. When I talked he said the session was awful. He was lying to me, to the therapist, and it just wasn’t working. The only reason he agreed to therapy in the first place was for more cake-eating. He actually said to the therapist “I’ll pay whatever it takes to fix this” , even though he was still having multiple affairs. He just wanted it back to what it was, me not knowing,but living in misery, and him out having the time of his life.

        Now that I have been in individual therapy for a year, I am doing much better. My therapist is helping me tremendously with boundaries with him, and it is working great!

        • Free: I had a very similar experience with marriage therapy. It was short-lived for me too. After maybe 5 sessions, I found the emails between him and his skank where she was telling him to hurry up and finish the therapy session so he could go meet up with her. They were exchanging huge laughs about what a pain it was to go to therapy, how he couldn’t wait to see her, etc. Special. But I digress…ahem. My cheater also lied throughout every session, though his attitude was slightly different than yours: he thought the session went poorly when the focus was on him and his issues. The focus should have been on me and the troubles I was causing the marriage, don’t ya know? I know he just wanted it all to blow over, so he could continue to eat cake while I swept it under the rug.

          I don’t think I’ll ever cease to be amazed by the unmitigated gall of these cheaters.

          • It truly amazes me as to what soulless liars they can be. It has taught me a very important and sad lesson about life.

          • that is just crazy!! why even go to therapy to fix your marriage if you are laughing about it with the OW? i am so sorry you had to go thru that. i will never understand the mind of a cheater.

            • Thanks. I am so close to getting all the way to meh, so most of this doesn’t feel painful like it once did. My first instinct now is to realize how sad and pathetic all of that was on both of their parts. Can you ever imagine being an affair partner and continuing along in such a relationship? Or, as Free said, walking through life as a soulless liar? And yet…tales of these disordered folks fill the comments on this blog. It’s mind-boggling to anyone with a scrap of integrity.

      • DoneNow…….I feel convinced that our cheaters are all close blood relatives!! It’s unbelievable how all our stories are almost identical in many ways!

    • Freeatlast-my guts screamed at me too during false reconciliation but I didn’t start listening to them until I found Chump Lady. When we went to marriage counseling the ex would just sit there and chew on his finger nails for the whole session. It was like I was there with a 12 year old. In hind sight I was. Our therapist was about 5 feet tall and 95lbs soaking wet and did NOT make him own his shit so I never understood why he acted that way.

      Thank god I’m off that crazy train too!

      • We attended one therapy session. My a**hole sat there in a haughty way and refused to say anything. So I told the therapist about the affair I knew about at that time, “He met her in coffee shops for several weeks, and then f*cked her for several weeks.” His response, “I object to that language.”

        WTF–you shove your hands and penis in someone else, and object to my single swear word? They are amazing, these cheaters.

        • Hahahaha, my language was also unacceptable to him after d-day! I forgot about that gem. “You see how you talk, Brave!” Yea, just him trying to deflect and I realize that now.

        • Tempest & WithBraveWings……..I NEVER used foul language around him or any man for that matter. (with some of my gfriends though, watch out! haha) Anyway, in the last couple emails I sent him I let loose! Oh he told someone that he was so surprised at how I was talking because that just wasn’t his IHH!

          REALLY, mother fucker??
          Well I’m just as shocked that you (cheater) fucked so many strippers/streetwalkers and hid it so well with mindfucking manipulation maneuvers!!!

        • Tempest, wow, just wow. Were you supposed to use a euphemism, perhaps that he “knew” her, as in the Bible? LOL. I think my cheater used very foul language with me that I’m sure he never did with OW. In our hours-long DDay discussion, when I outed him, he screamed at me, “It’s NOT about SEX, Muse! It’s not like she just stuck her big tits in my face or wagged her pussy in my face!!” Yes, based on that assessment, I was supposed to believe they were having a spiritual, deep, romantic, cerebral affair. But then again he also said, he was just standing there, “defending us!” (him and me, that is) when she was “all over him like a train wreck!”

  • We unicorns come up with a myriad of ways to navigate around and make excuses for their refusal to take the lead in actual healing. My H used the “Its too soon, Im not ready to talk about it” followed by the “why do we have to talk about that now? its been so long” method of avoidance. And I fell for it and a ton of other foolish avoidance tricks because he was a TFC.

    Pain shopping? That is a stupid excuse to not push for truth…just get the truth then decide if you want to be in a relationship with this person or not.

    I used to almost understand why someone would withhold small details that would cause the chump pain (as if that were possible) but my cheater died leaving details behind in his stuff that made it all MUCH worse than he ever admitted to. He denied me the truth and Im pissed as shit (for more details see the Toxic Shame/Jerk thread at the bottom).

    There was a time when I would have tried to forgive whatever happened if he would have just told me the truth…it was as close to amnesty as he was going to get in the context of our marriage and he still lied. This is the crap that hopeful reconcilers are up against and it really is insurmountable.

    I used to think there was a reasonable chance at true reconciliation and I thought I had found it but I was wrong. The “unicorn” moniker is apt…a real healing is as rare as hens teeth. So while Im technically a widow, I feel more like a divorced woman who never actually experienced a divorce.

    I have dreams about him where I just want to GET AWAY from him. I try to imagine what he would now say to me if (after meeting God and having a real debrief about this) we were in the same place for 10 minutes, but I cant ever finish this mental exercise because I cant fathom staying in the same room with him for 10 minutes.

    • Unicornomore, we really expect them to love and protect. I often think about the healing aspect and how it is accomplished. We loved them, they disregard and disrespected us, it hurts to out core. At some point I expect him to try to come back into my life. I wonder what he could possibly say. There really is nothing he could say that would matter anymore.

  • “So I asked her, ‘What’s pain shopping?’ She wrote back, ‘Like when I ask my husband about his affair.'”

    Hm. Seems to me this isn’t pain shopping but truth shopping.

    But I guess when you’re with a cheater it’s the same thing.

    • True that. Ha!

      But the truth might blow up the fantasy for the cheater and take away their power. Can’t have that! Cause nothing is better for a relationship than lies, secrets, and allowing a cheater to live in a fantasy world without accountability. Chumps asking questions are such buzz kills.

      • DM…..wow are chumps ever buzz kills is right!!! At the very beginning when he admitted he ‘had a fling with a young girl’ (he knew I knew for sure is why the admit), he stated, now the worst thing we can do is keep talking about this. You can’t drive me crazy about this; it will push me further and further away. And he also used to say…….SEE!!! That’s why these things like this never work out because you just won’t let it go!! You won’t drop it! That’s why people break apart after these things!

        How all of us don’t have HATE (like me) after recalling all the bullshit mindfuck manipulation that’s been done to us is beyond me!!!

    • Whenever I asked my wife about her affair or got angry, she would go into this weird stubborn silence — like I just hit her with a bat, or was about to. I agree about wanting to know the truth as well. But for me I also wanted to know what happened to my life. One day it seemed fine, the next day I was in some sort of evil bizarro world. Then I just got his with lie after lie after lie after lie . . . . . .

      • The bizarro factor definitely contributes to the need to ask questions and sometimes even the same questions over and over. On my first D-day, the things about which I was most certain (for example, that I was in a faithful marriage to a moral person), and about which I thought I had the most evidence (25 years together), turned out to be the opposite of the truth.

        Or, to reduce the experience to a mathematical equation: WTF x WTF = ???

        If tomorrow someone told you that the United States of America was founded in 1930 by communist vampires from Mars who re-wrote every single history book and film on the planet to hide the truth, wouldn’t you feel compelled to ask a few questions? Would that be “pain shopping” as well? (“Get over your pre-conceived ideas about Thomas Jefferson and democracy, already! By insisting on an accurate historical record you’re only causing yourself more pain!”) Because the communist-Martian-vampire-founding-father scenario is about as unlikely as I once considered the idea of my ex-wife cheating.

        • Nomar – that’s an ACE analogy (as always with you). Put that way – wouldn’t it be psychologically UNHEALTHY to get a glimpse of a vampire history, rather than the Thomas Jefferson history, and NOT want to know what the truth is? An irrefutable need for truth – the only difference being a matter of scale. If I wasn’t so committed to NC I’d be tempted to forward your post to ‘The Great I Am’ who was all about telling me I was ‘pain shopping’ when I kept digging for the truth!

        • Yup. The “over and over” is sort of like saying “did that really happen”? It’s almost like you want confirmation from your cheater. “did you actually do that? Did you really not consider the collateral damage? Is the same brain in that head that looks like the one I used to know?”

          • Did that really happen??? Wow. I have asked myself that a million times. As Nomar put it so well WTFxWTF=???????

            • “Did that really happen???” was the first question that popped into my mind for the first year after D-day. It’s like my mind just couldn’t accept it…couldn’t reconcile the person I thought I knew with the person he was.

              • This is such a helpful discussion. Like all of us here, ex created a false reality that was “safe” and “supportive” “loyal” and “honest.” When I was told of his affair, I wanted the truth and asked for it repeatedly. When I discovered that ex could not even provide that, and what he did say was edited for his benefit, it took me a long time to accept that I was living an alternate reality with red flags that I ignored because I could not imagine what the real deal was with him. Who the hell does this? Such sickos were in my life as my “support network”!? I allowed these people near me and my child, served them, tended their gardens, and listened to their heartache? I supported ex through alcoholism? WTF? Not where I would have chosen to be at all had I known the truth. I did not want to think my life was such a farce, but there it was. So good to be away from that sociopath.

      • Divorced Minister, My EX enjoyed telling all the details. I think it excited him more knowing that I knew. How sick is that?, This last time when he told me he met someone and he didn’t want me to ruin it for him, I did just that. I had to live with him for a few weeks before I threw the slime out of the house. He started volunteering information. You will never believe where I met her. I don’t need porn anymore. I wont be home Saturday night, I’ll be away. He left his poems to the OW in the garbage can in his office. He was genuinely excited like a child skipping to a candy store. Now he is fishing for information from my children, “How’s Mom”.

        He tried to prolong the divorce. He became very angry that I filed. He was embarrassed when I saw the OW and forwarded her arrest records to my adult children. His lawyer withdrew and he didn’t show up for the second hearing. The divorce became contested and the judge ordered him to appear. He finally showed up alone without a lawyer. He continued to threaten and I settled just to get him out of my life. He looked so DISTURBED. He never expected to actually get a divorce, I am sure of that. As my lawyer made copies for us I said, so are you happy. He said, “I think about you all the time”. I gave him my back, and put my arms up in the air and said, “I’m single” meaning I am free! I have no intentions of ever speaking to him again, as I have clear boundaries now.

        • Donna, good for you! What a jerk. Mine did similar, I was traumatized by D-Day but in that discussion that night (I told him to leave that very night), he said, “Is it okay if I come back here tomorrow? Because I have to shower and change because I’m taking Schmoopie out to dinner to day goodbye to her.” Goodbye? I said. Yes he said, she’s moving back to [her home city, she had been staying in our home city in her second home] tomorrow. Really, you just destroyed my entire reality and you want to make sure you don’t have to cancel your date with the woman you’re cheating with, because of the inconvenience of me finding out?

          A week later in one of our post D-Day “discussions,” he was smiling broadly while telling me they spent the whole day “talking and fucking” three days in a row while I was at work, and he came home each night telling me what a hard day he had at “work.” He was smiling! I will never understand this cruelty but am so glad he’s out of my life and proud of myself for making him leave that very night.

            • Muse, it’s as if he was making an appointment or asking a stranger for directions. This smirky indifference delivered with heartless disregard make me want to punch the sadistic assholes in the face. Just once! Or twice.

          • My God, TheMuse, that’s just horrific. There is ONE good thing I can say about my cheater and that is he never brings up Heather Ann. Ever. It’s one tiny thing to be grateful for.

          • TheMuse…..I am so so amazed and shocked; what a no good son of a bitch! The stories here from everyone never cease to astound me! (as well as my own!)

            • I appreciate your thoughts and confirmation that this was cruel and sick. I wrote every word in my journal that he ever said to me shortly afterwards to preserve it. Right after saying they spent those 3 days “talking and fucking” was when he smiled and made a gesture with both hands, like showing a measurement, then said, “well it was THIS much talking and only THIS much fucking!” (hands in a smaller width apart), with that smile on his face. I went back to many times to my journal to try to understand how he could say that to me laughingly. I had loved him with all my heart for 16 years and had no prior suspicions of cheating till that night. It’s what led me to thinking he probably is a psychopath. But of course I don’t really know. A person with any heart or compassion at all could never say those things. I’m pretty sure of that.

              • What an evil man. To the tune of “If I Only Had a Soul” from The Wizard of Oz. So sorry, Muse, and so SO glad you are away from him!

        • My first wife delighted in describing in detail, the awesome physique of one of the men she was seeing. Woke ne from a sound sleep at about 2 in the morning to do so, the first time. I am pretty sure she was trying to provoke me into doing something physical, that she could point to as proof of my abusiveness. I just rolled over and went back to sleep.
          About two years later, after the divorce, when I was picking up my boys from her house to go to school, I inquired why she had done this. She was supposed to have been in AA by this time, and was supposed to have been more normalized by abstaining from alcohol and drugs.
          But, my inquiry, apparently, enraged her again and rather than apologize ( 8th step?), she took it further , alluding to the guy’s excellent endowment.
          Fast forward to about 10 years later. I, once again ( stupidly) mentioned her describing the body of the guy to me and inquired why she would do that. This time I got the following explanation:” I was worried you would be angry at my coming in at 2 again. So, knowing that you had been an athlete, I figured that you would be interested in this such tat you would be distracted from realizing that I had come in so late, again.”
          WTF? This from a magna cum law school graduate ( no wonder she could never try a case). I suppose I should have stayed out late and come home, myself, describing the awesome ass of a young gymnast to her, hoping that since she had been in gymnastics, this would mollify her.
          The truly insulting , mind boggling thing about my XW, a NPD, is that she thinks everyone else is so stupid that explanations like that are believable.

          • Her sadism is disgusting, Arnold. What a bitch. I have to admit, though, that I fell for the stupidest lies and explanations from my narc ex, thus encouraging him to lie even more.

      • Charles that was exactly the same response I got. It was like “how dare you accuse me of doing this bad thing that I did in fact do. Who are you to expect anything more than that from me. You are the f$&@ed up one. I never owed you anything.”

        And it’s crazy making because it’s gas-lighting. One day he acts like I am the cheese to his macaroni, the next it’s as if I’m not important enough to deserve an explanation or apology. I do not know which person is the real man. Is it the one that loved me or the man behind the curtain. This is why I am so confused.

    • From the chump dictionary:

      Truth – that which is true or in accordance with fact or reality

      From the cheater dictionary:

      Truth – “What’s that?”

      • Since we’re on it, what’s the first thing a chump thinks when he/she hears “CL”? Right.

        What’s a cheater think? Craigslist.

  • My therapist told me once ( or maybe one hundred times) that you need to face the pain and the questions until they disn’t come up anymore.

    She was right. Pain shopping? No. Reality? Yes.

  • Unfortunately I rode my marriage out to the very bitter end. I tried every thing. I tried leading that Bull to water. I tried hedging up all the wrong paths. I tried heartfelt forgiveness. I tried changing everything about myself.
    So, for me, I guess pain shopping was staying.
    I am now on a better path. I will call it “Let Him Suffer”.
    Wickedness never will be Happiness.

  • Pain shopping?? The pain of not asking is greater. I’ve always valued honesty over everything else in my relationships. My husband new that. We’d had plenty of time and plenty of conversation. He knew who I was. So when we started marriage counseling, I laid it out for him. I told him that with me there could be no reconciliation if he couldn’t be honest. That lying to me was, in my book, as bad as anything else he could tell me he’d done. I told him this was his chance to come clean-some people may not want the truth, but do. He still opened his mouth and lied some more.

    My point is this. Asking a chump to stuff that down and throwing a cute label on it like “pain shopping” is so insulting. What I’d really be doing is asking for less than I thought I deserved. I would have been denying who I was at my core. That’s crap.

    • I could have asked all day but would never have gotten a reply. If I hadn’t found evidence in his handwriting and seen his cell phone records I’d still have very little clue about the scope of his affair with MOW grad student.

      • When you are asking questions of a disordered asshole, you get DARVO. These folks, through years of practice, can dodge questions and turn things around on you in no time.
        You ask “where were you all those nights?”
        Next thing you know you are trying to explain why you forgot to take out the garbage three years ago.

  • He would never tell me anything which is why I went through his stuff. I had to figure it out by myself. For the most part, I didn’t hide that I did it. He started out acting non-challant, like he had nothing to hide or had done nothing wrong. When I told him I knew she was supplying drugs for him, he changed his passcode. I was relieved because I really didn’t want to know what he was doing.

    He was always super annoyed when I brought it up. He would say, “we’ve already talked about this.” Again I have to say I felt relieved that he wouldn’t tell me.

    • If I had a dime for every time my wife would say “we already discussed this” I would be a millionaire. Because really we didn’t already discuss much of anything.

      • If I had a dime for every time my wife would say “we already discussed this” I would be a millionaire. Because really we didn’t already discuss much of anything.****THIS***

        This is my stbx-and is it usually paired with “I am done talking” Then he goes into his silent, pouty mode where he doesn’t speak to me which could last a few hours or in the past, a few days. Who does that kind of BS?! The severely disordered.

        Of course this is complete crazy-making because we could never discuss anything & he refused to talk. He would get angry, yell, go into to silent mode & then after that, he would act like everything was ok. That was his version of us working something out-FOR YEARS.

        I will be so glad to get rid of him & get that out of my life.

        • Current Chump,
          Change the name to my ExH’s and you just summed up my relationship with the asshole.

          • Here’s an exchange that happened about 1 billion times in my marriage:

            Me: Can we talk about this?
            Him: We already did.

            • I think their definition of ‘discussion’ basically means a perfunctory acknowledgment that the cat is out of the bag and an even more perfunctory apology.

      • You are beating your head against a wall trying to get one of these types to address a simple question. I’ve given up.
        XW claims she never had sex with any of the guys just ” inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized.” (Word Salad much?).
        So, I ask her why she had written that she wanted to “stop having sex with strangers’ on some papers I found. Response is along these lines: ” I will not answer anymore of your questions.”

  • For me, pain shopping was a thing… but not as described as above. It was when I was on a low (usually after the 3rd glass of wine haha) and dredged things up for myself- like reading all the emails again. See the date and look up what was emailed last year, on this date. Finding horrible infidelity stories. I spun downward and lashed out with everything I’d already said. It used to help me focus on finding out more… but there’s nothing left to find out. I’ve said absolutely everything left to say.

    But bringing up new questions? New pain? That is NOT pain shopping, imo. That’s serving up deserved consequences on a massive You’re An Asshole Platter.

    • I think what you’re describing is the pain shopping they’re talking about. You dredge it up again and again, you poke at that sore wound, even though you know what you know. It should be enough.

      And yet, it often isn’t. I think chumps poke at the wound because they’re trying to accept it. When it becomes obsessive, time for some professional help. I also think chumps poke, because they’re not certain (nor should they be!) that they know “enough” — chances are there’s more out there they do not know about, and so they stay hyper vigilant.

      Point is, not to feel helpless or lash out, but decide what your deal breakers are, and assess what you have to work with (remorse? accountability?) and make a plan.

      • I agree that the best thing is for a Chump to poke until they “know enough” and then get out. I’ve got two close friends who thought they’d feel better once they knew all the details, and in both cases it just made them feel worse. At some point you have to accept that they are not the people you thought they were and get on with your life. You have to “know enough” and then move on.

        • I was obsessed to find out as much as possible in the beginning. When you are blamed for everything after a while you need to call them out on it. They need to be seen.

      • My XH called it scab farming… keeping a would going so it could never heal. It is a way to cut short the horrific processing that comes with this kind of betrayal. ‘I don’t want to talk about this any more, you are just scab farming.’ Same sort of thing. Translates to in my case… I don’t want to deal with your pain, so just let it scab over and for a gnarly scar.

    • Yes, Shopping for Pain for me is whenever I look online for information about him, her, or them. I had gone a year not knowing who the OW was, her age, or what she looked like, but I looked until I found out and then my world came crashing in all over again.

      On one hand I wish I still didn’t know details about her/them. On the other hand it’s helped me to hate him more. But on the third hand, there needs to be an end to this snooping because at some point it does more harm than good.

      Today is the 20th day of Lent (halfway) and I’ve managed to go 20 days w/o looking them up (or reading his email) and it’s hard. I wonder what I’m missing. I doubt I can keep it up after Lent.

      • Good progress, ML!! You can keep it up! And hopefully even if you can’t resist entirely after Lent is over, you can keep the checking to a low level, so it’s less painful.

        I used to go back and read the emotional stuff I wrote in the first months after DDay #2/separation. It was like I needed to remind myself of that pain, and of how intensely horrible that time had been. Maybe so I wouldn’t be taken in by his attempts to show himself as ‘not that bad, really’ and ‘new and improved’ version of himself? Or maybe just because I needed to feel some of that pain again, to accept my new reality.

        Fortunately that has super tapered off, very spontaneously. Hope the same happens for you!

      • Good job Moving Liquid. Once you know, and the relationship is over, there isn’t a need to get every detail.

      • ML, any time you feel the need to look at what he’s doing ask yourself “will this help me or hurt me?” Chances are the answer will be “it will hurt me” every time. Then it’s easier not to look because you’re learning to love and protect yourself. That’s what helped me stop wondering what he was doing. Then friends would try to tell me what they knew and I’d hold my hand up and say “I don’t want to know.” Even my own kids don’t tell me what he’s doing, but then they’re grown with lives of their own. What he’s doing has nothing to do with your life now.

      • ML – well done for keeping away from that for 20 days! That’s impressive and shows what you can do when you put your mind to it 😉

        I think part of the reason why you had to torture yourself with finding the FB presence had to do with our need to know the truth. You don’t really know the truth though, only the physicality. Have you ever seen the film ‘The Man With Two Brains’ where the girl with the fantastic looks and body had a voice like a sackful of angry cats? Maybe she looks the part but is even now boring the life out of him with her tales of what happened at the manicurist today (for the hundredth time).

        I really wish you could channel the you that told him to ‘go fuck himself’ prior to you finding out about ‘Miss Leather Tan’ – you rocked then and you rock now. She might be young and pretty but do you know what ML? she’s not you, and never will be – and that’s what he lost! (fool boy)!

        • Jayne, I love you. You know the fact that Little Napoleon didn’t even try to resist young Miss Leather Tan (heh) shows me how utterly shallow he is — but I knew that all along about him — this isn’t news! He fooled me into thinking that cheating is the one bad behavior he’d never do.

          What a chump I am.

          xox

          • Hah … I’ve said it many times on this site but, ‘The Great I Am’ told me EVERY DAY how happy he was, how he felt he’d won the lottery with me, how there could be no other woman for him, but me – EVERY DAMNED DAY.

            We had many, what any sane human would have thought, were candid, honest conversations about infidelity and how cheating was a huge deal breaker for us both – fool me for thinking having those open communications would actually keep me safe – it actually blew my mind that he could have been empathising and agreeing with me about infidelity AND conning me with the ‘I’ve never been so happy etc’ speech AT THE VERY SAME TIME he was seducing another woman and going on motel reconnoitres – (as was one of his bizarre ‘confessions’).

            ML we weren’t just Chumps, you and I, we were Marks!

            urghh – fancy knowing you are the type of person who behaves like ‘Little Napoleon’ and ‘The Great I Am’ – urghh – no wonder they have to lie so much – how the hell else could they stand being who they are!

  • For me, “pain shopping” was about trying to make sense out of something I just couldn’t understand. It was as if I came upon the scene of a horrific automobile accident; I was trying to figure out how in the hell the mangled bodies ended up in the trees. One minute, I was in what I thought was a reasonably happy long term marriage. The next, I was a character in a bad country music song, and everywhere I turned, I discovered another stupid lyric.

    Like so many others, I wanted the truth, I wanted my X to step up and be the man he portrayed himself to be. I wanted an acknowledgement that I mattered to him, that our marriage mattered. Wasn’t I, at minimum, deserving of the truth? Wouldn’t some recognition of what he had done lead my X to understand the depth of his betrayal?

    Once I realized he was incapable ot honesty, I knew our marriage was over. I couldn’t stay with a person who refused to admit how hurtful his conduct was to me and my children. So for me, “pain shopping” was absolutely necessary to reach the point that I could leave. Had X ever tried to face what he had done, I am sure I would have tried to make our marriage work. The lies were just the nail in the coffin…and the beginning of a new life free from cheater pain.

    • Violet,
      I hope you don’t mind if I use “It was as if I came upon the scene of a horrific automobile accident; I was trying to figure out how in the hell the mangled bodies ended up in the trees.”

      That is a most perfect analogy for the initial utter incomprehension!!!

    • Violet, your entire comment is brilliant! And I have to agree with Magnet, your best line is the one about the “accident and mangled bodies.” Infidelity is horrific. Dday and the two years after felt like this to me.

  • For all the expertise such sites claim, you would think that they had a clue about the grief process and healing from especially traumatic experiences. Of course, the faithful spouse needs to know the truth. How else will they figure out how to rebuild trust with the cheater if they decide to reconcile? It’s like keeping skeletons locked in the closet. That’s not healthy. And grief is an emotional process NOT A RATIONAL ONE!!!! People need to know what happened, happened. But then again, these folk seem to think the cheater has no responsibilities here in helping the one they deeply wounded. In my opinion, that’s not real reconciliation…it is fantasy reconciliation. Real reconciliation deals in repentance and truth. It does not hide behind snake oil like sayings such as “shopping for pain.” It deals in truth and empathy.

  • Pain shopping for me was awful, but at the same time it was necessary. I was in such shock, that I really needed to hear the painful words and more importantly feel the gut-wrenching pain, over and over again, in order to believe it. I had put my husband on a pedestal for so long, this was the only way i could truly internalize what he’d done to me. Call me a glutton for punishment, but it worked. That pain helped me autopsy our marriage and kick the murderer to the curb.

    • unicoroner, that is exactly the case for me! I didn’t ask the cheater for info, but I went over and over what I knew about ALL his bad, uncaring and selfish behaviours over the years, up to and including the 2nd affair that ended our relationship, and through the separation and his neglect of our kids, that followed. I needed that, to allow reality to sink in, and to reach acceptance. When I started feeling like ‘it is what it is’, I knew I was on my way up!

    • same here. I had him up on a pedestal. I said to him, “I can’t believe you would lie to me! I respected you so much!” and he said, “Well, your respect was obviously misplaced.” The only other true thing he ever said to me post D Day was: “I am a twisted person, Muse. I was a twisted person when you met me and I am still a twisted person.” He really is so disordered. Moments of lucidity? I actually find the second truth more than a little creepy, and somewhat sad. For months, for about a year in total, I had to keep re-reading my journal to accept and believe it had even happened, so highly did I respect him before DDay. I thought he was a good, moral, upstanding, honest person. Now I know the truth.

  • My divorce is almost final. I know STBX was a serial cheater and abusive. I don’t know all the details but his last fling that resulted in a romantic cruise with the OW was too much for me, even though I waited another 3 years to file. I want nothing more than to move on and leave this painful chapter behind. But I recently was contacted by one of his OW. I didn’t know about this one, but she seems to think I knew about her. She wants to talk and it sounds like she wants to cry on my should after dealing with his lies and abuse too. So I am asking advice here–i want to move on, should i talk to this latest or should i let her just deal with her own pain and his crap on her own? I am not sure it would do me any good to find out more details. Maybe give me another chance to say “I told you so.” but whatever. Any advice?

    • ChumpedtotheMax, she definitely knew about you even though you had no clue about her… That means she knew she was sleeping with a married man..your then husband and now when your divorce is final, she now wants to seek emphaty from you! DEFINITELY NOT!!!!

      I’m normally all for forgiveness & compassion but I would not subject myself to dredging up the pain and the past again and I don’t think you should. I doubt this woman cares one bit about you, she just wants someone to cry with and call your ex names with …which is fine.. But that person should not be you. Focus your time on the wonderful Chester free life that lies ahead of you. Hugs to you.

      • DO NOT GO THERE!! She just wants to use you as 13 Y said…we have been used enough!! Let her go cry a river with someone else!

      • Never, but never give an OW a second of your precious time. Stay away – do not be drawn into that “let’s commiserate, perhaps we’ll be friends now” bullshit. Put that part of your life behind you and leave it there!

    • Remember the episode of Sex and the City where Carrie keeps pushing Natasha to let Carrie apologize for having an affair with her husband. Natasha avoids her until Carrie corners her in a restaurant. Natasha says, “I’m sorry too. I’m sorry you ruined my teeth (Natasha fell down the stairs with the shock of seeing Carrie leave Natasha’s apartment and lost her front teeth), I’m sorry you…, I’m sorry you.., and now I’m sorry you ruined my lunch.”

      I love it that she didn’t allow Carrie to feel better about what she had done.

    • ChumpedtotheMax–I think you should do whatever will make you feel better. If more details will help you, then chat to the OW once, then move on. You certainly shouldn’t comfort her or be her therapist. And be careful that you DO want all the details–I found I wanted details of my X’s affair with a grad student up to a point; apparently emails between them are still floating about, but i doubt I want to see them.

    • I have had a total of four women over the past year confess their affairs with married men to me. Two wanted to boast about it. Two were swamped with self-pity and wanted us to bond in a ‘sisterhood of women who have been wronged’. All of my interactions with these women have left me emotionally wracked – the last instance required me to take valium to cope. It’s of course up to you what you do but my latest coping strategy for this is to be very calm, open, clear and in a kind way just say that I can’t be around people who have affairs with married men because it is too upsetting for me given what I have been through. Personally I don’t think it is fair for someone like that to seek support from you. It’s just not appropriate. I’m sure she can find more suitable forms of support and you could direct her to them if you like. In reality I did try to help one of these women but ended up inadvertantly really upsetting her because I became so upset myself and said what I really thought about people who have affairs, which wasn’t actually directed at her but I saw that it stung her badly as she realised in that moment she was the same sort, and so really I’ve concluded it’s best all round to step away from these situations.

  • Hang on. So I get a diagnosis of cancer.(which an affair is a cancer on a marriage) I don’t know what kind (crazy AP? extra kids? STD? financial ruin?), I don’t know if it’s metastasized (seventeen APs, hookers, angry spouses), i don’t know if it’s treatable (counseling and possibly reconciling), I don’t know anything ABOUT cancer (how to care for myself, what I’ll need, treatments) and I don’t know the prognosis (without accurate information, you cannot make an informed decision). I say, “Okay!” and just walk out the door and live my life. Because that is pain shopping?

    What the hell. I still go through this from time to time–because I’ll hear a lie from him and sometimes I’ll just say, “Choose your battles, Sphinx. This isn’t worth it. Remember that he’ll lie about the most irrelevant things.” But sometimes, it makes me temporarily insane. I KNOW he’s lying and I just have to hammer him about it. It’s exhausting. Hilarious, but exhausting…and I don’t do it often. I did it a lot after D-Day and he was in my face, denying reality.

    Denying someone’s reality makes them crazy. CL said that once and I live by that. You deny my reality—you are history.

    • Sphinx, this > I KNOW he’s lying and I just have to hammer him about it. YES!

      I’m certain I came off as crazy to MC after DDay because unless I ‘hammered’ him, he wouldn’t admit anythings, even the things I already knew. Interestingly, when the MC met with him separate from me, she had to do the same thing to get him to talk and she knew he was still lying then too.

      Also, your statement > ‘denying someone’s reality makes then crazy’ is spot on because we want to live in the real world not their world of crazy lies.

      • Absolutely. They LIE. If they didn’t, then they would not have been able to hide the affair. I observed him during the hiding, I recall vividly how he acted—NORMAL—and then I saw him post D-Day, trying to act NORMAL. Well, is he lying now or was he lying then?

        Yes. Both. THEY LIE. They don’t want to be reminded of their lies. They don’t want to be called on their shit.

        Another thing that occurred to me is that the person who is doing this “you can’t pain shop, because it’s keeping you stuck” has such abandonment/codependent issues, I shake my head. Oh, I can’t keep asking him why he lied, because HE MIGHT LEAVE.

        Well, yeah. You’re going to hold that over my head? Really? If I keep asking you what happened and demanding the truth and what I get is “If you keep doing that, you’re going to make me leave and/or keep fucking around.”

        Nope. You don’t harm me and then get to make demands about how I deal with it. Go fuck yourself.

        The survival instinct of some of these people is seriously damaged from being around the mindfuckery. It took me a long time to figure that out–like I said, I couldn’t even go into his office in my own fucking house for WEEKS after I got him out, because I was afraid. I was never “permitted” to go in there without him present.

        It’s like how they train elephants. As babies, they put heavy, heavy chains around their necks. Things that don’t actually harm them, but do prevent escape or using their bulk and size in order to get free. When they grow up, they only use a small rope or a small chain, very light—but the elephant has been conditioned to BELIEVE that they cannot escape because of the heavy chains.

        Elephants are super intelligent and so strong, yet they are kept captive. How is that. Conditioning. I feel that these NPDs do the same thing.

        • So, I’m a captive elephant? Not anymore. He can have that homely woman and the drugs they do together. I want to be a dolphin. I hear they mate for life.

          • 🙂 Jen. No, I didn’t mean you are an elephant. What I am saying is that these hugely intelligent beings, with strength that could crush a human in the blink of an eye are subjugated by the horrible tricks that humans play on them.

            It’s a terrible thing. To subjugate another—whether it’s an animal, or whether it’s a human being.

            Gaslighting someone, denying their reality, putting mental chains on them in order to subjugate them, to bend a person’s will.

            I was afraid to enter a room. A room. In my house. I am college educated, independent and strong. When I am at work, I am the master of my domain. I run million dollar equipment. But I was afraid to enter his office, out of fear because he conditioned me that I was never to do it.

            I’m the weirdo that roots for the animals in captivity to break free and run away. I chafe at anything that smacks of bending the will of another. This is how I see cheaters—they attempt, with their lying and manipulation—to bend and break the will of others. I’m rooting for anyone stuck in this to break free–to recognize the mental chains that keep them tied to someone who doesn’t even acknowledge that what they’re doing is wrong.

            • I know. I was just kidding. I am sorry you were afraid to go in the room. I went all through his belongings when he stepped out to the liquor store. He knows it too. I pushed it too far and he won’t speak to me now, but I am learning to be okay with that, he was definately doing what he was doing.

              My second ex was doing some bad things, but he wasn’t scary. My first ex was scary and I do remember what that was like. So glad I never married him, but we do have a son.

              It is easier to hate the first ex because he was mean. The second ex just seems very flawed. It is harder to walk away. Once I tried to convince him to give an extra sweatshirt to one of his employees, who I knew would be wLking home in the cold. He said, “will you stop trying to be a mom?” I said, “how am I supposed to do that?”

        • Sphinx, when I would ask mine if we could talk about our issues (in other words, his cheating), he would say…’no because I can’t stand to see the pain on your face. Let’s do something fun so I can make you happy.’ It only took a couple of times for me to hear that before I called BS on it. HE didn’t want to see the pain HE caused so HE wanted to avoid the conversation. It was always all about him – and still is!

  • It’s truly disgusting that the so called Resources that are supposed to help people publish drivel that blames the person who has been cheated on. No wonder cheaters feel entitled to do it.

  • Just remembered my first experience with “pain shopping”. I had just confronted him and he admitted to cheating, but JUST the one time, yeah ….we know how that goes….I didn’t believe that for a second. So I demand to know everything. He says he will write me a letter to explain it all. He just wanted more time to think very carefully about what he would say.

    A fucking week goes by and he is still not done with this letter. I demand to see it anyway, because at this point I knew absolutely NOTHING, only that he cheated. So I read his fucking letter, it was all a poor sausage read. He tried to be this, he tried to do that, but I wouldn’t let him, nothing he did was ever good enough. Bullshit. It showed me his true character. F*ing whiny little baby. I never finished the letter, it was pathetic garbage. He even tried passing it off to our counselor who read it, and bought into it for a little bit, until he realized X was still having affairs.

    Sorry is as sorry does. Calling truth-seeking “pain shopping” is just more mindfuckery. Narcs love that shit.

  • The “pain shopping” that I do is wondering what I could have done differently to prevent his affair. I do it less now but I think it’s a bad habit chumps have. The “if onlys.” The thing that has helped me is to tell myself over and over again that it was his choose to cheat and his choice to lie. These are HIS choices. I had nothing to do with them.

    It shocks me what some RIC sites claim. To me, it’s more abuse piled on top of abuse.

    Before I knew about his affairs we were in MC. And it was very clear every problem in the marriage was mine. Not his drinking, his late nights, his boozy friends and lack of connection to our family. Nope it was me. It was absolutely crazy making. I caution anyone who is in the midst of this, DO NOT go to MC together unless your therapist is 100% throwing the mirror back on your cheater. Save yourself.

  • For me, “pain shopping” was during the gaslighting phase when I was trying to get the truth out of him, and a bit after DDay, when X was “trying to decide what I want” and I was stupidly going along with it, because I was so thrown by everything and had wanted to make things work. I remember telling someone, “Every time I think he’s finally told me the truth, something new comes out.” And pain shopping does seem to be a good way to describe it, except I wasn’t deliberately shopping for pain, I was shopping for the truth, like Nomar said. Trickle truth is definitely a thing with cheaters, and I don’t know that we ever truly get the actual full truth.

  • Somethimes when a major trauma hits we reach out to the one person we think we should be connecting with the person most likely to understand or be able to “share” our pain. Our marriage partner who unfortunately put us in that place.
    Or maybe in the back of our little reptile brains we are trying to figure out what we did wrong. People who’ve been in major accidents will relive seconds and minutes of everything they did and question every detail of whatever they did or did not do to prevent the accident or its aftermath.
    A year prior to him leaving our marriage, we had lived through our child’s suicide attempt and our respective treks through the mental health services system. By the time the x had dumped me for his new exciting life I’d finally had it hit me full force in the face that life for him was all about him. Every family counselling session was about his hurt and betrayal, how he was coping. My son would sit mutely with a look of either complete disinterest or suppressed fury. I would try to say anything and felt like I was being steam rollered by the weight of x’s professed horror and so on….. Anytime I tried to talk about our son with the great one it would be how the kid hated him and was doing all this to manipulate us. Not a word about our son’s despair or even about my possible sorrow or pain. Weirdly enough my son would talk with me separately and ask why was his suicide would be Dad’s cross to bear.
    When he trucked off to his new life I never even bothered to try and talk. After I found out about the extent of his infidelity after the separation I fired of a few emails and then went NC. After all how can your tiny little needs compete with x’s pain and discomfort. x is the center of his universe and anybody else in it is just part of the audience .
    In my case pain shopping would have been irrelevant. I had already gone through it for a different reason the summer before and had been rebuffed. x clearly made us all understand that when life gave us lemons we were supposed to make the lemonade and serve it only to him.

    • I wrote him an email this morning. I work nights and I have a lot of time on my hands. I didn’t send it. I’ve been missing him so much and it was such a horrible ending. It is so hard to let go of someone you care for so much.

      He is probably with her now. I saw her picture on Facebook when I was pain shopping. That really wasn’t painful though because she is homely and that made me feel so much better.

      • It’s so hard to let go, eh Jen? But HE has already let go. You want to hold out your hand to him, but he’s given you his back, in many ways, repeatedly. You did right by writing him and not sending it!

        It’s normal that you miss him. Keep in mind that time really, truly does heal that pain. Time and NC, best combo! After I kicked the cheater out, I felt like I’d had my heart ripped out of my chest!!! But each month after I felt a bit better, and within 18 months, I could think of him or see him without much reaction, it feels like my heart is back where it belongs, doing it’s usual job. What a relief!

        • Thank you, I needed to hear that. I went through this before with the same man in 2007. It took awhile but I moved on. I know I can do it again, but there is anxiety, pain in my chest, and obsessive thoughts. I have maintained no contact for the past two months. It hurts that he only tried to contact me once, about my car being in the shop. I wish I meant more to him, but I don’t.

          I know I will move on, but it is slow going right now.

          • Jen, I felt the same way. Missed him so much. It really is like kicking an addiction (at least that’s what it seemed like to me). At first the feelings are overwhelming, but the longer you resist contact the more your brain is able to let go. My ex wanted us to “be friends” after his betrayal, but I remember thinking there was no way I could stop loving him if I had to see and interact with him. He was really Kryptonite to me. Just had to get away and cut all contact. Still hurts to have lost 36 years of history in my life, no one to share the memories of our children growing up with…really hard but 3 years out and it’s definitely better. I’m not depressed anymore which is amazing.

          • Jen, I know what it’s like to reconcile and have it happen again years later. The truth with my Ex was that he was always on the prowl. The first thing I said to my therapist THIS time was, ” I want to know how to stop loving someone who cheats all the time”. Jen, no contact feels torturous when we still love someone. But when the person we love can’t be faithful you have control over what is acceptable in your life.

            • Thank you so much Donna and Lyn,

              This has been very hard for me. I believe you that with “no contact” I will eventually be able to look back on this and not feel pain or love towards him. The last time we ended things I was taking Lexapro and I really didn’t suffer too badly. This time I can’t sleep and I feel anxious and sad. I did try the EDMR videos on YouTube and I think they helped a little.

              I just don’t want to care about this anymore, but it really does feel like a death. I am going through a detox of some sort. I hope I will feel better on the other side, but right now my heart has a miserable, anxious hangover.

  • I put this through my own Universal Bullshit Translator and came out with this: “I’m afraid that I’m going to lose my cheating wife, so I’m suppressing all of my pain and asking her for nothing while at the same time being an infinite source of love and support in the hopes that she will see what a selfless, wonderful husband I am love me again.”

  • What a crock of shit that article is. The advice to the chump is essentially “keep being chump, it’s what you do best. Your cheater is Special!” Yeah keep eating those shit sandwiches. I feel sorry for the guy who wrote that. I see it was back in 2012. I hope he’s come to his senses.

    When I saw the title “Pain Shopping” I thought of the many months post DDay that I obsessively tried to unearth all the horrific details of the affair and my Ex’s past before I met him. What I found was so much worse than him simply meeting Schmoopie and being swept off his feet. Emails to prior OWs, weird photos of teenage girl, weird ph#s on cell ph all over the country. At what point is there enough pain to convince you to stop wasting time untangling the skein? How much pain is enough?

    My therapist had me read Viktor Frankel’s “Man’s Search for Meaning” and this section in particular was so helpful to me:

    “To draw an analogy: a man’s suffering is similar to the behavior of a gas. If a certain quantity of gas is pumped into an empty chamber, it will fill the chamber completely and evenly, no matter how big the chamber. Thus suffering completely fills the human soul and conscious mind, no matter whether the suffering is great or little. Therefore the “size” of human suffering is absolutely relative.”

    ― Viktor E. Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning

    So how much pain is enough? You decide. I finally stopped driving past OW’s house, looking at her (albeit locked down) facebook, shopping on their side of town hoping to see him or them, etc. etc. because I’d already had ENOUGH. My capacity for the pain, the chamber, was already full. I had to stop punishing myself. One step closer to Meh.

  • I shopped for pain and shopped and shopped but my STBX would never ever fess up. My truth came from family and friends which is worse. I really did feel I was going crazy as my inter voice was screaming! And now a year after discovery he wants to know there is a slight chance of us reconciling before divulging the why’s, how’s, etc., and if I don’t say there is a chance I don’t deserve to know. BUT I quit pain shopping and now I am just ME shopping, determined to find my way and no longer care to know the why’s.

  • I’m nearly six years past d-day, and over five years past the end of false reconciliation and my ex moving out. What I did then, during that false reconciliation, was not pain shopping. It was survival, research, truthseeking, evaluation. It was necessary to make an informed decision about the path my life would take after the person I trusted most deliberately and viciously derailed it for me.

    What I’m doing now, seeking out infidelity sites and offering up opinion and advice, long past the time that infidelity has a personal impact on my own life, THAT is pain shopping. Pain shopping is the deliberate seeking out of additional triggers on top of the ones that occur randomly. I could just let infidelity be in my past and move on with my life, but instead I do activities that regularly remind me of the worst time of my life.

    By creating this website and keeping infidelity as an ongoing theme in her life, Chump Lady is pain shopping. Her wounds have long scarred over (one hopes), but by doing what she does, she pick at them. All of us who frequent this type of site despite being past the stage of needing the advice, are doing the same thing.

    It’s like surviving any trauma. People experience the loss of a child, some survive cancer. Some lead workshops long after their own grief is worked through and are active in fundraising well after their recovery while others put their experience firmly in the past and try not to give it further thought.

    The ones who are purposely dredging up the feelings all the time instead of only dealing with occasional triggers are pain shopping. It can be done in a healthy, constructive, helpful way, or it can maintain dysfunctional living. It’s important to know which.

    • I respectfully disagree that this website, or that seeking out fellow stories related to infidelity, is the same thing as pain shopping. There is a difference between what you call “dredging up the feelings all the time” and trying to find ways to understand your pain by reading about others’ experiences going through similar forms of betrayal. Many of us are not at the point where we just have “occasional triggers.” I found out that my wife was in an affair last May, and it’s still all I can think about. This website helps me to see that I am not alone, not crazy, not to blame.

      I am not picking at my scars — I am attempting to heal wounds that are still wide open. Sharing helps with that. It has nothing to do with what you are describing, which is a form of psychological masochism.

      • I completely agree Charles. It helps me cope knowing that there are others that understand how horrible this pain really is and know that you don’t just get over this in a few weeks. Only people who’ve been through this truly understand.

        • Cynic, my days of trying not to give it another thought are over. During the early years of my marriage my friends went to college and I married my high school sweetheart. I lost touch with all my friends and had children. I loved my life. I was strong. Cheating has a way of knocking the wind out if us chumps. I had no friends my age with children. At that time I had no support system. My mom was a battered woman, my father a narc. When I caught him cheating my mother told me he was a good guy. I stayed with this serial cheating narc until he met his whore while he was with me on our 36th anniversary. Within two weeks I was discarded like trash, no explanation. He cheated throughout these years. As you probably know everyone grieves differently. It is a process. Triggers are everywhere, a scent, song, events, and places. Now back to the support or lack of a support system. On my last DDay I lost 42 pounds in months and went to a therapist for help. Within an hour if talking to him I was told my husband was a narcissist and was a very disturbed individual and that I had to have no contact and divorce him. I searched for information and of course everything I found with two exceptions we focusing on fixing the victim to please their fulucktard (the newly divorced Ex) husband. The lady with a truck was informative and I recognized myself as a champion in the three phases if the narcissistic relationship. I participated at least 15 times. I personally found chump lady’s site to be the ONLY one that did NOT dredge up pain. You see Reconciliation sites that basically tell you to kiss a cheaters ass or suck his dick DID have that impact. As they force feeds not only dredged up pain it causes more pain. Here at Chump Lady I can differentiate say the trigger of smelling perfume which a whore left on my pillow as she fucked my husband (a naturally occurring trigger) from a discussion about someone else’s husband masturbating to pictures of pretty young girls. While it is painful that her husband did this (his action) it is helpful to know someone else went through this with their porny guy. I can’t say that is pain shopping. Support is given and experiences are shared. It is a supportive environment focusing on healing. So in essence you have not helped me at all. I think your dredging skills MIGHT be helpful to some of those Reconciliation sites. That is where the pain shopping is perpetuated.

    • I’m with Charles–this site has been palliative for my pain, not a source of increasing the pain. The connections I have made on CL and the advice I have been given from other posters has allowed me to heal faster than any other endeavor (including therapy with an overall-superb therapist).

      Then, when my pain subsides, being able to offer someone else solace provides further healing. ChumpLady.com is Neosporin for the pain.

    • “By creating this website and keeping infidelity as an ongoing theme in her life, Chump Lady is pain shopping. Her wounds have long scarred over (one hopes), but by doing what she does, she pick at them.”

      I respectfully disagree on this. Infidelity is only an “ongoing theme” in CL’s life only as far as she helps to enlighten and comfort people experiencing the worst pain of their entire lives. It’s very clear to me that CL has moved on and is in a very loving relationship. She’s filling a need that no one else filled.

      To insinuate she’s only over it when she stops talking/writing about it is incorrect. Same goes for Divorce Minister — he’s filling a real need in society as well. There’s no reason for any of us to act like none of this actually happened to us.

      • I personally am VERY grateful for this site. CL & CN have been sources of solace and strength. Knowing I’m not alone in this pain, and that Tuesday will come, have helped me get along much more quickly than I otherwise would have.

    • If I could just, “let it go” as a stupid friend sang to me, I would. It still hurts a lot right now. I suspect it will for awhile. I am reading all your posts because when I try to do other things, I just think about it anyway. This actually does feel helpful.

      What is bothering me a lot today is that I did make quite an ass out of myself in the end. Sometimes I feel like it’s my fault it ended. And the fact that he doesn’t want me hurts. But every once in awhile I come to my senses and realize he was not treating me well, most likely didn’t love me, and he couldn’t be trusted. Then the anxiety goes away briefly when I can point the finger back at him.

    • SOOOO not pain shopping, CL having this site or anybody coming here long after the infidelity or when they’re already feeling a lot better. I know it feels good to me to be able to support others who are earlier in this process than I am. I believe, as CL does, that our culture cuts cheaters way too much slack and provides way too much encouragement of fake reconciliation, and people, especially chumps, have got to stop doing that. Sites like this one help that so much, and hearing the stories and getting the support of people who’ve ‘been there, done that’ is so helpful. And now when I come here, I may get a moment of being pissed off at the ex again, or a twinge remembering pain, but I also get great laughs, further insight into the train wreck that happened in my life, and an amazing sense of community. If coming here made things hurt MORE, perhaps that would be pain shopping, but it’s so not the case.

      • I’m the ex of a run away spouse rather than a chump. He was gone 3 weeks after dday. Our 24+ year marriage didn’t have the problems he claimed they did until he found the OW. But my reading of this blog everyday helps in my healing & reinforces the fact that he is a horrible person. He cared so little of me that I got an STD. I still grieve the loss of the wonderful man he used to be.

      • For me coming here is also a way to see my story in a new light, to make new realizations, to learn how others cope. It’s like calling out to others who are hacking their way through the jungle so you know you’re not alone. I don’t real other infidelity sites, only CL’s. In the beginning I did, but I gave them up because this one has the most interesting, thoughtful, conversations. I respectfully disagree that people who come here are pain shopping. They are healing, and trying to help others heal. It’s great to have a space where people really understand what you’re feeling because they’ve been there or are going through it too.

        • Lyn,
          I am with you.
          I find the commenters of Chump Nation to be brilliant, succinct and interesting. It is like reading a hundred self-help books in one sitting.
          I am motivated, empowered and surrounded by optimism, experience and wisdom here.

    • Wow, really, Hopeful? Then I guess all of these support groups for rape victims, cancer survivors, alcoholics anonymous groups—they’re all just prolonging their pain by reliving their traumatic experiences. Is that your view?

      Forgive me if I don’t know your story, but are you still with your cheater? Just a question, because it goes to the point of view here.

      We are supporting each other, shoring each other up–yes, reminding ourselves and each other—that these cheaters are HARMFUL and they LIE. They put us in physical, emotional, spiritual and financial DANGER. This person will say anything, do anything and be anything in order to fool us into staying in the situation.

      This site is a medical alert bracelet for us and a “tattoo” on the forehead for the cheaters. If this is a trigger for you, then perhaps you should read in a place that makes you more comfortable–that assuages your fear and grief by telling you that a sociopath that gave you an STD and fucked in your kids’ bed is really an okay person, because they said they were sorry.

      Sorry to be harsh. But this is a SUPPORT GROUP—we tell our stories because they may be a teaching experience—to show others that they are not alone in these bullshit things that cheaters do. I think it makes you uncomfortable because it shows that ALL CHEATERS HAVE THE SAME MO–read from the same script. That’s awkward. That’s sickening and scary and damned uncomfortable. I want to be the exception to the rule! I want MY cheater to be “The One” that is really and truly sorry so that I don’t have to continue to feel this pain.

      I would rather face reality. I would rather know what I am dealing with and make the best decisions for me and my kids. If that means that my friends and family and sites like this KEEP ME HONEST and dealing with reality? I’m all for it.

      JMHO.

      • “Then I guess all of these support groups for rape victims, cancer survivors, alcoholics anonymous groups—they’re all just prolonging their pain by reliving their traumatic experiences. Is that your view?”

        Well put, and yes I think that is H. Cynic’s view. A view that is heartless, thoughtless, and clueless.

      • I am definitely coming across other than how I intended. I was trying to say that for those who have ALREADY healed, visiting infidelity sites (or maintaining one) is pain shopping, even if done for thoughtful and helpful reasons.

        For those in the middle of the trauma or still healing from it, it’s not pain shopping at all. It’s part of the recovery process.

        I guess I’m just giving a different definition to pain shopping than most? I consider it to be the deliberate seeking out of triggers AFTER you have healed from the trauma. Not the hunting for support and information DURING the trauma and recovery process. Support groups are essential! But someone who has already healed from their trauma and now runs a support group is deliberately encountering triggers all the time. It’s their choice, and obviously they feel that their pain shopping is worthwhile because of all the people they help.

        Maybe I should have said that pain shopping is like a recovered person going to see movies that they know will involve infidelity, instead of saying it was like running an infidelity support group. My main point with my choice was to try to educate people that CL is pain shopping by running this site, and we should be grateful she’s willing to do that. Every letter she reads, every article someone links to her, she’s reminded of what she went through.

        Absolutely, I love this site or I wouldn’t be reading daily after I stumbled across it a few months ago. CL says a lot of the things I figured out on my own the hard way, and offers me new perspective I never thought of. Had it been around during my d-day and false reconciliation, I would have done a LOT better, I’m sure. But I probably wouldn’t have even found it, because in the throes of my extreme chumpiness all I was googling was how to make open marriages work. If I can help someone avoid that level of pain by any words I offer here (usually to agree with CL!) any pain I dredge up is worth it.

        And to make it personal so it doesn’t need to be hunted down in my previous comments, no, I am no longer with my cheater. I spent over six months in stunned shock (worsened by new mom sleep dep) after d-day while my ex took his affair underground, all while telling me it was impossible to choose between us and so we should all just have an open marriage. Finally, a wise and gentle marriage counsellor called him out on this behaviour, and he listened to her where he wouldn’t to me, and chose the mistress. It was a great weight off my shoulders to have him finally make a decision. Now of course I know that he was just prolonging his cake-eating as long as possible! Had I found the right resources then, I like to think I could have made the decision myself, kicked him out much sooner and avoided a lot of mini-d-days.

        Heh, I feel like I just defended my chump cred there. Next you’ll be asking about my geek cred!

          • Hopeful Cynic,
            Wow that was interesting. I think a blog is just a blog and maybe not as important to the author as the people trying to work through something, be that cheating, autism, or how to cook like Julia Childs.

            I am happy I found it because I didn’t like being a chump, and never want to be a chump again. I do not really believe my ex is a monster. I just know it wasn’t my fault and I can’t stay with him if he continues to sleep with other women.

            This is helping me work through the psychic pain that ensues when you know you are being lied to, but you want to believe. I think Rod Stewart sang an awesome song about it in the 70’s. “if I listen long enough to you.” Oh no, maybe it’s, “Reason to Believe.”

            So, I do love him, and I believe he loved me. Sometimes. But it would seem we both need more than that. I can’t believe in Unicorns, “Clash of the Titans” was too hokey.

        • Dear Hopeful Cynic,

          I think I do understand what you are trying to say. There have been times I’ve asked myself if I were ‘pain shopping’ (though I probably used the words ‘prolonging the agony / ‘probing the hollow tooth’). Posters have come and gone in the time I’ve been here (and it’s bittersweet – there are some voices I’d like to hear again but also feel happy they’ve moved on to the point where they no longer need to visit the site). There is definitely a desire to ‘pay it forward’ as Tracy says. I can’t tell you how important and influential the wise words of our fellow survivors have been for me and, while I am still dealing with the aftermath, I would like to hope that I can ‘pay it forward’ too. There is a scar I bear from having been cheated on that wont be ignored, regardless of how much time has passed. It may well be that ‘psychologically’ I should have dealt with it by now, but, truth is, I haven’t – it still impacts and I still feel painful, enormous emotions because of it. Would I lose those emotions if I stopped coming here? I don’t know. I don’t think so – I think they’d just be another shit sandwich I’d be trying to swallow down. I’m glad (more than glad actually) I can come here and see my friends here (and Tracy is in my friend book) and know I am safe to grumble. I know I don’t have to justify why I am still struggling with putting this shit in my past – even if mostly it is in my past! Posters like Dat and Nomar were here before me, and I love that they are still here with their wise, kind and pithy observations (I’ll be sad when they move on) I hope to reach a point where I can return the marvellous and sanity saving support that I’ve received.

          I think you’ve made a valid observation (if the observation was that returning here long after the support was needed could be viewed as a masochistic act) and perhaps you were brave for making it. I’m hoping that whatever keeps us veterans returning is the altruism of wanting to ‘pay it forward’ and not a need to keep hurting ourselves. For me, it seems my presence has more to do with ongoing need for support and being in the company of people who understand.

          • My therapist wasn’t keen on me reading here because she was afraid I was “pain shopping.” For me, it was exactly the opposite. I usual come at the world first through my head, not my heart. Betrayal, though, went straight to the heart. And my head was confused because I had bought the con and suffered the gaslighting. So this site and Lady With a Truck’s helped me figure out what the hell had happened to me. I didn’t have 2 years to unpack all that with my wonderful therapist. I needed to do the autopsy to move on. I got the tools to do that here, while in therapy I could work on rebuilding my life. It worked for me.

            For me, the pain is now a memory. Yesterday, I was in the neighborhood where we lived; I went to the movies there with a friend. Didn’t feel a thing. I’m past the emotional triggers, which is the blessing of not having a child with a cheater and not living in proximity. But I still struggle with not thinking about Jackass and MOW. It’s as if they wore a groove in my mind. I’ve got a whole list of things to think about if “they” pop into my mind, and soon enough, that will be in the past, too. Going to break that thought pattern like it’s a bad habit, which is probably somewhere near the truth.

          • For me CL and CN are so much more. Not everybody IRL has experienced what I have. They don’t know what it is like to be cheated on, to lose everything you have worked towards, to have the family you have cherished and fought hard for crushed, and then to have been abandoned, told your truth didn’t matter, told to “move on.” My family had just survived my son’s accident when my ex decided he no longer wanted a wife and family. Not everybody can relate. I will not be shamed into not telling my truth, into not being authentic because of this misguided notion. Here I can. Sharing my story heals me. This site is better than therapy, and my friends, who don’t quite understand because they have never experienced it, were in no way equipped to help me. Hell even my dad can’t quite understand why my son has gone NC. Try losing your home, your savings’ accounts, your community, your friends. Try moving 500 miles away to live in a leaky fifth wheeler and scrambling to finish college because your daddy fell in love with his dick. Then tell me how fast do I need to turn this page?
            Let me tell you a little story. My sister and I were abused by my biological father on the rare weekend visit, he thought it okay to sell his little girls to an acquaintance for pocket change. Cause he certainly couldn’t work for a living. He would take us to the local bar and invite strangers over to diddle us, if they offered enough money they could take us home. I don’t pain shop but I would have to be stupid to think this one experience didn’t have a profound effect on my life (and you can bet I learned from it, it greatly influenced my life choices, and directly impacted my children’s lives. You can be sure I never allowed them to spend time with anybody I did not trust.) Is this healthy? Damn straight. IMHO, I believe when you can tear it apart then you can take your power back. After Dday I read everything I could get my hands on and then some -like many Chumps here 🙂 Nothing about what happened made any sense to me. Then I stumbled upon chumplady.com CL and CN are a great resource much like any other supportive organization. Though that is probably the wrong word. I suspect I will always feel pain and anger regarding the way my marriage blew up (along with the finances) but it’s one thing to sweep it under the rug because it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable. I stopped worrying about what others thought and started focusing on my journey. My son’s accident changed me as did the day my daughters totaled the car in a freak snow storm and came away unscathed. My brother’s death changed me. Uncomfortable with the messy details? That’s on you, not me. I own my shit, I see the humor in my ex running off with his fitness partner and ditching his family, but I was no more responsible for being abused as a child as I was for being treated poorly and cheated on.
            Tracy, Thank You.

        • Also, I am here because I don’t want to be a chump or a “dupe” as I told my x. I want to be smarter than that. If anything like this ever happens to me again, I want to walk away immediately and not look back.

          I think this is a writing gig for Chump Lady, and it is much easier to write about things you actually have experience with.

          I have no feelings towards my first ex who was a complete narcissist. I love his wife, my son’s stepmother, I pray to God he has changed for her sake as well as son and my son’s new baby brother.

          You do not need to defend your chump status. Just know that no one actually wants to be a chump. It’s just that our cheaters are not misunderstood victims. They are cheaters, like people who cheat on their taxes, or people that claim there is haír in their food at a restaurant. We are trying to make sense of it because lying is hard for us and we wanted to believe their performances.

    • Hopeful Cynic, I do hope people graduate from my site or others and infidelity doesn’t factor in their life again, or cause them pain. Of course, I’m very grateful to the veterans that do stick around to say, hey it gets better, my life turned out fine, etc. because otherwise I’d be a chorus of one.

      You wrote: “Pain shopping is the deliberate seeking out of additional triggers on top of the ones that occur randomly. I could just let infidelity be in my past and move on with my life, but instead I do activities that regularly remind me of the worst time of my life.”

      I didn’t create this site to pick at my wounds. Infidelity doesn’t trigger me and hasn’t for years, and you’ll have to take my word for it that I’m happily moved on and remarried.

      I created this site to be an alternative. It started off as simply a brain dump of what I learned from being cheated on — and it grew. Because I was sick to death of the unicorn narrative being the predominant narrative. It seems unjust and victim-blaming to me. And quite honestly, I enjoy picking apart bullshit, which is much easier to do when you’ve got some distance.

      My site grew because other people feel the way I feel — the RIC is a con, true reconciliation is rare, and narcissist often get a pass in our culture.

      I keep writing because every day people tell me it helps them. And I write because I enjoy it. And I draw cartoons because I enjoy that as well. And, hey, I got a book deal out of the thing.

      At the end of the day, it’s just a blog. No one makes you tune into my channel. If you don’t like the site, or me, or it keeps you stuck, whatever — simple fix — turn the station. Go watch cute puppy videos or something more in line with your new life.

      If you graduated from needing infidelity advice, that’s terrific. Truly it is. You don’t owe it to anyone to pay it forward. But it’s unkind to question the motives of others who DO want to pay it forward for other people on this journey.

      • Yeah, I really didn’t come across well up there. I was writing to AGREE with you! I admire what you do and consider myself one of those veterans returning to help people.

        I think I am just using a different definition of pain shopping than the majority. You, and many others, want to help people, as you said. All I’m trying to say is that if we weren’t doing it, we would probably think about infidelity a lot less.

        • Reading this blog makes me more and more grateful each day that I left a cheater and gained a life. No triggers. More like getting confirmation, in stereo, that cheaters suck. I continue to post here, not to keep infidelity alive and well in my thoughts, but always hoping that my experience will help a newly-minted chump or push a chump on the fence to choose a cheater-free life.

        • I don’t think it counts as pain shopping unless it causes PAIN – think that’s gotta be part of the definition! I certainly don’t feel pain from this stuff anymore, and don’t imagine CL does either.

      • Chump Lady has such a gift with words Hopeful Cynic. I was just thinking my simple minded response to you would be “FUCK OFF”. But she has a much less red neck approach. Well said CL

        • Hey no hate for HopefulCynic! She explained herself. I get it.

          FWIW, I have to say, I really don’t feel pain writing about infidelity. I feel for other people going through it, but that’s different than my pain. It makes me feel better to know this site exists for support.

          Really, I’ve got nothing but warm fuzzies for Chump Nation. I think it’s amazing how you all help each other and I’m very proud of all of us.

          Rock on, mighty people!

          • Yes she did and due apologies go to her. No hate here. In my defense our post came in at the same time frame. So I thank her for explaining as her original post was a bit raw considering the site she’s on and directed to the ones she was directing it to. Thank you.

      • Thing is though, even if you’ve healed and gotten a life and its truly Tuesday, there are so many gems of advice here that can be used in all factions of life, not just when it comes to cheating spouses, but when it comes to abusive people in general and surviving the clusterfuck which is life in general. Its the reason why I come back, anyway.

    • Hopeful Cynic,

      I am another who would respectfully disagree with your view that CL is ‘pain shopping’ with this website. Tracy certainly impresses that she has moved on to Meh following her experience with the cheater that fucked up her life temporarily. I do marvel that she is able to continue to address aspects of this whole hellish experience (and there are SO MANY aspects to it) with such clarity and empathy. Often she will address an aspect that perhaps has not been identified by us chumps – such as this blameshifing manoeuve – but is part of the excruciating pain we chumps suffer. For instance, ‘The Great I Am’ was very fond of attributing my need for the truth as ‘pain shopping’ once D Day landed. A coherent argument for why that was just another mindfuck is incredibly validating and hopefully helps us identify their shit from our own. Let’s be honest, cheaters are very fond of blameshifting and chumps, in their desperate attempts to understand what the fuck has gone on, are prone to take on blame for what frankly should be recognised as a natural and normal response to what has happened to them.

      I, for one – (but I absolutely know, there’s a whole ‘Nation’ of chumps) thank Tracy from the bottom of my heart for both creating this site and for the hard work she puts in to helping us poor souls who have suffered this trauma. I first discovered this site about 16 months ago – up until then, everything I googled (and hell, I googled a lot – I was in desperate need of help) centred around the RIC sites and the focus being on the chump to do all the work, or take all the blame, or, at best, how to deal with the pain of betrayal. There was nothing out there that absolutely said – hey this is shit and the cheater is responsible. I could not have loved ‘The Great I Am’ or pandered to his towering ego anymore – but he still chose to cheat. I couldn’t connect with his ‘fallible humanity’ because his behaviour made NO SENSE to me. I couldn’t walk in his shoes because I could not understand making the choices he made. CL, uniquely it seems to me, was the only site that made it clear the reason I couldn’t connect with him was because he was an entitled, disordered arsehole. I needed to know that, and that it wasn’t some failing in me if I came to that conclusion all by myself. I believe other chumps find the validation they find here equally as freeing and healing.

      Without a doubt, the trauma of being cheated on has been the worst thing that has ever happened to me. It trumps bereavement and the loss of my still born son. Those traumas were awful, but they were ‘clean’ traumas. Betrayal is a mindfuck with it’s very own circle of hell. If I were a robot perhaps all I would need to do was process this knowledge and pain once and then I could call it history and move on. I’m not a robot, 5 years later I’m still dealing with the aftermath (financial ruin), I need to find the belief to trust again so I hopefully don’t spend the last 40 years of my life in self-imposed solitude. This site, the most wonderful excellent Chump Nation (and it’s empowering to know that there are friends who ‘get’ it – the ripples of destruction and influence that experience has had, often we chumps understand that our IRL friends and family tire of this shit because they just want us to move on already, without really grasping how difficult it is to have blind faith in love ever again) and Tracy’s unerring talent for identifying the residual issues is without doubt the most valuable resource I’ve ever found for helping me find the strength and belief to just carry on in my life!

      In knowing we are not alone with the feelings and problems this experience have brought us, we find strength, and in being able to offer support to others going through the same crap it also helps us address our own pain and bewilderment, anger and fears.

      I thank Tracy for not forgetting that other people suffer the hell she once did and for providing this wonderful site for supporting hurt and wounded souls. If there weren’t people like Tracy in the world we would all be the poorer and the sadder for it.

      .

  • I never got to go pain shopping. The proprietor of my shop suddenly closed and moved away, leaving an unsecured creditor in his wake. I think the reason I’m still going through shopping withdrawal is that there was no going-out-of-business sale—just locked doors and tumbleweeds blowing past.

    • Same for me, Karma Express. He left without answering any of the few questions I managed to ask. The minute I told him I strongly suspected he was having an affair, he shut down, then left the next day. We never talked again. Twenty years of marriage, just over in a second. It has made getting over it near impossible.

      • Oh Carol, that’s horrible. My heart bleeds for you. I at least had a few weeks before my ex moved out, though it wasn’t enough time to really talk about what happened or understand what he was doing. You got absolutely nothing! Have you read the book by Vikki Stark called “Runaway Husbands”? It deals exclusively with men just up and leaving, usually for another woman. It’s not as sassy as the Chump Lady book but it does share stories of hundreds of women who went through the same thing. I highly recommend it. Are you seeing a therapist? Also, are you signed in to the CL Forum (the link is at the top of the home page)? You could post your issues there for some instant support from fellow chumps. You really need to use all the tools you can to heal. I’m sending great big karmic hugs your way.

        • That Exchange right there? Carol, Karma Express, laurabb…that’s what keeps me coming back. Finding a community of kindness, as I find here, is worth sometimes revising the shit swamp that got me here in the first place.

          I am light years beyond where I was on DDay + 1, and even after my divorce was finalized (a year ago, plus a bit).

          I doubt I would shrivel up and blow away if for some reason this site closed up shop (gee, I hope not). But I don’t cling to it with the kind of life-saver need I once had.

          What I do love, is to participate in, and to be around, people just being kind and supportive to each other. I’ve had so little of that in the last, oh, 25 years…. it’s quite refreshing, and I think it’s also helping me re-align my picker, or possibly align it for the first time!

          And, sometimes, I think I can offer some perspective to somebody who has just been squashed flat, and that is a gift as well.

      • Carol, I understand why you say it’s “near impossible” to get over that sudden abandonment. My own experience was much like yours, although I wasn’t married to the Jackass; we had just been friends for over 30 years and supposedly in a “committed relationship” at the end. What helped me was reading about how narcissists “devalue” and “discard” people. There’s a lot of good material on the internet about the stages narcissists go through as they move through a relationship. It isn’t you, as I’m sure you know. But if you are anything like me, it will really help to understand how these people work. I hope you are in counseling, and with someone who is expert in recovery from trauma. It’s been 15-18 months, for me, depending on how I count it, and I just said yesterday that I’m still not ready to think about dating (whatever that would be at my age!). I’m past the stage of learning about narcissists and onto working on the codependency that is at least part of why my picker never worked well.

        I can’t fully imagine what you are facing, but sending you hugs and prayers.

  • Max,
    Best revenge….send her to a Unicorn site for some reconcillitation advice…tell her… it helped you immensely! Let her figure out her own shit.

  • The bizarro factor definitely contributes to the need to ask questions and sometimes even the same questions over and over. On my first D-day, the things about which I was most certain (for example, that I was in a faithful marriage to a moral person), and about which I thought I had the most evidence (25 years together), turned out to be the opposite of the truth.

    Or, to reduce the experience to a mathematical equation: WTF x WTF = ???

    If tomorrow someone told you that the United States of America was founded in 1930 by communist vampires from Mars who re-wrote every single history book and film on the planet to hide the truth, wouldn’t you feel compelled to ask a few questions? Would that be “pain shopping” as well? (“Get over your pre-conceived ideas about Thomas Jefferson and democracy, already! By insisting on an accurate historical record you’re only causing yourself more pain!”) Because the communist-Martian-vampire-founding-father scenario is about as unlikely as I once considered the idea of my ex-wife cheating.

  • Ex did not mind hurting me, it was only when I became enraged and horrified at what he was hiding did he “not want to talk about it anymore.” They can’t stand the truth and they can’t relay it. I finally got wise and realized that I was with someone who had no problem at all doing the most painful things TO ME—and then increasing the pain by not taking any responsibility. There was a reason for this.

    Ex had a problem with the concept of causing someone pain. basically if someone punches you in the gut, you are responsible for the feelings being punched arises. His mother who is an AA devotee and seems to have translated the program into “you are the one with the problem, if you have a problem with me.”

    When I was with ex, I used to imagine horrible things happening all the time. Now, I am working on separating disaster fantasies with what I know about any given situation (my therapist attributes this to trauma). Sure, life will change and be unexpected, but now that I am free from that horror show, I am not obsessing about the absolute worst possible scenario that would utterly destroy me all the time (he is still in my life because I have a son with him, so I do have to contend with worst case scenarios still–but much much less).

    Thank you CL for unmasking this farce. Yes, people do harm others and cause pain and are responsible for that. It is up to the chump to create accountability. You cause me pain, you refuse to take responsibility but add on more, I walk and never look at your ugly face again. Its takes Chumps so much time to learn because of all the bad wisdom out there. There really is no where to go with infidelity in mainstream culture except “eat shit” and “take all the responsibility at all your own risk”—and the risk is not even a risk—it’s a sure thing. Stay with an entitled cheater and enter the culture of gaslight, pain, and disrespect–every.single.day.

    One last thought on “pain shopping.” I had early trauma and a terrible childhood, I was used to pain–but I was in no way shopping for it. I specifically chose to be with ex because I thought he was different from what I knew. I did not see the “good guy” performance and did not now people lied and could love themselves so much. I did not know my worth. I learned. I believe him that he sucks and that I belong nowhere near him.

    • GoodM, I think that being raised to forgive others as the ultimate virtue also kept me stuck. I kept wanting to forgive because I thought that’s what I was supposed to do. Now I know that sometimes people don’t deserve your forgiveness until they acknowledge they’ve hurt you. Or maybe you can forgive them but that doesn’t mean they need to be in your life. I just had to get away from my ex after all the lies, they were literally killing me.

    • GoodMazel, we sound like twins, except for the AA part. But no matter, we’re here now, so much better.

      The first words out of my mouth when I learned about crapweasel’s cheating were, “But, you were the one I *trusted!!*” I think in that moment I was as stunned as I was hurt. And then the agony set in. Ah well, that was then, I’ve come a long way, and now he’s just “crapweasel”.

      He’s really not even a person to me. Kind of like a cartoon version of that HoneyBadger, only HoneyBadgers do what they do because: Nature. Crapweasel just has bad character, and makes bad choices. No excuses.

  • I think one of the few things I got from the massive amount of Amazon-chumpery was in one book or another, that said to the effect: the chump does not know what happened during that [era–months, years whatever], and will need to ask questions to try and makes sense of a new reality. Only the chump can decide how much is too much, how many details are too many. The cheater was involved with multiple lives through the whole time, and knows everything–the chump was shut out. So it’s not at all unreasonable for the chump to want to reconstruct that part of his/her life.

    (And, I’d add, not withstanding that whatever answers the chump gets are going to be riddled with holes, omissions and lies…. at least you get some sense of why your world went on a tilt.)

  • I think of that SE Hinton teenage fiction, “That was Then, This is Now.” When I find myself obsessively reconstructing the sordid events of my past, before D-Day, and up to now, I tell myself, “That was then, this is now.” And I breathe. It helps about 50% of the time. Ther 50% of the time I fight breaking NC with all my might. This must be the road to MEH…..God I hope so.

  • I do this all the time and it’s pointless. I don’t need to know anymore about it. It’s too painful… the conversations that go nowhere, the denials, the accusations of me being “paranoid”. Whatever. It’s all too painful.

  • Cheaters are liars. Asking them for truth is never going to end well. You could call my search for evidence pain shopping; I call it my one, thin lifeline connecting me to sanity. By the end of the marriage I had been lied to so many times that if my cheater had told me the sky was blue, I’d have had to walk outside to verify it for myself. Finding his porn, finding the flash drive with the naked selfies collected from coworkers over the years, looking through the phone records, and reading emails–sure, all that was all pretty painful. But at least it was black and white evidence that I was NOT the crazy one in this equation.

    Asking your cheater for truth, though? Oh yeah, that’s pain shopping. All day long.

  • My ex use to say to me “Why do you want to continue bringing up the past….you are just continuing to hurt yourself with these details”. “We will never get past this if you continue to want to talk about it. The hurt just continues that way.”

    He was just protecting himself of course. He didn’t want me to ask any more questions and find out just how much was going on behind my back. Let’s face it, if our cheaters really worried about hurting us they would never have cheated.

    I think it is important to talk about our trauma until we have each come to terms with our pain. We each do that in our own time. I am far along in my healing now and the past does not cause me pain or make me cry anymore. I have been visiting this site for well over a year now and it has helped me tremendously! It helps to know that others have suffered a similar kind of pain and not one of us is at fault. Thank you CL for this site and helping so many of us former chumps!!!

    • Kimmy–so true!! They use “you need to get past this for yourself” as a way to hide the tawdry details of their affairs. Mine is still doing it (even post-divorce) because I know he doesn’t want me to keep digging and find that, not only did he have the 2 affairs he admitted to, but has been a man-whore at conferences and on adult websites for years.

      On the day of our divorce, mine even told me to stop reading CL so that I could better “move forward.” Sure, because I’m going to take mental health advice from the man who emotionally raped my psyche. Not.

    • “My ex use to say to me “Why do you want to continue bringing up the past….you are just continuing to hurt yourself with these details”. “We will never get past this if you continue to want to talk about it. The hurt just continues that way.”

      Huh. Yet they can and often do spend all the livelong day enumerating our many past sins which ’caused them to cheat.’ Someone on the forum today mentioned an ex who justified himself by saying, “I just wanted you to get fit.”

      My ex actually told said, “Get over yourself.” Yep, that’s verbatim. Thinking of this now makes my blood boil. At the time, I was just too stunned to even react.

      • Mine recently told me to “get a grip” after I blew up over a new revelation. I don’t think he’ll do that again. The Hydra was unleashed.

  • I agree with others here-it’s not pain shopping so much as a pursuit of the truth. I was crazy with pain from the lying when I finally discovered a notebook in which she had written down everything she had been doing. When I confronted her, naturally, she tried to turn it around with “I can’t believe you read my private journal.” I didn’t take that bait, fortunately. We saw a therapist etc etc but ultimately I knew that even though she gave up the affair I might leave her, and I told her that. And that’s what happened. That level of lying is a deal-breaker.

    • Is it the lying or the cheating that’s worse? My ex would not admit what he had done even as I showed him the printed emails I read. He said I was misunderstanding them and shut down all communication under the “you violated my privacy” clause.

      He knew he was caught, and just ended it there. Would not admitt to doing anything that hurt me. At that time, I realized he tried to tell me once right after it happened, but changed his mind. He said sonething like, ” I need to tell you something, and you’re not going to like it.” Then he proceeded to say he had dropped out of a driver improvement class he had enrolled in. I am fairly certain he was going to tell me, but changed his mind in the moment.

      I can understand not wanting to hurt your partner with details. Especially if it is a one night stand thing, and they didn’t have any special feelings for the other person. But I guess the difference between manslaughter and premeditated murder.

      • My ex did the same. He said it made him really mad that I violated his privacy, and I answered right back with “It makes me really mad you’re in love with another woman.” He had nothing to say to that.

      • Mine did the same. Said I wasn’t understanding the emails right, the context etc. So stupid. That’s eerie about the time your cheater almost told you. Yikes.

        • Charles,
          Yes it’s eerie I have no idea how to interpret it. Was it going to be, I did this so we should end or, I did this and I am sorry? When said affair happened, my son and I tie died paper towels with Easter egg die while he was gone on a business trip. He came home, saw them drying, and tacked them up on the wall around son’s room (my son, not his). This would lead me to believe there was at least some remorse. And then he was all over me with sex and “I love yous”.

          I knew what had happened, even before I looked in his email. Sometimes you just know. But I do not know what it meant. Did it mean he was unhappy with me or just weak?

          To this day, he will not admitt it and I am 100% sure he did it. If he was unhappy, why not just tell me and end it? Either before or after his affair. Isn’t that easier than acting like your into something you aren’t into? If it was a slip of morals, why not tell me as I clearly know anyway? I hate being gaslighted! Why should I be the bad guy when he was the one sleeping around? It’s just not fair.

          I have done a bad thing or two in my life. Pretending I didn’t never helped. I just don’t understand this.

      • Cheating IS lying, as far as I can tell. But, I can say that having been not lied to the first time around in another relationship made me stay longer-we thought we were in an Open Relationship–we were just out of college, immature, and experimenting. Of course, the first time I started to feel serious about someone else, it was time to close up the relationship, and it stayed that way until one night she got home after I did, and it was clear where she had been and what she had been doing. That was the first and only time she “lied”, and I left the house and the relationship that night. For me, the lying was the deal breaker.

      • He said I was misunderstanding them and shut down all communication under the “you violated my privacy” clause.

        I told him I thought my marriage was private but still got crickets in response.

        Yet, he still refuses to leave……….

  • Life would be so much easier of it came with a manual. Spouse cheating turn to page 96…ticky boxes on one side for “true remorse” ticky boxes on the other side for “bullshit” …then the algorithm of steps you do if the BS score is higher than the true remorse side. You get the probablitity scores and all the fucking ratio’s. You can see on the page its truely a rational decision resulting in a more positive outcome. Easy. Fucking easy. No negotiating…no waffling…no second guessing…last box on that algorithm says “game over.” Easy. I shopped until I dropped ….maxed out the emotional credit card. What did I get from it? The truth?…hardly. What was my obsession?To not feel crazy? Crazy is as crazy does…and pain shopping will make you crazy. It feeds the need to feel validated..not vindicated…because you can’t find it in yourself to say “FUCK THIS ” This aint 20 Questions or Let’s Make a Deal and I don’t want to trade for what is behind dooor number 3, Monty. You learn.With every goodbye you learn.

  • CSATs (certified sex addiction therapists) often use this term, along with the term “shaming,” which is what we do when we inconvenience, or make uncomfortable the cheater by expressing our pain, asking too many questions, or calling them out on their $#it. They prescribe a “formal disclosure,” wherein the cheater gets weeks or months to WRITE out his/her confession, with the therapists help. In the meantime, the partner is expected to sweep his/her side of the street while waiting to hear this written confession. Don’t shame the cheater, keep your mouth shut, wait until the poor sausage has processed and is “ready.” And all those sessions the cheater has as he’s/she’s guided through that document? Cha-ching.

    • Ugh. That’s horrible. I would suggest meanwhile, instead of the chump twiddling his/her thumbs, street sweeping or whatever, go lawyer up instead. Why waste your time waiting for a “confession”?

      • I’d say at the moment some therapist or religious figure or in-law or neighbor suggests that chumps ought to sit at the shit sandwich buffet while the cheaters mourn their Schmoopies or spend months writing out the detail of the affair(s) or wants to shift their responsibility for breaking and fixing the marriage to the chumps–at that moment, it’s time for chumps to kick the cheaters out and let them work out their pain on their own, so that chumps can work on healing.

        If cheaters are truly remorseful, they will follow the steps laid out by Dr. Simon for those who want to fix what they’ve broken. That can go on after chumps file and begin rebuilding their own lives. I’ve spent years living with an alcoholic and have just now realized that no matter how much you love someone, it is nearly impossible to work on serious personal issues and a marriage at the same time. The marriage is already broken. If it is ever to be healed, both people need to heal themselves first. If that happens, the remorseful, reformed cheater can always try to court the chump again–and run the risk that a recovered chump is too smart to sign up for what is likely to be abuse again.That’s just my view of it these days. I get it why people want to “save” the marriage, but to do so without saving the Self first is likely to save the outward form of marriage without the joy, the trust, and the partnership that chumps want in the first place.

  • ADVICE NEEDED FROM CHUMPS:

    My friends husband is cheating on her. They just had a child not long ago. I am torn about what to do. I think she should know. But on the flip side, the messenger usually gets shot and we have a lot of friends in common, I don’t want to become this devil amongst our circle that caused trouble, a lot of people would just say stay out of it. I saw him out to dinner with a chic, and have a really telling picture that I took.

    My options are do I send her an anonymous message with the picture and tell her that her shithead hubby is cheating? Or do I do it face to face and tell her as much as I know?

    I don’t think anyone should forgive a cheater, what he has done to her is horrifying, and I’m wondering what will ultimately cause the most damage because I really feel she needs to respect herself and walk away, or are both options good enough as long as she finds out the truth? I just dont want her brushing it off like it’s no big deal, the picture is very telling though.

    Any advice?

    • Tell her. She may cut you out, you may start a drama and lose friends, but it is the right thing to do.

      When I was in high school, I became aware of a friend cheating on his girlfriend (also my friend). I never told her because the couple wasn’t having sex, I didn’t want to start a drama, I knew she really liked him and he her, and lastly, I figured teenage boys just follow their dick, it’s not personal.

      Fast forward twenty years later. They are married with one son together, each has a child from a previous marriage. (When they married each other it was the second marriage for both). He is into online porn crap. Out of the blue he leaves her for another woman we all went to high school with. I swear I’m not making this up. Sometimes I think I should’ve told her. I was wrong for letting her be the last to know.

    • FriendofaChump, if I were your friend and I believe I speak for most chumps; I would want to know my husband is cheating. Depending on how “telling” the picture you took is, the suspected cheater may deny or spin it. I can understand your doubts in wanting to be the messenger of bad news & your fears on how it could end badly with you labelled as the”marriage interferer”

      Your fears are valid, I think you should still send it but you could do it anonymously especially if she’s not a very close friend.

      • I agree she should know, I fear he will do it to her forever.

        I also fear he will spin the picture. The picture has the woman in his arms. He can spin it all he wants, but I know what I saw.

        My indecision is in how to tell her, or how to write that anonymous email so it has the most reality check impact. This is a huge thing, and I want her to treat it as such, not as some joke or something he can get out of. It’s tough to think you are doing someone the biggest favor of their lives, yet also dropping a bomb on them.

        • FriendofaChump, just so you know, someone tried to tell me anonymously that my ex was cheating when our kids were little. The only thing I had to go on was a phone call from a man who told me to ask my husband where he was that night, then when I asked who it was he hung up. When I told my ex he spun it into a disgruntled employee trying to cause trouble for him. I had two small kids who were very sick with auto-immune problems and couldn’t fathom what I would do if he really was cheating, so I believed my ex. Looking back, I think that man was trying to tell me the truth, but he didn’t give me enough info to make it credible.

    • Tell her what you know, as kindly as you can, and let go of the outcome. It’s the right thing to do, I’m sure you’d want to know. Tell with compassion and then bow out. Yes, you might lose this person as a friend. You might lose them temporarily. And you may save this person’s life with this information. Better to try and save your friend, IMO.

      • Absolutely you should tell her. And I don’t think it should be anonymous either. Secrecy is part of this whole problem, and she’ll take it more seriously from a friend than she would if it came mysteriously. Her husband will have a much harder time gaslighting her about it too, if it isn’t anonymous.

        If you love your friend, you should act in her best interests, no matter what your circle of friends will think. Every chump needs someone on their side.

        • I would agree to just tell her yourself. And you may lose her, but the next time it happens, she will realize you weren’t making it up,

          Would you rather give her information that will help her or be her friend?

    • Tell her. If you do it anonymously, start a new email account that she can contact if she wants further details. She’ll only do so if she believes the message to be true.

      • I think she should send it to the asshole cheater and make HIM tell her friend or she will. Give him a week. He will fake a story whether you send it to him or her chumped friend, so it doesn’t matter who gets it first. At least the seed is planted and then it’s between them.

        Let him get his head chopped off.

        • Problem with this one is it gives cheater a heads-up to create a great elaborate story, hide evidence and generally become a more effective blame-shifter and gas-lighter. A moment of surprise may allow more truth to come out.

    • Please tell her. I would give anything to have been informed by anybody somebody about what my x was up to all those years ago. I would be 32 not 52 starting a new life without him. The majority of his friends and their wives (including one he was actively banging) knew about his wandering eye.
      She deserves to be well informed before making any more life changing decisions. Is she putting a career on hold? turning down promotions? staying at home? contemplating another pregnancy? denying herself and her child(ren) “luxuries” to build up his or the family’s finances? using her monies (ie. inheritances) to sock money away in his business or IRAs? supporting him through school or internships?
      You may lose her as a friend and not enjoy the fallout from everybody else’s opinions. Go anonymous if you’re afraid of direct contact causing drama.
      Be kind. This is a human being who is being actively abused! Let her know! She may not even believe anything but the seed of doubt may keep her from going down the oblivious garden path with him.

      • I hear you on everything you are saying, and totally agree. And that’s my concern. I WANT her to believe it, because it’s true. I don’t want her to brush it off. It’s easier to ignore the truth. I want whatever I tell her to be 100% convincing, I just don’t know what to write to really make her stop and think ‘hey this isn’t a joke’.

    • Yes, tell her, but not anonymously. And do her the biggest favor and tell no one else — leave that up to her. She may be in shock at first, but you’d be hard pressed to find one chump here who wishes she weren’t told. Also send her to this website.

      xox

  • It is not pain shopping. It is fundamental fairness/ a level playing field/retributive justice that a chump should know the salient facts on why his/her spouse threw him/her to the wolves.( A little unfair of me since I do like wolves in the wilderness, but not my home). “Pain shopping” is a misnomer. I was looking for answers.

    What I got was this…..
    Me- the heroine of the grade B movie-You had an affair with the French woman we met in Champagne country? You are going back for more intimacy? Why? Your adult daughter knew about this before me. Now I know that there were others over the 32 years. Why? Who? What is your problem? Why do you want to punish me?
    The answer man said: The woman is my “soulmate”. Our marriage was or is not happy. I should not have married you.. It takes two to make a happy marriage. everyone uses someone else. my favorite..one of his dalliances asked him to leave me and he said no. ( Lucky me! I am special too) Or is this my favorite, you are Catholic, you should forgive. But what am I forgiving if the answer man is not giving me answers -etc.
    Then I asked him to move out…the pain has subsided but still sometimes rears its ugly head.
    Now the answer man is the “I do not know what I want”, the “sphinx” or the “poor me” man.” Disappointing. I just thought that he was more.The kibbles are going and gone girl.
    Yup.Two years later and counting. But I now have an attorney.

  • Unfortunately my first port of call post D-Day was http://www.beyondaffairs.com/. I really believed I had a marriage to save and I just had to know how to handle the situation/my husband to get him to recommit. That was the message Beyond Affairs gives out- I’ve just checked their website again and their article How Do You Motivate Your Husband to Talk? by the reconciled Anne & Brian Bercht lays it out thick. They believe in the “Men are from Mars, Women are From Venus” stuff – men are just quieter than women and go off into their caves when something is troubling them…

    So in getting the cave affair men to talk they suggest (and I’m only quoting 3)

    1. If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without explaining to him why he is wrong.
    2. If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without needing to point out to him why his answer doesn’t make sense.
    3. If you ask him a question, let him know you want to hear his answer by – not responding (cross examining) to the first thing that does not line up or what seems to contradict a previous answer.

    http://www.beyondaffairs.com/2013-archives/motivate-your-husband-to-talk/

    And on and on. Not only are you pain shopping you are doing it, as CL has nailed, in the belief “that cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures and reconciliation is a fragile, endangered ecosystem that could be destroyed by your bad attitude.”

    Suffice to say I tried dealing with my cave man this way and the ‘trickle truth’ just leaked out of him when he felt like it- and it was very painful shopping indeed. It just led me to make my own investigations which were no less painful but certainly more accurate.

    Since my divorce, I (like Moving Liquid) did a bit of Facebook window shopping but not for a few months. I KNOW what he is and what he did but he’s not part of my life anymore, he’s history. Pain shopping now would be like rummaging in the sales, instead of buying the new spring look.

  • Unfortunately my first port of call post D-Day was Beyond Affairs.com I really believed I had a marriage to save and I just had to know how to handle the situation/my husband to get him to recommit.

    That was the message Beyond Affairs gives out- I’ve just checked their website again and their article How Do You Motivate Your Husband to Talk? by the reconciled Anne & Brian Bercht lays it out thick. They believe in the Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus stuff – men are just quieter than women and go off into their caves when something is troubling them…

    So in getting the cave affair men to talk they suggest (and I’m only quoting 3)

    1. If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without explaining to him why he is wrong.
    2. If you ask him a question, then allow him time to answer without needing to point out to him why his answer doesn’t make sense.
    3. If you ask him a question, let him know you want to hear his answer by – not responding (cross examining) to the first thing that does not line up or what seems to contradict a previous answer.

    And on and on. Not only are you pain shopping you are doing it, as CL has nailed, in the belief “that cheaters are Timid Forest Creatures and reconciliation is a fragile, endangered ecosystem that could be destroyed by your bad attitude.”

    Suffice to say I tried dealing with my cave man this way and the ‘trickle truth’ just leaked out of him when he felt like it- and it was very painful shopping indeed. It just led me to make my own investigations which were no less painful but certainly more accurate.

    Since my divorce, I (like Moving Liquid) did a bit of window shopping (Facebook) but not for a few months. I KNOW what he is and what he did but he’s not part of my life anymore, he’s history. Pain shopping now would be like rummaging in the sales, instead of buying the new spring look.

    • PS- I posted this earlier with web link to Beyond Affairs but it triggered the ‘awaiting moderation’ alarm or should I say Unicorn alert….

  • Cynic( takes one to know one)
    Fishing today? Or just wanting to stir up the waters? I truely enjoyed your myopic view of how others heal. Because we should all heal the way you did? Perhaps YOU trigger when you read information that is posted her….I on the other hand feel VALIDATED. I read the pain and suffering that other have experienced and I can identify with parts of their story and at times all of their story. It helpd me move past my pain.If parts of dialogue here trigger you..like some other that have triggers on this site…they bow out for the day. When people are ready they come back. And if you are triggering…maybe you should come back later….OOOOORRRRRRR…Since you seemingly have all the answers…create your own blog…write a book…and lead us poor sheep.
    BYE FELICIA !

    • No, honest, I’m not trolling or anything like that. I really do seem to have a different definition of pain shopping than everybody else, and I didn’t realize it till after reading all these responses!

      My perspective was that pain shopping can’t happen until AFTER you stop triggering. If you are still in the pain, it’s not shopping, it’s seeking critical help.

      When I said I’m pain shopping by coming here, or that CL is pain shopping by providing the site, I simply meant that we are deliberately choosing to do something that reminds us of infidelity and our experience with it. It reminds us of a painful time, not that it is causing us pain.

      Obviously I’ve got to change my definition, as I’m running against the current!

      • HC, I understand what you’re saying. If you feel this way, then it’s your prerogative. You shouldn’t “change your definition”—not because of us…that’s something that a cheater would try and make you do. You stood up for yourself and explained eloquently, it’s just different than our take.

        If I may, can you think of it this way—that Tracy is a teacher. Vets here are teachers. They went through undergrad, the sleepless nights, the caffeine fueled study sessions, the failed exams, the tears and the stress—and came out with a Master’s in Education.

        Guess what they get to do now? Yep…take all of that stuff, turn around, and teach it to others. Pass along the information and the experience. But it was traumatic when they went through it, right? Yes. That is true.

        But without teachers and someone to guide us lay people through the process, who will be there to tell us—when you get this stuff down, things will be better. You will get a good job out there. You will help others. And the expectation is….is that you ARE to help others.

        I couldn’t stand by and watch a friend go through this shit and not try to help. I hate reading about the palpable pain and anguish—suicide attempts, deaths of children, alcoholism, mental breakdowns….how could I or anyone of good conscience, who may offer some tidbit of experiential advice NOT stay and help?

        Sure, I get fired up a good number of times about certain hot button issues, but that just goes to remind me, yet again—that I made the right decisions to cut this asshole off at the knees and move on. It helps me and it keeps me honest. I like it when someone responds to something I said, “Hey, Sphinx, I never thought of it like that.” or “I was wobbly today, thank you for helping shore me up. I was afraid and now I am better.”

        It’s all good, HC–just think about it. Avoidance can be a great tool—when it’s directed at the one who HARMED YOU—not when you are trying to run away from what happened. I would much rather that nobody ever has to experience this, but this is life. We need to help each other.

        • Perhaps Cynic should change the definition. Words are for communication, and if what you’re communicating isn’t entirely coherent (can’t be pain shopping anymore if it’s not causing pain), and is confusing the people you’re trying to communicate with, then it might be time to change!

  • The first year and 1/2 after the affair, I did lots of pain shopping for several reasons. I wanted him to feel my pain and see my reaction as he told me info about his affair, I wanted to see if he looked remorseful as he was telling me, and I wanted to keep talking about it until I didnt want to anymore probably to punish him( because I was so angry and he deserved to feel my rage). I don’t understand why these reconsiliation sites don’t let chumps be mad or speak out? That’s how healing works. Now 2.5 years later during our reconsiliation, I really don’t pain shop or need to talk about the affair , but it was important for my healing that first year, and to repress that healing process, because your cheater can’t handle it is BOGUS. To me, the cheater must be willing to help the chump during recovery and allow those questions of why?? How?? When?? With who?? Answered over and over again, until the chump doesnt need to ask them anymore. That’s the meh. And truely I don’t think that has anything to do with forgiveness, because I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there, but I keep moving forward.

  • Also have to mention that the very phrase “pain shopping” is a clever little bit of mindfuckery from the RIC. Could’ve called it “pain obsession” or “pain revisitation” or something similar to make the same point. It’s still a bad point, because as anyone dealing with infidelity (or other PTSD-inducing trauma) knows, these questions aren’t something any chump WANTS to ask. They force themselves into your brain completely unbidden for months after your world falls apart. Google “intrusive thoughts” if you care. So, a dumb point, but hey, it’s still the same point.

    Calling it pain “shopping” not only fabricates a voluntary aspect to the process (and directs attention away from the cause of the trauma–the cheater’s bad actions), but it TRIVIALIZES the trauma itself. Your experience of the pain? It’s pointless, vapid, self-indulgent. You know, . . . like shopping.

    Because trying to find out why your family has been destroyed is EXACTLY like trying to pick out the top-rated juicer or find a good discount on that pair of Manolo Blahnik pumps you’ve had your eye on.

    It’s downright insulting. I’m half surprised those Unicorners don’t call it “pain Soduko” or “pain tic-tac-toe.”

    This isn’t trivial, people. It isn’t a fucking Tupperware party or a President’s Day sale at the mall. It’s somebody’s life, a whole family’s life, possible several families. And what you dismiss as “shopping” is often someone fighting for their sanity, if not their life.

    • I wish there was a like button because I’d be clicking it until your post was flashing in neon lights.

      So what’s a good new phrase to use instead of “pain shopping?”

      Truth seeking? Behavioural monitoring? Deceit filtering? Panning for gold (and not finding any!)?

    • Yes, Nomar. It is a term that was designed to keep the injured party “in her (or his) place.” We’re not entitled to the information, the facts OF OUR OWN LIVES. When a “sex addict” goes into treatment, the partner automatically gets labeled “codependent.” The cheater, who is most likely a Narcissist (but don’t CALL him that!), gets to be the center of attention, gets to be coddled, gets to be protected from the “angry” partner’s questions and “shaming.” Anything the partner demands as a natural response to the betrayal trauma is given a negative label. Hence, our need for the truth becomes “pain shopping” and our need to express our anger and hurt becomes “shaming the addict.” Meanwhile, the addict/cheater gets all the soft and fluffy labels. ‘Confession’ becomes ‘disclosure’… ‘screwing a hooker’ becomes a ‘relapse.’ The whole system is premised on the partner’s passive participation, because the partner is the only reason the cheater is in therapy to begin with. The sex addiction recovery industrial complex knows that without the partner, they have no client. So they tell the partner, still reeling from the shock, that he/she’s “as sick or sicker than the addict.” They tell the partner that he/she “must do your own work” (keeps us out of the way), and they warn against “pain shopping” with the promise that the information will be revealed in that heartfelt, brilliantly crafted “formal disclosure” that the partner must wait months to get. It’s truly a racket.

      • TaniaRochelle, preach it. I like that you have “sex addict” in quotes because that’s how I feel about it too. Droves of people (men and women alike) can now go get “therapy” that may or may not be working for their so called sex addiction, allowing them to feel like victims and not address their selfish behavior. So called sex addicts need to grow the fuck up. It absolutely is a racket.

        • My x is a former coccaine addict, but I suspect it is not really a “former” situation. He is also a little bit of a gambling addict. Basically he is addicted to dopamine, which I love too.

          Affair sex provides dopamine. It is the thrill of getting away with it. It even makes the sex with your legitimate partner better due to the drama involved. But I don’t want all that, and I don’t want to be a chump. I’m somebody’s mother for chrissake. I think I can enjoy sex outside of a triangle. This stuff is ridiculous.

        • “Sex addiction” is a crock of shit. Its people who have no self control. That’s it.
          People can whinge and moan until the cows come home, but that’s the crux. They need to GROW THE FUCK UP and learn some fucking self control.

      • EXCELLENT points there, especially about the insidious use of language. As the saying goes, “You’re only as sick as your secrets.” And euphemisms are a great way to keep (or at least obscure) all the dirty little secrets cheaters want to keep hidden.

        • Oh, and I forgot to mention the industry favorite: “acting out.” That’s the cute toddler-ish term they apply to the cheaters’ bad behavior. You know, the things we call “fu@#!ng his secretary, group sex, meeting random strangers off Craigslist, having sex with her neighbor in the minivan, availing themselves of the glory holes in park bathrooms…”

      • Wow, TaniaRochelle. Awesome post! I have heard of the Sisterhood of Support and almost joined, but then I found CL and CN. Do you think it would be worth joining at 18+ months out?

        • FoolMeTwice, 18 months out, CL might give you all the online support you need. Not that we wouldn’t love to have you as support for other women, new to discovery, who are still reeling and who can’t imagine that they’ll ever be okay.

      • “They tell the partner that he/she “must do your own work” (keeps us out of the way), and they warn against “pain shopping” with the promise that the information will be revealed in that heartfelt, brilliantly crafted “formal disclosure” that the partner must wait months to get. It’s truly a racket.”

        You nailed it, TaniaRochelle. My ex was in sex addicts anonymous for about a year after he admitted he was screwing other men left and right. I did not realize that a formal disclosure was part of the process, but I guess that was what he gave me after he’d been in the group a couple months — it was a list of all the gay cheating he had done, really graphic disgusting details, like “smelling shit in the air after ass fucking a stranger.” To make it even more bizarre, he wrote the list on a sheet of our wedding stationary — you know, the fancy paper you get to write your thank-you notes.

        During his year in the sex addicts group, my ex went to a gay bath house and got a blow job. He said this was okay because he was “testing himself,” and so it did not count as breaking sobriety. I thought that was bullshit. He stopped going anyway at that point, and we then pretended that none of it had ever happened for nearly a decade more. Of course, he never stopped with the cheating: if anything, I think it probably increased, but he hid it so well, and there were never any signs for me to discover.

        Jesus, I am so ashamed that I stayed with him after all of that. But I am out now, and that is what matters.

      • I always questioned “addictions” and ” recovery”.
        My dad , for example, was a terrible alcoholic. Then, he decided to stop and began attending AA.
        But, my mom’s workload remained the same. Instead of him coming home and blasting everyone in sight ( mostly verbal) he was at his AA meetings, smoking and having coffee and socializing with Dick Van Dyke and Jonathan Winters et al.
        So, my mom still had the entire child rearing burden at night. Only this time it was due to his AA attendance vs his bar hopping and who knows what else.
        Still seemed selfish as hell. But, he was a lot nicer ( who wouldn’t be with tat much time off)

      • ML, for at least two years after Dday, I suffered from nearly constant intrusive thoughts about what I had been through. I thought I might go mad. My therapist told me it was a form of PTSD and that it would ease over time. Thank God she was right. It takes a long time, but you will get there. Just keep on keepin’ on.

        • It is hard to get the cheater out of our headspace. My neighbors think I’m taking psychadelics or have a gas leak in the house, because I walk the dogs mentally (or sometimes out loud, if I slip) berating my X for his lecherous ways. They haven’t called the padded truck for me, yet.

  • I had never heard the phrase “pain shopping” before today. That’s certainly a peculiar phrase. I was forming a totally different idea of what that meant before I read all of CL’s post.

    I think the idea of “pain shopping” in the context of still being in the marriage/relationship and asking for details is bunk. It’s not asking for more pain or asking to dredge up stuff that needs to be let go. It’s important. If your spouse/partner cheated on you, it is not unreasonable to want to to know with whom, how many times, how many people, and whether or not there was protection used for the sake of your personal health. Finding out if you should get an STD test and if so, from whom did your spouse get a possible disease? That’s not looking for extra pain on top of pain, that’s looking for legitimate answers to real concerns.

    However, in the context of being separated from your ex and no longer in the marriage, it could possibly take on a different meaning.

    I think if you are actually divorced, no longer living together and no longer in a marriage/relationship, digging for further details could get in the way of reaching “meh.” Like searching their Facebook or exchanging communication that doesn’t pertain to any legal matters. I was guilty of doing such things right after I found out about the final OW. I would look on his fb to see if they were doing things together or search to see if his old dating profile was still up, or sometimes text him to beg for any scrape of remorse I could find from him, hoping if he saw how hurt I was he would somehow see the error of his ways. …Yeahh….no. THAT was pain shopping. I didn’t need to be looking at his fb or any of his other web pages for that matter. I didn’t need to be sending him any sadness-laden text messages. For one, there was no point because he didn’t care, and two it was keeping me from getting to Meh. I didn’t need to keep shoving his crap in my own face.

    I think for what we’re talking about, there needs to be a different term. For seeking answers to real concerns, I don’t know what you’d call that other than just what it is. Finding out the information you need.

    I would personally define “pain shopping” as preventing yourself from getting to Meh by looking at their social media or not going NC.

    • Kara, you point out a good distinction. If you can’t keep NC, yes, that’s a form of pain shopping. But I think even that is a kind of bargaining stage of grief. Is he REALLY an asshole? you ask yourself as you look at his pictures on FB with the OW. And sure enough, yes he is. You need that constant validation to trust that he sucks. Should you arrive at that conclusion sooner? Oh sure. Yes. But most of us go through spasms of that kind of “pain shopping.”

      I think your post also underscores an interesting part of the RIC mindfuckery — you take an actually HELPFUL concept — like don’t invite more pain into your life if you can control that — and CONFUSE it to benefit the cheater. Hey! Quit asking about the affair! Quit questioning my timeline! Quit checking up on the AP’s whereabouts! You’re Just Hurting Yourself.

      Well, maybe you should hurt yourself in those situations to arrive at lucidity. The cheater isn’t sorry. The timeline is bogus. And the AP is hooking up. IMO, it’s the cheater’s responsibility to assuage concern and anxiety. That the shit sandwich THEY have to eat for cheating. And they deserve the sandwich.

    • Its math…. Its not pain shopping …. its math…. An equation. THIS equals THAT. You are faced with a variable …. And it doesnt add up. it never adds up. You go crazy trying to do the fucking math.

  • I’ve never heard the term. You learn something new every day…

    No, I didn’t “pain shop.” During the rapid-fire 6 months of my marriage collapsing, with successive D-Days mere weeks apart because of how poor of a liar my wife was, there was never a chance for things to get “normal” enough for me to go “shopping for pain” (aka, try to deal with the aftermath of an affair). Pain was there, always. Constant. There was no aftermath, because there was no “after.” That’s what made filing for divorce make so much sense. She never even stopped cheating…so we couldn’t get to the point that I pain-shopped.

    To those of you working through affair reconciliation, I don’t know how you do it. Your spouse had better be a better person than mine was. I wish you the best.

  • So it’s “pain shopping” if a chump needs to know the truth. Instead, s/he should just chew the shit sandwiches and go fetch the cheater’s slippers like a good little doggy. The quotes from that chumped husband in CL’s post today made my head hurt. The level of denial was so strong. I pictured a little kid with his fingers stuffed in his ears, saying, “Nanananananananann, can’t hear you!” Sad.

  • My main problem with asking the cheater/liar ANYTHING is that I don’t think you ever get the truth that way. Maybe if you are asking a question that you already know the answer to — just to see if he is telling the truth? (If you are really thinking about reconciliation.) Because arguing is pointless — you can’t argue someone into developing character or keeping commitments.

    I really think that the famous Kubler Ross stages of grief are pretty accurate for describing how we go through all kinds of events, and that we need different amounts of time in the stages because we are all different individuals. I would not have been able to do what I did if I had not gone thru the Marriage Police phase, and gathered information. I had no guilt about violating his privacy, because I already knew he had violated the vows. I just needed time to accumulate and evaluate the evidence — I had more than enough to come to a verdict — more than I needed to end the marriage. I was certain. It took some time to go from the initial shock to the certainty. I tried some counseling — but he did not do his homework and was not trying. It was more work for me. The only details he shared about any OW, either from the past or the one that ended us, were details designed to encourage me to do the Pick me dance, or to try and shift the blame. I didn’t need to listen to that BS. It was also important to stop the investigation — also for my benefit — because I didn’t need anymore depressing information, I had enough.

    I think that sites like CL are for healing, and staying focused. I think you learn from your peer group. I also think they make you feel less alone. I wish I had found a site like this much earlier. I do try to pay it forward — I think it is important for other chumps to know that there are good people in the world, from both sexes, so that we don’t give up hope. The people who devastate your world when you find out you are a chump are pretty horrible, and it is good to gain perspective from a support site.

    Do whatever you need to do so that you don’t fall back into the deep dark hole of despair, or slip into the coma caused by too much hopium. Watch out for trolls you will find along the way — they are everywhere, and they try to disguise themselves. Trolls will try to make you feel bad about yourself, which is very different from trying to help you see the light of the truth, or the trap you might be keeping yourself in. If it is just advice, it will be someone’s opinion, and will be based on their experience. Advice should not make YOU feel bad., even if it is advice that you would rather not hear at that moment in time, because you are still smoking hopium and looking for a unicorn. Advice is supposed to come from someone trying the HELP you, not put you down, or try to make you think someone else’s actions are your fault.

    • Portia,
      I just wanted to say how much I appreciate your posts. If I don’t have much time, I often just skim down till I find your posts and read them carefully. You write so eloquently and straight to my heart.
      So thank you 🙂

  • Now that I know what pain shopping is, I was a pain shopaholic in my two false reconciliations. Man, was I a martyr except I really wasn’t. I really tried to stuff the pain but I couldn’t because I SHOULDN’T have. Pain has to be felt and acknowledged to heal. I look back now at 2 decades of false reconciliation and I wonder why the hell was I doing all the work, trying to prove to a piece of garbage that I was worthy of him? That is one screwed up strategy. Now I know that the only thing to tell the cheater, “So, what are you going to do to earn me back?” And if he doesn’t do anything, time to move on. Sounds terribly simple now that I am in a healthy (meh) place.

  • “I showed compassion for her feelings once she started to try. I knew she was going through withdrawal from the other man and did not abandon her to deal with it on her own. As would be expected, this was extremely hard for me, but it reinforced that we were a team. We were there to support each other, and this let her know I wasn’t going to punish her.”

    fucking pathetic.

    • I took the opposite approach–it was clear to my cheater I was going to punish him. and well-deserved.

      • Tempest,
        This whole post I have been thinking about a quote from an awesome boss. After some immature behavior from an employee, he said, “Oh Grow Up! Don’t make me Make you grow up,”

        • Friend–Exactly! Had these cheaters had more consequences as children, they would not have turned out as badly as they did, and could lead adult lives (filled with self-control & integrity),

          • In my case, the cheater spent her childhood trying to gain the attention and affection of her very narcissistic mother. She succeeded in doing this only by winning (many) horse-riding trophies during her pre-teen years. Once she became a teenager, and showed some independence, there was no hope. Her mother kicked her out of home at 16. Fortunately she had an older brother that she could live with. Damage was already done, though.

            It’s a sad situation, but thankfully not one I have to live with anymore.

            • I used to pity Ex. He had an abusive father and a mother who practiced “emotional incest”. However, he had a safe environment with me for ten! years and never got his life in any order. (as revealed by his most recent actions). He solidified his dysfunction and destroyed everything beautiful. No more pity. Time to heap coals on his head. 😉

              • Yeah, I agree with you, Friend. Pitying the ex is a black hole. Better to understand they’re adults and are therefore responsible for themselves. Nobody’s had an ideal upbringing.

              • I am so jealous! Of your dumbass ex, for having such amazing support from you. I, too, was a victim of emotional incest and only discovered it after I felt safe enough with my partner to actually look at my upbringing. I worked and continue to work my ass off at recovery, and I’ve made a lot of progress, but she apparently got tired of waiting on me to get “better”. In fact, it seems like she left just as I had turned a major corner.

                Thank you for being the kind of person who stood by your partner. I’m sorry that the asshole didn’t value and grow from it. I’m sorry that I did both of those things and lost my support. WTF, universe?!

              • WWDSG,
                Thanks for the kind words. I have often thought the same thing. God speed our Triumph!

  • After a break for further thought, I think my nonconformist definition of pain shopping stems from the fact that I just cannot call the essential snooping and interrogating that chumps do after d-day anything that makes it sound optional and unnecessary.

    Do people think police investigating a crime are doing something unnecessary? Of course not.

  • Ok. So my cheater calls this shopping “playing old tapes” because his trickle truth of events and history came out in slowly over the 12 mths. He can’t stand me “bringing up the past” which is his 17-18 yrs of serial cheating that I now know about. He’s working hard on changing himself and I hurt his feelings waaaay too much playing the old tapes.

    All of this is bullshit from the cheater because a person who lacks empathy has no clue that the tapes being played by the betrayed spouse are the realizations that a huge portion of the shared marital history, in m case 17-18yrs, was based on smoke and mirrors. A sham.

    • I know it can be damaging in a relationship when we keep bringing up old offenses and hurts, but I think that is actually fairly rare. Because if the ‘old’ stuff is either STILL GOING ON, or directly related to the NEW shit that’s happening, it’s fair game. And if the ‘old’ stuff never got properly dealt with, too, it’s still fair game.

  • I went “pain-shopping” last week. It’s not like I know the truth anyway but for some reason I needed to get confirmation that my instincts are indeed intact. After all the pain from gaslighting and blame shifting through the midst of his longest and most significant affair, I have lost trust in myself, I was so confused and lost about what is truth. When D-day was unavoidable, I followed with crying, yelling, obsession, hacking accounts, depression, and I cried some more, and I talked and talked and talked with friends and sought out counseling. I learned so much over the years but apparently not enough so I needed to get whacked and went shopping. I was telling myself just one last time, just one more time to confirm he really is that kind of a person that does not take my feelings into consideration so I can finally plug the cord. I thought I had understood that it was not my fault that he is a cheater ? Damn what happened? When I got a window of opportunity to check out his phone, I did, I really did it again. I am re-traumatized, it feels like reality prior has never existed. I was certain I had it under control and I don’t give a fuck about his shitty character flaws. Nope not true, still super vulnerable and seeing the message in his phone to the OW (It is remarkable how long he has stuck it out with her, they are about 3000 miles apart now and rarely get a chance to see each other) put me again in the washing machine mode on spin cycle. Emotionally I got much faster a hold of myself again than in the past and in the end it did added up to the pain-shopping naughty list but my question is, when do I reach the end of that list? When is enough, enough? When will I love myself more than his holy ass?

    • Don’t beat yourself up so much. We were all where you are now. The unbelief that the one that was our best friend, our soulmate, our spouse, could do you so wrong is unconceivable. It does not add up no matter which way you want to look at it, but the harsh reality is that they never cared about what you thought one way or another. Their only motive was to not get caught at any of the vile things that they were up to. Once you do find out and once you confront they Know that You Are the Enemy and they will act accordingly. You find out they are the enemy and you want to give them another chance because this is your spouse, this is the one person on this whole planet that will not hurt you. Unfortunately, they do not think this way. It’s horribly sad and the horror of it all is not something that any one of us wants, but this is what it is. You will get to that point, knowing that this is the horrible, inconceivable hand that you were dealt and you will be able to see a tiny bit of self love. You are on this site, it spoke to you, the posts spoke to you, your intuition, that this is a horrible injustice, spoke to you. It’s terrible, horrifying in fact. But you did not cause this, you are not to blame for what he is doing to you behind your back. He has a voice, he could have told you his feelings but he chose to lie to you. The person that you thought he was, was a fabrication, a hologram, a part in a play. Don’t second guess yourself. You can get through this, you can be the person that loves themselves enough to get out of a no win situation. You have to be your own best friend.

  • Dont get me started on the police!
    I get your comparison but the police are third parties to a crime scene… They are not invested in the same way… They go home at the end of the night fustrated for not putting all the pieces together or not having the missing piece of evidence… We on the other hand are sleeping with the enemy. I wish I could have distance myself enough to review the evidence put together a case and prosecute… Instead I suffered the assault again and again all while trying to piece together the fucking puzzle. You cant be objective like a crime scene investigator. Evey shred of evidence is another blow to your heart., your esteem and YOUR truth….. Ripping apart the very foundation of who you are and what you were. Despite the pain you keep at it…pain shopping… because it has to have to an end… A rational end. A reason.
    Jokes on you. And that the hardest thing to come to terms with. The big fucking joke is on you and you never get to hear the punch line.

    • There is no “rational” end unfortunately…. I found out that x has a gf, not the one he left me for (she went back to her husband, boohoo) and now he is cheating on his gf with the fist schmoopie. WTF. It just goes to show that I was not the one with the problems, the one that had the blame, it’s just his shitty way. I can’t be held accountable, and I don’t hold myself accountable, for his shitty problem solving skills. This is all on him, as it was when we were together, it’s always been about him and will always be about him no matter who he is with.

      • DeeL, I actually object to ‘his shitty problem solving skills’. These are CHOICES! If he had ‘poor skills’ he could have made an effort to improve them, or gotten help solving his problems, or at least least least been honest about finding himself with a problem to solve! But no!! Really stupid, selfish and entitled CHOICES. But you’re so right that it’s all on him, and it sounds like he keeps proving that again and again!

        • I see your point, you are right. They were choices, adult choices. And yesssss…. he truly does keep proving that again and again. It’s hard to wrap you head around this person that you trusted making these choices at all. But this is a process and it will take time to “see” all that we have been put through and just get to that point where you Realize that “they truly, did just suck”!!

  • Thank you Willow. I have tried to display anger as it was missing. That sounds odd I am sure. I have learned that there are healthy ways to be angry. My therapist actually asked me where my anger was. I pretty much accepted shit sandwiches. I too am appreciative knowing there are others here who have given me support and insight. The worst thing for me was being alone with the most agonizing pain I have ever experienced. We will get there!

  • I would like to say pain shopping can be extremely beneficial. It wakes you up from the fantasy of “hope” and brings you into reality of how evil your cheating partner really is. As the saying goes, “ you can escape reality, but you can’t escape the consequences of reality”. So I suggest you pain shop in a beneficial way. To help yourself create a new life for yourself sooner rather then later.

  • STOP already, we chumps (mostly women) need to stop whining and change the laws regarding adultery! Adultery is criminal just like any other contract it needs to be punished if it broken. Stop whining and do something to change the laws already!

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