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Dear Chump Lady, When does the pain stop?

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desperate_handDear Chump Lady,

Tonight is a hard night for some reason. It has been 11 months since D-Day. And since then stories of other affairs and how long I have been a chump has been trickling in. I finally said I can’t take anymore information and stopped all the asking of how many and how long.

We have been married for 22 years. I thought if I knew when and how and how many that the pain would lessen, but now my thoughts are even more clouded with, “Oh WOW! So this is why this happened, and so this is why he said this and did this.” It’s a never ending of  trying to make sense of something that I can never really make any sense of. I am so tired and wish so much to put all this behind me.

The kicker though is even though with all the lies and the extent and length of the affairs, I am still waiting for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

What is wrong with me? Why can I not see him for who he is and kick him out of my life? Why do I wait for him to call or text me to tell me that he misses me and loves me? I am a total chump and can’t seem to know what is real and not real anymore. The pain continues because I am choosing it and then I ask him to stop my pain by being caring and nice to me. I am so confused and messed up that I feel as though I am going to lose my mind.

Why can’t I understand that he is the root of my pain and that he cannot help me stop the pain? I need help. It’s like all logic goes out the window and I become this pathetic, needy, illogical person. I don’t like myself when I get low like this, but it’s like I am not in control and this other weak person takes over.

Marj

Dear Marj,

My standard answer to “When does the pain stop” is Tuesday. I don’t know which Tuesday, but I assure you that Tuesday is out there and it’s pain-free. Because this infidelity shit is FINITE. I know it doesn’t feel that way now. I know it’s a kick to the gut every time you learn of some new horror. I know it feels like soul death every time he doesn’t comfort you.

But I’m telling you as someone years out from her D-Days, that if you told me my ex was a bisexual, white slaver who held orgies in Sunday schools — I would simply shrug. This is what “meh” feels like. I know he’s a freak.  I don’t really need to know how much of a freak. It’s not really central to my life anymore. I trust that he sucks.

Of course, it was a long time coming to this place and like you I spent a lot of time grieving and puking and getting horrifying details. I spent a lot of time longing for the person who hurt me to put things right. And he didn’t.

Marj, I can’t tell you how many pathetic emails I sent, how many wailing phone calls, how collapsed in grief I was. Let’s start with the emails, because I’m a verbal gerbil. I would send these detailed reconciliation missives. (Because of of course, he didn’t want to divorce, so I thought that meant remorse. I didn’t understand cake then). Just vomiting out my soul to him. Lengthy diatribes in which I would note how very UNsorry he looked. And what we could do to fix that. (I’m sure I cross referenced several Amazon purchases.)

He would reply with one or two sentences tops. Generally along the lines of my grief was very inconvenient to him right now and he had pressing work issues to attend to.

The only time I got emotion from him, was when I made a move to leave. And then he commenced with the wailing and crying and the “remorse.” So then I thought, oh he really is sorry, and that set me up for the next round of D-Days.

Like you, I was waiting for for this guy to wake up and love me and want me.

Here’s the sucker punch, Marj — I already had my answer. I was just in denial about it. His actions very clearly demonstrated that he did NOT love me, he was not going to “wake up” — because he wasn’t in a dream — that is who he WAS. And sure, he did “want me” — but that’s because I was of use to him. And wanting someone is not the same thing as loving them.

Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.

So a couple things had to happen to get past the pain. First, I had to wake up and pay attention to his actions (not his words) and draw the painful conclusions. Second, I had to assert my self-worth.

You should NEVER have to ask someone to be “nice and caring” to you. Especially after they just GUTTED you. Do not beg for the common courtesies that strangers would give you.

Never match a cheater’s misdeeds with your vulnerability. When they hurt you? NEVER show them more of your tender underbelly and hand them the harpoon. No — PROTECT YOURSELF.

Your pain is kibbles to him. He may not want to continue the relationship, or he may stick around to eat cake, but trust me, he is enjoying the centrality and the drama. My how powerful he is! How desired!

And Marj, that shit should piss you off. Do NOT give him the satisfaction of your grief. You want the pain to stop? You start drawing boundaries with him this minute. You take back control. You go see a lawyer. If you feel you can’t assert boundaries, you go find a therapist who will show you how.

It’s okay to feel weak, it’s NOT okay to not feel in control. As hurt as you are, you are still the master of your ship. You still control you. You still have choices. It’s time to start exercising them. Assert your self-worth. You’re not kibbles, you’re a fucking woman — his spouse of 22 years and you deserve respect! And if he doesn’t have the decency to treat you with kindness and caring, especially after he BETRAYED you? He can find his shit on the lawn in Hefty bags.

You are going to grieve 22 years, no question. But don’t do it in front of him. You can’t properly get past this until you go no contact with the man who is hurting you. And you can’t start to heal until you start to protect yourself. So my advice to you is start bagging his shit for the lawn. Take a little of your own back. You’d be amazed how it lifts the spirits.

This post ran previously. Feel free to comment! 

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I know this is an older post but….wow! I’ve been wanting to write to ask this same question. Word for word. Same length of marriage. Don’t remember if you mentioned kids. We have two ‘almost’ adults. The only difference is the 2 1/2 year old he brought into the world with the…word I won’t use here. I hate them both for this but still feel the same way you do. I’m a wreck. And I go to therapy. Thank you for writing and saying what I haven’t been able to put on paper. And thank you Chump Lady!

    • I am commenting using my new moniker – chumpy queen. I come with a message of hope as one of the super chumps who took five years from d day, and a whole pile of crap, to get to today when I have moments, and sometimes even whole days, of what the glorious, wonderful
      CL calls meh (not used in my part of the world, but I get it.) My heart goes out to you swept off.. – I was in a 20+ year marriage too and it does feel like you’re being torn apart by a wolf pack in the high Siberian steppe as you peel back the layers and discover the years of deceit and destruction. CL is right – as usual 🙂 focus on what they do, not what they say and the conjurer’s wand will start to diminish in power. My moment of absolute clarity came when faced with irrefutable proof that my ex had stolen money from the kids and I. This site validated my insights and still gives me daily strength to trudge on to meh, never looking back, never kidding myself it was not that bad. It WILL get better – stay with us – we have your back!!

    • SweptOffHerFeet…then under the rug, it’s interesting that we like to think that our story is unique, but the fact is that we all share a common thread, cliche husbands. They wind their web of betrayal around our necks and we grasp for the tiniest bit of air to stay alive. I am sorry that you are going through the same hardship as I. It has been close to 2 years now and I have left him 4 or 5 times (lost count), but he keeps manipulating me back, and I am a sucker every time. Hope you stay strong and do what is right for you. I am trying everyday and hope to be free of him very soon!!!

  • The miracle is how, once you’ve created space and distance and gone as much “no contact” as possible, you start to see things more clearly. I was discarded without so much as a backward look, but that made it a lot easier to see that the “relationship” was largely in my own mind. I still have moments where I think about Jackass but I know longer wish he would come to his senses and “love me and want me.” He’s hollow. He can’t do love and commitment. He’s a liar, a cheater, a thief, and a con artist. And I am starting to see that I’d rather live alone than live a life where nothing is real–a life in which I am throwing away my love, my time, my energy, and my resources on someone who will get his head turned at a funeral by a married woman who has pretty much nothing to offer but adoration of his seeming greatness.

    • I think that’s so important–nobody can heal, nobody can reach true happiness, until they address reality.

      That doesn’t start until you unhook yourself from this person who isn’t real, whom you are seeing and hearing through heavy-duty FILTERS of your own making. You can’t hear what he is SAYING, until you walk away and cleanse him from your life. No, you hear what he SOUNDS LIKE after you interpret and spackle as you’ve always done for him.

      I think a lot of life’s pain and depression comes from not aligning your reality with what is real. Living in an imaginary world of hope and obfuscation is BAD for you. It’s life-sapping. It’s heavy, and it drags you down.

      And being with a cheater is a complete mind-fuck.

      It takes a while to unscramble your brain after living with a cheater–and the only way to do it is to RESET by getting away, and processing what happened to you, and figuring out why you let the lies and insults into your life.

      It hurts like a mother–like ripping off a Band-Aid–but it’s so much better than being suffocated. Plus, you’ll start off by being impressed with your own initiative, that you had the GUTS and the INTEGRITY to DO SOMETHING about your situation–to kick that ass out of your life. And you grow from this, and you start to see the whole world differently, and the world starts to see YOU differently, too. Honestly.

      You have to hit the re-set button. And you have to go no-contact for a very long time, so he doesn’t have the chance to recontaminate your brain. Because the only way you know how to relate to him–let’s face it–is by excusing and appealing and begging. Dance pretty for him or insult him–it’s all the same to him. He won’t change. You have to change. You have to get far away from him and his effect on you. One day you will possess your own UBT, but not until you refuse to allow him to manipulate you–not until you refuse to be manipulated by yourself.

      Four years out for me, and this one aspect of my life is still painful. But that’s just 1% of the pie chart. The rest of my life is filled with deciding for myself what I want, and a lot of awesomeness that makes me truly happy. The most painful time for me was the month and a half that he lived in the family home, while putting her first in his life. I cannot imagine living like that for any longer than I did–it was eviscerating pain. It was humiliating and demoralizing, and very confusing to me at the time. I couldn’t breathe. Things got a lot better after he took his trash out of MY and my kids’ home. Every time I threw more of his crap into a cardboard box on the front porch for him to pick up–that was a purging, empowering feeling. I only wish I’d have thought to use the cheapest, thinnest black plastic bags I could find. Perhaps that’s my biggest regret. 🙂

      • I did that. Found the cheapest store brand plastic bags I could get my hands on – in the smallest size – then overpacked them with loads of heavy stuff at the bottom. Every single one of them broke. I was amused, and don’t care how childish it was.

      • Miss Sunshine!

        Your screen name is so appropo! Your words of acquired wisdom you so lovingly dispensed this day are truly rays of sunshine in the be-darkened valley of cheaterville! (from which most of us have, thankfully, now escaped!!!)

        So much appreciate that you shared your thoughts, your experiences, your tactics, your revelations, your ‘ah ha’s’ with this Nation today! I, too, experienced much of what you shared.

        These cheaters are SOOOOO common! They do so many of the very same things! Yes, remember, even defects follow a pattern.. Your comments are another FINE example of why I am eternally grateful for being a part of this amazing collection of kick-butt humans!

        (And, the conversation that followed about el-cheapo, bursting crap bags gave me a good laugh!!! All ya all are so silly! Love it!!)

        Forge on, Sunshine! ForgeOn, Nation! Love to all……..

      • “That doesn’t start until you unhook yourself from this person who isn’t real, whom you are seeing and hearing through heavy-duty FILTERS of your own making. You can’t hear what he is SAYING, until you walk away and cleanse him from your life. No, you hear what he SOUNDS LIKE after you interpret and spackle as you’ve always done for him.”

        Bravo, Miss Sunshine – you nailed it!

  • I really needed this today! My ex is coming on Tuesday, go figure, to pick up his trash finally! It’s only been packed up for a little over two years. I plan on packing up every last bit of dirty, dusty crap that he so values and let him move it to her tiny condo in Florida! Nice cleaning for my home and she can figure out what to do with the hoard of useless shit( this would include him!). Wait till she gets a load of that crap! They can “bond” together going through the trash and if she can talk him into dumping any of it (good luck) then I’ll let her pay the garbage bill! Mine can’t tell the truth if his life depended on it. I asked him if he got a job in Florida and if he was moving not more than a week ago. He lied and said no. Then he texts me his new iPhone number???? WTF? Like I care! The disrespect is phenomenal! Oh well, I keep repeating the phrase someone used here constantly, I’m going to give him the life he wanted so I can have the life I deserve! Forty one years of my life wasted on a man who swears he “fell in love” in a hotel room with his married Facebook Schmoopie in three days!! Seriously? Good riddance! He’s a 60 year old broke ass and broke man. I wish her luck!

    • That’s so incredibly F*cked up. 3 days!!!! ROTFLMAO. Good luck to schmoopie indeed, we should pity her, she’s so dumb she’s believing his bull. But I don’t pity her, or any of the other OP that knowingly involve themselves with another person’s spouse. Trash is what they are… plain and simple. I am sorry Roberta this happened to you but you sound mighty. Your mightiness helps me be mighty.

      • Roberta – just know that the douchebag WILL NOT take all of that shit when he comes on Tuesday. He’ll “not have enough room for it,” or “didn’t plan on taking it all right now,” bullshit. I put up with it for too f-ing long. Tell him:

        “Not my problem. You’ve had XX years to figure out your situation. Whatever you don’t take today will be outside the garage by Wednesday, and what’s left is at the curb by Friday for garbage day. See ya.” Then walk away!

        I know b/c it was the ONLY way to get the x-douchebag to take his shit. I told him, “Not my problem. You’ve had over two years to plan your exit and it’s not my problem that you didn’t.” Then I gave the time line and the shit was gone from my property QUICK.

        What can we always count on?? They NEVER fail to dissapoint. Have your time line ready, then do it. He sucks and you need that shit away from you. Too much negative and evil energy.

        xoxo

    • I got a chuckle reading about you packing up garbage. I recently packed my ex’s treasure trove of extension chords, random nuts and screws and other assorted junk e.g. broken fish lamp he refused to get rid of. Trust me your home will look so better without the crap. Enjoy your new décor MOW.

      • Thanks everyone! I’m positive I will enjoy my new decor. I’m not so sure about the OW though, first she’ll have to make enough room in her 950 Sq.ft. Fuck pad!! Then she’ll finally have “her man” full time. It should be very interesting because she hasn’t had a man there 7 days a week in years as her ex traveled all but four days out of each month for years!!! Then he would supposedly come home and beat her!! Yeah..…,..right! Dumbshit apparently couldn’t find the front door and a women’s shelter at the very least In 28 years of her marriage???? Can you say lying drama queen ?? Yeah! I believe I will get to the point where I really really don’t give a shit! I’m working on it!

        • Oh, MAN! I would love to be a fly on the wall when McCheaterpants shows up with all his junk to move into her place.
          Oh, can you imagine the fights that’s going to cause.

          And your house is going to look AWESOME! That is a HUGE part of the healing–reclaiming your space for YOU, and decorating as you see fit.

          • What is it with these men with their need to surround themselves with crap? Having a beautiful home after 27 years of putting up with living surrounded by husband’s mess, is really helping me on the way to Meh.

          • Yes! I spent way too long surrounded by piled-high ashtrays, and such bizarre ‘collectable’ junk, and hundreds of extension cords- Ugh! Can you believe I was going to school for interior design at the same time? Life was so strange then!
            But now, my space is my own, and everything is clean, clean, clean. I never want to live in a filthy mess again, and I’m not really sure if I want to co-habit again.

  • “Every horrifying detail just solidified that reality that I needed to grasp. He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.” This-OMG-so THIS!

    Words that should be tattooed on every chump’s forehead. Of course for the male chumps, just change the pronoun to “she.”

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, when someone you’re in a committed relationship with, sleeps with someone who isn’t you, they are just not that into you anymore or maybe they never were. That’s their problem so if that someone is stupid enough to walk away, be smart enough to let them go.

    Grieving is still part of the process; no doubt, but once you accept these undeniable truths then it gets much easier to heal.

    • This is the hardest part to accept Cheaterssuck! Especially after you gave every bit of yourself and then some! To find out you wasted years and years of your life believing that your spouse was on the same page as you were, but to find out (totally blindsided) that they were just using the shit out of you! God that angers me! And they just don’t give a rats ass! All I can hope for is that he does the same to her one day or she screws him over just like she did her ex husband! Please Karma, arrive already!

    • Cheaterssuck, this sentence you wrote is powerful:
      “When someone you’re in a committed relationship with, sleeps with someone who isn’t you, they are just not that into you anymore or maybe they never were. That’s their problem so if that someone is stupid enough to walk away, be smart enough to let them go.”
      So simple, and so well put. Thank you !

      • Amen, if they want to leave then let them go! It took me so long, too long, to realize I was trying to hold on to something useless! They are never going to be the same person you knew after they “sleep” with some bottom feeder! They become very addicted to the idea that there is some kind of wonderful life they will miss out on with the paramour if they stay with you. I just won’t deal with that. If the fantasy seems more attractive to him than the reality of our marriage then by all means, go for it! I believe it will eventually reveal itself to be all smoke and mirrors, but I’ll never convince Mr. Cheater. Let them have the “dream”. They are like immature children. Remember as a child when you would want something so bad and you would do all sorts of things to convince your parents that you would be so happy if only you could have this one special thing? I do. And I also remember that once my parents gave in and I had that “dream” item, it soon lost its luster after a few days of playing with it. Then you only played with it so your parents wouldn’t be pissed that they spent so much money getting it for you! But once you were able to put it on a shelf for good, you were relieved? Apply that to your Cheaters! Same concept! I’m certain of it! And I still think back to the times when I shamelessly campaigned for some desired item that my parents had to spend money on to make me “happy”, but now I feel shame at having been such a brat and realize how much my parents sacrificed for my so-called momentary “happiness”! Same thing with our spoiled cheaters!

  • /T*+-his article really resonated with me. Since this was previously published, I wonder how Marj is doing now. Has Tuesday arrived? I hope so. I would love to hear that she is living a happy cheater free life. I have wondered many times how much longer will this pain go on? My husband left about 8 months ago. I keep hoping that each step will be the one that heals me. I filed after he had been gone 8 days. I thought making the decision would help. About month before court, my husband asked to come home. Thanks to CN and supportive family and friends, I avoided false reconciliation by seeing his complete lack of remorse. I thought if I had the chance to reject him, I would feel better, but I didn’t. Instead I just saw even more clearly how little I meant to him. My divorce has been final for a few weeks. I guess I thought that by the time I was divorced I would be in a much better place and may be even relieved to be done with it. I feel like now that I am officially divorced I feel pressure to be over it already. I have a little contact with ex as possible with our visitation schedule. With the exception of crying all the way through court, I do not make any effort to share my pain with him. I am doing well at not showing him my grief, but I secret hope that he would care is still there. I have to keep reminding myself he doesn’t. Please tell me all this will eventually succeed in ending the pain. Any advice on what to do AFTER you leave the cheater would be appreciated.

    • Middle……Pray and surround yourself with supportive, key word supportive, family and friends as much as possible, go out and listen to music, and watch funny movies.

    • MiddleoftheRide–They don’t care. They sometimes pretend to care when it will net them some advantage (like your pity), but they are hollow garbage cans (to borrow TheClip’s metaphor).

      Write down every awful thing the fucktard did–divide it into 2 or 3 lists if necessary. Carry one of the lists around at all times and read it every time you start pining for him, or [mis]remember the good times. Anger is your friend right now, and nothing like accurate records of their evil, thoughtless deeds to propel you into healing territory.

      • Follow Tempest’s advice. I did this, and it was extremely helpful to me. Make a list of all the lies and other inconsistencies. All the times he was unavailable emotionally, or intentionally cruel. I called my list “Why I’ll Never Go Back.” At the top of the list was the pain he dealt to my CHILDREN. Near the top was that I sure as HELL was never going to be his back-up Plan B when the love of his life turned out to be less that the perfection he’d thought she was. I wasn’t put on this earth to serve HIM. Oh, HELL no! How about the callousness of having sex with her and with me, unprotected. How about the giant “FUCK YOU” he dealt me behind my back every time he lied or hid the truth, or fucked her in our family car. How about the waste of money on attorney’s fees. Every time he refused to tell me that I was a good mother.

        You have such a list–what makes you justifiably angry? Be specific. Write it down. Do NOT share this with him, of course.

        Naturally, we all want to be partnered, and the closest “partner” we thought we had is the one who walked away. So, naturally, we feel a connection with that person, and our minds drift to all the good times (so we thought). But we need to remind ourselves of the truth.

        I also made a list of all the things I personally didn’t like about him, that’d I’d overlooked for one-sided love. That’s a good list, too. These are some petty things, were it not for the fact that he’s also a giant asshole.

        • Thank you guys so much. I really needed these supplies today. Ironically, after I posted about how well I am doing at minimal contact I completely backslided today.The ex called wanting to adjust visitation this week based on his new job. I was about to accommodate him too. (Chump much?) when he also added that instead of letting me keep the kids during the day during his weeks in the summer he was going to pay MOW to do it. I did every on the No No list. I begged. Tried to reason with him. Argued and cried. He blameshifted everything on me. Said I might be an okay mom, but I was no kind of wife and that he misses the kids everyday but I forced his hand and made him leave because I am a miserable person who makes everyone miserable. Also, he is supposed to get the kids at five. He says he can no longer accommodate that with his “new” job. And now MOW will be the one picking up kids for visitation. Why did he fight for all this time if he is not going to use it?

          • Hang in there Middle Of The Ride–he asked for all that time because it feeds his image of himself as a loving father. It is bullshit. He also knows that depriving you of the kids and placing them with MOW ticks you off. And ticking you off is an ego boost. Try not to let him see your pain (but forgive yourself if you do slip up–watching your children get used as pawns by a jackass remains the hardest part for me too). This too shall pass. MOW will get tired of it. Or the kids will get tired and he’ll get an earful. Or he’ll get tired of paying MOW.

            Also, keep documenting. Document the changes he requests. Document who is watching the kids during his time. Document anything uncivil or worrisome that occurs. If changing the custodial situation ever becomes necessary, you’ll want to have evidence of exactly how high a priority he has made his kids. You might never get to use it, but if you do, you’ll be glad you have records going back for months or years. He’ll sputter at the judge and you’ll have dates and times at your finger tips.

            • Thanks so much for your reply. You are absolutely right. It is so hard to deal with him using the kids, especially when he acts as if they are his greatest concern. I hate that I lost my cool. He was so eerily calm as though I am just some nut. Sometimes when he hits me with his “this is about the kids act.” I catch myself believing him and wondering if I am the just being crazy and bitter as he says. I mean he says these horrible things but calmly and in a pleasant tone. But then I remember he can be calm b/c he does not feel things properly. Trust that he sucks. I must remind myself again and again. Hopefully one day I will get it.

              • Ok, we need to go back to basics with you, mamacita.

                No more communication via telephone with him. It’s all e-mail or text from now on. Because if I were you, BOY, I sure would like that shit about him giving MOW money to pick up your kids in WRITING.

                He’s going to pay MOW in fabulousness, you do realize? He ain’t paying her no MONEY, don’t be silly. Not for long.

                Next time he calls, if you are driving or busy you do NOT answer the phone. When it is safe, you send him a text: “Can’t talk right now.” He will text you back. AVOID him like the manipulative puppet master that he’s used to being. You will NOT text him back with any more than TWO words, MAX. And most of the time you can bet that you can IGNORE his texts–but do keep them for the judge. If you MUST reply, such as if he says, “MOW pig is picking up the kids at 7:30.” You reply, “K.” If he texts, “Are you coming or WHAT?? You’re always late!” You reply, “10 minutes.” And then you call your best friend to scream about what an ASSHOLE he is!!

                Time for you to take back your power.

                With e-mail, you can shake and cry in the privacy of your own home, write up a reply, put it in the draft folder, and think on it. Or have someone you trust edit it down to only the essentials. TWO sentences. Facts only. No begging, no pleading, no demanding, no outrage. Not a drop. Just facts.

                So how about this.

                E-mail him today with just this, “Just so I have this right–would you please repeat what is the new custody arrangement you’re requesting.” It will be good to have this in writing, along with all the language he will add that makes him look like a complete jerk.

                That’s IT. Any reply back to him MUST be DEVOID of any emotion–FACTS only. NOTHING that will be used against you in a family court.
                YOU will check to be certain that his request is compatible with YOUR schedule, and you will favor any arrangement that gives you MORE time with the kids.

                Start keeping a calendar that is ONLY for time-keeping for pick-ups and drop-offs, and anything else noted, such as whether HE or MOW picked up and had the kids.

                If his new job is paying more, he might be on the hook for more CP, and he knows this, and this is why he’s trying to keep your babies from you.

          • OMG, YES!!! I totally went through that with my XH1– the first 6 months after he threw me aside to search for the golden pu**y, I had the kids every day after school, took care of them for homework, laundry, cooking, then EH would swing by on his way home from work- so, as far as “no contact” didn’t get so far, but as far as the kids were concerned, it was great!!! THEN, EH’s Schmoopie “didn’t like” him being in such contact with me…then I met my now-STBXH2, got engaged to him, then EH1 decided to be a fucking asshole and allowed Schmoopie’s Mom to take care of our children after-school…totally devastated me- so much for “open, liberal, equal parenting time”!!!! Such a mind-fuck!!!

            That was 2003, and YES- I promise you, it DOES get better!!! Your Tuesday will come!!!

            I have been over my EH1 for yearsssssssssssssss, but our children- now almost grown, and grown (22, 16) — STILL have issues with BOTH of us as parents— but mostly because their father is a total “Godly” man with a short temper and a quick mouth— the verbal abuse I had to put up with before, during, and for a while after the divorce– unfortunately for our children, they’ve ended up the ones that has had to listen to his shit….

            For everything EH1 has/had done to me, the scars left on our children will never be forgiven…Just so you know— within months of divorcing me, my ex-husband was at my house getting the kids one afternoon when he looked at me and asked me, “Do you miss me?” To which I responded in less than a split-second, “NOPE!”…To this day, my EH has said that throwing me away was the biggest mistake of his life…he has spent years apologizing to the children for ruining our family and throwing their mom away….whereas me, on the other hand, just smile and say, “Yep! I told you so!!!”

            So, to answer your question, YES! They do figure it out eventually and will either admit it and try to move on as co-parents as best as possible, or they do figure it out and will never admit it…or there are the rest that will NEVER get it and live the rest of their lives acting/thinking/believing that they are the shiznit and no one will ever match their awesomeness…Mind-fuckers!!!!

    • Middle- I just celebrated the one year anniversary of my divorce. I look at the day as a second birthday. The last past year I was like a fetus, developing, growing, becoming the person I am today. Growing pains can suck, but after you get to the other side and take your first breath, the feeling of being alive is amazing. My spirit was dying for years, grasping to breath. Like Tempest, I too have a “list” I revisit whenever I need it, which is fewer and longer in between than a year ago. Remember this is a process, but it’s YOUR process and that makes it all the more beautiful. Good luck to you and may your healing be swift. Never forget how mighty you are.

      • “My spirit was dying for years…..” That so resonates with me, how well put! I too did lists, haven’t looked at them in quite a while but they were helpful when I needed a reminder. Now I trust that he sucks but still have moments when I miss what I thought I had. When I learned mine had married the OW, it didn’t bother me, I had expected it. That helped me feel I was making progress.

        Really seeing that they are what they are and that they will never change helped me too. He will be the piece of shit to her eventually if not already. The difference this time is that he married a piece of shit just like himself.

      • The decree date & the 1st, 2nd & almost 3rd year anniversary are dates I never celebrate (he filed just weeks after running away after dday). I was blindsided after 24+ married & 26+ together. I guess the problem was that he was my everything (no kids & most of my close family are deceased). As I’ve said on the forum before, I’m still bewildered & sad but not in denial that he,as a cheater, SUCKS.

        • Yes! I finally came to trust that he sucks! And he’s the whores problem now. Not mine. My life is peaceful I still hurt and I know it takes years for this shit to stop hurting. Peace and contentment all I require now.

        • Just like you, I trusted him to become my everything, as relatives are getting old and dying, and we have no children. On top of that, he managed to dislike most of my friends, and bring none of his into the picture to replace them. I did not make new friends because I was too busy with our home, where he did not do much. Isolation makes it all the harder to get rid of him after his apalling behavior. Our neighbors are old people, and our home is in a village. I feel so empty and lonely. I have a great job and this is a touristy area, but I have no friends. If I had a thick address book like in my thirties, it would not be so hard to kick his not-sorry ass.

        • Being chumped after a long term marriage is a special form of hell. If you are like most people, you planned for that time together “after” and after is never to be. Like you, I am completely at peace with the fact that my marriage is over. What I continue to have difficulty with is deciding how to spend the rest of my life. I will NEVER be part of a romantic relationship again. I just cannot expose myself to even the potential of the kind of pain I experienced in my marriage. Plus, my view of people is such that I would not make for very good company.

          So, I am compelled to find another way and that is the toughest part. I also have a good job, that I have really enjoyed, but I can realistically expect to keep at it for 5-7 years. I have some thoughts about what I want to do, but I am still raising my kids, helping them with college tuition, etc., so I am not yet in a position to put my needs first. I find myself still in limbo. Having reached Tuesday (mostly), I wonder, “Now what?”

          I am beginning to realize that the next phase of my life is entirely up to me but, having put everyone else’s needs ahead of mine for so long, I am having a very difficult time even knowing what it is I want! And when I do put myself first, people are quick to point out how selfish I’ve become. I feel like I can’t win and so I mostly just work to occupy my time. If it is true that emotional numbness is worse than pain, I am in big trouble.

          • Violet, there are a lot of correspondence courses out there. They did not exist 15 years ago. Maybe you will recall that there was something you really loved to do, for which you were gifted, that you stopped doing at some point.
            In my case, after a burnout I attended a workshop about “the internal child”, and it led me to subscribe to an art school by correspondence. It was such an enjoyment, I wondered, why didn’t I do it before ?
            Therapy groups are the best.

    • Middle, eight months isn’t all that long. I was not married to Jackass, and I remember asking my therapist a month or two after DDay (and about 5 months after the big discard and gaslighting began) when I would be ready to date again. (I was still back in “I need a man” stage then). She laughed and told me not for a year, if that. Now I’m 20 months from the start of the discard and don’t think about Jackass much, except when I write about things here. My life, my attitude, my perspectives are all so different. I not only gained a life, I gained a meaningful one. Not sure now whether I would ever be able to live with a man again, not because I don’t trust people (etc.) but because there is so much more I need to know about myself before I will be ready for that.

      What worked for me was a total commitment to figuring out who I am, what kind of life I want, and how to get it. I am still surprising myself as I add new things that make me happy or challenge me. I don’t think it matters what you do, so long as your goal is to know who you are, what you want, and what makes you happy. And by “what you want and makes you happy,” I mean outside of a relationship with another person.

      You know what you don’t want, and you were indeed mighty to get out of that mess without falling for false reconciliation. Now you get the fun of figuring out what you do want. 🙂

  • I remember this phase, realising that so many ‘happy’ memories were created while he had a whole ‘nother life going on that me and the kids knew nothing about.

    It took a long time to come to terms with it and I couldn’t talk about or look at pictures from so many occasions. Now, it’s not a problem. I can see that me and the kids were happy and he was wearing his mask, which I can see through easily these days.

    • Nord, it took me a long time to realize as well that “happy” memories did not really exist. Just like the man I thought I married 31 years ago never existed either. I don’t really like looking at any pics of our life so for now I don’t. The disclosure that put me over the edge a year ago and gave me the courage to file for divorce was him admitting to me that the night my 3rd child was born (a son, now 25) he went home and rented pornography and celebrated with “himself”, I did puke, it crushed me to no end to realize the depth of this empty man.

      Its taken along time to cut loose and Im working on it as the divorce process moves forward. He is NOT going to be my problem anymore. He is not capable of true love, its all been FAKE but the mask is off now.

  • Marj, I feel your pain. Just this morning I outlined to mine what my needs were, he barely even acknowledged me.. my needs, my pain, my frustration, my feelings… they are all big inconveniences to him. Every time I bring up suspicious behavior, instead of validating my feelings and trying to make me feel safe, he turns the blame back on me. When I said he wasn’t meeting my needs, he said “You aren’t meeting my needs”… How? I said. Then I proceed to tell him how I had pretzeled to do just that… then he shuts down.

    Basically the bottom line is he wants me to shut up about it so he can eat cake and be the victim in all this. He wants me to trust him and take his word at face value even though he’s lied repeatedly. He wants me to buy his explanations of his “just a friend” hobag, just because “he says so”. He does nothing to make me feel secure in the marriage, nothing to show he care about me at all.

    You know why? Because he doesn’t. The hobag is actually more important to him and he doesn’t have the damn guts to admit it. And when I assert myself, he blames me for the results. When we split, it will all be my fault. He’ll blame me to his family, our kids, friends… but those who love and know me will know the truth.

    You aren’t alone Marj, these guys follow similar scripts and we all want to believe our cases are different. I smoked the hopium pipe for a long time. Still dabble from time to time.. but today, when I had to ask him for affection, I realized that this was the end of the line.

    I want someone to love me not out of obligation, but out of true feeling. I don’t trust him because he’s lied about his feelings, among other things.. just a few weeks ago proclaiming his love, now refusing affection. How can you trust someone whose word you cannot put in the bank?

    Trust that he sucks. You will be okay. We are here for you.

    • newchumpatl……..I know this pain too. I can’t tell you how many times I brought up to the POS that he doesn’t even kiss me anymore. Surpisingly (NOT), he said, he didn’t think that was accurate and he hadn’t really noticed he was alienating me.
      You know….it was all in my head.

    • Newchumpatl–you can’t get blood from a turnip. He will no sooner meet your needs than I will sprout wings and an eagle’s head. YOU meet your needs; get out. The longer you stay trying to negotiate with the disordered, the weaker you get and the stronger they get.

    • Newchumpatl, I’m pretty sure the new ho bag isn’t actually important to him either. I figured out the only one of any importance to them is themselves. Everyone else is interchangeable, as long as they don’t see the Cheater for what they are. After that, watch out….

  • It’s been roughly 2 years since dday. It took about 5 months until I contacted a lawyer. I am in the ‘thick’ of divorce now. My cheater didn’t want a divorce either. Not because he ‘loved’ me (He hasn’t told me he loves me in over 15 years because he doesn’t want to get hurt again from the ficticious affair I had 15 years ago. Moron) but because my income allowed him to buy vehicles, and SHIT – like 2 pool tables that sit in a shed. I made sure the bills were paid while he was out drinking and playing pool 5 nights a week. I took the time off of work to attend the kids’ school functions because he needed to save his vacation time for weekend pool tournaments at the casinos or in Las Vegas. Of course he didn’t want a divorce!
    I left after I found his ‘secret’ sexting phone. Came back – trying to forgive. Made marriage counseling appointments, in which I went by myself because he was too busy playing pool. I left again after I found his Yahoo account trying to pick up other women. Again – I went back home because I loved my family, my home, my routine. Things were never the same. His cell phone addiction was disgusting. I put up with the ‘extra appendage’ of his fucking phone way too long. It was always locked or on vibrate. He never put it down and if he did it was upside down. When he would come to bed, he would walk with it along side his outside leg as though I couldn’t see it. He would prop himself up in a chair with a blanket it we were watching tv together so he could ‘glance’ at it without me ‘knowing.’ It was pathetic! I left again. I really didn’t want to leave, but he refused to so I had no choice. I miss my home and my kids terribly. My kids do not know the extent of the way I was treated and used. I am very broken and still cry almost every day. I can’t understand why I deserve this pain. In the 21 years I’ve been married, never once did I find another man attractive. My stbx is also an alcoholic.
    I know I have a lot of things going for me – I have a good job, I am honest and have standards, I am fun, nice, and attractive. I know I am a catch – or at least will be again someday. Right now I’m too broken to be a good companion for anyone.
    I wish Tuesday would hurry up and get here….

    • OMG This could totally be me I am 12 mos from the last DDay and 10mos post divorce being final. I was lucky that he was feeling some major guilt and remorse at the time so I didn’t lose financially overly much, considering I was the one that had shit that was a big plus. I did really well for quite a while, so well I thought I was pretty much over it…….NOT…..the last several weeks I have had some back sliding, letting myself dwell on negative shit that is very unhealthy for me. I know it would be so much healthier for me to go TOTALLY no contact with him but I haven’t been able to do that. I guess I am a glutton for punishing myself, this last week I have found myself drifting off into scene rio day dreams of what if shit about not divorcing…WTF is up with that?! I have been having some anxiety issues which I haven’t had for like 8mos, we were married for almost 37yrs 2 grown kids and 3 1/2 grand kids. I have let him be a part of any family functions at my house from the beginning but may have to stop for a while IDK. I just wanted it to be easy on the kids and grands ya know? And of course he is always “nice” to me “gag” even when I am a bitch he is nice….it makes it even worse somehow. So this week I am going to concentrate on getting back to my awesome positive self, where I thought I was before this slump, and try to shake off all this crap. I transferred most of my rage/hate to his twatwaffle, my daughter tells me that he is the one I should hate not her, cause she is just a useless piece of skin walking around….smart daughter there lol. It’s the weirdest thing, I have never been able to NOT forgive him, I always was “doing” for him like an idiot, I still do shit for him (rarely) and need to stop that as well. I think it would be much healthier for me if I cut him as completely out of my life as possible, at least until I can somehow get to meh, then maybe I will be capable of interacting with him without hurting myself in the process.

      • Today I am with my adult children and granggaughter and he will never be inclided in our plans. He lost that privilege. Regardless of his future with the whore I have no intention of including him

      • You did good by divorcing your cheater while he was in guilty mode (whatever that is and however long that lasts). I could’ve cleaned up if I divorced the exhole right after dday. One of my chumpiest moves ever was not to take full advantage of his guilt.

        That should be in the chump’s handbook too: “Leave while they are in the throes of the affair with schmoopie; before they realize the grass isn’t greener and while they’re feeling something akin to guilt.” I would even encourage chumps to fake a few extra tears if that would work on their cheater.

    • LadyStrange–if you are still crying every day 2 years out, you have a severe depression. Were you able to find a good therapist? If not, please do so (whatever the cost–find one that specializes in trauma treatment). If so, the therapist can refer you to someone who can give you a prescription. View it as temporary; you need to readjust your physiology so that you can take steps to heal.

      Hugs to you.

      • LadyStrange, I’m glad Tempest posted this response. I am also concerned that he’s the cheater and alcoholic and you left your home and family? This doesn’t sound right. A therapist is a good place to start. And I hope you have a trusted friend and a good lawyer.

        • Thanks guys. I did go to therapy. They prescribed me some meds and they didn’t agree with me. The next time I went back – it was just a ‘bummer they didn’t work for you.’ I really didn’t think telling someone my shit who just sat and took notes then prescribe me meds did a whole lot. My friends and CL help me out more than therapy every did! But they did take an alcohol assessment and decided I wasn’t an alcoholic – ya!
          I think the worst part is just my kids have not really bothered to contact me. I left the home because he wouldn’t and I couldn’t make him leave. We built our house on some land his parents sold us – so his parents are our neighbors. No thanks to living close to them! I was a little upset with my son (The one who found stbx’s sexting phone) when I told him I was leaving the first time. His response was “Dad’s not going to be able to afford this place – he’s going to have to get a room mate!” Really? Who the fuck cares that HE has to get a fucking room mate? I’m the one who got bent over and am living a nightmare right now and my son is concerned whether his dad can afford the house payment?
          I also believe the notion that “God doesn’t hand us more than we can handle.” I often wonder what ‘lesson’ I am supposed to be learning right now – but it may not even be ‘my’ lesson. Maybe It is someone else’s and somehow I am ‘here’ for their lesson.
          I’ll be alright – I appreciate the concern… I really do.

          • Mine refused to leave the house also. He got downright SCARY when I told him to leave several times. He hissed at me – “No, this is MY HOUSE.” It was weird. Luckily we were selling the house anyway, and got a buyer within the first month…so we BOTH had to leave. Had that not happened, I know he wouldn’t have left that house. It was torture living with him after D Day – even before I made the decision to divorce him. I felt like I was living with a stranger because I just could not wrap my head around what he had done.

          • I know from a financial perspective, many lawyers and people here on CL advocate staying in the house, but your mental health is worth something, too. I’m sure some chumps who had to live with their cheating assholes for months can chime in here, but better to vacate the premises than continue to be mindfucked and emotionally abused while you co-reside with the losers.

            LadyStrange–you may just have gone to a psychiatrist, who (often) will merely take notes and prescribe meds. You need an actual therapist (Ph.D.s will have the most years education, though obviously there are some excellent therapists with Master’s degrees, too). THEY should do much more than take notes.

            • Lady Strange, you can try some homeopathic medicine….rescue remedy for anxiety and general shitty feelings. Works for me.

              • I take St. John’s Wort and drink the hell out of herbal tea. Especially chamomile. It’s pretty tasty.

  • I guess I should count myself as a lucky as I’ve never really loved my cheater-ex. I stuck around because we had a child and it felt like a right thing to do. So I’m actually relieved he’s gone. What pains me the most is the child he left behind. I worry constantly that I am ruining an innocent person’s life, even though the child is only 5. He already doesn’t have an intact family and is confused by its lack (since all of his friends have moms and dads living under the same roof), so this is where most og my pain comes from. And otherwise, the pain of cheating was temporary, because it’s easier to detach from a person you’ve never loved in the first place. See, I’ve always known my ex was off in some ways. He could never hold on to a job for more than a year. What 40 year old keeps getting fired from EVERY job he’s had for the past 10 years? I believe it was his shitty personality that made it happen, more so then the excuses he gave me: that his bosses were evil people, that he had bad luck, that he was misunderstood, etc. He also never had any close friends, they were all acquaintances and he was never able to develop any deeper friendships. I spackled like crazy for 10 years and so when it all blew up I felt a different kind of pain: yes, being cheated on with various housewives is painful, especially when they said he painted me as a unstable partner who was a minute away from being committed (all lies), but with that pain came an enormous relief. I hope you all will feel this one day.

    • Hey is it some kind of weird trend that cheaters always seem to have issues with their bosses. All his superiors were judgemental, overbearing, assholian (loved that adjective he borrowed off one of the kids) and bitchy (x hated his only female boss passionately) and complete jerks. Seems to be some conspiracy that x was being hard done by in the workplace by every single employer! Man I’ve had difficult bosses, contrary employees, uncomfortable relationships with colleagues but not every single site and not every time!!!!

      Only after looking back at his job evaluations which he left lying in the garage and bedroom (the creep hoarded weird shit that most of us would lose to stifle the shame). I realized that yes indeed his employers were less than thrilled with his job performance but hey the constant thread in all the paperwork was his lack luster performance coupled with his unkept promises to get stuff done. He didn’t just drop the ball at home. Couldn’t get x to take out the garbage, mow the lawn, restain the deck etc without him making it a full blown drama. Seems he had bosses trying to light fires under his ass to get him to complete projects at work too!

      And the whole time we were married I thought the sun shone on him. He seemed so aggressively confident at work. I guess I let the home stuff slide and the lack of respect go unnoticed because he was such a great achiever at work. HAH, to find out he was a schlub at work too.

      • Yes, this is one of the signs of NPD/Sociopaths/Psychopaths. They live a parasitic lifestyle, and losing jobs frequently is one of the major signs that they are disordered. This cannot be cured. This is who they are, who they ALWAYS WILL BE. It’s one of the reasons why all of our stories are so similar. Just like symptoms of cancer or MS or Alzeimers are almost all similar , if not identical, from person to person, symptoms of the disordered will also be similar, if not almost identical, from person to person. It’s why you have to know to get out, because unicorns don’t exist,particularly inhabitating
        the world of the disordered.

        • My late husbands military career was not stellar and he had the audacity to blame me. As his next of kin, I had the legal right to order copies of his military record and Im hoping that there will be details that will explain a few mysteries from when he was active duty,,,I think his career tanked when he lost his shit at a boss who he was convinced was stupider than him.

          My dad has had like 35 jobs and I was like 40 before I realized he was NPD.

          I thought I was marrying someone very different from my dad…they were more alike than I had any clue

        • I’d like to stay on topic of the job loss/ hating bosses/ having abnormal work history…. just getting caught up with the comments but I guess since I’ve started the discussion on this, I’d like to finish or at least be able to understand if we’re “ON to something” with the theory that this is their common denominator…. my ex had ALWAYS had spotty work history, and yes, most of his bosses were not only stupid, incompetent and unfair, but also jealous, racist, were out to get him more than once. One time he even claimed that his boss was jealous of ex’s college degree since he didn’t have one. The weird thing is, at least it seems odd to me NOW, is that I believed my ex when he’s told me story after story, job after job, that someone else was out to get him for whatever reason. I used to defend him to friends and co-workers by saying that yes, it is hard for my boyfriend to find work where he is “appreciated.” I don’t know what the hell was wrong with me all those years?? I otherwise consider myself a fairly intelligent person and don’t come from dysfunctional background. Why the hell was I defending him all those years?
          The ironic twist of faith is that ex is currently unemployed and he blames this on me. Apparently, I am not supporting enough and I bled him dry when we were together, so now it’s my fault that he doesn’t have savings to fall back on. As I am such a horrible witch who took his last dime. The truth of the matter is, that he doesn’t keep a job long enough to accumulate any wealth at all.
          I am still puzzled why I stayed all those years. I must have been drugged by him.

          • Every time I get into a serious relationship with a guy, he has a good decent paying job. After a while, a couple of years, they quit the job and live off unemployment or become “self employed” which apparently is code for ass sitters. When I met cheater he made about $70,000/year. Married him, had a child, now he makes zip, self employed.

      • Chris W. is right–Cluster Bs typically hate their bosses because the narcs themselves are, of course, so much smarter than everyone else. It’s another symptom of “You’re not the boss of me!”

  • I could have easily written this same letter 12 to 18 months ago. Married 24 years, now 2 years out from DDay, still not at Meh yet but a whole lot closer. I know where Marj is in this process and unfortunately it just takes time to process what you can and accept that you’ll never have the full truth from them on the rest. I’d still like to know how much of those 24 years was a lie on his part but I’m beginning to accept that I’ll never know. Most likely all. There’s nothing I can do to get that time back so I need to move forward with my new life and embrace it for all that it will be – particularly, cheater free.

    • ByeBye…….for those of you who have been married for all those years, 15+ and way more, of course its gonna take a long time to heal and get to meh. These monsters are just like child predators, they have ‘groomed’ us for years and years with their gaslighting and other tactics and it takes a long while to wade through this. It’s a form of PTSD. My opinion of course.

      • I couldn’t agree more. Now that I live by myself, I have to keep reminding myself that I can do/buy/eat whatever I want.

        • TBC, I only realized how much the ex had me ‘trained up’ a few months after we separated. I started realizing I could, as you said, do/buy/eat whatever I wanted, also leave the house in the state I wanted, and let the kids do much more of what they wanted! It actually took a VERY long time for me to feel really relaxed, but it’s impressive. I was so stressed over so much small stuff for so long, it’s AMAZING to have my life back.

      • The degree to which I was groomed (to tolerate his shit) and manipulated has only become clear to me in the last year or so and recognizing it has been shocking. I was like a trained monkey…he knew exactly how to get precisely the response he needed…it all makes me sick to think of it.

        I hate that I lived under his abuse for so long…Im mad at myself over it

        so I now try to really enjoy myself as best I can…truly relish life because Im alive and he is dead. He stole too many years from me but I have today and he doesnt. I buy flowers and dance to FLo Rida in my bedroom.

  • In august I will be two years out of him moving in with his fat whore and he’s extremely unhappy. Yippee! In the beginning he was very mean and nasty to me including in front of both our children. One who asked if he was on drugs and the other who said he lost his mind. Justifying his decision I’m guessing. Now he is nice does whatever needs to be done around the property. He left me 15 days after I was laid off from my job and being 58 at the time I still can’t find full time work. It sucks. I’m a very strong person but way too much happened in a short period of time. I almost lost it completely. He put us in a poor county low job and low paying area way in the woods to hide his business on the property and then left me, no friends, no family and then proceeded to move with the whore to the closest little town where I may have gotten at least a part time job. The whore did that on purpose! She now runs the show and he is led around by the penis. All our friends went running to his side leaving me nothing. Some friends. I gave this man and our family everything I had wasn’t enough least not for him. Our kids and his sister have figured him out the way he ignores and avoids them. Stupid bastard has no idea how much he’s losing. He’s has spent himself into a huge hole and has no way out. He refuses to move his shop from this property by the end of the year I will have money to divorce his ass and I get the house as agreed and he keeps his business with a nice alimony check to me. A judge will make him move his business his whore told him the judge can’t make him move. They are both so stupid. This will hurt me the rest of my days but it gets better all the time. One day I’m sure I won’t think of him again. Once I move and go no contact I will be fine. No more husbands, live ins or me living with them. I’m going to enjoy the rest if my life doing what I want. And him he’s not happy. Awww the poor poor fucker.

    • Amen to this! I know how you feel! Mine moved me to a small backward Georgia burg then took off for the beach in Florida to Schmoopies condo! I gave up everything including a government job in DC for this fucknut! I would have retired next year!! No more live ins, marriages or anything relating to a relationship for me!!

      • Yes Roberta, what is with them? I’m gonna take my great wife and move her and move her away from all friends and family to isolation!! Then when he tired of isolation he moved and left me in the boonies. No more permanent men in my life. Ever! I have three beautiful dogs to share my house and life with! Im not a man hater love them actually but this girl is single and staying that way. I’m not even taking my maiden name back using my middle name as my last name. New life at this age leaving the past completely behind. And anyone who dares to bring drama or crisis around me or mine kicked to the curb they will be!!

        • Kar Marie, I agree. Single and staying that way. I am not angry or hateful of men at all. I just don’t want to go through the financial and emotional entanglement again! It cost me plenty, emotionally and financially and I just am old enough to not want to go there again!

          • Roberta yes totally agree. No more putting up with men living with me. My ex is so totally stoic and emotionally closed up he can only show anger and rage. I guess I had my eyes closed a lot. My children both admitted to me last year how emotionally distant he was from them. I’m a huggy feely type he only for sex. My daughter begged him twice to call her once in a awhile without her having to initiate. Well she gave up and so did his sister. Hurts me to see this they did nothing. These fucking cheaters have no idea the damage they do and don’t care! The whore he lives with doesn’t care either so long as new daddy pays great attention to both her grown girls and their kids and my daughter realized she’s been shut out by both of them. I’ve heard don’t blame the whore not her fault. Really? Only the lowest of women help break up a marriage and she knows exactly what it feels like both her ex’s did it to her! He’s miserable and I’m loving it. One day to be determined my daughter and I will clink coronas together and laugh! Roberta thanks your a peach!

            • You are so welcome! We have great futures really! Let them have the downgrades they screwed up their lives for! If they are miserable then so be it! I couldn’t care less! It’s just what they deserve and I might remind him, what he wanted soooooo badly!

              • Yes roberta told the asshole be careful what you wish for! He’s getting it in spades!

        • Count me in there at singlesville too. While I’m working hard at fixing my picker, I’m definitely not there yet, but getting better. As far as partnering up with anyone, not interested at this point. I probably would make a crappy partner anyway because I have decided the rest of my life is mine for me to do with whatever I please.

          I like making my own decisions, doing what I want, when I want, how I want. No problem with criticism, dissipation of assets, being undermined and sabotaged. No worries about being taken for granted and used, except by my furballs and that is just pure natural feline expectations. After all with dogs, you are Mom, with cats you’re staff.

          As what comes next after we have shaken off the parasitic cheater ex’s, ….the golden opportunity to remake our lives into something that truly reflects who we really are, maybe for the first time in our lives. We begin to discover our true authentic selves and reclaim ourselves as separate human beings, valuable and worthy of love in our own right. We unapologetically sing our own unique songs, and paint our own unique pictures and can say to the world, “This is me, this is who I am. …and I am enough, just as I am.”

          • Great words Tessie. You are spot on. It WAS all about him. Now its all about ME and how I was to live my life!

          • You said it all here, Tessie, even the part about the furballs. I wouldn’t mine having a little romance down the road, maybe, but I stood outside of my little house the other day, talking to a guy and thinking that I can live without man stuff cluttering up my house. I’ve dragged enough dead weight behind me.

          • After years of taking care of children and raising my granddaughter I plan to meet someone who respects and appreciates a classy adventurous woman. After being with a boring asshole for 41 years i want a loving partner to enjoy my life with. I am independent and have a wonderful life now that I’m divorced. It may not happen but I have been looking and there are good people in the world.

  • Sometimes you need to step back and look at the bigger picture. This is YOUR life…you only control you. What do you want? I know we have been trained to put everyone’s needs before our own but practicing some self care is what we all need. I want to be happy, learn to play golf, get my nails done and not worry how I am going to do those things. All I ever have done is worry about my Stbxh and the happiness of my children for 17 years. What happened to me? Where is my good time, love, faithfulness, etc? This is a new road for me but I would rather go at it alone then spend it with someone who doesn’t really love or respect me. I love my children and am learning to love myself..enough to know that this is not what I want for MY life.

    • Well said leolion well said. I do what I want now. He pays all the bills here till I can find work in lieu of shoo rent. End of the year I will be free!

    • It takes an incredible amount of energy to do the „dance“. I am exhausted from having tried so incredible hard to make sense out of his discrepancies. I can say that It finally has come to light for me, I had the revelation one day and it was as lightning had struck me: ‚He is a distorted person that has absolute different priorities and values than I have, he just doesn’t care an inch about how I feel, nor is he able to feel true empathy EVER! I have to confess, I am still in shock about it all. He found a great breeding ground for his continuous behavior, I hung on to him with all my might, kinda knowing that he could possibly be pond scum and treating me with emotional abuse but I wanted to believe something else. Let me dance a little more I see all the little unicorns showing up on the horizon, they will get here in the meantime while I wait, I smoke some Hopeium. UGHH I will need to figure a lot of things out for myself before I feel confident and I need Tuesday so desperately to come. I still feel like the deer in the headlight at the moment, can someone please turn the lights off so i can make some sane decisions?

  • As always, the posts here are cosmically appropriate. Lately, I have been thinking of this community a lot and how CL and others saved my sanity when D-Day hit almost 1 year ago (special shout out to LovedAJackass because you have been such a kindred spirit and helped me in a thousand ways). Anniversaries are funny because they really do get all the thoughts going. Marj, I get it; I really do. After a year, I am going to admit that it hurts as much as it did then. I am heartened by CL and this community who I trust and who assure me that I will get to Meh, but sometimes the pain still sears my soul and I blame myself. And there’s more to it then learning about the infidelity and then trying to get over it, there are ongoing stressors such as children, legal issues, seeing their posts on FB, seeing them around town. Sometimes when I am alone and grieving I think that I can’t get through it, but somehow, the tears stop and I am able to move on. I don’t know why or how, but as CL says Tuesday is coming. I really truly believe that no contact is the best course of action though one of the hardest things to do. Reasonable normal people like us have a false belief that if we just tell the cheater how we feel and convey our pain, they will get it – that they will miraculously respond with, “Gosh, what a terrible thing I did, I am going to make this right and become a better human being.” The sad truth is that they never do that; they simply cannot because the majority of cheaters are narcissists who are clinically incapable of having empathy and feeling remorse. They will never truly understand or own the pain they have created and though for a time this fills us with an intense need to get them to understand, this will ultimately never work (as CL shared). I did the letter writing, the emails, the eloquent expression of humbled pain, but again, CL is right, it is just supply for them. It just gives them the negative attention their hollowed out narc souls live off of. So, in a way, we keep our own pain in a hopeless cycle by interacting. Be careful because this has been likened to addiction; we begin to identify with it, we get a spike in our brain. Better to use all of your energy, intentions, and intelligence to turn inward and heal your own injured soul. All the best to you Marj and to fellow chumpsters and to me because I got through the first year.

    • Aww, thanks for the shout out, bobbifosburg. Congratulations on making it through the first year and having your head straight about the addictive nature of interacting with these disordered people. I don’t know where I would be if I hadn’t found this board, CL, and the people who post here. Figuring out that Jackass was disordered and his behavior followed the discard pattern set me on the to figuring out that he is like some alien species that lands on a planet, sucks the life out of it, and then moves on. There’s nothing there for me or any other decent, healthy woman.

      The other day I saw a friend whose undergoing 3 huge losses at the same time. He’s sort of lost but I fear looking at others (including me) to distract him from the grieving he needs to do. I love your description of I think that [you] can’t get through it, but somehow, the tears stop and [you are] able to move on.” That’s such big, powerful work. Without it, we are left living in a waste land or trying to rebuild amid rubble. But grieving is so hard and required so much courage because in the midst of the pain, it’s seems endless. And I think that grieving opens us up to the everyday sadness of life and the everyday joys, too. We feel so much more because we learn to trust, that it’s all right to feel the pain and loss because somehow the tears will stop and we’ll go on.

    • Once again thank you Traci and all of chump nation you guys saved my life at my lowest I found this site and immediately started the healing process. Got a way to go but I will get there. Really need local chump nation groups to meet up and do things.

              • My little brother and his wife in Hawaii just had a new baby. Need to go see that adorable baby soon. What island are you on?

              • Aloha SDchump, I am on the Big Island. LMK if you make it over here, would love to meet up with a fellow chump 🙂

              • L.A. (Lower Alabama) here. Would love to hang out with fellow Chumps in my area!!! Good friends are great, but hardly any one in my circle has ever really gone through this!!!

              • I’ve two girlfriends long time ones both cheated on good husbands. Cut them out of my life. Bitches! I’m 30 minutes south west of Gainesville Florida. Maybe some central location where a bunch of us could meet up. All mine/our married friends lined up with him and his whore. I guess I must have the plauge! Traci has helped us so much let’s help each other. Don’t know about you guys but I could sure use a hug from someone who understands.

        • IHaveHate–left my email address on yesterday’s post for you (tempest.ariel2014@gmail.com) about a planned vacation this summer, if you’re interested.

          The rest of you can post a [location] Chump Meetup in the forums to see who else is in your area. Several of us in the Austin/Dallas area have met each other over drinks or tea.

  • Thanks. The pain is finite. Tuesday is my ticket out. I know that I have been operating on autopilot for the last year or so. I release myself from the guilt of this collasal failure. I gave my absolute best. I hope Karma picks up for me.

    • So true LittleLady, that whole operating on autopilot, I can relate. Sometimes the only way to get through the day for me.

  • I need to make this my mantra: “He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.” 3 years post Dday, and he’s still in the house. I’ve subjected myself to the constant pain of being trickle-truthed the whole time. Finally, I asked him to leave when I discovered that his midlife crisis was actually a lifestyle… cheating for 15-20 years that I now know of. He should be moving out before our next anniversary, which would be the best gift of all!

    I’m trying to buttress my dignity, and self-confidence for the moment reality hits him; when he’s all alone in his house, and realizes that he’s no longer central to my life. The man who has been masquerading as a devoted husband and father will to spiral out of control when he figures out that almost everybody knows he’s a lifetime cheater and liar, and that nobody ever bought his “we grew apart” story to begin with.

    He’ll become downright evil and vindictive when my attorney proposes a settlement, because money is his primary source of power and control. I imagine he will still try to win me back as he cycles through various control tactics. In the midst of it all, when I feel my chumpy self feeling sorry for him, I will repeat: “He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.”

    • “He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care.” Truer words have not been spoken.

      • I have to tell myself that everyday. I find myself wanting to tell him how I feel and how much he hurt me and I just have to keep repeating “he does not care, he does not care!” I wish it was easier to get over, I guess that just means I have more ability to love since he can throw away his family for his flavor of the year, and I wallow in the pain of heartbreak.

        • I have hate. I wallow a lot myself at times but it gets better once I realized he does not care if he hurts me or his kids rest of his family or life long friends. He does not care! Why? No feelings and no soul. An empty shell of anger and selfiness. Fuck him and all like him. I hope the rest of their lives they get exactly what they deserve.

    • ItsAjourney: money is also my WH source of power and control. I am certain he was going to use that line about growing apart to tell the kids when he dumped me. But I found out about the affair and the kids watched me fall apart. since they were old enough to tell I did. just not all of it. just that he was behaving inappropriately with a female. that foiled his plans and since then he has put on the best show of being the best dad and husband ever. Only he doesn’t see that we all see through him now. I am actually quite terrified of the day we have a come to jesus meeting.

    • It was Tracy who took the blinders off my eyes, when she pointed out that MLC is a ruse. Most of the RIC websites pin cheating onto MLC.
      People who cheat in “MLC” are assholes (sure, maybe mentally ill or otherwise mentally challenged), and when you finally understand this, a lot of past behaviors that you spackled or misinterpreted begin to make a lot of sense.
      “MLC” cheating is quite often not the first cheating, certainly not the first attempt.

    • “He does not love me. He does not respect me. He is not sorry. He will not comfort me. He does not care”…because he is an empty, selfish, disordered douchbag incapable of love and loyalty.

      Don’t forget that last part.

      • Yes and no emotions, no empathy, no feelings of hurting others, entitled selfish bastards/bitches and their whores from hell. Did I say that out loud? Woo hoo! Felt good!

    • DM…….yes to righteous anger. Mine just won’t go away! It’s been close to a year of feeling lots of hatred towards him. It’s hard for me to believe that this is coming from me! I’ve never felt this way about anyone ever! I don’t like it but can’t seem to shake it.

      • Part of getting to “meh” is really processing through the anger, IHaveHate. Christians call that forgiveness (NOT to be confused with reconciliation, which takes two people’s actions). But to get there, we have to see the actual wrongs. And we have to be honest about our feelings–anger and all. Some of this anger is “just” pure grief over acute and unexpected losses. It is a journey in letting those things go. We only control ourselves as CL says. They may feel stronger if you feel like you can’t express the anger and/or they may feel stronger because they are very dear losses. Plus, your anger may be strong because you feel acute powerlessness to reclaim what you loss because of the unjust actions of your cheater. Remember, you control you. That’s all. It sucks but it is best not to spend our energy on something or someone we do not control.

        Blessings and hugs on your journey!
        -DM

        • Thank you DM for your kind and wise response. Your words stating my anger may be even more so bc I can’t express it (to him) is spot on.
          I don’t care if it phases him or not. I just want to let it out. In fact, I, like a lot of us here, want to shout it out to the world of what we’ve gone through!
          I know……do it here. 🙂

      • Yes, DM really wise words. I still need to get out and hanging in here is starting to get me sick on all levels.

        • Pardon my non native English tongue, ‚hanging in here“ ust realized that sounds like hanging in here at CN, that’s definitely not what I meant 🙂 CN is the only sane place to be at the moment.

    • Wonderful response DM! I hung in there for 10 months after the first D-day Marj, became an Amazon Chump extraordinaire, witnessed his genuine Naugahide remorse at first – then the too-common minimizing, blameshifting, and, finally stonewalling. All while the hard evidence was mounting, and I was getting exhausted doing the “Pick Me” dance. I Was STILL
      stuck on the fence, ingesting Hopium when I saw an article referring to Tracy – Chump Lady. She and Chump Nation made the difference, and I unpacked my bad-ass. You can too Marj, I know it hurts like a MF. Every true-blue chump has felt this – pain and surreal loss. It may seem right now like you’re drowning in your grief and confusion, and that you’ll involuntarily “go down with the ship”. We’re throwing you a life preserver, and encouraging you to grab it, and hang on while you ride these waves of sorrow. Like CL says, the pain is finite, we’re here to help you to the shore, and find solid ground again – some Tuesday in your future. ((Hugs)).

    • 1st off. Marj, huge sympathy to you, I have been there and it is heart rending, especially when you are at the stage when you realize your past and memories seem to be endlessly corrected by the horrible string of revelations. Your future was stolen from you and AND your past. You will reclaim both however

      As DM said, anger is a a good early tool because it can move you forward. When you are at that horrible place where you feel stuck in your tracks, the anger gives you momentum. The difficult trick right now is to not expect anything from this cheater to reconcile the past, use the anger to draw clear borders for the present and future. You will not be disappointed when you see the power switch from him right to back to you as you abandon your chumpdom… announce that a new f*cking sheriff is town, things are different from now on.

      I will never forget the exhilaration I felt when my domineering ex told me what I should do with the kids during my week with them. I instantly and angrily corrected her assumption that she’d ever tell me what to do again. Boy that felt good and I was off to the future.

  • CL, I could have written your response to Marj but not nearly as well. I was feeling exactly the same as Marj was and I was waiting for my ex to come to his senses and come home and love me like I imagined he had done all along. I was married for 37 years (45 years all up) and I longed so much for my ex husband I thought death would be bliss. I have been part of Chump Nation for a while now and it saved my life. It also opened my eyes to the treatment that we Chumps get but are completely unaware of, or choose to ignore. When my ex planned my exit, I was in such shock that I would cry everywhere and anywhere because I missed him so much and didn’t want to believe he could do what he had done. I no longer cry and I see the sun shining. My ex was a neat freak, clean freak and a so called moral freak. Well, I have seen pictures of where he is now living in South East Asia and it is an absolute pig sty. Apparently the heat is relentless but one can put up with all of those things for a cheap little tart who makes a 63 year old feel like he is 18 again. I finally realise I am happy and I have made a lovely life for myself even without my children who have cut me from their lives. I never dreamed in a million years that at 63 years of age I would be on my own without the ‘love of my life’, but I am and it is great. I think I have reached Meh and I was unaware. It is a nice place to be.

    • Maree,
      Your Ex is so selfish. I have read so many stories of the lives of international prostitutes. Many are drugged, beat and kidnapped. There is No Such Thing As A Free Lunch. That is the first principle of economics. One day his tab will come due. No doubt.

    • I’m truly happy for you Maree. You’re further along than I am, so it’s really nice to read about your success in spite of your personal losses. You’re a real, authentic success story! At 3 years in my head still spins when I think about the fact that I’ve been married 30 years. Why now? Why not 20-25 years ago? I would’ve never predicted this… but here I am.

      I’ve been part of Chump Nation for a while now too; longer than I’d like to admit. At times I’ll notice the new names, and it hits me… I’ve been wrestling with this for far too long, but have made great progress.
      I console myself with a quote by Abraham Lincoln:
      “I walk slowly, but I never walk back.”

  • I feel you Maree! Who could have ever imagined in our wildest of bad dreams that we would be abandoned like trash on the side of a road! But at 59 years of age for me I am learning very quickly and Chump Lady and all the fine people here have helped tremendously! There were times I wanted to die and I was sure I was going to, but thank heavens I never acted on those thoughts! I know now that my life is worth a lot more than I was deriving from that selfish fucktard! I mean in hindsight, WTF was I thinking??? He was a pure asshole. And what’s really funny is that once he made his exit, even his own siblings, along with a full complement of other folks, let me know how relieved they were to see him go! They have disliked his pompous, narc ass for years. I just never saw it! What a complete waste of my life!!! Karma will take over now!

    • Yes, that is what is so devastating to our confidence and self image. It is Humiliating, Shameful and so destructive to our souls. That they throw us over for something so young and pert and immature. My WH has had the audacity to tell me in a fit of anger that I was acting like a teenager. It took everything I had to not shout back that fucking a barely legal aged whore is not? SOB piece of shit. BTW he is 60. to me that is the definition of a dirty old man. Pervert. Plus, for as intelligent as he thinks he is; doesn’t he realize for these young girls to be engaging in this activity they must be seriously messed up? That he is contributing to their mental decay? Every day I wish he would croak. save us all from the shame of his maturity. *the only reason i held back is I am still lining up my ducks. I want to be able to scream all my pain and anger at him but I don’t see that day ever coming. the best I can do is hit him in his wallet. thats where it would hurt him the most. And even that is at the caprice of Family law mediation or the Judge. my chances of hurting him there are slim. that pisses me off too. these guys destroy the lives of their wife and kids and then get away with little accountability. we are stuck with having to find a livable wage at an age no one wants to hire us. I think I’ll make an effigy of the ass and dress him in my wedding gown to burn. mother fkr. Excuse me while I go take a blood pressure pill.

      • Ew, seriously? He’s basically screwing a contemporary of his grandchild.

        She’s not right in the head.

        Focus on making your life as GOOD as you can, getting what you can so that you can turn away from him and the pain he’s caused, and move in a completely different direction. I don’t think you can hurt him. He’s already damaged beyond repair. He’s soulless, so there isn’t a pain that he would feel in his soul. You know?

        Hugs. And we’re on your CN team, my dear..

  • Maree…….the XPOS was a neat, clean, and moral freak too. I’m sure he is still neat & clean but the moral part he never was. He just wanted others to believe he was. He’d talk about a couple men he knew and would say things like how they would date girls their son’s age or that oh I guess she got to old for him (she being in her late 30’s) and he had to go for younger. He did all the same things. They’re monsters and pigs.

  • Dear Marj–And anyone who can benefit from this. 10 days ago it was my one-year divorcerary. (Decree Absolute) And I forgot to notice!

    A rarely think about Crapweasel, except when I have have to communicate with him over technical matters (like health insurance)

    Sometimes I have bad dreams involving his unpleasant self, and guess that’s a kind of 1/2 Meh. My subconscious is still working shit out.

    So what I’m left with is working on myself, which I will confess, is quite a challenge. I think, like a lot of children of narcissists, it’s bred in the bone, and without a need to spackle I don’t know quite what to do with myself. (Read The Drama of the Gifted Child, by Alice Miller–I would love to hear Tempest’s take on this)

    But, my pain is MINE. It’s no less painful, but it’s not about him or “us”. I only wish I had arrived at this place 20 years ago, but I didn’t. So here I am. Yes, I have days when I can’t get out of bed, but I have days I can, and do good things. (I also have horrendous chronic pain issues, which makes it all more fun.)

    But I am moving forward slowly. When I look back to where I was 2 years ago, or three at DDay, I can see a huge amount of positive progress, and I hope the same for you. I used to need 20 mg of valium to sleep–now I’m off the stuff completely. It can be doneI

    • Thats great to hear Named! I also needed this article today. I can think he does not care, but I am visual and it helps to be reminded with written words. 33yrs living with a self centered selfish prick and I wish it was Tuesday.

    • Named, I think dealing with this shit is like peeling an onion. We peel off one layer and then spend however much time we need to process it. Then we need more time to get used to our new alternate reality. Then we put the lessons we learned into practice. Then we become comfortable with those lessons in practice. Then it’s back to the next layer….

      It’s called growth, something cheater ex’s know little to nothing about.

      Yes, it does involve pain, but we are the ones who have the courage to go through it to get to a better life.

      For me, new revelations, new layers, new lessons, better life, more serenity. Time out from DD…..not much of a factor. It’s new to me when I figure out some new twist that makes some old crazy make sense now. Then it’s back to the process of growth once again.

    • Namedforvera, I’m a child of at least one and maybe two narcissistic parents, so I hear what you are saying. I’ve spent a lifetime trying to get narcissists and alcoholic to “love” me. And when I write that, it seems insane to me. But it’s never too late to start figuring this stuff out. Tessie’s analogy is great. Every time I start to feel like “at last! I’ve got it,” some new challenge comes along and there is another layer of the onion to peel. But that’s just what it means to be alive.

  • Interesting, I was just thinking about how far I have come since I was mired in the worst pain of my life a few years ago. It seemed bottomless, and I was desperate for a way out of it.

    I googled “how to get happy.” I was ready to try anything. I got an iPhone app with daily exercises and tried that for a while. I found meditation, which actually helped quite a bit over time, but it didn’t “cure” me.

    The truth is, what has helped the most has been time, distance, no contact, and building a new life. I’m finally feeling meh, and even happy. That’s 6 years after D-Day, 3.5 years after I stopped trying to “reconcile” with a cheater, 2 years after getting the house sold and moving myself into my own apartment, and 9 months after the divorce was done.

    I had a nice long conversation with a man I’ve been dating earlier, and I feel good. Hopeful. Whole. It’s amazing to me when I remember literally laying on the floor in my old house and weeping. Anything is possible once you orient yourself away from the source of pain and keep moving forward.

  • I was married 20 years, and my disordered ex did quite a number on my head. It took me at least two years after Dday before I stopped thinking about him and all of his treachery for the majority of my waking hours. It took another year or so before I could go several hours without thinking about him, and when he DID cross my mine, the emotion was muted. It took another couple of years before I finally stopped thinking about him on any sort of a regular basis, and for the most part, I now feel little emotion other than thankfulness that I am away from him.

    If you are coming out of a long marriage, or have extensive FOO issues, or were severely mind fucked by your ex, it takes a LONG time to heal. Quite frankly, I’m not sure the healing is ever 100%, because I believe there is always a scar that can be torn open by a severe trigger. I don’t like Marilyn Manson’s music much, but my son loves him and listens all the time. There is a line in one of his songs that really resonates with me, however: “Whatever doesn’t kill you, is gonna leave a scar.” That’s the truth.

    But you definitely CAN feel better, and can move on to barely thinking about your ex. Just give it time, focus on your own life and keep reading here.

  • I think your first encounter with a psychopath/sociopath is always shocking, especially if it’s something you really THOUGHT you knew. They don’t think the way the rest of us do, they don’t value things that are important, they cannot even recognize them. Just realize that you were probably chosen as a chump due to your own goodness, because I think you have to be inherently good to do what you did all those years. Hope that makes sense 🙂

  • Here I am sticking myself into the middle of CN when I am only the sister of one…but I still hate my S-I-L. I have training,and a job, as portals to the ever exciting world of the disordered. First I think “disordered” is too mild a term. I prefer deranged. People who treat others who love them, depend on them or are affiliated with them as reprehensibly as your spouses are deranged.
    First, there are three types of people in the world. There are those who are moral and try to live honest, authentic lives. They know right from wrong and live decent lives. Second are those who know right from wrong and do not care because they feel no need to live good, moral lives. Those are your spouses. I have only worked with one person who is amoral and she is not who you are dealing with. She has no conception of right and wrong. None.
    Anyway, because you have been devastated by your spouse you want “why” answered. It is because they wanted to. There really is no other reason. They knew right from wrong. They just do/did not care.
    Also you try desperately to understand personality disorders. You can’t pigeonhole people that easily. Histrionic people are going to be the center of attention. If they can do it by being charming and entertaining they will but if not a temper tantrum will suffice. Narcissists are all about themselves and they live completely on the surface of life. Bored with you. Well, an affair or twenty ought to keep them going. If you start demanding they grow up and behave themselves they either move their behavior underground or leave you. Occasionally you marry a sociopath. Those are narcissists ramped up to scary heights. All of these people know right from wrong but they do not care. Often these disorders bleed into each other. Chances are they will never get near enough to a psychologist to be diagnosed and even if they are they do not care. These are not mental illnesses. They are personality traits formed in childhood and reinforced by circumstance. They are not curable. They are not treatable. If you are unfortunate enough to be married to someone with theses disorders you will deal with them as long as you interact with them.

    • Let go, after staying with a serial cheater for over two decades and now divorced over two years and at meh, I feel the exactly same way as you do. It truly boils down to a personality disorder. What amazes me is that the OWife actually married him. In the end, after gaining a healthier perspective being two years out and maintaining NC beautifully, I have concluded that she has issues. I, too, had issues which, thankfully, I have identified and ended my individual counseling last year after three years of difficult introspection. She said I had the tools to continue the journey on my own. The healing journey continues and I’m glad it still does. I never ever want to come to a point where I think I have reached “a place where I no longer need to assess my life” because that’s not realistic. Life is constantly changing and I’m open to whatever life brings – just no more cheaters!

  • I can so relate to this. I have only recently, finally, after 2 1/2 years out from dday #1 found my Tuesday!

    Also, on day #2, I didn’t bother with trash bags. Out the door on the 20th of December in New England, snow and mud, every single thing went out the front door. I texted him, “your shit is on the lawn. Bring trash bags”.

    I even tossed a bureau out there that he had bought after dday #1. Still don’t know how I carried down the stairs!

    To all of us, wading through this muck, surviving it and building a new and better life, we are so awesome!!!

    • freedom2live; Got a good laugh out of the visual of you coming into super human powers and dragging a bureau down the stairs to throw into the yard with the rest of his crap!! Kudos for such strength, but only one question: Didn’t you have a window to push it out of? Would have been fun to see it disintegrate, but I guess then you would have to clean it up instead of him.

  • I wish I was left. Yep. I do. He had one affair. That he ended before I ever knew. With one of my oldest “acquaintances” – he was horrified. Breakdown and acting out like an entitled arsehole. Then the guy I knew and loved for more than two decades was back. Of course, I never knew he’d checked out. He worked his ARSE off to show his remorse, embarrassment and devastation. But I couldn’t ever forget. So after five long years I called it. A year later I am still a mess. Still agonised and grieving. Six fucking years of my life fighting for survival and self worth. Tuesday is still a bloody long way off. I am working (always did) and about to complete my Bachelors degree, signed up to do Masters but still can’t seem to bloody well convince my stupid brain that I am “good enough.” Yeah. I know it was his shit. But I pay the price. Just like everyone else here. Tired and emo
    tional today. Just bloody over this life. Too damn painful.

    • horsecumin, I had read your blog a while back and my heart broke for you. You are good enough, you really are. Please know that Chump Nation continues to be here for you.

    • Horsesrcumin, (((hugs))) and special warm wishes to you today. Fall back on your self care routine. Do what makes you happy. Know that nothing you did made your SO cheat. That is all on the disordered. And a great big WOOT! A Bachelor’s degree is worth celebrating! To the rest of Chump Nation wrestling with a timeline…each of us is an individual, we need to grieve. That doesn’t stop us from moving forward. My ex, and our family, was my life! I am proud of that. His cheating, his lie, was not MY life. I have many great memories. Okay they may all center around my kids but hey…!!! Lol. Worth it to know I loved.

      A few words of Tracy’s (in response to Marj) caught my eye today. “I spent a lot of time longing for the person who hurt me to put things right. And he didn’t.” Truth. My ex’s actions throughout our years together spoke volumes. Pay attention to how your SO makes you feel. You should feel taken care of, loved, respected. Reciprocity.
      “Wanting someone is not the same as loving them.” This, in a nutshell. The disordered are not capable of truly loving others. They fake it, beautifully at times, but I think most of us can say that we honestly felt that our spouses were at times disengaged. I think back on my marriage and know I did most of the work. He showed up sometimes. Not the same as being present. “In good times, and bad….” I have great memories, I had all the fun too because he was just plain miserable (during the good times too!). I think the disordered are so busy steering their lives into what they want that there is no room for anybody else’s dreams, needs, wants.

      DM, I appreciate your take on anger. (Tracy has written about this here too). I was angry off and on for three years! Chumps, we all need to respect our own journeys. My anger was cleansing and allowed me to move forward. I did not give myself a timeline for healing from a relationship I poured my whole good heart into…. Tessie, your onion analogy resonates. Healing requires one to be mindful, to look back. To move forward. We become better people when we look at our lives, our choices, and recognize what we need to do differently to make our lives better. Living authentically and graciously every day, every moment, are great goals to own.

      To all, as UniquelyMe so eloquently states, “You are good enough…”

    • Sorry you are going throught this horsercumin, I’d venture to say that most if not all of us here still pay the price, still grieve. I truly believe that what they did to us should be considered criminal, because I feel like I was the victim of a brutal crime. One I’ll never forget and probably never fully get over. The pain and echoes of pain go on and on. But you have to look at what you have accomplished despite the nightmare you have been through, keep rebuilding your life, and know that it will get better with time. Some days are just harder than others. Today I had to clean out a storage shed that had all the detritus of our vacation home that I had always loved, and which we had to sell in the divorce. What was left in that storage shed was like a time capsule of what I thought had been our happy family life. I found myself repeating a mantra I have not used in quite some time as I stood there ready to cry: “It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter.”

      We are all good enough.

      • Kelly, well stated! An apt description of the decimation that cheating creates. Also wanted to say I felt your pain cleaning out the storage and finding the remnants of what you thought you had. You know, it is a crime and it should be an act one has to pay a high price for. We only have so much precious time here on Earth, and these thieves steal decades of our time, our joy, our feelings about Mankind, our sanity and our children’s peace of mind. And then the time spent trying to get over it, the friends lost, and sometimes we lose our jobs too because we can’t function at the level our job requires, and we can’t get over it quickly enough for others.

        I was always the “strong” one and friends brought their problems to me. I had already been through Hell in a multitude of ways, and I guess was supportive with good advice. Well, they could not believe how devastated and vulnerable I became, and how lost and confused and angry I was. I guess a non cheating spouse was one of the things I thought I had “achieved” and probably the one I was most thankful for! One can say those friends are better lost, and that may be true-yet when it swings through as the excruciating pain wrecking ball with all the rest it is like a tidal wave of loss!

        Hang in there Kelly, I guess these days are unavoidable. The less we have to remind us, the better off we are.

  • I have not read all the posts and everyone reacts differently to this type of betrayal. But,while not in intense pain, I know that this really messed me up, permanently. We had been married 12 years and had 2 boys.
    It has been over 20 years now since i found out about my first wife’s cheating and 19 years since I moved out. Divorce followed shortly thereafter.
    i was devestated, probably the reason I got involved with my second wife, who I sensed was a psycho, but who was very good looking. When, my second wife cheated, and was abusive long before I found out about the cheating, it messed me up further.
    i do not think I will ever get back to what I was before all this. I fight anxiety aNd depression a lot. I get less enjoyment out of things and am jumpier.PTSD,I guess.
    i have to have regular contact with both XWS because of the kids. I
    wish Imdid nothave to ever see or talk to them again,but I
    I do.
    They will never come clean and will never apologize but, for some reason, a corner of my mind expects them to. That is unrealistic, but i still do it.
    We have long civil , almost friendly conversations about the kis and they act as if it never happened. I do not understand how they do it.

    • I can’t imagine having to interact with X for any reason. My children are adults. I saw him a few times since the divorce. Once was at a funeral. What bothered me initially was my children thought we would still interact on some level. I explained to each one of them that under no circumstances could I forgive his actions and make light conversations. Moving on for me required eliminating the toxic cheater from my life. The way I look at it is he lost the privilege of my company the moment he called the other woman. He repulses me to the core. Why put yourself in their presence and put yourself through the torture? Texting about the children works. I spent an amazing day trip with my children and granddaughter yesterday. Create your own memories that are authentic. I have suffered from dipression for years but spent my day laughing yesterday. We get a clean slate when we remove the source of out pain from our lives. They lie so why engage with them!!

  • Arnold, our exes for whatever reason were disengaged. And you were blessed with a Chumpy heart. My ex’s betrayal changed me forever, hell he abandoned, financially screwed over, and betrayed his most precious gift his beautiful family! but I do not allow his crap to define me. I know he will never apologize for the hurt he has caused me. Doesn’t matter. (If he did it would not mean anything to me. I forgive myself.) He is not capable of recognizing the truth and must always spin his narrative, just as your exes do. Hurts like hell though-still!-and this is when I tell myself to get busy living. I spend a lot of time doing things I love (art, volunteering, spending time with my kids) and doing new things which challenge me (travel, explore new places in town, take classes) and may introduce me to people who are worthy-kindred spirits. Do one thing every day that shakes up your routine. Get out and meet good people. Mentor others. Work for a non profit. Granted, I have shit I need to own and work on but none of it came close to all the crap my ex chose. He was Sparkley too! But Cheating is a deal breaker. Do better, Arnold. Know you did your best but know too that some things are just not “meant to be”-you can not “fix” disordered! Focus too on the beautiful gifts your exes share with you, your children. My children and I fall back on treasured family movies to motivate us, to move us forward. We travel together. Do new things. We are reinventing our lives. It helps us and I hope it helps you too.

  • To people here who wish that their companion becomes exactly how s/he was before. I made this experience and I must admit that ChumpLady was correct all the way.

    We had been together 15 years without a fight. It was not perfect, I had more than my share of expenses and work. Actually he was doing very little.But we managed to buy a nice house on the French Riviera and adopt two cute and quiet rescue dogs.For the first time in my life, I felt happy with my situation. That’s when he came into the room and told me he wanted us to split. I asked questions, D-day hit hard. Not as hard though as what I learnt afterwards, when I had already forgiven him. My therapist was very much into reconciliation, and so were my relatives. He had not been on his own while travelling abroad. He fu..ed a Russian woman he met on line, multiple times.He was about to marry her when she dumped him. (He hates marriage).

    He took a small appartment closer to his work, so that he would not be so tired and irritable. He skyped to me every evening, responded immediately when I called, and was home friday night to monday morning. He put lots of efforts in doing his part of the work.He organized weekends, we travelled around. Yesterday my parents were visiting, he acted like the perfect in-law.

    But inside of me, I did not trust him. I had nightmares where he had the face of another, who betrayed me badly a long time ago.

    This morning, before leaving to work, he announced me that a Russian lady friend will be visiting the area two weeks from now (!!), and would I want to drive them around ? (!!) He mentioned my existence to her, so you see, he is being “honest”. Wow. This implies so much. That he never stopped chatting with Russian women. That he never had remorses about what he did, and is willing to try again. That he is actually able do his part of housework, but was never willing to, unless there is something to trade. That he does not value me enough to understand that this “vacation” plan is adding insult to injury. I can do better with my precious days off than be a chauffeur to a predator of the East.
    What adult woman would travel on her own in a foreign land with a guy, after chatting on line with him for months, without something in the back of her mind ? He doesn’t have male friends, not even one.He described her with enthusiasm, she is a painter, she does ballet dancing, she has been in the Russian police. Right, I am sooooo enthusiastic too… to line up my ducks and lawyer up ASAP.

  • Really?? He asks you to drive them around?? OMG! I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, but there seems to be no end to the crap these asshats want us to swallow! Get to the lawyer ASAP and tell him to hire a tour guide. And as for the type of woman who would meet up with a guy she’s been texting and sexting, hard up whore is what that is!!

    • Thank you Roberta for your comment. I think I needed this morning’s huge shock to start acting. I had been paralyzed for a year. The only way to make the pain stop is to quit being with the source of pain. All of a sudden, it seems like the best option is to buy his half of our home and go NC, no part of me can long after a man who can’t even begin to understand the pain he caused. He already has an appartment, with a view on the sea, that he has been so happy to show the whores on line (I am guessing, but since they start coming to visit, it has to be true !), so it won’t even be difficult on him.
      The nerves, though… it’s incredible

  • First of all, let’s all thank ChumpLady for her very wise words, she always ( always!) find the right eye-opening arguments. ChumpLady, you are truly the friend we all need to help navigate these early murky waters. Thank you again.

    From my own experience, the lifting of the blame-veil is 99.874659% of the game. It is so easy to shift most of the responsibility on the affair partner, she of the eeeevvviiilll-bloodsucking-innocent hubby-steeaaalinnng variety. Once that deceiving veil is shred to bits, then the pain eases, a great deal actually. That much is true. Circumstances will vary from case to case, in my situation the affair partner was a long-time family friend who was in a common-law relationship with a man in the last stages of a degenerative illness. Saw the writing on the wall and aimed for a better looking, healthier, wealthier alternative to secure her future. Tempting to shift the blame on her, wouldn’t it, would you not have too? Very convenient, however the left-behind chump (as ex moved out to shack up with Flo. Nightingale-no-more) is now very mired in the poor-hubby-will-see-the-light-and-come-back-to-loving-honest-me-in-a-jiffy Sand Trap. No emotional escape from that one.

    It is imperative that said chump opens her/his mind to the red flags present ( and unwisely discounted ) prior to the affair years. Little crimes of no importance that accumulate and become the scenario eventually. Chumps must allow the wind to blow and make these red flags flying their colours at full display. Was this husband a real flirt with other women which you witnessed but lumped at being “the sensitive soul comfortable with his feminine side and being gentle with female co-workers and friends”… Was he the man with awful cold and distant moods at home but so happy oh, so happy to get back to work on Monday and so happy oh, so happy to invite other women over for dinners and social gatherings. Was he the type of who always seemed to be the only guy standing with three or four women in a small group and basting in their attention as the token guy in their group? Man in presence of which you would scrape your mind relentlessly for conversation topics while the young and beautiful waitress was treated like a long-time confidante with lengthly stand-by-the-table-while-i-talk-to-you conversations? Things like that, no huge facts but put together reveal the soul underneath. And make no mistake, if he ever comes back, it’s only and only because things didn’t work out on the other side. No more, no less. The true regrets are only for the inconvenience he/she encountered in the process. Always.

    As ChumpLady says in her book, you have to look at things for what they are and use the revelations as an opportunity. Opportunity to cut that diseased limb and have the remaining tree flourish in the process. Man was a selfish, Ayn Ranish “me-I-and-myself-first-cuz-that-is-what-nature-intended” narcissist, self-centred shallow man? You know it but still love the jerk? Then perhaps aim at expanding your social circle with good people ( including bettering yourself in the process by the way, that is a major part of your future) and soon enough his star will pale, hugely so, by comparison. I promise this. Easier said than done especially if you are shy by nature, but it is super important that you step out of your comfort zone and get off the couch for this. Not many people will come to the door to comfort you after a while, no one wants to stick around depression and its manifestation.

    Last, gather up all the red flags you can remember, put them into a mental vase and imagine your daughter holding this vase as a metaphor? Would you want her marrying a man displaying same red flags toward her year after year? Voila! first degree of emotional separation done for you. I guaranty that one too. Good luck and long life to one of our fav. website.

  • Someday I know I am going to read his Facebook posts/comments to other women, hear something he says to me, or read a test or something and NOT get that icky, burning, heart-in-my-throat, shaking feeling that I get now…he really sucks, and I do not have blinders on— my eyes are wide open to him and his bullshit— yet, it doesn’t make it suck less…

    Most of the time, I really am fine, I am…just moments like this, when I realize that this is all a game to him, that it just really sucks…

    • I blocked him on Facebook and every one who took his side. And set my settings to private. Only friends of mine. He never checks his Facebook much the whore posts tons of stuff about them it embarresses him but he does nothing. Do want I did block anything you don’t want to see it remind you.

      • Oh yes, only my friends can see my stuff, and I restrict the ones that are “mutual” from seeing my stuff…but I can still see shit he’s posting on those mutual friends’ walls…and a FB page for a local strip joint…good times!!!!

        • Unsinkable molly honey please block him. Best thing I ever did. Our best friend took a picture of him and his whore together and then tagged me so I would see it. A best friend to me for 29 years. Some friend! Cursed him like a long shore man and blocked his ass too. They all want to give us more to be sad and or mad about. My ex is annoyed I blocked him cause he “loves” my postings. Fuck him the fucker. Block him honey block him.you won’t be sorry.

          • He beat me to it. He has blocked me and has made his friends’ list invisible to all so that now I can’t see how many strippers and single female friends he has…I would block him, but he says he can’t see any of my posts because I only post to my friends anyway…. there are a few “mutual” friends that we have, but they don’t tag me or secretly send me messages or anything.

  • Me too, Regina. Strong. But with huge empathy. Dealt with some shit sandwiches, elegantly wiping my mouth and pushing them away. This has totally taken so much from me. I thought I would work through it and eventually come out the other side better, even stronger. Nearly 50 and my 40s – which I so looked forward to as the best decade – have been trying to survive – literally – for my kids.

    Thank you all for your kind comments. I know. I know all of this. Some days I just need to scream. We all know how effing tough this life is. Exhausting.

  • “…that if you told me my ex was a bisexual, white slaver who held orgies in Sunday schools — I would simply shrug. This is what “meh” feels like. I know he’s a freak. I don’t really need to know how much of a freak. It’s not really central to my life anymore. I trust that he sucks.”

    Wow. Really? Bisexual people are ‘freaks’ now?
    Honestly, I’d take the Sunday-school orgies over that kind of bigotry.

  • I can’t even get my cheater out of the house at the moment, and meh feels like it’s a world away. I am struggling so bad in this haze of damn near bed-ridden depression. I havent been able to pick myself up and take a stand for myself and my kids because my strength is too well hidden under my pain. It really sucks waiting around for someone to “get” how bad they crushed you. I know it’s nonsensical but I continue my futile attempts at “untangling the skein”. I have this retarded obsession with wanting to know “how!” “how could you do this to me, when even after everything, I couldnt so much as think of betraying you in such a cold personal way”. My pride is obliterated because I secretly prided myself on having this outstanding unique and off the charts sex life with him, that noone else could even come close to.Sick and pathetic, I realize, but it meant something to ME. I thank each and every one of you, and you ChumpLady in particular for your shining examples of strength that I hope so much to achieve in the near future. I am in such a weakened state because of 3 consecutive, and yet surprisingly shocking(to me) d-days, that it’s harder than ever to take a stand for myself. 10 years is alot to have wasted on someone who can’t even “fake” compassion very well. I am grateful for this site more tan you all know!

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