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Dear Chump Lady, How do I help my friend move on?

forkDear Chump Lady,

I looked at your website because my dear friend (the chump) posted on her facebook a recent cartoon. It’s been over 3 years and all of us are trying to help her move on, especially for her 22, 19, and 14 year old children.

It’s awful. We knew them before they were married and my twin daughters are the same as their 22 year old. Their daughter claims to never want to marry and just be a cat lady in her old age. So dad cheated, how do we help the children not have to live with an angry, chump mom?

Thank you in advance for your response.

Chris

Dear Chris,

You can begin by recognizing that your dear friend has a right to be angry. She was chumped. You didn’t share the particulars of her situation, but given the age of her children and the timing of her divorce, she was left with three teenagers at a time in life when you really need all the support you can get. You have twins — can you imagine dealing with angsty hormonal teens, boundary pushing, and the college admissions process all by yourself? Now throw in betrayal and divorce.

It’s a time of life when you are just waiting for the finish line. You love your kids, but you long for the days when you get to cash in your chips and be an empty nester. Now you’ll have time for your spouse! Now you’ll have disposable income! Now you get to bask in the glory of a job completed! You’ll send the kids off into the world with your blessing, and hope they launch.

Now think of the kids — it’s a time in your life when you’re emancipating from your parents, but really need your parents. (Mostly, you need them to chauffeur you places until you get your license and ensure a steady supply of Hot Pockets…) You’re about to set off into the adult world. It’s exciting and terrifying.

Now imagine your world has suddenly fallen apart. Some cheating douchebag has commandeered all the drama. Forget you. Forget your dreams. Forget your needs. Dad has cheated, Dad Must Be Happy Now, all attention must be paid to the Almighty Narcissist. Everyone’s world crumbles for Him.

Now imagine being your friend. Imagine being at this stage in life, when you’ve given your youth, you’ve built a whole life together for security — and imagine being replaced. Imagine having your family stolen from you.

Imagine the humiliation. Imagine the person you trusted most in the world telling their fuck buddy intimate details about you. Or lies. How you suck in bed. How you don’t understand them. How controlling you are.

Imagine finding out how your spouse has betrayed you and lied about you, not once, but to many people over years. Imagine reading the intimate emails between them. Imagine seeing your spouse have sex with someone else, in text messages, and shared photos.

Imagine having your health risked. Imagine getting an STD test in middle age, after years of supposed monogamy.  Imagine being naked with your feet in stirrups.

Would it piss you off, Chris?

No, Chris — it would shatter you.

Do people “move on” from infidelity? Yes, of course. (And that’s rather the point of my blog.) But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart. That people are capable of casual betrayal. That you can unwittingly invest your life in a fraud.

That painful knowledge takes some time to wrap your mind around. Every day it’s a battle to rebuild and focus on something other than What You Thought Your Life Was Going to Be. Depending on the sunk costs, some move on faster than others.

I encourage people to move on, Chris. But the first stop on the road to Meh, is realizing that you have a right to be angry. People minimize this shit. And the cheating ex most certainly has gaslighted their chump for years — hey, it’s not what you think! Quit making such a big deal out of this!

The chorus of everyone around you demands that you instantly forgive. There aren’t a lot of safe places that chumps can go with their pain and anger while they sort this crap out.

I’m going to trust that you are writing with the best of intentions — your friend’s pain hurts you. You want to make it stop, for her and for her kids. So, Chris, here are some pointers on how to be a friend:

1. Don’t tell her she has to deny her reality to be your friend. If she’s sad, acknowledge her sadness. If she’s angry, respect her anger. Don’t demand she forgive her ex. Or “be friends” with him for the children.

Recognize the injustice of her situation.

Recognize that these conciliatory demands probably come your discomfort at her pain.  Which is about YOU, not your friend.

Recognize that she’s doing the best she can. Asking how do we help the children not have to live with an angry, chump mom? implies that her kids shouldn’t have to live with her. That she’s failing them. Chris — she is THERE. The cheater isn’t. She doesn’t need your judgment about her “anger.”

2. Recognize your limits. Sometimes even the best of friends get compassion fatigue. It’s okay. Direct your friend to a place she can vent where other people GET it — here, a Divorce Care support group, a therapist. You don’t have to be everything to your friend and her kids. Just be the friend you always were, minus the cheating ex. If you enjoyed birding together, or Italian operas, or square dancing — go do those things. Go remind her that she’s still her best self. She’s more than just a chump.

3. Gift her with your presence. Most of the time, Chris, it’s just enough to show up. So many people don’t even do that. You don’t have the words to take away her pain. But you can acknowledge that you care just by being there.

Good luck.

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.
    • “Compassion Fatigue” good one Tracy. I don’t like to go on about it to my friends, Im always conscience of wasting their time, it’s my self esteem talking there. But obviously a good friend wouldn’t care how long you ranted and raved. We sure do have a right to be angry.

      • Chris – the reasons you’d very much like things to seem normal for your friend’s kids is because it would also then seem a bit more normal for you. Unfortunately, what that asswipe abandoner created for your friend is now the new normal – for everyone. Since it wasn’t your friend who selfishly blew up her home and her childrens’ immediate family, she deserves the best care, kindness, and understanding from those who can support her; whatever that might look like.

        The best thing a real friend can do is to learn about the psychological hell spouses who’ve been abandonded are experiencing. That way, you’ll be less quick to have thoughts like, “Geez!! How L O N G is she gonna be like this?! What a drag!! Ugh!” She’s cycling through grief, and will for a good while, or possibly long-term because of that selfish asswipe of a “husband” she had. But this grief is different than a typical death. It’s ambiguous loss, because the fucker still walks around all self-rightous with his new whore after destroying a loyal spouse, and killing her dreams, family, and safety/security concerning the structure of her life. And he does not care. THAT’S what she is unable to mentally and emotionally process: the magnitude of his evil against her and the family they created.

        Read as much as you can if you really want to help her. You can start with things like:
        http://www.abandonment.net/swirl-the-five-stages-of-abandonment

        Good luck, and just know the kindness, gentleness, love, investment, and effort you put toward your friend will pay off in huge dividends when the storms of life knock on your door. We never know what that storm will be, but they will come to each of us.

        • Well said, Kibble. Thank you. I would post this to my Facebook, but don’t need any more pity. What I need is a friend to hang around.

          • C&L – I feel SO much the same! I guess that’s how we all found one another here at Chump Nation. You all have me laughing, crying, sending massive mental ((hugs)) to you, and truly feeling understood in this hell that we’ve all been forced to walk through. What I love about us is that yes, we’re rightously angry/bitter/resentful when those waves come over us, but we’re not like that ALL the time – in spite of this hell! We’re still the same mighty, loving, empathetic, kind and selfless women and men we always were, only now, we’re just a bit slower to give blind trust away, and we can often spot a narcissist 2 miles away.

            We were ALL too good for the cheaters and abandoners we wasted parts of our lives on. They never deserved us, and likely, we created the “image” that others saw more than we’ll ever know. What I found is that the only friend who never lets me down, and who’s “on call” 24/7 is Jesus. I just pray it up – many times through huge tears still – and know that God will make all of this right in His own time. He is actually the driver of that Karma Bus.

            I’m not sure any of us cry because we want that mediocrity and those assholes back in our lives, but more because of the absolute waste of time/youth/love/trust, etc. that we gave away. When we invest those things in others, we don’t get it back. We gave as an outward sign of real love. They only “feel” kibbles and bullshit. They don’t know how to love.

            (((Hugs))) to you, C&L.

    • Yes Thank you Tracy, this is soo how we feel. I am lucky to have some friends that still let me rant even after a year. I dont rant as much but it still goes on in my mind. You hit it on the nail with things like HIM telling the other woman our deepest secrets etc. We thought we would be with them for life and now our life with them is an open book. I think that hurts the most.

  • I agree. Two lines I detest. “Just get over it” and ” it is what it is”. I read this every day. Its so comforting to know we chumps are not alone. As for being the jackoffs friend… I don’t need friends like that. Rather be friends with a badger at least they are honest.

      • Yup. Think I’ll just pop on down to the partner store and pick up someone compatible with me who is sensitive and empathic.

        In the meantime I’ll just chill out and wait until that magical day when I’m rescued.

        Easy peasy lemon squeezy.

          • Too right. Every time I walk my dog or take him to the dog park, when I come home in the evening, when I go through my nightly routine, I wonder how she could have so easily given all that up. And we all of course know the pain of inside jokes that we now can’t enjoy.

            • I wrote something like that in a letter to Jackass after the DDay confrontation. “I wonder why sitting on the porch with me watching the deer wasn’t enough. What you gained that was better than me waving goodbye to you every morning…”

        • WWDSG,
          EXACTLY! Let me head down to the partner store…. I will take that one… With a life time money back guarantee….. And add a toaster in there while your at it.

      • Two more lines that have been tossed my way by the uninitiated in an attempt to ‘soothe me’—

        Everything happens for a reason

        God has a plan

        When I heard either of these utterances, my blood boils

        • I detest that one: “Everything happens for a reason.” The implication is that this was fated for you somehow, which ends up feeling like they are saying “you deserved this.”

          • Yes. And if it had to happen, why after so many years? Why couldn’t he have called off the wedding? Painful yes, but less than this. I was pretty independent when we started dating. He came on strong with the first “I love you” etc. I’m rambling. Just wish I could forget it all.

            • I get stuck on that too Lina. Why did he get married? To me it is obvious at this point he is a man that should have never married anyone. He likes variety too much and even though he says he cares about his kids, his actions say he’d be fine without his them. Mine came on strong too and talked about our future constantly. Our family was everything to me. I just have to remind myself, he doesn’t form attachments like normal people. So at our wedding he was attached at much as he could be but it was easy for him to become unattached at year 19. We just don’t get it because we don’t think like them and never will.

              • He married you because you were of use. His kids matter to him only to the extent they are of use.

          • Another one is “Count your Blessings” and “At least you didn’t have kids”. So many others also I just cannot think of them right now.

          • And the reason is that your X is a lying sack of shit! Sorry, this one hits close to home; my kids were 12, 16, 20 and 23 when we were publicly humiliated by X’s shenanigans. Because I have always been the one everyone leans on (and I am a so-called “public figure”), I got virtually no support during the toughest time of my life. The betrayal itself was bad enough. Even worse was the fact I received very little understanding from friends and family. Strong folks don’t need help do they? It sure taught me alot about life… that I did not necessarily want to know.

            On the bright side, my now 24 year old daughter is dating a wonderful guy, after also swearing she would never be in a serious relationship. He is everything my X is not – kind, caring, considerate. She doesn’t know where the relationship will take her, but her picker is working just fine. My boys, however, are still following their father’s example, but they are young and foolish and nowhere near ready to settle down. i am hoping that time will mature them because I know I raised them right.

            • Thanks for being on here Violet, that it even happens to ‘strong’ and ‘public’ people. x I am getting over it, but I was utterly shattered. The word I used was ‘annihilation’. Your family does get stolen from you: things are never the same.

          • I tell people, “Yep, that ‘reason’ is 25 years old and a word that means the same thing as ‘kitty.’ THAT’S the reason.”

          • It’s all I can do not to tell some well-meaning person to piss off when they say, “Everything happens for a reason…” bullshit line. Would they say that to a mother who just lost her baby? Or a cancer patient?

            Walk a mile in my shoes before you regale me with that ridiculous platitude.

        • All of those ‘lines’ are cheap, spineless spew!

          However, I especially hate: ‘God has a plan’! That is tantamount to saying God caused the cheating and the implosion of your life! (Thankfully, I never had that one tossed my way….my reaction would NOT have been pretty!)

          ummmm, No, God does NOT cause or ‘plan’ such sordid things. That came from satan and his ‘buddies’!

          Awesome post today, Tracy…..As always!

          I am going to print it out to share!!

          ForgeOn, all……

          • Forge On, your comments about God’s plan is exactly how I see it. Why would such pain be brought to me? I was working the plan I was living just fine until everything fell to shit.

        • Or “it’s for the best, if he wasn’t happy….” What the actual fuck is that supposed to mean…..

          Yep, my kids are supposed to grow up in a broken home because my man child was apparently “unhappy”. Too bad he never shared that tidbit with me while we were building a life and making kids.

          • “People grow apart especially when they have been married (you fill in the #) years.”

            I hate that. He choose to implode our marriage with the OWhore. The only growing was his Viagra pumped up dick with the OWhore.

          • ^^^^^^^ THIS^^^^^^^ Thanks for letting me know Jackass while I was shooting myself up for infertility drugs to give you ANOTHER child your 23 year old ho-bag was solving allll your unhappiness!

        • I have a friend who lost his 6 year old in the Sandy Hook school shooting. Beyond horrific. 7 months after Sandy Hook is when my DDay happened. Anytime I would feel down or not want to get out of bed, I would think of my friend, who had to bury his bright, vibrant first grader and I’d say to myself, “Self, you can do this, if your friend can get up every day and get out of bed, so can you.” I don’t bring this up to minimize what any of us have gone through, there is no contest on pain or suffering. I bring it up because I’ve talked to my friend who lost his son in one of the most horrific ways imaginable and he’s said that people say these stupid things to him, too: “Everything happens for a reason”, “God has a plan ” , “You need to move on” and other bullshit phrases because people are idiots and they don’t know what to say.

          • I’ve learned that if you don’t know what to say DON’T SAY ANYTHING ….Just BE there. My best friend recently buried her gorgeous, funny and smart 35 year old daughter who happened to be my God child. Another friend who lost a baby at birth said ‘I know just how she feels.’ It took ALL my might to tell her to STFU. I did tell her…NO, you DON’T know what she feels like. Your child was stillborn. Her’s was 35 years old. Some people just have to get in on the ‘Yeah….me too!’

          • They say this stuff because they can’t believe that bad things happen to good people. That life can deliver terrible blows out of the blue. That if good comes out of evil, it’s because people have the courage to build on the ashes of devastation. That it might happen to them.

      • Platitudes such as these are so universal, aren’t they? After reading comments here, i am truly realising how commonplace they are… “everything happens for a reason”, “you’ll be better off without him”, “it is what it is”, “credit to him, he must have been really unhappy”, “at least you have three beautiful kids”, “you’ll meet someone else”… I can’t think of any others right now. Now I’m getting angry at those friends who have used those lines on me… but that ain’t really productive. I think they were in almost as much shock as me when he told me he was leaving me (because he would not admit that there was another woman ). It’s 11 months since D-day for me.

    • “The heart wants what the heart wants.”

      Got to medicate for that one!

      • Wow!!! I have NO words…..Yea, I may have to resort to medication for THAT one!

        People who say that forget that the heart is treacherous, therefore a traitor. So, those who spew such a stupid comment are condoning choices made by a traitor! And that we should be all joyful for them ‘following their traitorous heart’! barf / barf and more barf!

        ummm…Yea….thanks …..But, no thanks!

        Tracy, sounds like we need a new topic to go along side “Stupid S___ Cheaters Say”.
        “Stupid Poo Clueless ‘Friends’ Say” or similar title! Sounds like we already have a whole ‘mess’ of submissions for said topic.

        Oh, and the ‘happy’ thing……Just like ‘rights & freedom’…..it is no longer considered a ‘right’ or a ‘freedom’ if it tramples on the rights and freedoms of others.

        Clueless people totally miss that concept when it comes to ‘happiness’……

        ForgeOn, Nation!

        • “Tracy, sounds like we need a new topic to go along side “Stupid S___ Cheaters Say”.
          “Stupid Poo Clueless ‘Friends’ Say” or similar title! Sounds like we already have a whole ‘mess’ of submissions for said topic.”

          I think this would be a great blog post! I know well-meaning but not getting it friends/family members said some completely unhelpful things to me.

        • Totally agree, Forge. I think a column on ‘Stupid Shit Clueless Friends/Relatives/Random Strangers Say’ would be amazing.

        • The list would be great, followed with a recommended come back to educate those “clueless others.”

      • Yes. My ex’s friends said something similar. The old “she has to be true to herself” line.

        This is, apparently, more important than being true to her spouse.

        It’s just more salve to make people feel better about the fact that they’ve invested time and energy in someone who’s actually a POS. As the chump, you have to accept that the person is a POS. Everyone else–including your own friends–doesn’t have to make that conclusion.

        • “True to herself”……how is being deceitful associated with truth?
          Cheaters are anything but truthful. The biggest lies are the lies they tell themselves.

        • I really hate “you can’t help who you fall in love with” and my close second is “there is no point in being bitter”.

          • To “you can’t help who you fall in love with.” I say: you can not put that other person’s number in your phone. You can block the texts and the emails. You can tell your spouse that you are somewhat attracted to another person and work through that. You can decide not to have an opposite sex racquetball partner or running partner or “office spouse” or every day lunch buddy. You can treat your spouse as your best friend. Then you probably won’t have an issue with falling in love with someone else. Just sayin’.

              • You can help who you flirt outrageously with all day long at work. You can help going into her building 15 times a day or the slunt could help herself finding 15 excuses to call him every day for stupid reasons. What a total bunch of horse shit. And I’m POSITIVE Mr. Cock Smooch could help taking off his nice wedding ring and dropping it in his ash tray every morning as he skipped into work. Didn’t want that pesky thing reminding him or the slut that he was MARRIED.

            • LAJ–Clap, clap, clap.

              Having an affair takes an unbelievable number of decisions each and every day to connect with the person, lie to the spouse, make up excuses for absences, bone the person, take them to dinner or on trips.

              Cheaters can “help” it. Infidelity is not a sneeze.

      • “The heart wants…”
        Seriously?
        How about the p3nis has no conscience, and neither does the assh0le attached to it? Feel free to sub out p3nis for va-jay-jay.

        • Coochee has no face,
          Coochee has no name!
          Wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a man child say that at the water cooler. Asshats always learn Coochee’s name when they see it on a support order! Lmao

        • Ughhhh! I hate the “grew apart” line. I’d like to add “always take the high road” meaning don’t be upset. I think all of these lines come from pure ignorance. They just don’t know at all what it is like going through this and they don’t even attempt to put themselves in our shoes.

        • “Well, if by ‘grew apart’ you mean my spouse added a third party to the relationship, you’d be right. That split us apart, indeed.”

        • JC… yes!!! the ex idiot used this line on me.. oh we just grew apart.. what while you were off fucking your howorker (one of many) we just magically “grew apart”. The other one that really annoys me is “you need to let go and move on”… wow I will just flick that switch and have no feelings whatsoever…

    • Have each of you actually heard those comments from people!?!? My commendation for not stabbing them with a fork; not sure I’d have had the self-control.

        • The first time I saw my ex mother-in-law in person after my ex and I separated she said “You’ll meet someone who loves you”. I was in that shock, not eating, crying stage and she says that to me? Yuck. I have no contact with her now as she has always stood by her lying, cheating son.

      • I heard most of the lines from others. They haven’t got a clue. If I didn’t love my kids and dogs so much I’d be in jail for fork stabbing a bunch of people. Best revenge on them all including jack ass and the whore “living well” on some of their money. Jack ass used we grew apart line. Not me I don’t lie I tell all the truth!!

      • Yep, I heard “everything happens for a reason”, “at least you didn’t have kids”, “you’ll find someone and have an even better life”, and my favoritist favorite “Love your life”.

        I have had so many people say “Everything happens for a reason” to me. One acquaintance that said that to me at the grocery store got the response, “yeah, that reason is he is a selfish asshole who couldn’t tell me he was unhappy and wanted out before he found a replacement.” She quickly shut her mouth. Later I remembered she had cheated on her previous hubby – which at least gave me a chuckle that she probably thought I had directed it at her specifically.

        Yeah, our not having kids means that the 33 years we had together didn’t mean nearly as much to me.

        Love my life – 4 months after he dropped the bombshell on me, our families and all our friends. Yeah, I’m going to love my life in that short a time.

    • One that makes me positively violent is something our “shared” friends & family tend to say when they are trying to walk the middle of the road… “We just want you both to be happy.” Of course! As long as he’s happy! Doesn’t really matter what or whom he destroyed to get that way. He gets to keep your friendship & a big pat on the back for getting happy.

      • Yep. When MIL says that “happy” line in an email to me it makes me want to scream, but it’s no use. She will never see the mess she’s made in raising her narcissist son. She has been kind to me but can’t deal with the truth about her douche son and his part in all this just like she can’t realize her own.

        • My MIL had the nerve to tell family members that she’s “so glad to finally have her happy son back.” Of course he’s happy! He off loaded every responsibility he had. He only plays parent to his children for 48 hours every two weeks & pays a fraction of the expenses. Other than that he’s off re-living his single college years. Partying with his friends & living with his childless mistress! Makes me furious that his family supports his every move.

      • RKH…. Say something like… Oh you want us both to be happy? So he fucked over our whole family to be happy… You know what will make me happy? Running him over with the fucking car… We all good with my happy? Fuckers.

        • TheClip–you are a woman after my own heart! The crunch of cheater bones beneath my Firestones would be music to my ears. (yup, back in my angry phase)

        • “So he fucked over our whole family to be happy… You know what will make me happy? Running him over with the fucking car… We all good with my happy? Fuckers.” I’m printing so next time I get that line I remember this word for word!

      • RKR says: One that makes me positively violent is something our “shared” friends & family tend to say when they are trying to walk the middle of the road… “We just want you both to be happy.”

        Yes, yes, and yes! So much this! I have gotten that from his family (which I kind of expect from in-laws, anyway, so whatever), and from every mutual friend we had except one. Notice the past tense on friends we “had.” Because they spewed that shit from every corner and worked it into every conversation when the whole relationship was in question. I stood by them anyway, and forgave their ignorance. I figured they just couldn’t understand, and therefore couldn’t possibly know how to navigate such tricky waters.

        Then, I decided to try reconciliation, and my husband and I are still together. At that point, the mutual friends disappeared altogether from BOTH of our lives, and we were ostracized overnight. The party line they all give out now is “We are giving you the space! Yay for us, right?” This AFTER we have both approached them all and asked them NOT to do that, because being socially ostracized isn’t helping anything.

        Now those are all ex-friends. Funny, but the one friend who didn’t try that shit, the one who simply told my husband he was a real piece of shit and encouraged him to forget his phone number until he could get his head out of his ass and be a “real man,” well….that friend is still around for both of us, and he and my husband are as close as they’ve ever been in a 20 year friendship.

        I have nothing at all against actual Swiss people, but these “Switzerland” friends and family post-affair aren’t worth the time of day. I think TheClip would say “Fuck ’em.”

        • Little Might Me
          Oh yes!!! “Just be happy” and yet when we reconciled they were GONE!!! It really is laughable. Swiss indeed! The eff them attitude is exactly what I’ve come to adopt. It’s as if we have cooties or leprosy, seriously! As I said I think our problems just hit a little too close to home for most of them. And well frankly there are some wives that just don’t want my husband’s bad influence rubbing off on them. I don’t care but I am actively looking for new friends. We belong to a golf “country club” and those are the folks that make me the sickest. And they are the folks with the most skeletons in their own closets!

  • Great post. Cheaters are the slimiest, and three years isn’t that long a time for dealing with the shit storm they have unleashed. Anger is also a sign of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, so the friend may have developed that.

    • “Cheaters are the slimiest.” So true! I forgive instantly with all my heart. Yet, the pain is still there & the wounds & the WTF & the major life detour & the who can I trust? & the desire for a quicker path through grief.

  • I gave up on one of my few friends because she felt that after 6 months I should have been further along in my healing, that I shouldn’t focus on the negative. She said something along the lines of “if you’re unwilling to focus on the positive in your life, you don’t have a right to whine about what’s wrong.”

    Yeah, not so much. I feel bad enough without being instructed to not be upset. I’ve had to avoid discussing this with another friend because he feels that anger is pointless and a barrier to healing. He doesn’t seem to grasp that anger is a necessary part of the process.

    As far as just being there, there was a funny scene on Parks and Rec a few years ago. There was a scene where one character asked another one to stop trying to fix things, but rather to simply be there and acknowledge that the situation sucks. Easier said than done.

    • I had that from my first therapist. “It’s your negative way of thinking that’s keeping you from healing.” When I said I was so depressed that I wished I’d just die I got “You make me so ANGRY when you talk like that. There’s so much beauty in the world.” True, but severe depression makes it difficult to see it.

      I’m seeing someone else now that is not judgemental in this way and has more experience with trauma and what a difference it’s making.

      • What a horrible therapist. I’m happy to hear that your current therapist is more supportive.

        This is going to sound horribly naive, but maybe it goes with the chump territory: I trusted my psychiatrist and my therapist. I thought, if my anti-depressant isn’t working as well as it should, my psychiatrist will suggest a change. And if my therapist clearly sees what is wrong with me, she’ll push me in the right direction.

        To make a long story short, I’m frustrated because I think both of those people failed me. I understand now that I have to tell them what I need, not explain my situation and wait for them to figure it out. That seems backwards to me. They’re the professionals!

        • She also told me I was self involved. It seems to me that I’ve spent most of my life accommodating others. I really don’t think I’m self involved. It’s a contradiction too, since I’m supposed to be moving on to a life for myself and learning to love myself?

          WWDSG, I was the same. I thought they are the professionals, but have realised they’re only human and not always right or the right one for us. Now I know that if it doesn’t feel right to me to trust my instincts and try someone else. Unfortunately, we do have to be our own advocates at our lowest time.

          Off topic: Is that your dog in your avatar?

          • Grr. The last time I saw my ex I expressed my frustration and she piped up with a cheery, smiling “you have to be your own advocate!” This after being around for 5 years and never going with me to an appointment or otherwise suggesting I push my psychiatrist in any certain direction. I guess she was thrilled to be free and clear of me and my mental issues.

            And yes! That’s my dog. Ex and I adopted him from the county dog shelter 5 years ago when he was 6.5 years old. You know, I can almost understand leaving me, but how in the world could she have walked away from such a great dog? He came to us with the name Willy Wonka, though I usually call him either Willy or Willy Bear. We were never sure of his exact breed, but a google image search suggests he’s a Field Spaniel, though that breed is rather rare in the U.S.

            • I’m sorry I brought up that trigger with that phrase. Mine was the same. He didn’t “believe in” anxiety and would tell me to “just suck it up”.

              Willy Bear is gorgeous! Mine left our pets too. The rabbit he got me for my birthday and the guinea pig he got me for Valentines Day. Thank goodness we have them though and they’re loved and appreciated by us.

              • Lina and Which Way–

                The thing to remember about therapists–or ANY healthcare professional—well, heck—anybody who “works on, with, or around” other humans in a service capacity—there are good ones and then there are those that just want a paycheck.

                There’s a sick joke in the medical field–“know what they call the guy who graduated last in his medical school class?” —-“Doctor”. It’s revolting, but it’s true. Just like judges, cops, or priests—they are human beings underneath all of that “professionalism”. It’s great if you can have a robot as a cop, programmed with the law and everything is black and white–but that simply isn’t how it is.

                The most important thing is to be conscious of your own care–if this person is telling you things that don’t sound professional—i.e. their own personal opinion–or even say things that seem backhanded—DUMP THEM.

                I do think this is a symptom of our “chumpiness”–handing over our trust to people because of what we want them to be. We, as Chumps, also make our own needs small and insignificant—it’s how we’ve gotten through marriages with the disordered Narcs in the first place.

                It’s especially horrific when you are already in a position of weakness, seeking out someone to pull you out of a downward spiral—and they turn out to be snake oil salesmen, or worse yet—idealogues.

                I know several people personally that would save the life of a complete stranger in a microsecond, putting their own lives in danger in the process—only to find out that they’ve been fucking around on their spouse with multiple partners, unprotected–or beating their spouse/kid–or stealing from their employers.

                It’s abhorrent because people in these professions should be held to a higher standard. None of us would choose a babysitter for our kids without thoroughly checking their background and references, doing interviews—why do we do any different with something just as precious—our own mental and physical health?

                There ARE good therapists–and cops, and priests and judges. Do not give up on therapy because of a bad experience. There are good people out there that can and will help.

              • Very well said, SMoth. My very 1st counselor I ever had in my life, which was falling apart, almost devastated the entire counselor idea for me So glad I found another. Well, I was so low I was ready to do Hari Kari. She only helped for awhile but CN has helped me much more.

                To WhichWay and Lina – Yes, Willy is cute and they live along time if they’re mixed breed. I know my Fieldies (yes, which are rare) and they come in both Liver and Black. Very sweet dogs.
                Rabbits and G.Pigs would be fun too, and I can’t wait to get cats back in my house.

                X left our 4 Great Danes with me w/o a look back. This probably shocked me the most of all. We didn’t have kids and our dogs were our life. He turned his back on them just as quick as he did me. I had to put “his” old dog down all by myself through this mess..

                Please tell me, who does that kind of thing?

          • After 5 years I am still in disbelief but not denial. I recently had a friend say maybe I should see a female therapist because she’d be able to help me more than a male. I know she is probably tired of my narrative & offered a solution. On the other hand she divorced a physically abusive husband after 2 years of marriage 30 years ago. That’s a big difference from being blindsided by the best friend of your entire adult life.

            • Hurt1. It easier to leave behind someone who is physically/verbally abusive and not feel so betrayed. It is so much harder when you thought the man loved you.

              • I say this because my first x was abusive and eventually I wanted to vommit when I looked at him. Leaving was actually a huge relief.

                The second x just hurts.

          • Lina: I just heard a talk this past weekend by a researcher who looks at the words people use, and he said that depressed people tend to use “I” a lot because they are focused on their pain. Perhaps your therapist (or ex-therapist, I hope) should read the researcher’s book (Jamie Pennebaker) to educate him/herself about why depressed people are “self” oriented.

      • During my travels, I had a chance to speak with a wonderful woman, who was a complete stranger. I began pouring my heart out to her and told her my friends said it was time to “move on.” She replied, “Maybe it’s time to find new friends.” She was so right! While I maintained a surface friendship with my old acquaintances, I made new friends, who understood my anger and liked me for me – and not what I could do for them. What a difference that made! I still get angry, but I also am (mostly) content. And I would never, ever go back to the disaster that was my marriage!

          • yes you are right Arnold. But the first one tried to control me physically and screamed at me in scary rants. I was sick of it two months in, I just couldn’t figure out how to back away slowly.

          • Tempest – that’s who I look forward to meeting new friends. Other chumps.
            I won’t say that, of course, and I am done talking (mostly) about my chumpy experience.
            I just moved to a new neighborhood – know not a soul…but,, I am ready to meet, greet and see if I can relate to any of them…without dogs. If they don’t have dogs – sorry..may not work. lol.

            • i.e. I just left an old neighborhood for a different one – I stayed in the same town. So, after 20 yrs, I can probably introduce my neighbors to most everybody in town. But, I want to stay far under the radar and keep them afraid of my dogs for now. Yeah…love my small town..and I think the gossip has gone away.

      • Lina & WhichWay–I do hope you have both ditched those therapists by now. Do NOT let anyone invalidate you–run, don’t walk. We have a right to anger, depression, incredulity, and even hatred over what has happened to you. Own it, and don’t let anyone take it from you. You, and only you, can decide when your anger dissipates. Take steps, of course, to move on with your life, but realize that little black cloud is going to appear again and again (and that’s okay). A chump friend who is a therapist admits to extreme anger 15 years after his chumpdom (but he admitted the angry periods last less long, and are farther between as time goes on).

        Be mighty in bits.

        • I have. I see another now who is not judgemental like that and has experience with victims of trauma. Big difference.

    • WhichWayDidSheGo…my lifelong BF said the same to me…I realize that, having never experienced the disordered hell one goes through with these assholes, she can’t get her head around how devastating it can be…and then I realized…a real friend would at try to understand and be supportive regardless…sigh…

      CL is right…their reaction does say more about them than us. 🙂

      • Speaking of life long friends – the lovely friend I’ve had since Grade 7…and stayed in touch the past 36 yrs..
        She said, ‘I hope you aren’t one of those people who define their entire lives by this’.
        I think she meant well, but I had just had DDay right then.
        It still hurts me that she didn’t want to be bothered by anymore I had to say.
        I truly think some people are afraid it will ‘catch’ onto their spouses.
        I haven’t heard from her since, a year ago now… sort of sad.

  • Thank you, Chump Lady. Excellent response to those that feel a chump should “be over it” and ask,”why haven’t you moved on?”.

    • i usually dont talk about my divorce anymore or the pain it caused me. even my mom who was my greatest supporter was starting to get very angry with me when i would cry about something else i discovered or figured out about the exhole. although she never said “get over it” she would get mad at me for thinking that way and almost yelling at me how “He just doesnt care, Dont you get it”….*shrugs* same thing i guess to me so i dont really say anything. people “THINK” i have got over it or i have moved on. my loved ones ask me how are you doing, and i say i am doing fine because i can see it in their eyes that they are hoping i dont go into details about how sad i am. (or maybe that is just my impression because i dont like to be a burden on anyone either)

      that is why this site is super Great!! i am a year out and everyone else has moved on. i am doing day by day but there are some days where something will trigger the hell out of me and i am back in my bed, crying and hyper ventilating and the pain in my heart has me curled up into a little ball. nobody else gets it, they did not love him the way i did, they did not live with him everyday the way i did, they have easily got over it because they did not know the all of it or had to handle being treated like that. the only place i complain, cry and vent is on this site. being able to share stories with other people who not only understand but have actually felt it is a blessing.

      i had a wonderful weekend filled with 100+ relatives. i havent laughed so much in forever. only once did someone ask me where “my better half” was. and i was able to say that we divorced last year with zero tears. my explanation about “what happened” was “I dont know, he just changed in 2013, i was struggling with my daughters death and he wasnt coming home, wasnt giving me money, was drinking more and more. so 2014 i kicked him out again, he ran off with some hood rat and i divorced him. i dont know if i said or did something in 2013 and i dont know what happened to him. but i am not going to compete with someone else.” And that was that. i didnt say anymore nor did i elaborate on details. i probably wont even say that much to someone who isnt my blood relative. it felt like a fresh blade slicing into my tender barely healed heart when my uncle asked but i am proud of the way i handled it. and i thought “Fake it until you make it” just like i learned on this site. But in doing so, i was able to tuck the sharp razor pain into a corner and enjoyed the rest of my day.

      one moment at a time. one laugh at a time. one heartbeat at a time.
      i have not “gotten over it” but i hide it well. i couldnt do that if you all were not here to understand what the real pain of betrayal is.

      • I’m trying to not talk to anyone anymore except my therapist. But sometimes the tears flow. “Are you crying again?” Then I say it’s about something else.

        • my littlest one will say that. he told me yesterday that he was so proud of me for not crying in church this year…. he is 9 years old. he just doesnt want to see his momma hurting. (i did cry a little, church and holidays are both triggers for me. not just for my husband but for my daughter that past too.)

          i also tell him it is something else if he catches me with tears. yesterday everyone thought i was doing well, so happy but there were moments where i couldnt breathe and felt like running and hiding. But it was still one of the best times i have had in over a year.

          • I think that is sweet and caring of your son. He doesn’t want to see you hurt.

            From adults, with that note of exasperation in their voice, it ‘s not caring at all.

            • My mother says, “don’t let (son) see you like that.”

              I only saw her cry once my whole life when I was little. We had major things happen, but we were never allowed to act sad. It was hard and depressing.

              So I don’t go out of my way to weep in front of my kid, but when he does see, and he asks, I tell him with the simplest explanation possible. I don’t want to burden him, but he knows when he’s being bullshitted. I say, “it’s not a big deal. I miss Lee. It really is for the best that we aren’t together, but still sometimes I miss him”

              • Oh, and then (son) suggested I color my hair, it’s getting a little grey. He is autistic, and trying to be helpful. He thinks I can get him back if I color my grey. I laughed and hugged him. We both felt better.

              • i think the children know more then we think they do. i try not to lie to my children. in the beginning (or was it the end?) i cried a lot. every day and my kids knew it was because of their dad. when they ask questions i normally answer truthfully. that being said, i know it hurts my littlest that i STILL occasional cry. i also know he doesnt fully understand that even thou i am crying doesnt mean i want daddy back. so i tell him it is because of something else. even that sometimes gets the doubt look from him, if he pushes it, i end up telling him as the best i can what is making me cry.

                i know he is also struggling with his own feelings every now and then. he will not say a word about his dad for months and then boom all he talks about is his dad for a week or so. mostly just things like “remember that time when dad _____” or if i try to educate him on something like why lying is bad, he will say “dad lied about ___”. sometimes he has some questions that i really dont have the answer to, like “how can dad leave this nice house for a crappy little house” so i just tell him i really dont know and he can ask his dad whenever he sees him. always they both tell me that they cant ask dad because dad would get “mad” so i tell him he is mad about everything, ask him anyway.

                not that we have to worry about that because dad seems to have forgotten he has 2 little boys. my wish is that when they get older and he comes sniffing back for kibbles that both are strong enough to witness dads true nature and they can get all their questions, not that i think exhole will ever truthful answer but it would be good for my boys to get it off their chest and out of their system. i dont know how to prepare them for that thou, i am working on it.

                i learned a long time ago that is better NOT to lie to your kids, they always seem to know or find out later and that is not a good thing for your children to think you lie to them. Better just to tell them in a honest, age appropriate answer. i also learned you really dont need to go into a whole lot of details. sometimes just a few sentences will work. with a declaimer that you will tell them more when they get older.

  • Chris, it’s hard for most people to understand what it feels like to be discarded by the one person in your life you thought you could trust. As a chump, I had to deal with filing for the divorce while he was vacationing with a woman he moved in with after knowing her for as few weeks. Yes, right from the get go they shed all responsibilities for the ‘used to be family’. Cheater X also discarded his adult children and rarely has contact unless HE needs something. Be there for your friend that is what she needs. Chumps appreciate the kindness of friends who give us a call to talk or just go shopping.

    • Oh!!! very well said Donna. i also believe that not too many people understand how it feels to be betrayed and discarded by the one person we loved and trusted. i also filed for divorce while he had moved on with his new hood rat, taken her to his relatives before we were even divorced. it was me who had to deal with our childrens questions, confusion, anger and pain while he just “shed all responsibility of our family”. i couldnt even talk to him about what was in the best interest of the children because SHE replaced me as his advisor and SHE did not agree with what i was saying or doing. so not only did i have to fight my feelings, struggle to understand how he just stopped loving me, i had to fight the new b*tch who thinks she is “protecting him” and “helping him” even thou she only met him a couple of months ago. we have all been completely discarded as he makes his NEW life with this homewrecker chewbacca. it is like we just do not exist at all.

      • They do not understand. You are right. And, unfortunately, I did not understand it either before it happened to me. I am sure I was way less empathetic, subscribing to the oft portrayed version of infidelity we see on TV and movies- a minor deal where everyone moves on , unscathed, shortly. Quite an education re infidelity, personality disorders etc.

      • MrsVain, I am fortunate to have one friend who understands. She used to be a social worker. She is the only one I can call when I’m hurting. And she reminds me that he has nothing to offer ANY woman. She is absolutely right. I also found an excellent therapist that tells it like it is and helps me focus on myself. I found him before CN and he cuts through the bullshit just like CL. However long it takes to reach Meh, I’m in it for the duration.

        • Yes, she was his new advisor also. A vagina helping a dick navigate a divorce. And I had NO anger. I had to learn how to be angry. If it wasn’t so fucked up it would be humerous. A ho calling me up with her abuse and threats. A serial cheater exposing me to std’s and they wanted my pension. Yup it takes a village of chumps to process, protect, and offer continued support.

  • Another GREAT article! I wish EVERY friend would read this.

    I especially like #3, Gift her with your presence. Many times married friends shy away from the divorced or divorcing friend and they act like they are going to catch a disease.

    Chris sounds like a great friend. The chump needs to keep them around.

    • I’ve been accused of this twice… being “nervous” when I don’t want to hang out with someone going through an ugly divorce, as if it was a threat to my own marriage. Um, no.

      Once, it was because she eventually told me that she ended her marriage (“that old, boring schmuck,” she called him) because she had an EA at work and wanted to divorce before they went public (so she wouldn’t look bad.) She then began to HEAVILY play her “Poor, single mom ME!” status and was basking in all the free childcare she now received from friends and family (who didn’t know WHY she kicked out her husband of 9 years) and tried that crap on me constantly. Sorrynotsorry – you CHOSE this. And now you’re lying to and manipulating people who love you? BYE!

      The second one was because she became hostile toward ALL men, including my own. She’d shit talk all of them. ALL men are bastards. ALL men cheat. ALL of our marriages shouldn’t exist. NO ONE should get married. This has gone on for 7 years… and she really wonders why all her friends are single women? (And, ironically, at least half of them have been OWs.) No thanks.

    • Some people just dont know what to say or do when a friend is hurting so bad. i dont think it is fear of catching the divorce bug as so much as fear of making it worse. i never know what to say to my friends who were going thru divorce (in my 20s i took my BFF to the bar and we drunk her divorce away but we were young, and it worked. i dont think it would work now) and i dont want to say something that will make it worse. before i was divorced, i also inconsiderately did not want to be made to feel badly, as much as that sucks i think most people are like that in a way. i knew my friend was hurting and i feel bad for her but hey, my life is awesome. i am happy. do i want to throw that in my sad friends face? no.

      i was a shallow friend thou. i realize that now that i am divorced. personally i did not want any of my friends sympathy. i have my family to cry on, my mom, aunts cousins. i did not want my friends to feel sorry for me. but most people are not like that. most people lean on their friends and need their comfort. as a friend now, i would be there. if i did not know what to say i would just be there and say nothing. i think 3 years out, depending on the person, is still not that much time. she might need encouragement to get out of the house and do things. not dating things but just activities to get her out. like walking, movies, a knitting circle. whatever. i think it is easy to bury yourself in the protected shelter of your house and let the outside world pass you by.

  • Since Chris is obviously incapable of even trying to imagine what betrayal of this magnitude means for her “angry chump friend” , your response to her will just have her shaking her head and impatiently sighing about it. Assholes like Chris just help make it more difficult and painful for the “angry chumps” to find any understanding, compassion, or support.
    Chris, just get away from your “angry chump friend” and leave her alone because you very obviously aren’t supportive and you can’t recognize an act of great betrayal that guts a person to her soul.

    • Supreme, I didn’t get that impression at all from Chris’ letter. It’s true that people who haven’t experienced this kind of betrayal really don’t understand how hard it is, and how long it lasts. I think it’s the same w/many other major life experiences. And she’s not pushing the ‘get over it’ at the horrifyingly early stage so many hear have heard. Hopefully Chris really is trying to find a way to be helpful, in a situation she doesn’t fully understand.

      • KarenE, she wrote “so dad cheated”….to me that comes off as dismissive. After all, it’s been three years already.
        Chris also wonders about “how to help the children because the “angry chump friend” is just so angry. That tells me that Chris thinks her friend is hurting her kids with all her anger. The “angry chump friend” can’t get past this and now it’s up to the superior Chris to help the children. I mean, it’s been three years. It’s the “angry chump friend’s” anger that is hurtful, not the cheating . The cheating ex’s behavior is not nearly as bad as the “angry chump friend’s” anger. And for pity’s sake—it been three whole years already!!! Get over it already. Sheeeesh.
        Chris’s friend needs a real friend.

        • I got this impression from Chris, too. There is no clear indication anywhere that Chris wrote to CL seeking out ways to help her friend for her friend’s sake. Instead, it starts out about how the chumped friend did something Chris doesn’t appear to agree with.

          “She posted a cartoon to Facebook.”

          UBT says: “Really? After THREE YEARS, she is still talking about this?”

          Then it says “Trying to help her to move on, especially for her children.”

          UBT says: “She must move on for her children. They are being slighted/disadvantaged/ripped off because of Chump not moving on.” No mention of the responsibility their father might have for any lingering issues the children might have.

          Chris says “It’s awful. We knew them before they were married, and my twin daughters are the same as their 22-year old.”

          UBT says: “It’s awful. For….us. Me. Us. Our daughter. We. Us. Me. The kids.” Not one time does Chris refer to how awful it must be for the chumped wife.

          Chris goes on to talk in particular about how one of the chumped daughters has decided she doesn’t even want to marry. The allusion is that the daughter is deeply, negatively affected. But Chris goes on in the NEXT SENTENCE to ask “How do we help the children not have to live with an angry, chump mom?”

          UBT says: “He might have cheated, but Chump is at fault for the negative fallout to the kids, and Chump needs to shut up and stop being angry before her anger makes her daughter into a cat lady.

          Again, no mention of the cheater’s culpability. Not an iota of consideration to how it might be Cheater Dad’s betrayal and NOT Chump Mom’s anger.

          I think Chris is a douchebag.

          • Little Mighty Me–that is an impressive UBT translation!!! Perfect assessment of Chris’s letter (and now I realize why I felt so uncomfortable reading it).

            • Yes, when I read Chris’ letter through the first time, I inwardly cringed. It just seemed very callous and dismissive of her “friend’s” pain.

  • “Do people “move on” from infidelity? Yes, of course. (And that’s rather the point of my blog.) But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart. That people are capable of casual betrayal. That you can unwittingly invest your life in a fraud.”

    My 22 year old daughter and I were talking about this just last night. No one who has not been through this type of betrayal fully understands. My daughter said to me, “we are survivors.” Meaning daughter and me and her brothers. We are survivors not only because of the fraud that was our life, the betrayal and abandonment, but also the isolation it brings when others don’t fully understand. It’s a bit like that line from A Few Good Men, “you can’t handle the truth.”

    • Why aren’t friends and family members furious about the cheaters ‘casual betrayal’. My friend went to court with me in case the moron didn’t show or if he decided to bring his ho. She ignored him and didn’t talk to him. My children just thought he took the easy way out. Where is the outrage??? This is why I will never speak to him or have a conversation as long as I live. What exactly does suffering look like to a narcissist? I want whatever it is to happen to him.

  • I’ve found a number of friends reacting this way over the past few years. I’m pretty over it all at this point, but there are moments when I get pissed off all over again because ex does something stupid. I know now who I can turn to (usually fellow chumps) and who I can’t. And the thing is there are friends I really thought would be there for me who really weren’t. They did’t like this version of Nord, and preferred the fun,funny one who made the party buzz.

    Well, it’s been almost as painful to realise that some of my friends weren’t all that great but I’ve moved away from them emotionally and made room for other people. I mourn the loss of some of those people and the closeness we had – until I realise that closeness was about as superficial as the closeness I thought I had with ex.

    Chris, either be there or not, but don’t tell your friend what sort of healing schedule she needs to be on in order to make you feel good. It took me more than two years to just feel slightly normal. Now, almost four years later and I’m pretty ok, but like I said, I have my moments when ex can still set me off, mainly because he remains an asshole and I have to deal with him due to kids.

    You cannot imagine, for even one second, what this is like if you haven’t been through it. So read every post on this blog and maybe you’ll start to get a clue and grow some empathy.

    • Great advice Nord. I have a friend I am helping and it’s taking her quite awhile. I have never said “get over it” as was said to me numerous times. Every time someone said it, I asked them “How? Like literally, tell me how. I want nothing more then to just get over it.” This entry hurt to read. It took me back. My children still struggle and since their father still lies and denies the affair ever happened (5 years later and living with secretary) they are confused. They see the lies but are told the lies are the truth from one of the people they are supposed to believe in. It sucks. How do you help your children reconcile the lies?

      • Yes! I can’t wait for the day that my kids are old enough to understand that it is all lies coming from his mouth. My 6 year old is so confused because he gaslights her?!

        6 YO: “Is ……. Your girlfriend daddy?”

        EX: “No baby, I don’t have a girlfriend”

        6 YO: “So why was she sleeping in your bed daddy?”

        EX: “there weren’t any other beds dear, so she had to sleep in my bed with me”

          • Ex used to say things along those lines, as in ‘I have to be with final OW because your mother is so mad at me’. So, you know, my fault. Kind of funny when I look back.

        • Tell the kids the truth!!! Don’t need to disclose details, but do not let them grow up thinking lying is normal. (Just my opinion)

          • I don’t bad mouth their dad, but I want her to trust her own thoughts and perceptions. I don’t want him to be able to twist her thoughts like he did mine. I help her think it through.

            Well dear, why didn’t you and sissy sleep with daddy and ……. Sleep in the bed you were in?” The next time she came back from a visit she says “dad said he was lying, he does have a girlfriend, they just hadn’t worked it all out yet”

            My newest fear: a coworker told me today that her kids picked up gaslighting from her ex and now do it as well 🙁

      • I just tell them the truth and let them figure it out. They know I’m honest and that their dad lies a lot (he lies much more openly these days) so they’re getting it. These people tend to hang themselves as they can’t really hide who they are, deep down.

        • This is also my hope NORD, but my ex is a very good liar. He had me fooled for years that his sister was the evil crazy on end he was the golden child….

          • Wow, that gave me chills because I thought “good God are we talking about the same guy?” You said something earlier that I always say, and that I also thought I just made up when I was little! I tried to reply to that post, but for some reason it wouldn’t take. I now see it was so I’d keep reading and see THIS post.

            Married 25 years to someone I thought was loving, gentle, kind and had been terribly abused by his psychotic sister. He actually WAS tormented by her growing up, and she IS a raving psychopath no doubt. But possibly one of the worst things for me was realizing that all the awful tactics we watched his sister use on her friends and family (and even used on US), all those despicable tactics are exactly what he’d been using on ME all along and I just never knew it. The omissions, minimizing, mindbending twisty talk, finding ways to pre-empt any possible questions or doubt that might come up and many more. So he set me up all the time, you know ahead of time, to start thinking a certain way such that it would never occur to me to doubt or cause me to ask a question.

            And, the maddening amount of gaslighting, I can’t even deal with that shit anymore. It’s really astounding to watch him and scary because he is doing exactly what his sister does. It’s astounding to see him get so angry or annoyed (never saw that before, always super cool cucumber) because all these tactics that worked on me for nearly 25 years, don’t now. I just let him go on and on and then rip it all to shreds, bc now by God I can SEE it. I told him I completely understood why he’d be so annoyed NOW that I know what’s going on, and it must be incredibly frustrating to find that he can’t employ those tactics on ME anymore. He can TRY and he does TRY, but I ain’t buying into that cesspool again.

            My friends and family don’t get it. They all saw him as I used to see him and have NO idea how big the cesspool is that he threw me and our kids into…. instead of owning up, telling all the truth and stopping all the bullshit, he just stands at the side watching us drown, with a rope in one hand and a life preserver in the other watching us suffer while shouting “well, you all just need to learn to swim better.” He’s not throwing us the rope or the life preserver. Ever.

            My friends and family can’t see him as THAT guy and it sucks royally. It’s as if because he SEEMED like such a swell guy for SO long, they can’t fathom that he’s not. “People grow apart.” And, “well maybe you were too independent honey.” Wtfh? And my favorite “you still have your whole life ahead of you.” Whole life? My whole life? I want to scream about how he took MY WHOLE LIFE and our KIDS’ LIVES and tore it out of our hearts. Fuck him for stealing my life – the life I had been living happily until shady slim showed himself or got sloppy I should say.

            So, what you said in an earlier post that gave me pause? Like I MUST have actually KNOWN you in this shattered lifetime of mine? I have said at least a hundred times, yeah all you smarter than me people, I’ll just get on over it all right NOW because it’s just
            “EASY PEASY LEMON SQUEEZY!”

            • I’m so sorry, I know where you are right now, my ex had everyone so fooled, wasn’t until he pulled a goun on me that my only two friends got it. One thing, I realized later that it was because he told them stories and they never thought to ask me what happened, I never knew had was telling stories for so long. So it might help to tel them your story. Jedi Hugs!

              • Dat – that’s exactly what I have realized. It was insidious the way he went about it too. Speaking to them “confidentially” about how emotional and depressed I was (I wasn’t) or picking at me in front of them in ways he knew would push my buttons, and then that of course just seemed to reinforce what he had said about me. It’s hard to for people to get it. I’m reeling and trying to make sense of it all, we tend to hang merciless least onto twigs of hope, so I know the friends and family who know very little of the ginormous story are feeling confused and torn. And that doesn’t feel good, so they just try to ignore it and say, suggest or insinuate “it can’t be THAT bad.” I just had to stop talking to them for the time being, until I sort myself out a bit more.

                Thanks for the encouragement and sharing. I hadn’t thought about how he undermined me so much, as a way to pre-empt others from catching on or thinking HE was the nutter. I still shake my head in disbelief that I didn’t see what he was doing all those years. No wonder there are people who are angry at me and believe our problems were all my fault.

                I don’t know what I’d do if he got violent like you experienced. That’s really horrible and I hope you’re safe from him now. The scariest thing is realizing these people we trusted with our lives are capable of just maybe about anything. Take care and stay safe!

    • “I mourn the loss of some of those people and the closeness we had – until I realise that closeness was about as superficial as the closeness I thought I had with ex.”

      Amen to that, Nord.

      • Nord’s point about the superficial quality of many friendships is something that betrayal made shockingly apparent. In my case, it wasn’t even that people expected me to “get over it,” although one good friend tried that one on. It was that I was a huge mess for months and it takes a special bond for a person to walk beside you during those hard times. There were other people who were great supports, who saw I was in distress and helped in various ways, but not people I could talk to about how I was feeling. I think those are very rare, very special people. And perhaps that is one blessing about being chumped; we can learn to be more discerning about all of our relationships, to sort our “nice” vs. “kind.”

        • Good point LAJ….. “nice” vs. “kind”. EVERYONE believes that X is such a “nice” guy, well…. he BEHAVES like a nice guy for the “kibbles of the masses”. “See… everyone ELSE thinks I’m a nice guy.”

          • “If you weren’t a cheater and a liar, I’d think you were a nice guy, too.” There’s the narcissist problem right there–we see through the mask.

          • Gah! I hate that whole smug idiotic jabber about “see, everyone else thinks I’m a swell person. It’s just YOU.” I see the mask now too. I’m so sick of people telling me what a good guy he is and him trying to make my kids think I’m a mean, sad, mad, ____ (fill in the blank with any negative) person. Fortunately they are with me most of the time and don’t seem swayed by it – generally. But I noticed when I was emotional or they heard me maybe arguing on the phone in another room – they seemed distressed or cautious I guess. I’ve made monumental effort to make sure they don’t see anything but strong, forward moving, reliable, loving mama. Sometimes I bite the inside of my cheek bloody to accomplish it, but whatever it takes, they WILL have one stable, secure, normal parent.

    • Some practical advise ( I think); Cheaters , often, portray their X’s as angry, messed up, whatever. So, when one expresses the normal pain, anger and trauma to the uninformed/uninitiated to infidelity, it plays into the portrayal being used to justify the affair. It is called ” fundamental attribution error” I think and I truly believe that many cheaters, either instinctively or intentionally try to use it.
      It goes like this : Third party observer sees the betrayed’s reaction and not the stimulus ( the reality of cheating, not the watered down version seen on TV and in movies ( Bridges of Madison County) ). So, they conclude that there is some truth to your cheater’s portrayal of you as unstable, histrionic etc.
      If you are aware of this , and able to control yourself, it may help dispel that portrayal. Tough to do, though, especially in the early stages.

      • In general, I think it’s a good idea to try to hold yourself together in public and find safe outlets for the emotions. Tough to do, indeed.

      • Good point, Arnold. That’s why I advise to maintain your dignity when at all possible. Find a safe place to dump your pain. Not every friend is a safe place. And not every “friend” turns out to be a friend.

        It’s up to us to “get over it.” No one wants to wallow in this shit, but the only way over is through.

        • Yeah….the Other Woman in my case had an absolute blast telling everyone how Batshit crazy I was and I have to admit…..I looked pretty batshit. Hopefully her ugly ass will get dumped some day by Mr. Cock Smooch and she’ll know exactly how it feels. Why can’t people get EXACTLY what they deserve??
          ….well maybe she is. Did I mention how much he drinks? Or that he’s cheating on her? He still lives with her but he has secret accounts. She doesn’t care about any of this though. As long as she has a man in her bed every night she couldn’t care less what an asshole he is. She WON. She GOT a man!! The biggest prize of all. She truly is horrendously ugly and knows no other man would want her so puts up with A LOT. Gawd I wish that Karma Bus would show up on her head. My curses are like my ovaries…..all dried up. Haha!

          • It’s a selfish game to these whores syringa. I take comfort in something Miss Sunshine said, “They wake up every day to the worst mistake of their life”. What they lose they can never have back. That is what WE control. They will flutter through life desperate to have what they could never appreciate.

  • Great post. I wish all my friends could read this. It takes time to wrap your head around the fact that your whole life has changed because of the choice your spouse made. I was married for 30 years so I understand when you feel like your whole life just imploded. I am so thankful that my three boys were out of their teenage years when this happened 18 months ago.
    Yes, it takes time and yes you will move forward but not without much heartache and anger.
    I might just forward this to my friends.

  • I found that the worst mistake I ever made was confiding in and trusting a so-called “close friend” during the worst of the early days of discovery of my ex-husband’s affair and abandonment of me and my three adult daughters. Having never been in that situation you can’t ever understand the magnitude of that kind of betrayal. I don’t see or talk to this “friend” anymore — because she made it clear that she doesn’t like the fact that my youngest daughter basically cut him out of her life because he chose to implode what she knew as a happy family life — “friend” said to me “well you need to get Daughter into counseling, it’s not like he killed somebody…” Ummm yes he did kill somebody… ME. Later “friend”, I don’t need your kind of advice. You don’t have to worry about rebuilding your life AT midlife.

        • Oh, when my gut started rumbling about Mr Fab sleeping around, who did I ask? The Downgrade. “Oh, he’d never do that to you.”

          No to one-up Nord, just to share the preposterousness. No originality, these people.

          Yep, a woman who’d fuck a married man WILL likely lie about it. DOH!

          One step closer to Tuesday, and ever so much more selective in my friends, and honoured to count Chump Nation among them.

          x-Meh

      • Ewwwwww Nord — I don’t think that’s the case with this friend. Although 14 years into our marriage I DID catch him involved with my BEST friend at the time…needless to say I don’t see that “friend” anymore, but I was stupid enough to allow him another chance to do it to me again (at that time my kids were all really little and I was a stay at home mom so I didn’t think I could make it on my own). That’s why this time it really took no effort at all to tell him to GET THE FUCK OUT OF MY HOUSE.

        • The best part is that the friend was furious when I told her to piss off. And ex acted like I was overreacting, but that’s because he insists that they didn’t actually fuck. It was an ‘indiscretion’. Hahahaha. What losers I had in my life.

    • Goodbyeshoes–I’m not sure how old your daughter is, but I’m guessing early to mid teens? Do not send her to counseling unless she asks for it, for 2 reasons–that is the age at which children start to form stronger moral judgments, and going NC with a cheater illustrates good moral judgment (and is age-appropriate); she has already had her world ripped apart through no fault of her own, and forcing her into therapy will just make her feel helpless.

      A therapist friend told me not to force my own daughter (13 at the time) unless she was showing other symptoms. The best ‘therapy’ is to have you as a support system.

      • This is such good advice. And “friends” are not experts–they are imposing their own views that children must have contact or relationships with even abusive parents. Or they assume that the chump is alienating the kids from the other parent. I know in some non-cheating divorces parents do try to alienate or manipulate the kids. But when one parent cheats and leaves the family, that is right out there for the world to see, and kids get to be hurt and angry, too.

        • I struggled with this with one of my kids who didn’t want to see ex. Had a long talk with kid’s therapist and we came to the conclusion that if this were a spouse who had been abused by their partner we would never even begin to consider saying it was important they maintain a relationship with the abuser. My kid has slowly started to rebuild with ex but very slowly and on kid’s terms. Ex tows the line because he knows kid will cut him off in a heartbeat if ex does anything screwy.

          • It’s amazing to me how many times I had to hear “but that’s her FATHER”. Who gives a good shit who he is. When all this first started coming to light in 2008 my daughter asked her father point blank to stop talking to, texting, and seeing that bitch. His answer was a resounding NO. She said if you don’t I’ll never speak to you again. He didn’t. She held up her end of the bargain and he has spent the last 7 years trying to be included in her life. Only when he lost his daughter’s respect did it finally dawn on him just how much he had lost. What will it take for these cheaters to finally see what they’re doing to their kids????

    • Sorry–just saw that you did say Adult daughters. NC with the cheater shows integrity; she doesn’t need therapy unless she wants it.

      • Tempest — my youngest daughter was 19 at the time of my ex’s exit, my older girls were 23. She’s now 26 and happy and a successful elementary school teacher with a master’s degree that she earned and financed all on her own. No room in that full life for CheaterDad. Wish I could say the same for the other two but we just don’t discuss him. Ever. Period.

  • Too bad this message would be wasted if I sent it to my inlaws. 20+yr relationship with those guys. Their serial cheating son/brother imploding a family and NO comment from that gang. Instead, they are upset at me because Cheaterpants will have to GTFO in May.

    • Yep, my EX is completely supported by all of his family and friends. He is a “amazing guy” who made one little mistake…. Barf!

      • When I met my X I remember him telling me that his ex-wife “THREW him away” and he was such an “amazing guy” that I just couldn’t figure that out…… NO sane woman ventures out of a 12 year marriage with 3 young kids for NO good reason. Fast forward 7 years…. she did NOT “threw him away” he SHIT all over their life just EXACTLY the way he has just shit all over mine and my son. After years of his reckless spending, working EVERY spare minute to stay away from home, hiding money….. she finally CAUGHT him in an “affair” and it was “the final straw”.

        The point …. I could not imagine “not wanting” him…. that never happened…. I never stopped “wanting” him, but that is what HE claims. It is their PERCEIVED lack of “supply”…. we just don’t make them “FEEL” good enough anymore. The word DISORDERED is truly the key, I don’t believe that it is a choice…. FLIGHT is their response to perceived abandonment. To avoid their own pain they spiral out of control and BLOW up their lives and then behave as though it was orchestrated that way. I can almost hear the fucker in my head saying “I MEANT to do that!!” He MAINTAINS control.

        It isn’t that we stop WANTING or LOVING them…. it just gets to the point that you just can’t “SPACKLE” over them FUCKING other people….. you just can’t sweep that under the rug….

        And… finally…. do NOT expect ANY reinforcement or support from HIS family…. somewhere in THAT bunch of bananas is the asshole that CREATED the asshole…. they are a bunch of enablers of their precious son/brother/whatever and they either can’t or don’t WANT to see the truth.

      • My 29+ years outlaws fully supported Cheater #1 (yes I’ve had two) and they went to their deaths never admitting the hurt he caused. I left him three days after the last parent expired, and have never looked back except to feel relieved and free of gaslighting relatives. If narcs could move in wolf packs, then this bunch were certainly that.

        After the betrayal has had time to sink in, I heartily recommend the therapy of making long lists of the things one does not have to put up with any more. I found a list I’d complied at the worst time recently, and it contained things I had forgotten. Helps to stop the fullness of time from making one doubt decisions about divorce.

        I have rarely told anyone the stories of my Cheaters, except here. I moved thousands of miles away and started a new life. The friends from The Cheater Years who “stick” are those who respected me for just packong up and leaving. That includes my grown kids. This way the kids can have whatever relationship they want with Cheater and I don’t have to get my nose rubbed in it. My free life, now, is more awesome than I imagined and I wish all chumps could do similar. It’s the wallowing in the old house and group of friemds that would be so hard to move on from.

      • I had always been close to my MIL. I had a nervous breakdown about 2 1/2 months after dday. No one in my ex’s family said anything to me. When I got home from the hospital, I called MIL & asked why no one came to see me. She said that she didn’t know there were visiting hours (WTF? She was a reference librarian for over 25 years & come to find out, she told no one). During that same phone call I told her that I had been served with the divorce papers earlier that day. Her response was, “Oh, he never told me.” My response was, “He is a defective person & it took me over 24 years to figure it out.” Never heard from that family ever again.

        • Correction, my response after my MIL said she didn’t know that ex had served the divorce papers was, “There are a lot of things your son never told you. He is a defective person & it took me over 24 years to figure it out.”

  • “But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart.”

    ^^^ THIS RIGHT HERE!! ^^^

    Last year I caught a preview of what was “to come”, it was a brief disintegration and X snapped out of it and back into us. I actually subconsciously started to research narcissism and then dropped the ball when he did his “about face”, I never really dropped my guard completely which is probably why I caught the affair so early. People just don’t realize, and you can’t unless you have lived it, how abruptly and viciously they command their “EXIT” and the wake of destruction they leave behind and the psychological impact it has on their partner and children. Unless you have lived with these idiots and lived through their destructive departure you can’t FATHOM the pain they inflict.

    As always, very well said CL. What WOULD we all do without you and your insight?? This site has been, and continues to be…. THE best therapy ever!!

    Good Monday Morning Chumps XOXO

    • Yes, I am afraid to tell people I’ve been diagnosed with PTSD because I know it will be laughed off. For my whole life I’ve been accused of being weak because of my anxiety.

      • I’m eight months out from DDay #2 and five months out from his “EXIT” and I still can’t sleep through the night. I have anxiety, got a LOW dose prescription of Xanax and I still refuse to take it….. trying to manage my way through this without it (I have an aversion to taking medicine unless I ABSOLUTELY have to). I have PTSD also Lina… and after everything he has put me and my son through I don’t really give a fuck what anyone else thinks, you need to do what is right for YOU right now.

        Big hugs to you all!!

        • NC Stevie, I have been abusing alcohol and I think it at least 50% of the reason I don’t sleep well. It helps me fall asleep, then wears off as I am sleeping. I wake up with killer rebound anxiety. Truthfully that didn’t start after we blew apart, it started before. I was kind of using it to cope with both the pain I felt knowing he was playing me, and as a way to “decieve” him back to get even. I was drinking his alcohol and working for him at his business mildly drunk. Now I’m just drinking my own alcohol, which is expensive and stupid. I decided to quit last night, so far so good.

          I have told some good friends about the alcohol and they were shocked at my behavior, but they did continue to support me and encourage me just to stop. I’m not going near Xanax because I’ve seen friends abuse it. I know I’m very capable of getting addicted, so I have to stay away. I think I’m going to go for an antidepressant. They don’t flood you with dopamine, so you don’t get that high/crash cycle. I think exercise will help too, just trying to feel motivated.

          I have vented here to avoid exhausting my friends compassion. I know I’m being obsessive and that can be a bore to friends when they have already heard your story a few times. I am hoping the antidepressant will also help with the obsessing. It seems like it did last time I took it, a few years ago.

          • I’ve kicked around the idea of self-medicating with alcohol…. but can’t afford to (literally) lol. When X was living here in the house and carrying on his EA right under my nose…. from the moment of discovery and relocating myself to our spare bedroom…. the sleepless nights began and I woke up EVERY single hour EVERY single night for those three months. I can’t remember when it changed…. but eventually it was waking every 3 or 4 hours and now I only wake up once or twice in the middle of the night….. so I guess that is improvement.

            I have to say that I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for some of my fellow chumps that are 20 or 30+ years into their marriages when this happens…. it is hard enough for me at the 8 year mark and I have been single my whole life. I had long term relationships over the years, briefly lived with boyfriends twice, but X and I have been together every day for the last 8 years…. sleeping together every night…. we share a son….. I guess he is truly the first man I’ve really SHARED my life with and planned to grow old with. I’m a pretty tough old gal…. it’s probably made this transition manageable for me…. excruciatingly PAINFUL…. but I’ll survive.

            XOXO

            • I can’t sleep without medication now. I don’t like it but feel like I’ll go crazy just lying there.

              • Lina I was up all night last night feeling somewhat obsessed. I considered running to 7-11 and buying some Benadryl, but decided to stick it out. I think when the benadryl wears off, I feel super anxious. So I didn’t fall asleep until 6 or 7 in the morning, but was able to sleep a few good hours. Restful sleep, not the kind where you are still half awake and worried.

                I have decided to try to be tougher and just wait till sleep comes. It’s been three months and so far, the anxiety hasn’t killed me. Maybe the pain will be finite.

              • LIna, I felt that in the discard months just before and for nearly a year after DDay. I still don’t sleep well and often end up on the couch. I think the rest of the time we can fill with activity but at bed time, the quiet opens up those thoughts.

          • Jen: It’s 6.5 months from D-day for me, and up until about a week ago, I needed 1-2 drinks every night just to quell the anxiety. I could manage to get through the day by staying busy, but by 5 nerves were starting to fray.

            As long as it’s not making you unhealthy or getting in the way of daily functioning, a drink or two a day is not going to kill you. Take what crutches you need.

            • and I admit that in the early days, they were big drinks. I make no apologies for it; alcohol got me through the worst months.

              Jen–you don’t need to justify your drinking to your friends, especially if you’re only 3 months from D-day.

              • In the early post dday days when ex was still in the house I would come home first & have a “Double Dutch” dinner: one Heineken to cut the edge & the other to steel myself against whatever the untrue spew of the day would come once ex arrived.

              • I know I drank WAY too much at first. I’m much better now and drink rarely. I just wanted to die and didn’t care if I lived OR died. Best thing I got from my doctor was Ambien. The heaviest duty kind. I’m so glad I’m past that time. I couldn’t function and ended up losing my job over it. And the luvers? They were having the TIME of their lives!! Going on holiday, making fun of me!! I read their emails and they honest-to-god LAUGHED and MADE FUN of my pain. And they seem to have wonderful lives and get whatever they want. It made me quit believing in God.

            • Tempest, I appreciate you understanding. I super appreciate you letting me know I’m not the only one. It’s just that it started out small, but grew, and it has to stop. Truthfully it started way before we separated and ended up being the reason we separated when I started screaming, “go home and fuck her some more!”

              I have to stop because I am not any good at moderation right now. I don’t think for the most part I am a sloppy drunk, (it was just that one time) but I tend to drink until I’m sedated enough to sleep. Then I find myself wanting to be sedated all the time like a Romanies song.

              My son will be twenty on Sunday, but he is still emotionally a child. We are working on finding him a job and then getting him supported at college. He needs me now almost as much as he needed me ten years ago. I indulged in alcohol for awhile thinking my responsibilities had lightened because he can stay by himself, cook, go shopping, and fix a computer on his own. But he really does need his mother to be strong and coherent.

              • Syringa,
                If they need to make fun of you, they are super shallow, and perhaps don’t have anything real in common to talk about. They are also trying to justify their cruelty. Or they just suck really bad.
                Don’t read the emails anymore if you can avoid it. You are way better than they are. The only good this is doing you is it is confirming God rescued you from spending your life with a horrible man. Then to punish the horrible man, he paired him with a horrible woman.

        • Throw the Xanax away, that shit is more physically addictive than freakin heroin, just do not take it. Ask me how I know? I was a wild child and never touched any physically addictive drug even as a teen. My freaking doctor gave me Xanax and it is evil. There is a reason the warnings say it’s addictive, it is, from day ONE. All benzos are. It doesn’t give a craving, I am talking pure physical addiction with bad withdrawals. THROW XANAX AWAY.

          • I have no intentions of taking it 🙂 My Mother AND my sister have been taking that shit for almost 5 years now. My only niece was killed tragically in an accident and they have been medicated ever since, sister says she will be medicated for the rest of her life. I didn’t have the luxury of insurance back then and had to tough it out sober.

            Thanks for the heads up though Datdamwuf….. I’ll THROW XANAX AWAY. (or flush!!).

            • HEADS UP EVERYONE-!!!!!

              Dat is soo right about the xanax…..I became physically addicted myself after having a very low dose prescribed for my anxiety, panic disorder and inability to sleep. I NEVER ABUSED IT, usually took less than prescribed and NEVER more than. The withdrawl was indeed HELL, it took months to wean myself off and I am still to this day suffering from the after effects of the shit. Lingering ‘brain fog’ is incredible due to the effect it had on my brain function and how my brain handles most seemingly benign medications now. I can now no longer even take a diphenhydramine (Benadryl) or it sets me off in to major xanax-like withdrawl afterward.

              BTW–Never throw away medications or flush them! Unneeded meds should be turned into law enforcement or pharmacies when they have community ‘turn in your unneeded meds’ days. Otherwise, envelopes are available at pharmacies that you buy to safely send meds to a facility where they are destroyed. Flushing sends medications into our municipal water systems and/or groundwater, oceans, rivers, etc–exactly where they don’t belong!

  • “Gift her with your presence. Most of the time, Chris, it’s just enough to show up. So many people don’t even do that. You don’t have the words to take away her pain. But you can acknowledge that you care just by being there.”

    This is SO true. When my “friends” heard that I was divorcing my X and that he was, indeed, abusive – a good number of them disappeared into thin air. I would get texts like, “We should get together” – or – “Let’s have coffee soon”. I would respond with something like “Sure! Let me know what days are good for you”. I would never hear back.

    And I know these people have a TON of time on their hands.

  • Thank you Tracy for this post. It makes me feel more normal for still being angry and sad after two plus years. I’m getting so close to meh I can taste it!

    Maybe people who’ve never been through a partner’s affair should think about how it would feel if they had something happen in their lives where everything they take for granted just evaporated into thin air. Finding out the entire foundation of your life was an ongoing network of lies is devastating. Finding out that your loyalty and trust was rewarded with blatant disrespect makes you feel incredibly stupid. Finding out that your supposed lifetime friend and lover never thought more of you than a nanny and housekeeper hurts.

    But having a forum like CL’s blog validates those feelings. And we do move on.

    In my case I still have some anger but now I honestly have no interest in x’s life. I will never “forgive” him but I have no desire to contact him to express my anger. My journey forward has nothing to do with x but more to do with myself. I hope to eventually regain my trust in people and to be able to discern what is or is not a healthy relationship. At least the x laid out some bases for me to learn from in retrospect!

    Baby steps now but moving forward….

    • “Finding out that your loyalty and trust was rewarded with blatant disrespect makes you feel incredibly stupid.”

      ^^^THIS^^^

      And these disordered types act like we’re so sour because we don’t want to be friends with them. Fuck that. My friends don’t treat me that way.

    • just another chump, that is a very accurate and succinct summary of what this feels like. I can relate to so much of what you said, especially “Finding out the entire foundation of your life was an ongoing network of lies is devastating. Finding out that your loyalty and trust was rewarded with blatant disrespect makes you feel incredibly stupid. Finding out that your supposed lifetime friend and lover never thought more of you than a nanny and housekeeper hurts.” I imagine many people cannot understand how this feels. I’m glad you are moving baby steps ahead. It’s a daily process and each day we get a little closer!

  • Hi Chumps

    At least Chris looked here to help her friend. That says something in my book.

    I too have lost friends among my small circle. Some Switzerland friends (we want to be friends with both of you – ahhhhhh, no) and some that kind of just fell away. Probably they couldn’t face the pain or the idea that this could happen to them.

    My other favorite line “You are better off without him”. True, but this is not life I envisioned.

    I agree with NCS – best healing come from this site.

    • I think Chris is an asshole who is looking down on her friend. Or maybe not, maybe she really wants to help, but she sounded like a jerk to me.

      • Jen, I thought Chris was being honest. I think perhaps she was trying to be helpful without having insight one could only gain from experience or training in character disordered. This IS a pain like no other. When I think about my life in its entirety, i can easily empathize with just about anyone because of my experiences. Maybe she sincerely wants to be supportive to her friend and needs the tools to accomplish this. She just doesn’t get it!

        • Maybe. I am very lucky to have never been raped, I have a few friends that have and I can’t imagine what that is like. I don’t expect them to get over it. Maybe That’s not a good analogy.

          • Jen–that is exactly the right analogy. Infidelity is an emotional rape. There is no other way to accurately describe it.

            • Nope, that is a good analogy. I was raped, and I’ve been cheated on. The analogy is right on. Also, you are right about Chris, IMHO. Chris sounds like an insufferable ass.

    • Yes it does. There is another amazing site that has same stand about abuse from a Christian perspective and has been an amazing help just like Tracy’s. It’s called A Cry for Justice. Jeff Crippen, Barbara Roberts and other wonderful contacts for sound validation and more healing. Priceless guys as well.

  • As others have indicated, friends who haven’t been through betrayal have no idea what you’re going through. my stbx’s SIL’s husband had an affair with someone from work 30 years ago. At the time they had a son with serious medical problems. They worked it out and are still together although the betrayal remains fresh in her mind. She and my divorced/remarried friends have been my life savers. My brother and his wife, on the other hand, have been supportive but unable to grasp what I have been going through. Even though my brother’s wife has siblings who have been divorced, she still doesn’t get it.

    Family and friends who have been divorced/betrayed will be there for you throughout your ups and downs. As for the others, talk to them when you’re feeling OK or just want to talk about something other than your crappy situation. I am lucky that my in-laws have been there as well. I’ve known them for 38 years and am still part of the family. I guess that has something to do with the fact that they can’t believe I’ve loved their son/brother for 30+ years. They’ve many times called me a saint for putting up with his miserable, depressive, irritating personality. Yet he was the one who left me! Go figure.

    The older I get the more I cherish friends and family. I appreciate all they have done and will always be there for them. It’s the least I can do.

    • I have a greater compassion about chumps since becoming one. I always felt that people got divorced because they didn’t a great marriage like I did.

      • Yeah, I used to lament with my cheater-ex whenever someone we knew got divorced, especially people whose wedding we had attended. We used to shake our heads and feel sad that they hadn’t had the great marriage we had. If only at some point he’d told me ours wasn’t as great as I thought it was either.

  • Exactly, JAC. So well put. And thank you for this post, CL and CN.

    This quote really hit home:
    “Now think of the kids — it’s a time in your life when you’re emancipating from your parents, but really need your parents. … You’re about to set off into the adult world. It’s exciting and terrifying.
    …Now imagine your world has suddenly fallen apart. Some cheating douchebag has commandeered all the drama. Forget you. Forget your dreams. Forget your needs. Dad has cheated, Dad Must Be Happy Now, all attention must be paid to the Almighty Narcissist. Everyone’s world crumbles for Him.”

    That’s exactly what Crapweasel did to my daughter. No wonder she walked out on him, the last time he saw her. Now he cries crocodile tears that I turn her against him. I’ve said “no, I just tell her the truth (and not all of it).”

    As for friends, I have a couple solid ones left, and they are blessings. The others? Pfft. Dried dog turds. In the immortal words of my narcissistic mother, they can “dry up and bust”.

    I think a final take away for Friend is that even as I am coming out the other side, slowly, I am not the same person I used to be. I’ve been radically changed by this experience. So, Friend ought to know that even if her chump “gets over’ the anger, she may well be very different.

    • I feel exactly the same way! I have come through the fire, but I am in no way unscathed. I just don’t see people-or the world- the way I used to. People tell me I have changed, and I have. I call it becoming Violet. I used to really see the world though rose colored glasses and always tried to see the best in people. But how can I do that when the person who I loved unconditionally for 28 years treated me like a piece of trash? I don’t always like who I have become, but I had to toughen up or I wasn’t going to survive!

      To me, after the anger comes the now what stage, because the challenge is to put one’s life back together, to make a good life despite what has happened. That’s the part I still struggle with. I want to thrive, but I feel so jaded about people. My solution has been to emotionally retreat. So while I do the “normal stuff”, I don’t take alot of risks. I am too protective of myself. Someone here once referred to it as a Greta Garbo phase and that was the best description ever. But I wonder if I will ever come out of that phase and that makes me very sad.

  • Chris, you asked, “how do we help the children not have to live with an angry, chump mom?”

    As CL says there’s not much you can do except be there for her for as long as it takes. But understand this, this profoundly life altering experience didn’t just hurt your friend, it hurt her children too. Because their family imploded their whole outlook on the world has changed. If they’re lucky that pain from the experience and the empathy they have toward their betrayed mother will allow them to grow into compassionate and mature adults and won’t leave them confused, vulnerable, and broken.

    I believe your heart is in the right place, Chris, and that you care about your friend’s healing. The biggest piece of advice I can give you is to send her here. We have lots of chumps here who have found the website way after their separation, d-day, etc. They naturally wish they had found it sooner but the important thing is they are here now.

    This place is where you learn with others how to move on with your life — something that only you control.

    Good luck to you and your friend.

    xox

    • Friends helped when they offered me their homes, went with me to court, and complemented or supplemented my best efforts.
      Friends hurt when they reported on me to Ex, lied to my face (played ‘innocent’ or dug for information), kicked me while I was down, gossiped about me, or exploited my fears.
      I had one awesome friend who said that she knows how the system works & that she would vouch for my character no matter what!
      That one felt good in the slings and arrows of betrayal.
      No one wants this misery.

  • “But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart. That people are capable of casual betrayal.”

    THIS sooo much! I really feel like Chumps understand that there are NO guarantees in life, especially in relationships. You can never know someone 100 percent. You can know someone 10, 20, 30, 40 years, and they can still turn on you.

    Even supportive friends and family don’t quite understand the level of damage X’s actions and words have done. Years have passed for me too, and honestly, the affair part has scabbed over for me. It’s the betrayal and the abusive things said that still affect me. That the ONE person in the world who was supposed to be in my corner and pledged to do so forever just one day turned so completely on me. That kind of thing changes you. Think of it this way – if you drop a vase on the floor and it breaks, you can glue the pieces back together. But that doesn’t mean the vase is back to the way it was before it broke.

    • “That people are capable of casual betrayal.”

      This is so true. And I find it very frightening. I imagine I’ll learn to trust someone one day, but I’ll check out every single red flag first. I think that’s about all you can do: be as vigilant as possible.

      I hope to be a spackle-free zone.

      • I don’t know that I’ll ever 100 percent trust anyone again. I was always kind of a guarded person, there were few people in this world I 100 percent trusted, and X was one of them.

    • “It’s the betrayal and the abusive things said that still affect me. That the ONE person in the world who was supposed to be in my corner and pledged to do so forever just one day turned so completely on me. That kind of thing changes you.”

      Kira – exactly!!!!

      • Yes Kira ! It’s not fucking some whore(s). It’s the God awful words spoken to and about me. They will go to my grave with me I guess. Still when it comes across my mind I’m filled with so much ANGER .

  • It’s so hard, trying to be there for someone who has been betrayed and cheated on. I am incredibly, endlessly fortunate to have a wonderful husband (let’s not jinx it!), but a good friend recently ended a very unhappy marriage, wherein he cheated, got a diagnosis of being bipolar (which means, apparently, that he is exempt from the usual stuff that goes with being a decent citizen and doing the heavy lifting) and generally was a very unpleasant person. The trouble is this; we absolutely all saw it coming, in various ways. I flat out told her ”he’s cheating” about 18 months before she was ”surprised” with the reality of the situation. Fine, you want to believe the very best of your spouse, trust is a given, I would defend my own spouse too, but when your closest, most sensible friends are saying ”is this quite right”, then do at least vaguely pay attention. Now that it has all gone to hell in a handbasket, now that the 3rd child she was so hellbent on having hasn’t magically fixed the problem (amazingly!), and the massive, transformative house renovations have proved quite stressful to live in, NOW she wants to explain endlessly and in detail, where it all went wrong… we know. We told you this, repeatedly, for years and years. We’re totally on your side, but the incredibly poor decision-making you continue to display is… trying. It really is.

    But the fact of the matter is that until you have BEEN there and been blindsided and hurt and left ”for dead”, particularly when their are kids of any age involved, it’s hard to fully grasp… which is why we have to keep showing up. CL is quite right. Showing up is half the battle, that and never suggesting for one nanosecond that ”forgiveness” and ”learning to heal by embracing those who have wronged you” bullshit is worth a second of your time. Indifference, yes. Being dignified and neutral, great. Anything further, total waste of time! Chris, I hear you, a person in confusion and pain CAN be… annoying. They can, let’s be blunt. But on the other side lies a normal, happy life, full of good things, and as her friend, you are there to point that out gently, not to minimise her anger, but to allow her to gradually let it be edged out with other, more interesting stuff. This takes a long time!

    • I’ve read this three times now. It’s unfortunate that your friend is not paying attention to what you say about her life…that she was “hell=bent” on having a third child who hasn’t magically fixed her problem… that she evidently complains about the house renovations and is generally “annoying.” I wonder why you are friends with such a person.

      My best friend has made the same mistake about a zillion times. No need to go into what it is or why. We’ve talked about each iteration. I’ve helped her connect some dots. But I don’t judge her choices. She doesn’t need to live a perfect life for me to love her and stand by her. I see her progress and cheer that on and pick her up when she falls so she can try again. What I see most in her though is her courage and her tremendous, loving heart. I see why she hangs on to things that aren’t good for her because I know what happened to her when she was a little girl, how her father’s infidelity set in motion a chain of events where she lost her home, her toys and clothes, her pets, and for a long while, her mother, who sank into depression. So I know where she comes from and how far she’s travelled. Caroline, your post seems full of judgment and superiority to me. You with your incredible marriage; your annoying fucked-up friend with her life in turmoil. The truth is you haven’t been there. You don’t grasp it. And even those of us who have been betrayed have a hard time understanding why some chumps try everything and anything to repair a marriage. In the end, all we can do is love people. And perhaps the lesson for friends in all of this is that love and judgment are not compatible. That is, we can see the mistakes others mistake but rarely see our own. So if we “love others as we love ourselves,” we must love them, blind spots and all, just as we must love ourselves even as we acknowledge our failings and limitations.

      • I agree. I don’t think Caroline was hanging around as a friend, sounds more like hanging around to have somebody to be better than. It was the most disturbing thing I’ve read in a while.

    • Caroline–when you are in the middle of a tornado, you don’t see the green pastures beyond the whirlwind. Your reality is the swirling debris and dust and wind that surrounds you. People on the outside see the pasture; they see the funnel cloud. But when you’re in the middle of the funnel cloud, hearing someone else’s perspective doesn’t really register.

      Such is life with an emotional abuser–you’re in the middle of this devastating tornado, with crap flying all around, and all you can do is dodge it. You can’t heal, you can’t smell the cut grass in the pasture, you can’t really even hear the people calling to you from the outside.

      When someone finally takes steps to rushing headlong into the debris in order to emerge out the other side, cut and bruised and emotionally exhausted, they aren’t going to be whole as quickly as you might like. Infidelity after a bad marriage is not like a paper cut. It’s more like a surgery wound that never got sewn up–jagged edges, subject to infection, ugly. What heals it? Time and salve.

  • Chris, I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt that you actually are doing some of the work to find out just what your friend is going through–researching narcissism and sociopaths, going to blogs or websites that don’t claim that “infidelity made my marriage stronger!”–maybe even talking to your own spouse about what infidelity would do to THEM.

    My best friend knew exactly what was going on, because I not only told her, she suspected prior to my knowing for sure. Did she tell me her suspicions? No, because she didn’t want to “make trouble where there may be none”. Thanks. I forgave her for that.

    This was a woman that I had spent practically every single day doing something with–she was my neighbor and became my closest confidante. Fast forward to when I KNEW what was happening.

    She came to my house, knocked on my door, said, “I can’t stay long. I just wanted to come here and look you in the eye–and have you tell me that you are okay.”

    I thought she meant, “that he didn’t harm you when you confronted him”. Nope. I said, “Yeah, I guess I am okay.” She said a couple of small things about it all working out, everything will be alright—she left—-AND NEVER SPOKE TO ME AGAIN.

    Pretty impossible for a neighbor, right? Not when you’re motivated to avoid someone, it’s not.

    Adultery and physical abuse, along with other types of “intimate” abuse–is extremely uncomfortable for people to process. I’m not sure whether it’s simply because they look and say, “But for the Grace of God go I”—or they truly believe that if they involve themselves as support members, that this shit will infect THEIR lives.

    Did it matter to me which category my friend fell into? No. She was and is a douchebag, living at the same level as my cheating fuckwit X. To me, the same personality disorder that enables Cheaters to do what they do—narcissism “IT IS ALL ABOUT ME” syndrome—infects those “fair weather friends”, I’m just not married to them.

    In fact, how I see people who do those things—stand by while the Chump is lying on the ground in the fetal position—as accessories after the fact.

    Now, that all being said—

    If someone does everything in their power to resist and refuse getting out of that deep black hole–and you have done your level best to suggest therapy, take them out of the house, etc? They just continue to cling with white knuckled intensity to their anger and hatred of this person for fucking them over?

    Those are people who you can’t spend every ounce of your life energy supporting. They are out there—and I’ve pointed this out before—-NOT EVERY CHUMP IS A HEALTHY, WELL ADJUSTED PERSON. Some have personality disorders, just like the Cheater—some are inverted narcissists or borderline—and they will NEVER recover, because their disorder doesn’t allow it.

    This is definitely a case of knowing ^^ which is which ^^ with your friend, and knowing what kind of friend you are. There’s no crime in you walking away if she’s sucking the lifeblood out of you and not trying one iota in helping herself heal.

    By the same token, you don’t get to tell anybody to “get over it” because it’s uncomfortable to think that this might happen to you. She’s better off without “friends” like that.

    • SM, if your friend was so disordered, why would y’all be friends in the first place? If you have a friend who is having a hard time moving on, why not have compassion and give them the benefit of the doubt. You describe being stuck in a black hole. Nobody chooses that. That’s called depression.

      • Wow, KK. Just wow. Are you sure you realize where you are and what you’ve just said?

        “Well, if your (insert person here) was so disordered, why would y’all be friend in the first place?”

        You DO realize that you’re basically saying to each and every chump here that “IF our significant others were so disordered, why would we have married them in the first place?”

        I did not “describe being in a black hole”. What I said, had you READ WHAT I WROTE was…

        “Now, that all being said—

        If someone does everything in their power to resist and refuse getting out of that deep black hole–and you have done your level best to suggest therapy, take them out of the house, etc? They just continue to cling with white knuckled intensity to their anger and hatred of this person for fucking them over?

        Those are people who you can’t spend every ounce of your life energy supporting. ”

        Where in there was I speaking about me being in a black hole? I SAID that “if someone refuses to accept help in any way, yours or someone else’s, and prefers to remain in a black hole”—you need to consider your own mental well being in this scenario.

        And yes, dear, there are disordered chumps out there. We’ve all known people that have CHOSEN to remain in unhealthy situations, NO MATTER the evidence to the contrary.

        It only happens in depression, you say? Really? Ask Tracy. She has told of a personal friend who CHOOSES to remain with her cheater—because SHE LIKES THE LIFESTYLE that her marriage affords.

        So I call bullshit on your assertion. And, add to that….you, friend, are an ass.

        “If your is so disordered, why would you be friends in the first place?” Why not ask anyone here how they dare call their cheaters disordered, because OF COURSE, KK seems to think that we should have SEEN that and not married them in the first place!!!

        OF COURSE!!! Silly people!!! You should just have never married them in the first place, since they are so disordered!

        • I’m “an ass” for having a difference of opinion than you? For believing you should do your best to continue supporting a friend in their greatest time of need no matter how long it takes?

          Just because someone is possibly stuck in a deep depression (which is what your scenario of the friend who couldn’t move on sounded like to me) it does NOT mean that they are disordered.

          As for the claim that we have all been in the receiving end of a disordered spouse, yes, that is true. In my case, as well as many others, I had no idea he was disordered until the cheating was revealed, ultimately revealing other disordered behavior. You took my statement about why you would be in a friendship with someone disordered, and totally twisted what I was trying to say. I thought it was obvious, but apparently not. I will explain. I stand by my statement of why you would want a disordered friend in the first place. If you learn this about a friend, surely you would cut off or at the very least put limits on this friendship. But to be friends with someone for a year, 10, 20, 30 years and abandon them in their time of need because you have self diagnosed this person as disordered because they’re not healing on your time schedule or the way you think it should look, is wrong in my opinion. In depression, it looks like the person is not moving on, not wanting to get better. People get stuck sometimes. Good people. Just because it appears that way it doesn’t mean they don’t have any desire to make positive changes.

          Funny, that all that makes me “an ass”, wanting to stick by someone and be supportive for the duration instead of labeling them and casting them aside. Who’s the real ass here?

          • Also, I never said you were in a black hole. I said the black hole you described sounded like depression; meaning the friend’s.

            • FWIW, my read of SM’s letter was that the friend could not deal with HER upset and depression at being chumped. She just avoided her and walked away. Which makes her, not depressed, but a compassionless jerk.

              • Thank you, Tracy. That is PRECISELY what I related. My best friend who came to me the day I threw cheater out and told me all she wanted to know was if I was okay—then proceeded to pretend not to know me at all.

                KK, had you actually read what I said, then you wouldn’t need to ask who is the ass here. YOU jumped to conclusions and read things into my post which were not only completely turned around and OPPOSITE what I clearly stated—but are now saying I have no compassion?

                LOL! You need to read some of my other posts then, dear. I feel nothing BUT compassion for others like me….who feel unloveable and unworthy, isolated and ANGRY. ALL THE TIME.

                I don’t, however, hang onto it purposefully. It comes on the same way as the intense sadness and anger over my father’s sudden passing does.

                I also have a very, very solid grasp on the differences between depression and disordered. I’m sure that most here will agree with me that snarking to someone “Well, if so and so was just so darned disordered, what are you doing being friends with them in the first place?”—-is pure and simple bullshit, making clear that YOU do not understand the difference between the two.

                “Sticking by someone for the duration”—first off, there are limits to certain relationships. There are even circumstances that a parent needs to cut a child off at the knees–as in the case of drug addiction and disordered behavior that is destructive to all involved.

                DO NOT sit there in judgement of people who decide that they may have had enough of supporting someone that refuses help or even goes so far as to sabotage those efforts. Those people exist (as in my example) and anybody who says differently is fooling themselves.

                Have you ever been a lifeguard? I have. I also surf, bodyboard and ocean fish. Wanna know what I will NEVER do? Attempt to physically save someone who is actively drowning. They will, inadvertently but definitively—take you down with them in order to try to save themselves. I will throw them a lifeline FROM A SAFE DISTANCE and hope that they will grasp onto it, and I will pull them to safety.

                If they don’t do that….and some won’t….I will wait until they tire and are going down. I will THEN go after them.

                Will I leave them?? NEVER. Not ever. But of what good am I to myself and to MY people if I drown with that person?

                Being smart and intelligent in your use of energy will serve you much better than jumping in there all martyr-ed up and ready to sacrifice yourself—without knowing if that person can, would or is willing to be saved. There are limits to relationships, and every individual has the right to say when enough is enough.

              • SM, Just to clarify, none of my comments were about the first part of your comment regarding your best friend. I was only commenting on the last part about your warning that some chumps are disordered. I won’t try to reiterate the point I was trying to make because you just can’t see where I am coming from. I will never turn my back on a hurting friend. I will never just assume they are some kind of disordered wing nut just because they aren’t moving forward the way I think they should.

  • Great answer CL. Chris-If you really want to be this chump’s friend, please take Tracy’s advice. You really don’t ever comprehend something like this until you’ve been through it.

  • Dear Chris,

    You have NO IDEA.

    First, you get points for hanging in there and wanting to help your friend. Most of my “friends” disappeared when I got divorced.

    But….your friend probably had a long-term highly dysfunctional marriage. She is not merely recovering from being recently chumped. She’s also recovering from the bad marriage.

    I was married to my ex-husband for 25 years. Everybody who saw us thought we had a great marriage because it looked good from the outside. Nobody knew about the emotional and verbal abuse. The gaslighting and blame-shifting were not on display when we were in public.

    It’s been 5 1/2 years since I separated from my ex-husband and 4 years since the divorce was final. I’m beginning to feel like myself, but I’m not there yet. I am still going to a divorce recovery group occasionally, and have been working toward recovery all this time. My two oldest kids are still a mess. All 5 of my children have abandonment issues and 4 of them say they will never get married.

    Your friend’s daughter also says that she never wants to get married. That’s another clue that she witnessed a bad marriage. From her experience marriage is a place where the man is a taker, the woman is a giver, and then the woman gets chumped. Would you sign up for that mess?

    Chris, please encourage your friend to go to some kind of divorce recovery group. If she’s not making any progress at all she needs outside help. In my group we had a woman who started attending several years after her divorce was final. But the best thing you can do for your friend is to just be there. Do fun things with her. Listen to her. You’ve been friends for a very long time. Keep being her friend.

  • Yes, I feel like they broke the snowglobe of our lives together.

    What really gets me about “friends” or relatives and their encouraging words, “What goes on between two adults is one thing, but treating the kids like that…” Somehow the betrayal is ok because we are adults, but not ok for the children. I have heard stuff like this so many times.

    • OMG yes! So because I am an adult I simply have to “get over it?” Or “if there weren’t kids involved it wouldn’t be a big deal”. What happened to the vows we said? The promises? Do promises mean nothing anymore? Has our world really come to the place of “every man for himself?”

      • And the other side of it is kids are resilient and they will be fine. Usually that comes from someone that just finishes explaining how his or her parents messed up their life. It amazes how much the people that discount both adults and kids go on and on about their own lives. And yet somehow that doesn’t hold true for everyone else.

        The vows, the promises. I think I have read it here before, but in either civil or criminal law there are remedies. The broken marriage contract – not so much.

  • Chris, the only thing that I could add to Chump Lady’s great advice is this:

    4. If you haven’t already, stop being friends with your friend’s cheating ex and under no circumstances whatsoever socialize with him and his mistress. So many people “don’t want to choose sides” and “don’t want to judge” that was typically ends up happening (and it certainly did with me) was that the chump actually gets isolated from the mutual friend group and the cheater feels vilified. Obviously, you can’t control if other friends invite the cheater to events your invited to as well, so at the absolute very least, you shouldn’t update your friend about her ex’s life or treat the cheater with anything but the most minimum level of courtesy necessary not to disrupt an event.

      • The problem is that no one wants to put their “neck” out for anyone or call someone out on bad behavior. This only empowers cheaters as well as other assholes (oh yeah right, no one is an asshole anymore, they are now called bi-polar)

        • Me!! Me!! (raises hand) I want to!! Since D-day, I have been calling people assholes left, right, and center!! (those who deserve it). I suspect I’m not the only one (CalamityJane, TheClip, Donna, LovedAJackass all come to mind). Cathartic, and it keeps the MFers out of my life.

          The experience of having been cheated on, I suspect, makes us more compassionate to those who are hurting, and less tolerant of bad behavior.

    • So true Lulu! So many people are afraid of “being judgmental” that they gloss over really bad things that people do. It’s very disheartening. It turns chumps into the “bad people who can’t forgive” because they don’t want to have anything to do with their ex cheaters.

      I guess those people who “won’t judge” aren’t really your friends after all.

      • “I guess those people who “won’t judge” aren’t really your friends after all.” <– This is my approach.

        I've had just a couple of friends who slammed the door shut on XH, his wine shop, everything… And it felt SO loving and supportive to me. I'll never forget their solidarity with me, never. Admittedly, neither of them were good friends of his (work friends of mine instead) but still, to hear one friend say, "What he did to you, my friend, was wrong. Plain & simple. I'll never go back to his shop ever again," it meant so much, still brings tears to my eyes to think of the love in that statement.

        If you are closer friends to XH, then that can be a problem, but know that for many of us, every time you do something with XH (+/- Previous-OW), it's wounding.

        • Lulu, a-FREAKING-men! I’m in process now of cutting some people out of my life. Sorry, but I can’t be “friends” with you while you stand by and watch my STBX continue destroying me and my children. That’s not my definition of a friend…

      • Yeah, but they will turn around and judge the chump for being bitter and not seeing that “people grow apart.” So they are judgmental about how fast people recover, just not about adultery and betrayal and abandoning a family.

        • “Yeah, but they will turn around and judge the chump for being bitter and not seeing that “people grow apart.” So they are judgmental about how fast people recover, just not about adultery and betrayal and abandoning a family.”

          Yep. This explains the biggest part of why my social circle got exponentially smaller after I left my ex. But, hey! Who cares if he’s a lying, cheating, character-disordered freak? He looks so noble on social media, and he’s so much fun at parties!

        • The way I see it: Tough fucking shit if I’m being judgemental. If you are a spineless prick and actively trying to destroy my life, then yes, I will fucking judge you.
          And if you’re going to play Switzerland, I will fucking judge you too, for also being that spineless prick.

  • There is no way anyone can understand it until they’ve lived it. It sucks worse than anything can suck. My life, my home, my children.. we are all paying the price of his narcissistic selfish behavior. None of us asked for this, and none of us deserve it. Nothing I ever did as a wife comes close to deserving this treatment.. it’s a trauma, its abuse.

    It’s the worst pain I’ve ever experienced- worse than the two miscarriages I suffered, worse than deaths.. it is a death, a death of a dream, future, life… everything is upside down.

    My STBX told me he’d “never been happy”… so I live with that now. Even though I know it’s BS.. it takes a toll, for someone to be so cruel, to question your whole life. Make you think decades were all lies.

    • During the darkest days after dday, I remember telling a friend that it wasn’t that I wanted to die but that I didn’t know to live anymore. Early on I once told my therapist that I had nothing to live for but my cats & her response was, “Then live for your cats.”

      Never knew I had “poor coping skills” until after ex flew the coop at a record pace after dday.

      • I almost drove off a cliff on the coast of Oregon, but my dog — who I’d flown down there to have a pacemaker put in, to save her life — was in the back seat, and I thought, “Nope, I’m not gonna do that to her, to have asked her to go through all that just so I can kill her along with myself.” It was a tenuous thread, but it kept me on the planet that day. Now, I’m grateful for those damn dogs every minute of every day. (Also, they’re awesome dogs.) 😉

        • One of my cats passed away right before DDay. In fact, it was Jackass’s callousness about her death that started me on the path to uncovering the affair. So I was grieving on top of grieving. But the surviving cat was such a lifeline. And once the school term was over, I adopted a rescue cat who had some special needs and that was a lifesaver. I once had to saw her out of the basement ceiling. She was terrified of everything. But making a safe place for her was also making a safe place for me. Pets are great teachers and such amazing sources of love.

        • I’m sure suicide has crossed almost everyone’s mind after D-day, and more than once.

          A concerned friend asked if I was thinking about it during the worst of the pain, and I told her I might have considered it, but then Cheater would have to raise my 13 yo (and no way in hell would I let that happen).

          Sometimes we live for other people (or pets) until we can live for ourselves.

          • I thought of killing myself 100 times but my little grandkids’ faces kept floating up. Now my cheater daughter won’t let me see them anymore.

          • Well,

            If choosing life doesn’t go to show you how much you are needed on this planet.

            I’m going to be a little selfish here and thank Almighty God, you are all here. With all your insights, humor and antidotes on getting through this glass strewn part of the road of life, my journey on it would have been a hell of a lot harder, longer, guilt ridden and more sad.

            I might have even considered false reconciliation. The horror.

            Instead, the road ahead of that bloody path is looking smoother. My scabby feet are healing and I have all of you to thank for that.

            PS I even love the disagreements. It shows we are alive, opinionated and getting well.

            • This is nice, CJ. Well said. — And it sounds like I might actually get a chance to meet you this fall? That would be nice, too.

              • False reconciliation seems to be almost mandatory in the process….and there was me thinking it was a sign that he still loved me really and that we were an exception to the rule.
                I wish I had been on this site instead of the multitude of “fight for your marriage and recover from infidelity” sites that I haunted in search of answers that rarely exist.

          • Never, ever was remotely suicidal until this. In fact, I used to joke that if anyone ever said I killed myself know it was murder. After Dday, I couldn’t stay in highrise hotels with balconies. Too many thoughts would creep in. Like many here, my children kept me straight. After all they had been through, I could not leave them with the legacy of suicide. My youngest daughter (my bonus baby) saved me in ways she will never know.

    • I think that’s the biggest problem with what are probably well-meaning people. Everybody thinks they know what it would feel like, and aside from being a little jealous about the sex…..it’s just not that big of a deal. WRONG. For all the things I’ve been through in my life (and there were some doozies) nothing gutted and devastated me like that. There is no imagining how bad and on how many levels infidelity hurts. That is what friends need to understand. It really hurts as bad as it looks like it’s hurting.

      • See, this is what I simply don’t get.
        You don’t necessarily need to have gone through someone cheating on you, to have a visceral hatred towards someone who’s taken something that is rightfully yours – and yet, people still have the ‘Its not a big deal its only sex’ crap.

  • Friends urge me to “accept” what happened… I have been in a state of acceptance for about a year, now one year and 8 months from a D-Day that came seemingly out of nowhere – I was a total chump, had no suspicions, till that very night and upon my confronting him, got the “unhappy for many years,” boom he moved out and in with OW that he claimed to have known for only two weeks. After 16 years together. I discovered the serial cheating, which felt like a second betrayal. All the while Ex was out there telling our mutual friends we just drifted apart and he just fell in love with someone better for him. Whitewash.

    Not many people I know, friends, family and others, can understand the surreal nightmare I have lived since that night. A few close people, i.e. my own grown kids, and 3 female friends of mine, are the exception and they have done that by understanding, and just letting me do this at the pace I am capable of. Can’t ask for more than that.

    Since D-Day I have, like most Chumps, been in a struggle for my very survival. Emotional, psychological, financial. Getting “over it” doesn’t happen by flipping a switch. We chumps have done the hard work of re-examining our entire lives, our own faults, our mistakes, etc. to an extent that the “just get over it” crowd cannot even begin to comprehend.

    I’ve come to realize that it’s not their fault that they don’t understand… it’s not intended as a slight towards me, it’s just their limited experience. It’s awkward, so they just don’t invite me anymore. That’s okay. It’s awkward for me too, knowing I can’t talk about what is real in my life with these people. So they really aren’t friends.

    What pisses me off (still) is that people think I’m unreasonable to be protecting my own financial health, that this means I’m being unreasonable somehow. He went scorched earth on me, lying, freeloading, cheating, then discarding me in 5 minutes. It’s valid and legitmate for me to be angry, sad, and yes, realistic – and to protect myself from here on out from someone who had so little respect for me. Real friends understand that.

  • Amazing post today CL. I read posts regularly, but haven’t commented in a long time. This is brilliant advice for anyone trying to understand the torture of being chumped. Hell, it’s brilliant advice for me today. I am now ten years out from separation and subsequent divorce; fifteen years out from D Day. My anger has passed. I’m at meh. Yet, there are times when a sadness overwhelms me. Usually, this is precipitated by being in my old neighborhood (site of family home) or looking through old family photos. Ah well, it passes. I’ve built a great new life and have no regrets. It hasn’t been easy, but can’t help wondering if all the angst didn’t chop several years off my longevity.

    • About a month before Dday last year, I went to see an orthodontist about maybe getting braces. They took a bunch of pictures of my face & teeth. — That plan got derailed, and now I’m thinking of it again and so today they took a bunch more pictures.

      You know those photos of presidents before & after their terms of service? They look a LOT older than the four chronological years that passed, right? That was me. Last year I had a lot fewer grey hairs & worry lines! As Indiana Jones says, “It’s not the years, it’s the mileage.”

      • Ditto with the Grey hair. I am kinda proud of that battle momento. (& I am told that my eyes have lost some shine)

  • “There aren’t a lot of safe places chumps can go with their pain…” Such a true statement. I was chumped 16 years ago; there was no Chumplady then

  • I think I’ve been very lucky in this regard. I have a great therapist in IC. I have friends and family who have either been there directly, or now someone who has (and in some cases, both). Huge showing of support.

    I am still somewhat in my own private hell (despite my STBXW talking about divorce and moving out for months, she is still in the house, and didn’t even read the custody agreement that her lawyer drafted). Nothing but the divorce and time can heal that. But the support has been incredible.

  • I’ve heard all the well meaning lines of friends, which shut me down. It’s a dark hole in my heart that I can’t share with my closest friends. On some levels I’m grateful they don’t understand betrayal but disappointed I have to bury my grief. This site is my outlet and I can’t thank my follow Chumps enough.

  • I was doing yard work yesterday and I discovered another tool my ex took that was mine. I wasn’t surprised but it made me upset. I’m so glad I kicked him to the curb. Being angry made me take action and it is part of healing. No one can tell you a time frame when you should be in a forgiving place. It’s an individual process.

  • One thing I’ve discovered after being the victim/survivor of both physical abuse and adultery ,(by two different husbands) is that these are the two things that most women will feel ashamed about and keep secret. Pretty much anything else will be out in the open but these two things are usually hush hush. Just a couple of weeks ago, a friend announced she had been dealing with “family problems” for months but didn’t give details. Considering our group knows a lot about her family, I’m guessing her husband is a cheater. She’s withdrawn from us right now, but I did send her a message that if she needs to talk, I’m there and nonjudgmental (towards her, not him). Hopefully, if she’s been given the typical bad advice I can steer her here.

  • God Bless you, Chump Lady.

    This post is The Untold Story about infidelity in novels, movies, myths.

    My chumphood initiation was followed by a “positive attitude”, realistic anger, hope and forgiveness. People admired my strength and faith in God. people still said the same well intended but annoying trite things. more often, they quickly drove by the train wreck with morbid curiosity. They avoided me. It was like i had leprosy.

    This social ostracization was a second wave of betrayal and abandonment. My marriage experienced a sudden and traumatic death. My family and life as i knew it were destroyed. Not one casserole arrived on my doorstep. Not one note of encouragement or sympathy came in the mail.

    i hope today’s post gets passed around FB and other social media asap (am not on FB or twitter, but i will send link to friends today). It is education about the reality of infidelity.

    My only addition to how to help a chump is this. The words from friends or family that helped me most during the shock and horror years was:
    I love you. I don’t know why, but hearing or reading this (even in a text) gave me hope. and joy. it somehow helped me remember who i really am. loved. no matter what.

    So when friends or family don’t know what to say or do for the chumps in their life, and are running short on time and energy, maybe simply remind them they are loved <3

    • This is good advice. One of the books I read said that after divorce, many of us go through withdrawal of touch, as well. One book even recommends soliciting hugs from friends. Let’s face it, we were probably told every day “I love you,” and hugged or touched in some way. Now? Nothing.

  • Show up. Yes. Ask about it. Talk about it with her.

    Chris, I know everyone wants a chump to move on. My family definitely wants me to move on. And I have in many outward ways (finished an MBA, got 2 promotions and fat raises at work, moved to a place I can afford in my budget, paid off all of my debt, started a new relationship).

    Notice anything about all of the above? They are *external* ways of moving on. They are not internal. Each of us heals at our own pace, and the internal sh** is the part that’s going on beneath the surface, on and off, for years.

    In my experience, I’ve found it helps when friends and family ask about my past, and about how I’m feeling about my new life, and my feelings about what happened. They know I’m moving on, but they also know that “moving on” does not entirely consist of a checklist. The emotional wounds have to heal, and they can’t heal by being ignored — they have to be discussed and reckoned with.

  • This is a great post. It’s true – people who haven’t been through it have NO IDEA the magnitude of infidelity. I am grateful for all of the support I have received from my family and friends. However, it has been fascinating to notice who “shows up”. My most supportive friends are ones who are either single or who are married; none of whom have been betrayed by infidelity. I think some people are compassionate souls who know what it’s like to be in pain. They care about me and while they haven’t experienced what I am experiencing, they have the ability to access that sympathetic/empathetic part of themselves and reach out to me and be there. And it’s true what Tracy said – sometimes just showing up and being there is enough.

  • Why do the chump cat ladies get such a bad rap?

    You’re finally alone and in your own space with feline friends who understand reciprocity and affection. They don’t hide their out at night antics and their paws don’t let them use your credit cards. What is not to like….

    But this aside, what the non cheated upon don’t understand is that it’s not about people openly and legitimately moving on to a new relationship which happens to most people at some point. It’s the Betrayal. Look the definition up and you get “Expose one’s country, a group, or a person to danger by treacherously giving information to an enemy.” It’s the lying, deception and malevolence that hurts. Especially in relation to intimate and personal information as Cl highlights. It’s realising you’ve been living with a fifth columnist. You’ve been trying to build a future whilst your cheater has been selling it off to the first person who offers them cash in hand (and a blow job).

    Betrayal is a Big Thing. Christianity for example is based on it. Easter is about betrayal, murder and thankfully resurrection (gaining a new life…). I know there’s forgiveness in there too but I’m a cat lady, not a preacher so I’m leaving that. And yeah, cats don’t eat all your chocolate Easter eggs and then tell you the dog ate them.

    • Mikky
      You sound as though you’ve found a good balance. I totally agree about cats. They are always there, affectionate, won’t gaslight anyone, and just walk out when they’ve heard enough.

      I was betrayed, but the OW also took an active part in trying to destroy me. I was in fact an unknowing victim at the time because I had no idea they were meeting behind my back in our marital bed. He was eventually found to be slowly poisoning me, but they couldn’t pin anything on the OW. He deserves her; she is truly disordered and will no doubt harm him in turn.

      The person who really helped me move on was a cop who came to investigate the thefts they perpetrated. He said… You have been cheated on, but you are also a crime victim. Seek help accordingly. He gave me a crisis line number and those early conversations helped me take the situation seriously instead of trying to pretend I would be OK with no support. Sometimes the support of kind strangers is actually better than “friends”.

      Friends are not generally professional counsellors and I would never expect more than a little sympathy from any of them. They have their own hangups and fears and more often than not are only there when the sun is shining.

      • Hi Marci, yes the OW’s role in the betrayal is another aspect that’s hard for the non betrayed to deal with. Mine was a trusted colleague who was also meeting up with my husband without my knowledge. I couldn’t/cant understand how someone could be that two faced- not only to me but to her partner/father of her two young children. Is she disordered? I neither know nor care-she and XH are thankfully no longer in my life

  • I wish I’d have had a friend who cared enough to weather this storm I went through. Even though I reconciled the pain is still there and you have to stuff it down because after all you reconciled. Many people came out to “console” me during the DDay proceedings and they were amusing to the more prurient crowd, but after that it’s as if you have leprosy! Don’t get to close because that cheating shit has cooties!! Thing is I didn’t even dump on them. I think my seemingly closest friends are pissed I reconciled. They didn’t have anything to forgive in him it was all on me so I don’t get it but So be it. I’ve lost so much losing a few friends who have their own opinions of me is the least of my worries.

    You sound like a good friend who truly cares about her friend. I commend you for asking for guidance in this very tortuous phase of life she’s in.

    My suggestions is be kind to her. Do more than just a phone call. Make her get out of the house. Go to a movie, lunch anything. But you also need to know when to give her space. It’s hard I know and a real test of friendship. A BS will test every relationship looking for it’s authenticity. Some folks just aren’t up for the challenge. I get that.

    • Thank you for saying this, tryinghard. I also reconciled (or at least, am reconciling – not sure we are there yet), and this really speaks to me. I deal with things as they come up, and the journey is a long and arduous one…yet it feels as though I am not really able to express any negative feelings about the process, because the reaction seems to be “Well, you stayed, so shut up.” This completely ignores that it IS a process, and deciding to stick around a while to try and work it out doesn’t magically mean forgiveness has happened, nor that everything is all “water under the bridge.” There is a lot of betrayal to work through, regardless of whether one stays or one goes. I would even argue that working through betrayal may actually take a little longer for one who stays…after all, there was no “break up,” which seems like it may come with at least a little ego-boost (for being a badass) in my eyes. That is not to minimize anyone’s pain or journey…I only have my own experience, so I really don’t know.

      It as as though I am not entitled to any lingering pain or uncertainty because I have not divorced him. I don’t doubt that if I had thrown the lying cheaterpants douchenozzle out on his ear and divorced, my friends and family would be all about supporting me through “trying times.” But since I did not do that, the general consensus seems to be to “just get over it already.”

      I don’t actually mention it at all anymore (except in counseling), because I have heard some version of “That is STILL bothering you, huh?” one too many times. From friends and family, including my own mother, and starting a mere MONTH after D-Day. Reconciling with a cheater is definitely a very isolating experience.

      • tryinghard, I hope like Little Mighty Me, you can find a good individual counselor or therapist to work with. Even if you only go once a month, to keep it affordable if insurance won’t cover it, you can unload and process those feelings with someone trained to help you work on your own recovery. I was discarded, so reconciliation was not possible, but therapy is still the place where I make sure I am not stuffing my feelings, and where I get solid strategies for getting stronger and healthier.

      • I am blessed. I have two good friends that I can depend on, who understand that reconciliation is hard.

      • Little Mighty Me, Loved a Jackass, and Working it oot,

        I know I had a choice that many here were not given. And we live with those choices, all of us. And I will never try to compare my pain to anyone else’s pain. I can’t imagine at my age and 35+ years of marriage being anywhere else. My h has been wonderful during reconciliation. I’ve decided it’s impossible to ever “get over it” and so you try to live your life as best you can despite it. It has to be that way for those who divorced as well. No one gets over it. So I’ve learned to NEVER use that phrase to anyone during any difficult stages in life. That said when someone dies I don’t think any one, no matter how callous, would tell a bereaved to get over it or even expect that their grieving process and time is weird and non-deserving of their friendship. Not so with the trauma of infidelity. That is cootieville! Too tacky to talk about in nice company. Jerry Springer stuff to be avoided at all costs and which by the way “Why the Hell didn’t you Kick the SOB out because by God that’s what I would have done, now where did I park my Mercedes???” attitude.

        As I said there’s all the prurient interest when the shit first hits the fan and trust me I gave them A LOT to talk about!!! Literally hundreds of phone calls, but once the “did you really do x,y,z girlfriend you are badass” was over and the real work started yeah I was on my own. LOL one “friend” even said, because I lost a massive amount of weight, that once I lost my last 10 lbs she would invite me to her home in AZ and we would go clubbing!!! REALLY??? You think that’s what I want to do and yes thank you for putting that limit that those last 10lbs really had to go before that invite happened. I don’t know what disgusted me more, the idea of going clubbing or having to lose those last 10 lbs so I could!! So yeah I didn’t have too many real friends from which to choose.

        I never felt I used or dumped on my couple of friends I had during that time. I had a psychologist and a psychiatrist because well you just can’t get enough of a good thing, right??!! My friends asked and I would tell. I was brutally honest. But I never told them my deepest darkest demons such as plan B was suicide. NEVER. Not even sure I told my therapist. They take that shit seriously!! I don’t even know how serious I was about it. All I knew was the last place I wanted to be was the psyche ward so I did buck up. I faked it till I made it and I’m truly almost there after 4 fucking years!!! I could go back to therapy, but what I would like is a true friend. I guess I could pay her to be my friend but isn’t that defeating the purpose? Yes the old friends from “before the affair”, because now EVERYTHING is measured before or after DDay, are mostly gone, both personally and as a couple. My last two left the friendship Dec 2014. Never heard from them again and we had been friends for years. My h blames himself as he believes they disrespected my decision to stay. Who knows. Maybe my pathetic reconciled life just wasn’t interesting enough to warrant being friends any more. It doesn’t matter. Again another relationship disappointment. I truly believed we’d be friends for life–haha–my bad AGAIN 🙂 Or maybe my husband’s betrayal just hit a little too close to home for one as I believe she had an affair a few years ago. I never asked. Figured if she wanted me to know she’d have told me, besides I hated her husband, but I was pretty disgusted she was carrying on with this guy. The other is just smug about her perfect life so maybe I really haven’t lost that much. I’m glad I had my therapists during that time as I had very little else to really help me. Way too much “get over it” attitude from family and friends.

        There is just a whole lot of collateral damage whether you reconcile or divorce. You truly do find out who your friends are and it tickles me in a sad pathetic way that I now see folks who post on these blogs as my “new friends”. I hope you all find peace.

  • Hmm… Chris, you don’t sound like much of a friend to me. A friend wants her friend to find peace and joy. Saying that you don’t want her kids to have to live with her anger doesn’t sound right. Were you hoping CL would side with you and tear your “friend” down publicly? It makes me wonder.

  • Great advise on how to be a true friend CL! I had so many so called “friends” and “family” that just disappeared during my divorce. I haven’t spoken or even seen them for many years. It was hard enough to deal with how the ex was treating me and then just “replacing” me for his new 18 year younger new (very stupid) model. Then dealing the shock of having no one that was there for me during this very dark time in my life. The next shocker was how they (family and friends of mine) were taking his side and still today years later after the divorce they are still in contact with him and the OW. Very sick sick sick people!

    Chris, also I would recommend to study about these NPD individuals and how they fool not only their wives/husbands/partners and kids but to even their family and friends. It sounds like you are being a true true friend and that is wonderful. I’m a true believer that knowledge is power. Read everything you can about Cluster B Personality Disorders and if you have questions ask. This is not only help you but it will help her with her healing process. It will take years but be their for her even if it’s just for a simple hug. Or a day that you and her and the kids curse the living daylights about him and what he has done.

    I knew something was not right about my ex with how he would act and say certain things over the years we were together. Sadly there was not much knowledge that was out there about Personality Disorders and plus there was no internet back then also. But over the past year or so I have learned so much about Personality Disorders that it has really helped me with my healing process, and forgiving myself, and most of all getting to my “Tuesday” (as Chump Lady” writes about). Another great process I have been able to see with this new knowledge is that I have also seen that his family and even some of my family have some level of Cluster B Personality Disorders. Let me express this again KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!!!!!!

    I just discovered a great radio blog that describe in detail how these people act and how they treat everyone in all types relationship (romantic and non-romantic). When I heard this radio blog it fit my situation with the ex to the “T”. This radio blog has become my AHA moment that I needed so much. I’m not sure if it is ok to post the link without Chump Lady’s a-okay but this really did help me “get in the mind” of these NPD people. Now I’m not in no way giving them any excuse but it has helped me with real proven facts about pathological Narcissism and answer the questions about how and why he does things and why he is in contact with my family and friends after so many years. This radio blog and Chump Nation has really helped me with my healing process and the other things I have been studying about Personality Disorders.

    I have been able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together with what happen. I’m no longer in that fog now. It was a very hard time and very very dark time in my life but now the light is showing. I find myself not so pissed off and also not questioning what I did to “cause” what he did. It was no way my fault it’s about HIS disorder. How these people think very dark and it’s about the order and that is all.

    Also another great note those family and friends of “mine” well I have been learning some things about them and KARMA is real people!!!!! KARMA is real….ha!!!!!

        • LMAO! Thank you Nord! I think I’m going to use that as my new name now on this site. If we cannot laugh at ourselves during this terrible time who can we laugh at and plus laughter is the best medicine. Well that is what I heard and also a great bottle of wine or even two at times. ha!

      • Thank you so much CL! I would love to post the link. This really did help me with my healing process.

        This is the link:

        http://www.blogtalkradio.com/relational-harm-reduction/2014/10/24/after-a-pathological-love-relationship-hes-moved-on-and-is-with-someone-new

        It goes into detail on how these cheaters or whatever you want to call them has a cycle/pattern of relationships and how they are always in looking for a new partner or partner(s). I have found that this broadcast to be very powerful and answered so many questions I had for so many years.

        I hope and pray the link above will be able to help others like it has helped me. I am also a chump! *hugs* to everyone and Thank you again CL for letting me post the link and also for your wonderful blog. It has helped me so much also!

  • This was a tricky post for me. Anger is essential in healing and yet… I know people who have moved to Anger Nation and set up housekeeping there. Anger is supposed to be a valuable and necessary tool, not a way of life. I think of it sort of like fire – extremely beneficial, but dangerous too and when out of control, can burn down the city. If one isn’t careful, anger can eventually morph to a chronic pessimism and then bitterness. My ex-husband (not a cheater) has made anger his main personality characteristic. It colors everything he thinks and does, and it’s a tragedy in his life. So I’m cautious about encouraging years of being angry. If anger isn’t propelling a person towards meh and then even further to resurrection and joy, then it all too easily can become a sinkhole of misery that one can have a hell of a time climbing out of.

    • Wren, I agree it’s a balancing act. But I think so many chumps stay stuck because they don’t “do” anger. No one around them allows it, which just makes them MORE angry. I think one of the most healing things you can say to a chump is “I’m sorry. It’s so unfair.” Just acknowledge the injustice. And then I’d follow that up with a vote of confidence in their resiliency.

      The anger thing is difficult to write about, because people label it “bitter” — which is exactly what I do NOT want chumps to become. But I’d MUCH rather a chump be angry than sad and paralyzed. Let the anger fuel you to make changes, to get out, to process this shit.

      But as you point out, don’t get stuck there. I think when you really “trust that they suck” you can eventually stop being angry. They aren’t worth your precious energy. But meh takes time. And anyone who is co-parenting with a cheater IMO has a much longer road to “meh.” It’s hard if you can’t go no contact.

          • So very wise words. Once I could allow my anger I started healing and at the same time could let go of the need for outside approval for his pathetic, unbelievable selfish behavior. With the acceptance of my anger I was able to validate myself. When I finally came to the point to own up to my anger it felt so much better and was so liberating compared to the paralyzing times of sadness and self blame. With my acknowledged anger I was able to realize what a huge investment I had actually made and how much I had worked my ass off to contribute to our relationship without reciprocity. I carried it the whole time ALONE. Like so many chumps here I was a fucking workhorse in this relationship while he sat his ass back, enjoyed „companionship“ as he would call it with his ho-worker and watched me running myself to the ground. Ooohhh, I am starting to fume again writing this down.

            One thing is undeniable, this experience, this kind of betrayal and trauma changes you forever, nothing after D-Day will ever be the same. I am still co-parenting with my serial cheater and we are still living together but I have made it to the point of no return. There was a time when it was easier to lie to myself and I would bounce back to making excuses for him and seeing the unicorn. Now I can loud and clear say, HIS SHITTY CHARACTER IS REAL. Chumps I hereby declare: I am trusting that he really does “suck“. Now it’s just pure enlightenment and a big fat YES to myself and a big fat NO to his fucked up narcissistic, selfish entitled fucked up cake eating daily dosage.

            • big fat NO to his fucked up narcissistic, selfish entitled fucked up cake eating daily dosage.

              That.Is.Awesome.

      • such good advice…
        So many can not deal with the righteous anger of infidelity. I was pregnant when the affair happened. I was angry at so many different aspects of the infidelity. They were so many triggers that would bring up something else to be angry about. But to finally see “meh” at the end of it all is an awesome thing.

  • The thing is, I truly want to “get over it.” It bothers me that I am spending so much time thinking about a man who probably isn’t thinking about me while he’s fucking someone else. But I just can’t get over it. It hurts more acutely than my fathers death. I’m not saying it hurts more than him dying, just that it’s a sharper, more insistent pain coupled with true sadness.

    I guess that’s because my dad was sick for 13 years and we well expected his death. He didn’t want to die and leave us, he didn’t have a choice. So when he died, I honestly didn’t cry deeply about it for a few years. I had become so accustomed to coping with that situation, it was just a dull ache and feeling of loss. Also, I know he loved me and he is kind of always with me.

    By my x doesn’t love me, and I did love him. There should be a pill to make that go away. It really sucks.

    • Hi Jen. I have a problem too with pain that won’t go away. It has made it hard for me to work. I keep trying to “like” my own company, but always the thought creeps in that my wife chose a loser over me (at least he seems like one). It doesn’t seem fair that I have to go through this torture every day, but she doesn’t. I gave so much to our marriage and she threw it all away.

      So even though we are moving forward with the divorce process, I don’t feel strong at all. Quite the opposite in fact, and it’s difficult to get through the day. And nights are hell.

      I’m trying to be positive — and maybe after a while some of my fake positivity will turn into something real. Slowly, but maybe.

        • Agree with Drew. Early days are a horror show and they last longer than you think. But they do come to a close and you will see a light at the end of the tunnel. It sucks, though, no doubt about it.

      • Charles: I’ve followed your story since you first posted. You sound like a kind and patient and contemplative man. What I wish for you is anger. Raw, stomach-clenching anger that is directed toward your STBX, instead of the pain that is directed inward. Once you get to that stage, you know you’re on the path toward healing–a long path, undoubtedly (which will also include pain), but a step in the right direction. You were wronged; let yourself off the hook.

    • i feel my divorce was way worse then death. i lost my daughter in 2012. we were very close. in a way we knew she would pass before i would but i still wasnt ready for it to happen so soon (she was born with elhers danlos) but my husbands betrayal, gaslighting, lies, stone walling, hiding and sneaking around, twisting my words and thoughts and mind f*cking me were soul shattering. i was not the perfect wife but i was honest, loyal and real. i thought he was better then all that, i was wrong. Hell YES, i deserve better. but now i am picking up the pieces and he is “floating thru life” without a single care in the world of the destruction he left behind.

      people just dont understand the injustice of all that. which is why this site is absolutely wonderful. even thou i cant express myself well or say exactly what i am feeling…you all GET it!!

    • Hey, Jen — Sorry, I can’t remember your story & timeline, but I can say that it wasn’t too long ago where I, too, just wanted to be DONE with all the pain. It’s not 100% gone! but it’s a lot more like a dull ache than the previous sharp shooting pain. You’ll get there when YOU are ready. — I can’t even tell you how or why it happened when it did. I think it started when I read a meme that said, “Only a fool trips over that which lies behind him.” Then I started reading a book about abandonment and realized that’s my real problem, not my asshole ex. Now I don’t think about him hardly ever at all. It’s such a relief. You’ll get there.

  • I fell off my bike a couple years ago and I broke my wrist. I had it pinned back together. The surgery and rehab were painful but if giving a choice I rather go through the physical pain than the emotional pain of betrayal.

        • Also, when someone plunges a knife in your back you can have them arrested and sent to prison. And no one asks what you did to make him do it. In cheating, the stabber gets invited to fancy parties for canapés and champagne with his girlfriend who’s young enough to be his daughter & he gets accolades for pursuing his bliss.

  • Spiritually speaking and as an ordained minister, I see adultery as soul rape as I read the Bible.

    Chris, if your friend had been raped and the rapist continued to be in her life because of her kids, would you still respond this way to your friend? I would hope you would see her anger as righteous in light of the wrongs. Such events leave deep wounds and scars. They don’t heal overnight just as a deep physical wound does not. This is a soul wound.

    Also, this is a matter of grief. Your friend is grieving major and traumatic losses. We all grieve our own way. It is important to not force this process. And it does not help to judge her way of grieving. That is not kind, and kindness is sorely needed at this time.

    • Divorce Minister, I like this, ” anger as righteous in light of the wrongs.” And “grieving major and traumatic losses.” My best friends understood this.

  • I know I would have survived whether my friends had “been there” for me or not. But my best friend flew 2000 miles to spend 2 weeks with me in the aftermath of DDay during the polar vortex of 2014. We piled wood and built fires and built leaf beds for the deer and talked about everything. And another friend walked for miles with me during the worst of the gaslighting while I tried to figure out what the hell was happening.

    Not everyone is good with trauma. Not everyone can hang in when a friend’s spouse or child dies. A very close friend of mine died suddenly at age 40 a few years ago. He is deeply missed by many people but as time goes on, fewer and fewer people talk about him. But when I see his mom and his brother, we know we can all talk about missing him and where we are in the process of learning to live with that hole in our lives. The loss of someone we love, whether through death or betrayal, doesn’t heal in the sense of the wound knitting together and disappearing. The hole in our lives left by that event of loss doesn’t go away; we come to terms with it and weave our lives in a different direction. The best of friends know that. Both of the people who were my strong supporters don’t live in the same state now, but I can still call and say “WTF? Jackass is trolling for kibbles with one of my FB friends” and they will listen. And cheer when I block Jackass so the hole he left in my life can’t unravel what I’m weaving now.

    The tricky part is knowing when to say to a friend that it might be time to get some professional help in dealing with the trauma. My friends didn’t have to worry about that; I was already doing therapy, doing the reading, meditating, etc. I think it’s grossly unfair to expect a mother of three kids still in the home to recover the way a single person might, just because managing the kids’ trauma and the financial implications keep chumps in that situation moving at a slower healing pace. There is just so much damage when kids are involved and it is an ongoing thing. Law and Order will occasional have a crime featured that the lawyers argue is “ongoing,” that wasn’t one bad act but rather a bad act that continues into the present. That’s betrayal when it involves a long marriage and kids.

  • My own father said to me – You sure know how to pick ’em!
    Thanks ‘Dad’, when I was 21, I believed his I love you’s, and his -I want to always be together’s, I admit to being gullible. Even more than that, I believed that the world was a good place, and love really means love. I choose to still believe that!
    By the way, my father was a cheater, and left my Mom after 24 years for a much younger co-worker. He’s morally bankrupt, and then he wants to judge my ability to pick a mate. Ridiculous.

  • I can only say that I spent half my life with ex. When he left, a week after Dday, he left me, our three kids (two kids finishing high school and one in college), a house we had built from scratch, and everything else we had spent the last 28 years working towards. Ask me how hard it was to pack up a life’s worth of belongings because your husband (the one you had solemnly made vows with) had made the unilateral decision to blow up your life so he could go fuck his racquetball partner. Ask me how it feels to have an ex go scorched earth on you and the three children you raised together because he needed a narrative? Ask me how I felt when I knew I could not save my home, or live in my community, because I could not afford it and no longer felt safe. Ask me how it feels to discover his old HIV test, two years after he’s had one done. Ask me how it felt to make love with someone who was intent on destroying me? Ask me how my children managed the last years of high school and those early years in college with a man who deigns only to show up when it benefits him. Ask me how they paid for college. Ask me how it felt to have my home foreclosed on, and then vandalized because ex had stopped making the mortgage payment. Ask me how many belongings we had to give/throw away because we couldn’t afford to haul them to storage. Ask my daughters and son what it feels like to be abandoned and have your Dad be that guy who walked out when he’s been a part of your life daily for the last seventeen years? Ask me how it feels to be in line at the food bank or in the hospital with no health insurance? Ask me what it feels like to have every thing you worked hard for taken away. Ask me if I will ever trust anyone again? Ask me what kind of legacy does a cheating lying spouse/father leave the people who once loved and trusted him. I have had many challenges in my life but getting through this has been a test. I recognize my children and I are better off without disordered. I want people in my life, and in theirs, who are good and who treat me and my children well.

      • Amen Drew. Like I said ‘I’ll slap that asshat who said “What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.” Fuck that noise. After surviving cancer and my XH’s cancer I didn’t need anymore ‘life lessons’ at 53 especially getting dumped for the ugliest whore on earth.

        I’m not as angry as I was at first. My rage and sorrow blew my heart up. I’m more or less at Meh now. But the sting of that betrayal is here for life.

        • i might have to fight you for getting dumped for the ugliest whore on earth trophy. chewbacca is downright evil and ugly on the outside and the inside….

          i bet most of us feel that pain.

          • mrsvain…..I have a picture and I can prove she is the UGLIEST whore on earth. Seriously. Not even being mean. This POS wasn’t even a CUTE baby. Ugly on the inside AND outside. I guess that’s why she was reduced to sliming off to skeevy motels and fucking married men trying to get their limp thingies up. Eewww. Not to mention she was married to a perverted Dog Fucker for TWENTY FIVE years prior to becoming the Other Woman. What trash. My XH was impressed by her fancy master’s degree. Bwahahaha.

    • This was very powerful, Drew, and beautifully written. I was thinking about today’s post as I was driving today. I don’t think Chris understands the full extent of what has been utterly destroyed in her friend’s life. It’s everything tangible: the family, the memories, finances, retirement plans, holidays, the house, the pets–everything. And in the middle of the devastation, there are pressing legal, financial, household and parenting crises as well. You make that situation so clear.

    • Sniff, sob, Drew you caught the essence of that so well. The incredible bewilderment, betrayal, confusion, like the ground just opened up and you are in a free fall that never seems to truly end. It does get better and we can and do go on, but I don’t know if that shock and bewilderment will ever fully go away.

    • very well said Drew!! in fact i copied it so i can remember it later.

      “You make that situations so clear” is right!! after being with someone for YEARS, working together with them, believing that you have a common goal in mind and forgiving them all the little slights because you are in it for the long run only to find out that he is not. only to have him walk away and act like you dont exist. losing the things you worked so hard for because of HIS selfish decision!!!!! and then to be told, “well you must have done something for him to walk away” WTF!!! all i did was love him unconditionally, believe in him, want better for him and our kids!!! all i did was sacrifice my needs, wants and wishes for the betterment of the family while he did not!!! all i worked for, cleaned the house, pay the bills, work on the yard, build together, raise the children, cook every single day!!! all i did was the responsible, loving, caring thing while he did not.

      how do you explain that to people? well you just did!!!

    • Drew, and all of you, your pains hit me in the gut! I cannot imagine losing the house I live in or watching my children try to make sense of such selfishness. I am the sister of a chump. He and his children were abandoned when the kids were little but they were old enough to go through the worst grief I have ever witnessed. No one knew where she was. She finally made contact years later but it was too late.
      I hate all those “you will get over it'” platitudes. What is worse is that I knew she wasn’t a good wife so I did not understand his grief. I feel like a shit for not giving him my complete loyalty.
      The only reason I am writing is to tell you how he got past it. It may not help at all. We knew his wife since we were very young. They started “liking” each other in middle school. They dated all the way through college and then married. After a few years he became deathly ill but recovered(it is what eventually killed him) and they got on with their lives. Several children later she told him she was leaving and she left. He admitted that because she had been so adorable, charming, sparkly he was invested in the narrative they had made when still in their teens. He also realized that red flags had been there all along. His grief was so terrible and he was so helpless to help his children. How he survived is that he made himself look at their complete relationship and realized it was all made up. She was/is an empty bucket with a hole in her that will never be filled. He let go of his grief and grabbed hold of anger. It got him through. He had been in that relationship for over twenty years but he finally said she was not worth one more tear and just let go of her. After a few months he started dating. He said he was not looking for anyone he just needed to be out in the world again. He met his second wife, married, had more children and never looked back. He said she was not worth another minute of his time. The first wife, the smart college girl, lives a strange lonely life. His second wife gave him love until the day he died.
      He had no idea about daycare, or how the week went for his children. He worked right through his illness. He got smacked in the face with reality when she left. I don’t know how he did it. I don’t know how you do it. I need to stop commenting since I am not a chump but I am so invested in all of you. I want you to find joy in your lives. If virtual hugs from a stranger help then you have mine.

      • Let Go, your story is a great example of the collateral damage these selfish cheaters do to whole extended families. Your brother’s story is also your story because you witnessed it, learned from it, and can empathize with others going through the same thing. And most of us don’t truly understand grief until we really experience it. And I, for one, was so frozen emotionally that even death had a hard time cracking the emotional shell. But betrayal broke me open to the core, and now I get it about grief of many kinds. It’s a learning process. So I hope you forgive yourself for not knowing what maybe you couldn’t possibly know at the time.

      • Let Go–don’t stop posting. There is always wisdom in your words, and it does help to hear someone’s perspective who saw a damaged marriage from the outside. Eventually we all need to realize that we are in your brother’s shoes–we invented a marriage with a functioning partner that never really was.

        • Thank you all for letting me feel welcome here. This is what I spend time doing. I find every bs blog I can and tell the bloggers to come here. Several people have commented that you are too angry. Huh?!!? You got shit on, your children suffer, some of you are financially devastated and you are too angry. Also they are hip deep in the reconciliation garbage. How do you reconcile an affair. It doesn’t matter if it was 2 weeks or 20 years. However….I will continue to encourage bs to come here. This is the light in the darkness.

    • Drew–you have encapsulated all the pain and horror of having been cheated on in one short paragraph.

  • Dear Chris,

    I commend you for caring about your friend enough to ask this question. I can only share a bit of my story – and then you can decide for yourself how to help your friend.

    I’m almost seven years out from the phone call where my exH informed me he wouldn’t be coming home again – ever. I had given up a great career to help him build his; we had 2 pre-schoolers who were used to being with mommy 24/7, and I loved my husband and being with my children with all my heart. He had lived a terribly traumatic life, and I believed that I could love him enough to heal him, and I had invested almost 15 years in loving him and in building a life together. I had made my interests, my needs, and who I was invisible, and that was my mistake – I own that. But on the day he left (and he left the country shortly after that phone call), every single thing in my life changed.

    I lost my husband to another woman after being told every day that he loved me and that I was the best wife he could have imagined. I had to put my kids in daycare with strangers 10+ hours a day, and my 2 year old son (who we’d adopted less than a year prior) suffered immensely; he had only recently attached to me after quite a struggle, and he then regressed in every way, stopped talking, stopped eating, couldn’t sleep – he suffered panic attacks – a two year old with panic attacks. My 5 year old daughter had to see her mommy fall apart; try to survive with no job and no money; and had to understand that she couldn’t even have an f’ing popsicle because daddy left with all the money, and we had NONE.

    Then the requisite OB/GYN visit after discovereing exH had f’ed multiple women on several continents the whole time we were married. And primary OW is/was a complete whore who may/may not have had HIV. And waiting for those test results, and thinking about maybe being positive, and then having to get your 5 year old HIV tested. Financial issues – that’s another post. You go from being ok/comfortable to having NOTHING. And wondering how you’re going to feed your kids. And pay legal bills; and al the bill collectors are calling about exH’s secret credit cards. And then exH calls and wants a quick divorce (paid for by you) so he can marry OW, and when you admit you don’t have $$ for that, he threatens you and the kids, so now you have a nice, classy protection order. Awesome.

    So eventually you settle into your new normal, and years pass, and things move forward and you start breathing again. ExH doesn’t call, doesn’t visit, and you’re relieved. And you’ve exhausted your well-intentioned friends with all this shit…and they are so very ready for you to move on. And four+ years in – BAM. ExH calls to say he’s moved back to the area; and doesn’t feel like paying four years of accumulated child support, so more threats, new CPO, and your nicely healed life falls apart again, because you have to face this monster in court, and he lies and looks foolish, but now he’s living an hour away, and every once in a while, pops his crazy head up to either tell you he misses you, or threaten to kill you or kidnap your kids. And you have to tell your kids that if they ever see daddy to call “911”, and they can’t go to slumber parties and play dates with people you don’t know well, or you have to explain the whole phycho ex story to strangers. And your kids bedtime prayers have stuff like, “Dear God, someday could I just have a dad who loves me and doesn’t want to hurt me” or “help me God not to ever smash my wife’s head into a window because that’s bad.” And you feel absolutely helpless. And you don’t date much, for the same reason. Because you feel permanently damaged, so you just pray and pray for God to continue to heal and protect you and your kids.

    So that’s why – almost seven years later, I’m “not completely over it”. Most people who have met me since that time know very little of this story – only that I’m divorced and my kids have no contact with their “father”. Older friends and family know more; but this site is a blessing for me – to share this pain with others who truly understand – that the pain might never completely go away. 95% of the time – I feel like I’ve moved forward; I have forgiven him (turned his judgement over to God), but I am constantly wary and on guard, out of necessity. I can never be over it completely, because exH is mentally ill, and at times, sees me as the reason his life is unhappy. Many of these ex’s are the same way, so we can be humming along, and their lives suck, and that somehow is OUR fault. And they take it out on us, or on our kids, and we suffer all over again. Or we wake up on day and realize that we will never have a 50th annivesary, or retire somewhere close to “our kids”, or have many of the things other married people take for granted. Grief in general doesn’t just go aways, it gets pushed to the back of our minds and hearts, and then a song, or a picture brings it crashing down again. That’s a testimony to the hearts of chumps – that we did love, and we did lose, and that our love was worth something – not to our ex’s, but to us. So Chris, folloow CL’s advice, and know that your friend is doing the best that she can. And pray for her healing; and for your ability to be a friend, even when it’s not easy – because the best things in life are never easy, but they are always worth it.

    • Redefining Me, what a hideous person your ex is. Like my mother would say “Some people aren’t worth shooting”/ occasionally one of these psychopaths will spontaneously drop dead, but not nearly often enough.

    • Redefining Me, “The best things in life are never easy.” Don’t we know this! 🙂 I too believe that we are too sacred to waste any more of our time with people who can’t appreciate us. You are Mighty.

    • Redefining Me, you are a very strong woman to have come through this experience with such wisdom and perspective. The one thing I would add, on your behalf, is that as the chumped parent, you have all of the responsibility for your kids–and whether small ones or teenagers, that in itself is a huge weight to carry alone. And for chumped fathers, they often get the terrible experience of having to give up daily time with their kids because of a disordered cheating spouse. And these effects of infidelity and divorce from a disordered person never go away.

    • Hugs to you Redefining Me!! You. Are. Mighty!!!!!

      i think one of the hardest things to do is to have to tell your children that their daddy is a selfish asshole. oh but you cant say it THAT way because you are projecting or alienating, so you have to figure HOW to tell your kids without “putting daddy down”. You have to figure out how to tell a 9 year old boy (or 5 year old girl) what infidelity means when they dont even know what sex means. You have to explain to your children that the man who was always there from the day they were born and who drove them to soccer practice is now NOT allowed to pick them up from school. WHO WANTS TO DO THIS!?!?!

      meanwhile you are having to say things to your children that you NEVER wanted to have to say to them, never expected to say to them and deal with the hurt, anger, pain and tears while your exhole is off in the sunset with his “new” partner. life is super for them, they dont see the destruction they left behind, they did not witness your childrens tears as you put them to bed. it is easy for exhole to “move on” because he is NOT dealing with the tsunami effect that his walking out left, and his “new” girlfriend is making him feel better and forget the “old” family. how fair is that? (another thing you get to explain to your kids) Life is NOT fair.

      dont tell me to “get over it” just because you have zero feelings. (exhole chewbacca loved to call me and tell to get over it, and move on.) i have never hated anyone as much as i do her. so now i am bitter (F*k you)

      we can only do the best we can with what we have been given.

    • Thanks so much everyone – I don’t often feel mighty – but someday I hope to feel hopeful again. Hugs to you all. RDM

  • Saying this from experience however, I think we should also realize that while we have the absolute right to our grief and anger for as long as it takes to feel it, we also have to remember how to be good friends and parents to others. Our grief can feel overwhelming at times and it is the center of our world, I think in some respects we make it the center of our friends and family’s worlds too. Or at least I do too often. Part of our healing is getting out of ourselves and doing for others, or listening to others — giving and receiving. Any friend will be tired of being a shoulder, if your pain prevents you from being there for them too, you know? Kind of like “misery loves company”, it is hard to be there a friend who is happy and not jaded, as it is almost like a stab in the gut for us. I think the idea of faking it until we make it also applies to being a good friend and parent, to try to present for our loved ones without being triggered and letting them know we are triggered — or at least as much as we can. Or at least this something I need to work on myself . .. I don’t think people should tell us to “get over it”, but I think we also need to try to be there for our friends too. If we are starting to hear that from them, maybe we just need to fake it a bit more . .. try to focus on our friends a bit more? They are essentially maybe feeling neglected?

    • I’m in no way excusing my ex’s shitty decisions (or anyone else’s), but you raise an important point. I was all consumed with overcoming unrelated trauma and inadvertently made the trauma and my depression the center of our relationship. In my defense, she acted invincible, didn’t express her needs, and only told me of her level of frustration on her way out the door.

      I was and am in therapy, on medication, and very clear that my issues are my issues. I just needed more support than she ultimately had to give. It’s hard not to feel that I pushed her into leaving and whatever else went with it.

      I would say that any friend who wants to help should recognize the importance of boundaries: be a support, but also let your friend know when you’ve had enough for a while and would like to focus on something else. Don’t tell them they shouldn’t feel how they’re feeling, only that you need a break in order to ensure you can continue to be there when they need you.

  • I just hope I don’t say the same stupid things to friends (God forbid) if this ever happens to them.
    I will never forgive the ones who totally ignored me after it happened or the one’s who refused to take sides. Fuck ’em.

    As Mr. Cock Smooch dropped his wedding ring in his ash tray every morning as he nanced off to meet the Skank Woman Ho Worker…..they canoodled all over campus, slobbered on each other, hid in the bushes sucking face, ate at places that they could be seen and pretty much pretended that I didn’t exist at all. I hate their guts AND their livers. Ugly Skank Woman sleazing off to meet married cheater pants in skeezy motel rooms for a little afternoon sex with his limp dick and bottle of Viagra. Pathetic fucks.

    …and the platitudes!! Don’t get me started! If I ever meet the person who came up with ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ I will slap them for all of us.

    It’s been YEARS…..and I’m not over it YET. Some things you never get over.

    • Syringa, Oh! “If I ever meet the person who came up with ‘What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger’ I will slap them for all of us.” So, so funny, and I couldn’t help laughing out loud. Like us Chumps don’t already graciously handle any of life challenges well anyway. (What else are we going to do, right!?!)

      • I quite like “when you are going through hell then just keep going” as it does not minimise, judge or profess to have a solution. Yes, just keep going at your own pace and through your chosen route. Its like a maze so you will find dead ends and have to turn around. I think that many of us chumps have taken that personal journey to hell and back and finally found that life can still hold good….baby steps…one foot in front of the other…it does not matter if you take a wrong turn….just keep going.

    • Syringa–I’m with you. No forgiveness, and I’ve let my hatred and anger take up the guest room. They can stay as long as they want.

      • Forgiveness is for normal people, who are capable of feeling remorse, empathy and compassion… these arse disordered people, who operate from an entirely different world view, why should they have the benefit of normal forgiveness. They can’t even conceive of what it means or why it would be important. Don’t waste one minute on forgiveness for these idiots.

    • Syringa, I noticed his wedding band on the side if the TV. It sat there for weeks and finally I picked it up and it had been cut with pliers. When I asked him about it he LAUGHED and said funny it broke. God I fucking hate this asshole.

  • CL says: “But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart. That people are capable of casual betrayal. That you can unwittingly invest your life in a fraud.”

    This is the biggest scar left on our hearts, I think. That life isn’t at all what we thought it was. And it’s not only “people” who are capable of casual betrayal: it’s the person we spent decades with, and CHOSE to spend our lives with, and to TRUST and LOVE… THAT’S who did this to us! It’s bad enough if it’s an anonymous hand of fate, like death or illness or injury, but this was an intentional act committed against us by our best friend after many many years living & loving together. — I never knew.

    I would also throw in a vote for Divorce Care groups, since CL mentioned them. I attended one session, though I was wary because I knew it was heavy on the God stuff, and I’m not religious. But I found it helpful, and the people were very nice, and it was free. I elected not to go again because of work-scheduling issues, unfortunately, but I would really recommend it.

    Good luck, Chris — you’re a good friend for trying to find ways to help.

    • NWBiblio, your whole second paragraph. “It’s the person we spent decades with, and CHOSE to spend our lives with, and to TRUST and LOVE…THAT’S who did this to us!” Who the fuck does this, right!?! Like my whole life was a lie. I’m just glad I didn’t end up on the ID channel.

      • Hi Drew, I am an Australian so I am assuming that the ID channel is a crime solving channel? If so, I agree with you completely. After knowing my ex for 45 years and together for 40 years, when I think of the betrayal and damage done by my ex, I could go to jail absolutely. I am a placid person by nature but my ex is the only person who brings out my rage. He has now relocated to south East Asia and he knows he will be safer there (apart from HIV etc.) than to be near me. 🙂

        • Maree, usually it’s the other way around…. The one living a lie and cheating usually gets rid of the spouse a la Scott Peterson (money and true love, don’t you know). Guess Peterson had 12 Viagra tablets in his possession when he was arrested too. Yes, in America, it’s the same Channel. Bad thing is that people do scary things when a relationship breaks up, my ex did a lot of things out of character in those last years together. When Dday came crashing into my life followed by two more years of subtle bullying and scare tactics I realized I did not know my ex well at all.

    • NWBiblio, “It’s bad enough if it’s an anonymous hand of fate, like death or illness or injury, but this was an intentional act committed against us by our best friend after many many years living & loving together.”
      This^^ The intentional act committed against us, is what makes me angry and not able to “get over it” within the time frame that would be good for other people. I told someone once that it was the way he went about abandoning me. The joy that he took in hurting me and the damn cold look in his eye when he sat there smug in his knowledge that he had devalued me and decimated me. That is a lot of hatred to “get over”. But of course x is such a “nice guy”. People are sure that he would not do such a thing, that he has remorse for what “happened” (that anonymous hand of fate, again). If he’s been remorseful he sure as hell has not told me or shown it at all, all I ever see is that his “deserved happiness” hasn’t quit panned out.

      • The joy they take in hurting is one of the most difficult aspects to deal with after it is all over. He actually hated me. I never knew.

      • Exactly DeeL. I was okay (relatively) when I thought EX just needed some time apart to sort out what he wanted (he first said he wasn’t happy, and wanted some time apart to figure it out – fine, I can understand that).

        I was devastated 2 weeks later when he said he was “seeing someone” (and had been for 4-5 months – the official story anyway). In the ensuing weeks he proceeded to deliberately hurt me in both deeds and words. Then, his big emotional choke up was that he had hoped to have the longest marriage in the family (this almost brought him to tears, not that he had hurt me so badly).

        Of course, he is the golden boy that everyone loves and I am the one who should be happy that he is off to find his “bliss” with his coworker. Hey, and the fact that not one single “friend” stuck by me after the first couple of months – even those that I had stuck by when they went thru the exact same thing – yeah, that hasn’t helped either.

        After 33 years of being with someone, and being able to depend on help from him and friends – and now I have to plan weeks or months in advance if I need to drop my car off for work. Nope, see no reason that I shouldn’t be bitter, angry and all the other things that go with being a chump.

    • “This is the biggest scar left on our hearts, I think. That life isn’t at all what we thought it was. And it’s not only “people” who are capable of casual betrayal: it’s the person we spent decades with, and CHOSE to spend our lives with, and to TRUST and LOVE… THAT’S who did this to us! It’s bad enough if it’s an anonymous hand of fate, like death or illness or injury, but this was an intentional act committed against us by our best friend after many many years living & loving together. — I never knew.”

      THIS^^^This^^^^^ and THIS^^^^^!!!! Such true words, NWBiblio!!!

  • “But they’ll always live with a knowledge that the smug and secure don’t live with — that everything can fall apart.”

    Yes. To the depth of my soul “yes”. I miss that safe feeling because we do understand in a terrific way that the world as you know it can fall away in an instant.

  • It drives me crazy that people think anger is something that needs to be stomped out, shoved down, worked through, and gotten rid of at the soonest possible moment. Anger is not a cold, and the objective isn’t to get over it ASAP. Anger serves a purpose. Anger is my friend. It is the only thing that keeps me from giving into the pain and desire and going back to a destructive relationship with a man who continues to treat me (and everyone else in his life) like crap. Anger is the glue that helps me hold onto my dignity, and it is the barrier that keeps me safe from a man who does me harm. Why would I want to eliminate that? He did something worth being angry about, and by god I’m angry!

    My ex cheater told me I should go to therapy to work through my anger. I AM working through my anger, thankyouverymuch. For now, it is my tool. When my life has changed to the point that it no longer serves me, I will discard it. Until then, I am r