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The Dreaded Fear They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else

ZombieclosureI get the same letter here at Chump Lady over and over again. It goes like this:

I know he’s a liar and a cheat. He did 14,357 unspeakable things (all described). I can’t let go because I know if I do, he’s going to change and be different for the other woman! And after all this work I’ve done, all this history we have, I will miss out! I wouldn’t be able to bear it — the two of them together being perfect while my life sucks! Help. 

(Forgive the gender pronouns. It works in reverse too. Men have the same fears their wives will be fabulous for the other man.)

I suffered from a bad case of They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else myself. Which, when I look back on it, was pretty delusional. I was wife #3 and all the marriages ended over his infidelities. Years later, I got the validation as well that he’s still the same old scumbag when someone wrote a profile on him at, saying he targets single mothers. (I was a single mother. The OW was a single mother… with his kid.) Oh, but at the time of the marriage, I was truly stricken by the thought that I was going to miss out on something wonderful if I got Mr. Cheaterpants out of my life.

Because, you know, he did the “remorse.” He did the therapy. And the problem was, I wasn’t patient for the results. Or so he told me. It didn’t seem to be sticking, all that insight and sorriness. But when I thought that the OW would get him? Suddenly I could imagine him 100% new and improved… for her.


What is going ON here?

A few thoughts.

1) You’ve bought into the idea at some level that the problem is you. You’re not special. You’re not worthy. They only act this way because you are lacking in some fundamental way. The Reconciliation Industrial Complex bombards chumps with this message too. What was missing from the marriage that made them cheat? And cheaters are so very good at the blameshifting, sending you the same message, that hey you suck, you didn’t do enough to keep me satisfied. All you know for sure is that you aren’t enough. Then they try to keep you off balance so you’ll do the Pick Me dance so they can keep eating cake. It’s all very natural to wonder if the other person isn’t the magic elixir that will make them happy.

Because that is what’s important here — their happiness. You’ve bought into that too.

2) You’ve been on ego kibble starvation rations. When you’re with a cheater narcissist, you give an infinite number more kibbles than you receive. We all need some kibbles, especially from our partners. But when you’re on starvation kibble rations, those kibbles take on an inflated value. Every now and then, your cheater will sparkle, just enough to keep you hooked. And being at the center of the laserbeam of sparkles is addictive. So when you see your partner turning on the sparkles for someone else? You turn into Gollum. My precious kibbles! My precious!

They like it like that. Keeps you dancing for them. Keeps them in cake.

3) You have tunnel vision because of the sunk costs. It’s galling and depressing beyond words to consider the wasted time and energy spent on a bad relationship. You want something for your investment. You’ve been putting fistfuls of quarters into that slot machine and now it’s going to pay off for some other idiot? Hell no!

The house always wins. Your cheater is keeping the quarters. They already spent them. Sure, they might spit out a few here and there to keep you playing. But please just walk away. Let the next sucker play the rigged game.

4) I believe in miracles. Let’s say they change. Does it really change the 14,357 unspeakable things they did? I had to get to the point where I didn’t care anymore if he was Mr. Perfect for someone else. He wasn’t Mr. Perfect for ME. Those unspeakable things were deal breakers. I couldn’t trust him again. It was destroyed. I had to walk away from my investment.

Chumps need to trust that they suck. Could they be better? I suppose some of them could, sure. But they CHOOSE not to be. Put another way — they’re really good at selling, but not so good at sealing the deal. Who doesn’t love sparkles? You did. The other person does, now, at first. But for whatever reason, these people don’t enjoy commitment, they enjoy selling. They’re snake oil salesman. Like all salesmen, they project an air of exclusivity — act now! This is very, very special! But it’s rubbish, and then they’re on to the next town.

This column ran previously, feel free to comment!

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  • I am one year out of the implosion of my marriage. I still can’t stand to be around the ex and his new girlfriend who he met just seconds after moving out of the house. It is a façade, just like our marriage, nothing was real and I was guessing all the time. Feels great to be away from the craziness!

      • I agree with Nina’s comment…I thought the exact same thing. He did NOT meet her seconds ‘AFTER’ he moved out!

      • Actually he met her on, but there was another “friend” before her. I politely asked him to get the fuck out of my house when I realized he had a secret friend and was using…

      • I agree. Your cheating husband met his girlfriend way before he moved out. Most cheating men rarely leave the wife for the whore OW, but some do. He will get his. Not to worry. Only a dope would marry a whore willing to cheat with a married man, particularly one who leaves his wife for an OW. LOL

          • My husband mentally left our marriage 5 years ago but he didn’t have the decency to end our marriage nor seek help he waited till he found some skank to move in with. He was courting this bitch at least four of five months before I got wind of it. I confronted him and he chose to be with the dirty skank who left her husband and two little boys for my husband. He met her at our local petrol station 150 meters from our home where she works. He moved from our home to her family home she kicked her husband out a few months before that. He takes her go all the places he took me I am 12 years older then him we were married for 17 years together for 19 years. We met at uni and we have two children boy 17 and girl 15 .. I know he had affairs in the past 5 years he told me it was only sex no feelings but this siank he feels there’s something more.

  • Excellent article here CL.

    I have an thought to add. The “Dreaded Fear They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else” has a major problem: triangulation. It considers where the cheater is, it considers where the OW/OM is… and tries to approximate where you should be.

    Your advice (CL) is sound: Turn the attention on yourself. Should you be someone’s doormat?

    I think I’ve achieved ‘meh’ in recent times, and I always look back and say: “Boy, wasn’t I a sucker”. I was willing to be the martyr for a failed relationship, where the individual (ex-narc GF) showed no signs of remorse, and a truckload of entitlement.

    You need to ask some serious questions of yourself, minus the triangulation.

  • so needed to hear this today, thank you, i over think things and i often think his having the time of his life and am not so much, yes am happier now his gone and see things a lot clearer now, missed red flags etc and i know i dont ever want him back, but i want to know the full truth, i know ill never get it and i would like to think they are both unhappy together ,

    • Me too, I needed to hear this today. Every bit helps. When you read an article like this and are thinking “yes, yup, yeah that too, yep, uh huh, yeah, yep, …” it helps reinforce just how toxic the dynamics of this abusive relationship are/were and lessens the guilt I feel for instigating the divorce. The good news is that now I have many guilt free moments, so definite progress.

    • Saralou 72 you just wrote my thoughts as well today. It is so damn hard. Hell I even wished I had some of my old life back for a few moments today. I have been home sick and feeling miserable for myself . In my crazy cold and flu remedy fueled mind I felt like emailing him to ask at what point in our 14 years did he decide he didn’t love me and stopped putting effort in ( was it before I found out about his porn addiction or afterwards). I guess what I am trying to hold on to is which we’re the happy memories I can keep in my head and which can I eradicate.

  • “The house always wins.” Bingo.

    This may be the same logic at work in attempted reconciliation, only in this case it’s the dreaded fear that if I don’t try (again), I’ll never know if he didn’t really change *this* time. The dreaded fear that he might be better for me, and if I divorce, I’ll miss out on all that. Sunk costs indeed.

    I’m kicking around a new piece of insight that arrived this week. It is that I got so used to crazy that I learned to react to whatever was going on in front of me. If the hurricane was blowing, I put on my slicker and held on to the wheel and faced the wind. And it would flip off like a switch, or die down, and everyone would be calm, and then laughing together and someone puts the coffee on and we’d all act like nothing had happened until the next time. And if I withheld myself, it was because I was bitter, unforgiving, suspicious, and in general just not a loving person.

    And that’s what’s happening now. “I’m not acting like that right *now*. I’m not yelling *now*. I’m being a nice guy. Why do you want to divorce me *now*?” The switch has flipped, and for me to continue on this path (even though nothing has changed) is just me not being a fun guy, not even playing fair. I’m hoping that this means I’ve rounded the homestretch.

    BTW, you may have outdone yourself with the cartoon.

      • ^^^This^^^ He’s being nice “now”? “Bitch cookie”.

        Xhole always “acts nice” and I try to maintain nice just so he doesn’t see the pain…. but in those instances that the gut wrenching reality returns and the tears come…. I strike back and I get called “mean”. “Why can’t you be nice?” Why do these assholes believe they deserve “nice”???

        “Bitch cookie” is what I need to remember.

        • Mine just asked me why I was so mean today! I asked him why he was such a dickhead and inconsiderate!

          • Ha ha…. that is the last thing I said to mine when I hung up on him the last time he called “Fuck you!! You are such a fucking dickhead!!!” and that was it… he texted “how am I being a dick?” and I gave him CRICKETS… not enough time to even answer that question.

    • EA, you just described most of my adult romances. How terribly special I wasn’t. It’s hard seeing the truth, but thank you for putting it iin B&W.

  • The “sunk cost” rationale kept me in my abusive marriage for years before the cheating was discovered. I would have been much better off applying the “shit vs. gravy” ratio – that being, when the shit outweighs the gravy, it’s time to go.

  • Yes the dreaded fear of it. Plus the fear of “Am I making the biggest mistake of my life by divorcing him?” Will I be worse off w/o him or with him? (especially after reading all the comments I truly wonder of its better on the other side, if us middle age women ever get over it) and “maybe he will have that epiphany and realize losing his family is just not worth the whore mongering”. The fear of “emotionally damaging my kids” The fear of being alone for the rest of my life. The fear of not being able to be financially stable. The fear of no longer being desirable. and too much more to post. But the bigger fear/question is Can I live with this and be emotionally stable? Can I live with out him and be emotionally stable? Can I allow my children to accept emotional abuse as norm? Can I continue to risk my health? THE BIGGEST FEAR OF ALL IS MAKING A DECISION. ONE WAY OR ANOTHER WE MUST DECIDE OUR FUTURE. I ask myself if this were my daughter or niece or sister what would I tell them; what would I want for them? The weird thing is it wasn’t a bad relationship. for 30 yrs it was relatively normal from my point of view. only now I know everything and I can’t un- know it. He has led a double life for more yrs than I care to count. He must be emotionally sick. there is no other explanation. there has got to be something not connecting for someone to lead a secret life and to not be able to stop, regardless of who he hurts or puts at risk. I can’t wrap my head around it.

    • Even though the scars remain from the detruction of my long-term marriage, I promise you it IS better on the other side! Do I sometimes get lonely, discouraged, afraid? Hell, yes! But there is such a peace to knowing I am no longer being lied to, that I am putting my well-being first. For so long I lived a life of lies, a life that looked great from the outside, but was so ugly on the inside- and it was turning me into someone I did not want to be. Change is always difficult, but it led me to a place of calm. I am now the person I want to be and I am proud of who I have become. Leaving a destructive marriage is like leaving a prison cell after a long period of incarceration. Yeah, you always have food and a bed in prison, but who in their right mind would trade that “security” for the freedom waiting on the other side?

        • Yes Violet, I often times compare my divorce to escaping from a life sentence in prison. Instead of holding on to a fantasy that our retirement years were somehow going to be pure bliss I now realize the reality of his bad health and his mental abuse and I escaped! I got a full pardon. Let Schmoopie have the aging Romeo! I’m free!

          • A very wise older friend of mine told me that I was given a “get out of jail free pass” when my narc ex left. (I would never have left.). She was so right; I now have a lovely man in my life and know what love is supposed to feel like!

      • I am a first time poster snd too have a long term marriage, 30 years, that I thought was pretty good before the cheating. My husband has been having a LTA for at least 4 years maybe closer to 10 or 12. I have a 12 yr old. First real d day was 4 years ago. I keep “trying” giving him second chances, telling him I need him to have NC with her in order for our marriage to continue, telling him he needs to leave if he doesn’t end it, offering counseling. ..and nothing. just continues althiugh he thinks I don’t know they are still cavorting . Every chance I get I peak at his “hangouts ” conversations on his phone and sure enough the proof is still there. I have become numb to it but am taking screen shots and saving them every chance I get. I have detached otherwise…I don’t try to talk to him about it anymore or question him. I’m trying to get my ducks in a row and the nerve I guess to do something about it this summer. ( waiting til son is done with school ). I guess I’m a little afraid but also don’t want to put my son through this. Additionally we r having major financial issues to sort out…Filing for bankruptcy, he’s not working, etc….its hard to unravel and figure it all out…how to do it all, that is. I have no family for support and of course my friends are mostly “our” friends so I have not disclosed anything to them. This blog ( and the frequent hangout conversation reviewing ) has helped me to get angry enough to start making a plan, so thank u for that. I think I just kept my head in the sand before and “hoped” things would return to “normal” but now I feel like it’s too late. I didn’t want to destroy my family but I’m sick of allowing this to go on so long. I want to get unstuck…

        • stuckchump,

          I am sorry you are going through this, too. So much is so similar with all of us. I’ve said it before but if it was just one or two things it would be so much easier to handle. When you tack on major financial problems, not working, no family support, aging, kid problems, etc. it gets really hard to deal. I wanted to believe that STBX was the man I thought he was (or the man under the mask). As more time passes since he abandoned me and the kids I see more and more of the financial mess that he had no intention of working through. No intention of fixing anything. So please get everything in order.

          • Thank u glinda. I really have been hopeful for too long. He says he wants to stay in the marriage and i dont think he’d ever up and leave (that would be “wrong”) and I was willing to work on it….but i cant wait for him anymore. I also get overwhelmed on just how to “get everything in order” with all that’s going on….but after we get the bankruptcy paperwork completed ( I was worried he wouldn’t cooperate if I threw him out beforehand) and school ends this summer I will have him leave. That is the start of my plan. I figure I have to do baby steps…i don’t know how else to do it…I just get stuck if I try to figure it all out at once

            • My WH also says he wants to stay married. Nor do I think he would run off with anyone else. He likes his squeaky clean image too much. the great guy who helps everyone. the tender heart that saves animals sick and injured. No one has seen him kick the cat in anger. no one ever will. He keeps that side well hidden. He also wants to keep hidden that he likes the strange 30yrs+ younger then he is magic prostitute pussy on the side. He knows I suspect an affair but does not fully realize how much I do know. Plus he firmly believes I have no proof. its amazing how good I have become at the computer. plus him being anal about organization has helped me tremendously. I have found years worth of shit. He has been able to beat me to a few boarding passes and trips. but for the most part I have enough to make a convincing argument for infidelity. This has been the most traumatic demoralizing experience ever. worse than my life threatening health emergency. You know what the sad part about all this is. I have come to realize when I call him on all this shit; He will be defiant with absolutely no remorse, guilt or shame. I know there is no option for me. once this is out it is tuff shit, live with it or move on.

              • Willow, please read “Living and Loving After Betrayal” and google “Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program” My therapist recommended them when my life blew up in a manner similar to what you’re facing. I couldn’t even get to the grocery store without debilitating panic attacks. … Terror attacks really, that got so bad I was having them even at home. Both of these helped so much in my darkest moments, and now that I’ve discovered CN I’m doing better everyday! Huge hugs and stay strong … YOU are the normal one! Take strength from your values and love yourself more than that narc ever could. <3

              • I call my wh a high functioning cheater. He is not physically or emotionally abusive. He provides well. Keeps the finances in order. He wants to keep me believing that he is squeeky clean. Too bad he has to be in one affair or another. I wish I had found this website in the beginning after dday.

              • yes snowflake mine could be labeled as a high functioning cheater. no physical abuse. Great provider. Not sure about the emotional abuse though. the manipulating, controlling, repeated cheating (which he witnessed and KNOWS the desolation/destruction it caused) the lying, blame shifting and gas lighting could be called emotional abuse. His answer: how can emotional abuse be defined/proven. it is only someones perspective. His perspective is it does not happen.

              • Deepbreaths, Thank you and I will look up and read those books/articles you suggest. I have those anxiety attacks too. not so much anymore but I do have triggers still. yes my WH is a highly intelligent narc. a very successful narc. and he maintains his image very well. looking back on the past 30 yrs, I don’t think i knew him at all. or maybe he has a split personality. Which one is real? was my whole marriage just a front? do I see the real him or do his buds and select family see the real him? Lord I could write a book on all the fake and acting I have uncovered.

              • They rarely feel guilt or shamed. My wife actually said ” I’m not ashamed of what I’ve done” wow. You’ve lied and cheated to me our daughter our family our friends your work colleagues and to OM for years but you feel no shame! on days when I’m missing my old life I remind myself of those words and think no way could I ever be with that sociopath again.

            • willowchumox30: Mine too is an outwardly high functioning narc. He’s a high income earner, a respected professional and a manipulator of epic proportions who can read exactly what everyone needs to feel important – especially pretty girls.

              I’m sure he’s now chatting up a storm in an effort to portray himself now as the poor spouse who just had to leave his downer, unreasonable wife. It would be very believable too, since I have to admit, I haven’t been happy for a long time and I’m sure the cracks in the marriage showed now and then. It certainly didn’t help that he consistently told his friends how miserable I made him – same friends that would later come to our wedding. He never told me that he was unhappy and I just went along for the sparkly ride until I found out about his double life in 2012.

              I’ve seen behind his mask and it’s very ugly. No long-term affairs but plenty of disorder, from sex tourism, transexual hookers, one-night stands with interns, and so on. But because I’m probably the only person who’s gone far behind his cover, it makes me wonder sometimes whether I was responsible for his behaviour and he really will be better for someone else. But then I think about it and realize he had choices too – including to leave miserable old me instead of lying to my face for a decade and marrying me.

              I’m sure it will be hard watching him date some innocent young thing who will be taken in by his bullshit. He loves empathetic, awkward introverts like me who are especially susceptible to his sparkles. But eventually, when real life sets in for him, and if she’s smart enough to listen to that voice that tells her something is wrong, his life will blow up again. The disorder is strong in this one.

              To answer your question, no, we can never know them. Scary.

        • StuckChump, keep coming back to this site. Keep reading. This site really helped me get unstuck. Made me realize how predictabe, ordinary, sad and futile wrestling with a narc is.

          Here’s hoping it helps you move along, too.

          • Willow. ..mine is the same re squeaky clean image. Shows everyone else that side. I find it weird I did not really see the true side of him for 20 yrs so thats part of what has kept me stuck…not believing he’s in his right mind…depressed about job loss, etc. Thought I wanted to “help” him. What a chump I’ve been.

            No more narc….thank u. Yes reading this site is what has given me the inertia to start making a plan to stop the madness

            • yes i agree stuckchump. without CN, CL, the info and experience of others on this site I would be accepting all the gas lighting and blame shifting. Reading the archives from the beginning has taught me how to protect myself, look for a good lawyer, find other resources, and know I am not losing my mind. But the biggest gift of all is having support, understanding and real empathy here that gets me through some of my darkest moments. And sometimes, when we need it; a kick in the butt. Even if I am not commenting I am taking it all in. All of the experiences. Come here and read, join the private forums. you have friends here like no other.

        • Stuckchump — I was you for a couple of years after D-Day. It took me 2.5 years of knowing that he was continuing to lie to me and seeing the OW before I finally started to pull myself out of the muck. It started slow with accepting the situation and not checking up on him. Eventually that thought pattern became habit.

          It’s good that you’re getting mad, but I would advise you to stop checking in on him altogether and start focusing on YOU. He’s not worth the misery. Accept that he is a total shit, and don’t check up on him any more. This is how you start to detach and gain strength and momentum. Also, the less contact you have with him the better. It’s not easy, but I promise you that putting his nonsense behind you will pay massive dividends.

          It’s not too late. Detach, detach, detach. Don’t waste your time hoping he’ll be a better person. (Hint: He won’t.) But there is hope for you once he’s no longer weighing you down.

        • Stuckchump, I’m seriously wondering how much of that ‘bankruptcy’ is caused by him buying gifts and other shit for his OW.
          I HIGHLY suggest you look into that side of things too – and get out, before he starts using your money to fund his entitlement.
          Nail the bastard to the wall!

        • I’d call my EH “high functioning” also. Great job, fiscally responsible, but the more examine my marriage the I realize he absolutely was emotionally abusive. I think the more high functioning they are, the more covert and brutal the emotional abuse.

          • THIS ^^^^ I totally agree… same here, Xhole is high functioning. Covert and subtle emotional and mental abuse, NEVER physically, very talented in his field…. super nice guy and super charming to EVERYONE else but me. Not financially responsible though, financially he is a train wreck. I have TRIED to get him to address these issues for 8 years…. but it’s that “You’re not the boss of me” disordered mentality. Eight years later he is in worse financial shape than EVER. I thank God every day that we never actually went through with marriage. Fortunately for me I am friends with his last ex-wife and know that this exactly the way he was with her and their marriage ended the exact same way. She is an awesome person and a great mother…. he actually told her she was a bad wife… wtf?

            Here is a little something I found yesterday that really hit home for me, it is Xhole 100%

            “When people pursue a course of action that benefits them but harms others, they try to avoid looking at the harm they’ve caused or they minimize the consequences. If minimization fails to work then they will distort the consequences or choose not to believe the evidence. “As long as the harmful results of one’s conduct are ignored, minimized, distorted, or disbelieved, there is little reason for self-censure to be activated” (Bandua 1999)

        • “High functioning, intelligent, sensitive, understanding.” Narcs are so utterly maddening. I have to echo the Narcissist Abuse Recovery site; tremendously helpful.

      • Exactly my sentiments, Violet. Two years divorced and it’s very clear to me that there is no way I ever want to be back in that sham of a marriage. The thought of still being married to the cheater ex makes my skin crawl. Repulsed does not begin to describe how I feel.

      • After DDay precisely one year ago today, I was in the, “I can’t believe…” state of paralysis. Today, I have no fear. I have started to date and I am finally living the life I deserved. I survived and can say without a doubt life is better. Staying makes a cheater stronger and more abusive. Letting go if all the false hope saved my life.
        The idea they are going to be better with someone else is a farce. OW’S gain is my loss! She can drive the drunk home. She can spend hours with a stoned teenager man boy who cannot have an adult conversation. She gets to wake up in a bed if urine. She can pay his bills when he’s not working for five months out of the year and has to pay his income taxes on his credit card. She can listen to the endless pity me narrative if how the entire world is against him. She can go see aging rockers playing off key while he gets wasted. She can be seconds to his current girlfriends. She can repeat everything over and over because he can’t hear. She can wasted years of her life waiting for the false boy dreams to come true. She can decider his cheating code words for hooking up. She can go to limited places fir his double life to avoid other women. She can get STD testing annually. She can pretend she is special as he buys her token gifts to cover cheating. The only one who has a better life is the faithful. Believe this!!!! Taking an honest inventory of what you really lost is enlightening.

        • Oh Donna, you just uplifted my soul today! “….aging rockers playing off key wile he gets wasted…stoned teenager man boy…paying taxes on his credit card….” Thank you for spelling things out exactly. We need strong words such as yours, we need the truth, otherwise the fantasies in the head, “The Dreaded Fear They’re Going to Be Better for Someone Else,” get rolling, which then get the feelings going, but when you put things in the plain light of day, as you so perfectly did, I feel that the truth is spoken and I am thinking in terms of reality, not “what could have been.” Thank you from my whole my heart.

          And I will add a few things: She can have the name calling, the pushing me to react so I look crazy and his sitting back and watching with disdain/glee; she can have the hopelessness; the addiction; the abuse, the misogyny; the disrespect. Geez, when we put it like this Donna, it is truly helpful to move on. I am at least for today, done with focusing on him. Thank you for such a great post! And CL for a great article! Very helpful!

    • I must have written that in my sleep! My story exactly. All this and more. I was in limbo for 1 year because I couldn’t let go of the sunk costs. I spent the second year worrying about how my children might handle things. It’s actually been a relief to tell people that our marriage isn’t what they thought it was. I see now that he really believes that he’s special. His problems are so much more special than anybody else’s problems. He thinks he’s different than other cheaters (apparently they aren’t special). Now I wish he’d find somebody who believes in his specialness, so he can get the hell out of my life.

      • Sunk costs = a cost that has already been incurred and cannot be recovered
        Investment = an asset with the expectation of future profits or capital appreciation

        My problem was I thought the time I spent on my marriage was an investment and all the while it was all sunk costs.

        • Yes! This ^^.

          Invest in yourself, and ditch the underperforming dog. It is hard to walk away but ultimately healthier. Spend your time in limbo getting things organized.

    • Willowchump: I think you are channeling my story today. FEAR. tons of FEAR. It took me going back to school and working with a counselor for over a year to get the emotional shit storm to be quiet and for me to realize that shit storm or not, his behavior didn’t change–still late, still doing his thing on everyone else’s time, still never apologized the whole “I get to do what I want when I want because I make money and you don’t, and your job is to be with the kids….yadda yadda”. I was so afraid that I would be destitute (and if he doesn’t pay the agreed upon settlement then I may be) but when I did jump, I jumped big. I had a lawyer, an accountant, a forensic accountant, and a counselor. And I have lived in FEAR for a year now. The settlement is barely settled, we have gone through our possessions, and he is supposed to be gone in a few days. And I’m still afraid, but I’m calm. This site has taught me so much, that “he’s not special or unique”, lots of people live secret lives and that little by little I can be strong again. And like so many others, I looked at the FOO issues on both sides of our families, I untangled skeins and re-rolled them. In the end, I chose to break the cycle and try not to pass my chumpiness and his narciness on to our beautiful children. The further I get, one year and one month, away the more stable I feel. my way of dealing with the fear has been to look at it as a companion, sometimes it walks with me, sometimes I carry it, sometimes it lurks in the shadows. What I do know though, is that no matter how close the fear is to me, I can get through it. Thank you all for being so witty and articulate. Like many, I lurker on the site for a long time and am just now cautiously posting.

    • The biggest mistake of your life will not be that you left the cheater. The biggest mistake is staying with a cheater. Believe they do not change and it is all on them. They are the pathetic ones in the relationship. When I look back at all the false tears of loneliness the cheater shed after blaming me for his unhappiness and infidelities it makes me sick. He told his latest whore he had to support me. This translates to his need to gain sympathy so she will support him while he pretended he supposedly was paying rent at my daughters house. All the while he continues to look. Let them be someone elses mistake. It is truly a relief when they are left to their own lifestyle.

  • I certainly dealt with this fear with my XH. Him and his schmoopie had a way of always making everything look so perfect. I tried to remind myself that she didn’t have a magic vagina. He was a lying, self-centered, low-wage-earning, mess-making manchild with me, and he was not about to stop being all that just for her.

    And yet, the fear still ate away at me that their lives would be completely glamorous and he would be for her the man he always refused to be for me. My mind knew it was bull****; my heart kept the fear alive.

    Fast forward to 9 months post-D-day. We have been divorced for almost 7 months. His mistress dumped him shortly before the divorce was final, I suspect because she began to realize who he really was, and because things were a lot less interesting when I stopped doing the pick-me dance. I just found out that he got cited for driving without insurance two weeks after the divorce, missed his court date, then had his license suspended and his car impounded a week ago for driving on a suspended license. The car he received in the divorce broke down and he traded it in for an older used car with higher miles, which he paid way too much for. Then that car broke down and needed a new engine (his parents bailed him out). He got fired from his old job in November and took a much-lower-paying job, and he almost got evicted from his apartment last month for non-payment of rent.

    The OW’s vagina really isn’t magic. They won’t change one whit from who they were when they were married to you, and the consequences of their crappy character and poor choices usually catches up with them.

    • My ex got dumped by the OW before our divorce was final, too! I think he expected me to forgive and forget even though the divorce had been going on for over a year at that point. Idiot.

      • My ex’s smoopie will want to get a divorce (she has chased him for years) and marry him. I told him he’d better get a pre-nup! Let’s see how stupid he is!

        • I laugh that his latest desperate whore can’t marry X as he’s on my health insurance. Today there was another sighting if him with yet another woman. Lol.

  • I really no longer care what sick game my ex is trying to triangulate at the moment. I go to court in three days and he still has not filed the required documents for things to proceed without being hindered.
    Yet I experienced him take a seat in the front row of a church service this past weekend at which I was involved in the leading of worship. He arrived early and took a seat in the front row GF and her kids by his side. I did struggle with it, but I kept my calm did what was needed of me on stage and sat at the back of the church during the message. He and the GF got up and left during our second last song making a grand exit.
    A few weeks ago I was battling with the idea that he was blessed and my life sucked. Later Sunday night I found myself feeling sorry for the GF and grateful that I was no longer exposed to that extent of narcissism.
    Thank you for today’s post CL a very timely reminder.

    • I think one reason why we compare ourselves unfavorably with our STBXs or Xs is that by virtue of cheating, they still have some sort of “relationship,” which makes them look desirable and happy as part of a couple, while we are busy trying to sort out the debris of the dead marriage. So while we walk around hyper-aware that we are not part of a couple, they parade Schmoopie and SchmoopieKids around in front of us. But that’s as much of a con job as the “faithful spouse” pose they used to fool us. Whatever life they are showing us, whatever face they present, it will be a mask covering up their emptiness.

      • Thank you lovedajack ass. My ex and his Schmoopie number four of eight months just bought a huge house together and got a dog. When we separated a year ago he told me he didn’t want pets anymore, a house, or yard to have to deal with. This is getting hard for me to deal with, as I am now in a much smaller place, living on a budget. I just keep hoping that it is all an act for them and it will fall apart in a couple years.

        • I view my living situation as peaceful. X reinvented himself and suddenly loved everything she values. He hated lap dogs, ugly whores, and country music. She gets his false self. I view him as a cheater who pretends to be someone else, yet never changed. Now he is her problem.

        • Yep. So we get false reconciliation or false “true love” with Schmoopie or nasty comments about our inadequacies that “make” them cheat. Not one bit of it is real–just the words that roll out of their mouths and the actions that benefit them in the moment.They can’t sustain anything because…it’s all a fake.

  • Saralou1972; I was a real truth seeker too, and years out realize I never found out and never will. My mind went around and around for years. Try your very best to interrupt this cycle as soon as you can! Not only would the truth hurt even more, like CL said, you do not need it to move forward in your own life. I like very much the likeness of gambling, but it is gambling with your life, heart and psyche. Do accept you will never know and move forward. Even if you were to be told the “facts,” you would not know the real story, only one person’s idea of the real story. (and that someone wants you ignorant)
    I am so glad CL posted this one, it was a major stumbling block for me and I am sure many Chumps. When you have had a long relationship and only know about one affair, you think someone else will get all the cheat free years left. Instead of a one arm bandit, he is a two armed bandit. Armed with lies and deceit and hungry for all your quarters! Don’t end up at the machine still putting in your last quarters with your oxygen tank!

    • Thanks Regina , am trying to now let go of needing the full truth , am discovering things all the time anyway, I do believe he cheated on before over the ten years but managed to get away with but this time it blew up in his face because she was too young and immature and won’t let him walk away, he did say to me that I had been punching above my weight all these yeaespecially , oh yeah really. He also said I should have him back as he is a safe bet now and would not cheat on me ever again as its hard work cheating and very costly , and if he could give his best mates any advice it would be don’t cheat not worth it, he then continued to give me the sad sausage bit and had me playing the pick me dance for seven months till I just told him no more and she can have you, if she is that desperate to have a turd she is welcome , he till put on a act for now talking her out etc but he is a boring man who hates being around ppl and family etc so she will soon get bored , hope karma comes along soon for them both

  • Bang on the money. When I was deciding to leave my cheating ex, I also had a long streak of this irrational, weirdly desperate fear that he’s going to be better for her. But I realised something I always knew on some level ever since I found out about the cheating: if he’s willing to change for someone else and not for me, with all we had, that’s such a blatant disrespect it almost warrants leaving by itself.

    Of course, it turns out that he just slid even more into being a completely insufferable arse. Even more so after dumping original OW and replacing her with a newer model. What a giant sparkly turd.

    • Great point! If they will not change for you but will for someone else, why would we accept that notion? The odds are not in favor of them changing. Ever.

    • Ashemare, THIS ‘ if he’s willing to change for someone else and not for me, with all we had, that’s such a blatant disrespect it almost warrants leaving by itself.’

      The ex came by this weekend to take our kids for the monthly few hours that they’re willing to spend with him. He was telling our daughter that his relationship with OW is going well now. (This after he spent 2 and 1/2 years trying to get me to take him back, while still with her most of that time.) Plus he’s been telling and telling the kids and I that since we ALL dumped him (me first, the kids after an extra year and a bit of neglect and clearly being his Plan B), and he attended a few sessions of family therapy with the kids and then another dozen individual sessions, HE’S CHANGED! He’s finally understood! He is remorseful about what he did! He doesn’t want to hurt people any more! He’s a good person now, who deserves another chance!

      But for 14 years he was hurting me, and for a few less, the kids as well, with his negativity, meanness and selfish entitlement. The 2 affairs were just the icing on that cake, as were the physical threats against me. And for all that time, HE DIDN’T CARE that we were hurting, that I was trying to make him happy while he did zero in reciprocation, etc etc.

      He wouldn’t change for us. So why should we care now that he’s changed for HIM?

      (Not that I believe he’s changed that much, anyway. He may not cheat again (I wasn’t the first person he cheated on, either), but it’s still ALL about him, and he’s still manipulating, blame-shifting ….)

  • I’m trying to focus on the fact that possibly the reason they still seem happy is that they still have a shared hatred of me to keep them bonded together, they have similar morals that I did not share with him is it is OK for a married person the commit adultery with someone else and that it is OK to commit adultery with a married man, also that if he misbehaves when we finally get divorced he would have to buy himself a new house and if he hasn’t done that before he was chucked out he would be homeless like what happened to her husband. He’s basically a lazy bugger and used to leave all that sort of stuff to me

    • They love to triangulate. That’s one reason why going no contact is so important. The secrecy, the sneaking around and the triumph of getting an advantage over someone is like a giant ego-kibble dispenser. If you aren’t talking or reacting or paying any attention, it’s just the two of them and their ordinary lives. And you know where that is going to end up.

  • This was my life 3 years. It was all about sunk costs and not letting the OW slip into the life that I had worked so hard to build. Staying for that didn’t do a thing for my sanity, my health or my liver for that matter.

    I may never have a lot of the material stuff I had when we were married. I may never be in another relationship again. It’s all worth it to have my piece of mind and what’s left of my self esteem. I can rebuild that.

    I find myself being grateful that he’s with the other woman. I’ve experienced his wrath when you’ve seen him without the mask and make it clear that you’re not buying what he’s selling. He spent our whole marriage projecting his shitty character on me-someone who didn’t have shitty character. I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of fresh hell it is to project that shitty character on someone who you know is a mirror image of yourself. Good luck with that!

    CL is right. Forget the sunk costs. The house literally always wins.

  • I almost enjoy the fact that 18 months out from d-day my STBX’s blood pressure skyrockets when he speaks to me. He tries so hard to convince the outside world that he’s PATIENT and POLITE under all circumstances, but I am living proof that he’s a jerk and a hot head.

    I bring out the real him. Everybody else is seeing a phony.

    • The last few months have seen my cheating ex end up with a higher paying job, a new house in a great neighborhood and all the other perks that come along with having four times my income. Meanwhile, I am in our old home, wiping crayon and all sorts of other unknown substances off the wall. I work full-time, have a part-time job and have our children the majority of the time. It is easy to get stuck in self pity. Like today. My stbx, new girlfriend and one of our children are off on holiday. Meanwhile, I am at home with the little one who got left behind.

      I try to reframe my thinking all the time. I am lucky to have a house, job that pays our bills. Yes, we are not living in luxury, but my income and child support keep us happy. Having the kids the majority of the time is a problem I know must people on this site would love to have. Whenever, my stbx threatens to try and take them for more time, I go into a panic, only to realize later, she is too lazy to really be a parent.

      I hope to be in a place one day where I don’t have to “reframe” my thinking. That it just becomes the way I think. I waste to much time and energy worrying that her life is better without me. That one day, our kids will realize she is “better” and choose to go with her.

      • Why,
        My question is what is wrong with her that she chooses to separate the children. That is just nasty.
        Sure take the one that is older that aids the illusion of happy family time. But not the one that will actually take effort.
        What a narc

      • Why….keep putting in the effort to reframe and it will soon become peaceful…Meh. sounds like you are still healing. so be kind to yourself as you wake up to the reality that you truly are better off now without cheater!

      • My ex always made 5-6 times more than I did throughout our 24+ marriage. He now has a new house, new a BMW & a new wife-to-be (not the OWhore). I’m sure he continues to travel the world, enjoy fine dining & all that goes with a higher income. In the meantime I am struggling financially which makes me (at times) spiral into the woe-is-me mode. I”m recovering from a broken foot & the copays are almost sinking me. I try to be positive in thinking that it won’t always be this way. Cheaters suck!

      • Hey why

        I’m 4 months out. My wife runs her own company, makes 3 times my income is about to get a new luxury car and is in the marital home.
        All sounds great?

        What she also gets though is schmoopie her business partner who she been having an affair with for years.
        She won a man who lied to his children, his wife, (now ex) lied to his family, friends, work colleagues basically everyone. My wife did the same. Lies. Perfect match I recon
        They’re welcome to each other I’m pretty sure the ego kibbles will run low very quickly now I’m not doing the dance she so loved. Car crash waiting to happen.
        Think yourself lucky your free from the drama.

    • That is great, Moving Liquid. “I bring out the real him.”. Mine hides it well from everyone, but I’ve seen what’s in there. No, thank you, I won’t be having any more of that.

      • Same here. When all this hit a very ugly, angry man suddenly appeared and he hasn’t gone away in nearly four years. He’s able to play nice with final OW and his family but with me and the kids? Total raging dickhead.

  • I get hung up because my ex has a history of discarding men without looking back. I knew this, but of course I was going to love her “enough” and the “right way” so that she’d feel safe and wouldn’t run. I imagine her having a great time, because I had what felt like great times with her after she had left her two ex-husbands (I didn’t know her until afterwards). I envy the ability to discard people, to throw them away without a care, to move on as if they never existed. My therapist assures me that I don’t want to envy that, let alone be that way, but damn if it doesn’t seem like things would hurt a lot less on that side of the fence.

    I wish I could say I don’t still want her or love her. But at least I haven’t reached out in any way in over 9 months. I love her (or at least who I thought she was), but she doesn’t deserve any input into my emotional states. Not that she cares, though there have been three odd contacts from her: 1.) even after using up the bulk of our savings in a year of schooling with no working, and then taking 1/3 of what was left, she emailed me 4 months after leaving to inquire about the return of a $100 textbook rental. $15,000 gone? No problem. But that $100 book? WTF?!; 2.) at eight months out she sent a sandwich baggie of things to me via my Little Brother: a mailbox key, a sticker, some touch up paint for my car, and a DVD to a boxset that her son left behind; and 3.) a week ago I had an alert through XBox that she sent me a friend request. Um, what? Her conscience must have made a surprise appearance before it was ran out of town again.

    • I doubt very seriously it was conscience, Which way Did She Go. Probably just a fishing expedition to get back into your brain.

      • It worked :o(

        My only response was to delete the message and block her. Yet I’ve spent way too much time trying to figure out what it means (answer: nothing. But my brain won’t give it up!)

        • Let me help–she went fishing. Getting you to be her “friend” means that if she needs some ego kibbles, you are still a source for her (perhaps money, perhaps respectability, perhaps ego kibbles). But you can be sure that the request is about keeping you hooked on her line, ready to provide whatever she might someday need. Good for you that you blocked her.

  • It’s #1 and #2 for me.

    I’m a pretty intelligent person but I still can’t separate the logical from the emotional. I still believe that maybe he was right about my faults.

    And I realise that I am starved for kibbles. Towards the end he never touched me. Not a hug or kiss. Never a compliment. Wouldn’t walk with me. He bought me an inexpensive necklace the last Christmas and it still breaks my heart. I loved it. I guess I’m pathetic. I’m a half way decent looking woman and am always told I look young for my age. I get attention from men, even younger ones, not that I’m interested. But you’d think I was a monster the way ex treated me. I keep thinking it’s because he knew the real me and I am a monster.

    • Lina, I struggle with with self blame too, but remember, cheating is never about the faithful spouse’s “faults”. Everyone has flaws, and if there are things someone can’t live with, or problems in the marriage that need to be dealt with, it’s up to them to say “this needs to change” or “I can’t live with X”. Cheating and then blameshifting is just his way of not accepting responsibility for the shitty person he is and the shit thing he did

    • Lina,

      Please write the following on a post-it, make a MILLION copies, and put them all over your home an in your car: A cheater doesn’t cheat because of YOUR flaws. A cheater cheats because of HIS/HER own flaws.


        • Lina–yes we all have “flaws” but we don’t cheat because of them. You deserve so much more and with time I hope that you realize that your “flaws” were manufactured by him!

      • Thanks Gypsy57. I copied and pasted it. I WILL post this and read this daily until I really believe it. (39 plus years with a cheater- multiple times). I feel like the potter’s clay… I have been broken, crushed, pulverized, wood-chipped, steamrolled, pounded down and kneaded. EVERYTHING hurt!
        I have moved to another town across the lake. I am healing- in God’s time. I have to keep telling myself that I am FREE and I NEED to keep looking forward. God can (and will) make my broken mess into a priceless treasure, more beautiful than before. “The dark times are as needful in the weaver’s hand, as the gold and silver in the pattern He has planned.” God bless you and all who read this who are hurting and healing from abuse. Know you are NOT alone.

    • Lina,
      My stbx sounds EXACTLY like yours. Except for my birthday – the ‘gift’ I got was my stbx throwing up at 4:00 am that morning (off the side of the bed onto the bedroom carpet) from being out drinking until 2:30 a.m. ON A THURSDAY NIGHT! I grabbed my phone and recorded it….Oh – and for Christmas I got a re-gift jacket from his work – while he went out and spent $400 on his parents. Awesome Guy!

      • LadyStrange, along with the necklace I got an expensive gift that was really for him. That had become the pattern. And yes, his family got the expensive gifts too. One sister was always dreaming up gifts they could go in on for his nasty mother. Remote car starters, expensive furniture, etc. They were always asking for money and he didn’t bat an eye.

        Meanwhile I bought all the gifts for my family at birthdays and Christmas despite his much higher income.

    • Ah yes, the gifts. The STBXH was a great gift giver until he started cheating. And as our anniversary came, after he was involved with the OW, I got a set of vintage iron soap dishes….and a bracelet made of beer tabs and orange hair-ties. He was never good with jewelry. Some time ago, he bought me a bracelet that was supposed to be a David Yurman…it wasn’t. He was so proud that he found it at a pawn shop. Yes, he told me about it. Not too long ago, one of the “gems” fell out. At that point, I knew without a doubt it wasn’t real. I always suspected it wasn’t. I would have preferred to just not have the piece. As we all know, a fake is not a replacement for the real thing. 😉

      • Unbeknownst to me, the OW was picking out my gifts. Gag. In fact my ex was supporting her part- time jobs selling candles, jewelry, Pampered Chef, etc. How convenient, he didn’t even have to go shopping.

      • I threw out everything he ever gave me since the day I met him. I want nothing that remotely reminds me of the disordered. I’m selling my diamond and putting the money towards a new car in the fall.

    • LIna, we all have faults. But I am so touched about how much you loved that inexpensive necklace. You have a loyal and loving heart. I guarantee you aren’t a monster. Notice how you have allowed his point of view to become yours. That’s pretty normal, I think, when we have been betrayed–to try to figure out what it is about US. The hardest thing is to understand about a disordered cheater is that they are not like other people and their motives are not regular motives. For them, it’s all about filling up the hole inside of them. And that has nothing to do with you.

  • Cheaters are more like cheap tourist-shop snow globes than fine wine. They rarely improve with age. Instead, their sparkle tends to fade, they often crack and create a huge mess, and eventually the people around them end up wondering, “Why do we even hang on to this useless thing from the past?”

  • I have reached MEH!!!!!!! and guess what??? It’s Tuesday!!! I saw a new picture she posted and they look like shit!!! LOL..I am so so happy! Thanks Chumplady!

    • Weird, I realised last week that I had reached ‘meh’ as well, in a way that I hadn’t before. Ex is stirring up some new drama and my response was an eye roll, a bit sigh, and a ‘whelp, let’s deal with this shit and move on’. Didn’t lose a wink of sleep over any of it. Chatted about it with a few mates and then turned to other bits of conversation.
      It’s a lovely feeling, one I didn’t think I would ever get to.

  • Part of what’s insidious about this kind of thinking is that there are just enough exceptions to the rule that we can fall into believing the fallacy of small numbers; the fact that aberrant results – such as true reconciliation from a cheater, or the cheater really finding their “true” love and being “better” for that person – are more likely to show up in smaller a data set… you know, like the kind we typically see or hear about in our own limited personal experiences.

    For example, for about two months post DDay, I believed in the RIC because I knew a couple that had by all accounts very successfully overcome infidelity by one partner, whose actions post-affair basically defined true reconciliation. I also knew of one friend of my STBXW’s who had an affair, divorced, remarried, and became totally devoted to her second husband – so the fear of STBXW actually being different for someone else was there for me, too.

    The problem is that, in our limited experiences, we don’t see the full statistical picture and then mistake those rare results as having more of a probability than is realistic. The real facts are that less than 30% of reconciliations work, and the percentage of successful post-affair relationships and marriages by the betraying spouse are pathetically small.

    Many of the leading marriage/affair experts – who see much more of these cases than we chumps do, and therefore have a MUCH larger set of data from which to draw conclusions – generally agree that the betrayed spouse more often ends up with a better, more fulfilling life post-affair and post-divorce than the cheating spouse.

    So… the numbers are a) not in favor of the cheater actually being remorseful, changing for the better, or being a better spouse for someone else, and b) are in favor of the chump having a better life without the cheater.

    And, to wrap up my ramblings here, for the sake of argument let’s assume that the person who cheated and shat all over your life together will actually be better when they find the perfect person for them. The bottom line is that a) you are not that person, so they will always treat you with disrespect, and b) they are the kind of person who is capable of shitting all over someone else’s life if that person does not treat them **exactly** the way that they want to be treated, often with them providing no or minimal clues as to the specifics of what that treatment “should” be. In effect, they have such large holes in their personality that they have to have those holes filled in some way by the behavior of others. Who the f*ck wants to live with / like that? Not you!

    Even if you sucked as a spouse (raising my hand here!), in a healthy relationship, the other person would express their disappointment in your behavior in constructive / direct ways, not in destructive actions and/or passive-aggressive treatment that build into periodic resentment-filled explosions.

    The logic and the numbers favor Chump Nation, folks.

    • Love this post. I often get caught up on all the ways I sucked as a spouse, but you are right. Even if she was perfect and I was not, cheating is still not the answer.

      • Beatrice, cheaters blame all the shit on us because they won’t take responsibility for their actions. X has had so many OW and not one of them was perfect. Rather, they were willing to sleep with a married asshole. Cheating is fir the disordered. He sucks not you.

    • sephage, I am a numbers dork myself and I loved your comment. There is a lot of clarity and perspective to be gained by summing up the situation like you did. I’ve learned three years out from my chump experience that all of these truths you outlined (especially the one that the cheated-upon fairs better) gave me motivation to focus on myself, not totally blame myself and keep going.

      Your last paragraph is also such an important thing for chumps to remember. Yes, the cheater was the criminal, but you Mr. or Mrs. Chump were not perfect. If you had issues in your relationship, you’d hope they would be expressed and dealt with.

      Cheaters don’t do that. They shift into quiet resentment over the fact that you don’t close the shower curtain and turns it into a reason to have sex with someone else. They aren’t being very self aware or reflective, so they stay static and will be tend to make then same mistakes for the rest of their lives.

      • “They shift into quiet resentment over the fact that you don’t close the shower curtain and turns it into a reason to have sex with someone else.”

        Actually, the cheater starts thinking about sex with someone else BEFORE they start to resent their partner for not closing the shower curtain.


        • Or they couldn’t come up with any ways you failed as a spouse, so they had to nitpick bs like not closing the shower curtain as justification for cheating.

          • Yep. Things that would never be a problem if they still loved us are suddenly a reason to leave a marriage. Like not closing shower curtains. (And I heard a few similarly odd reaons myself…)

      • Chumpion – I can sure relate to that statement! When I found out about the ‘secret’ phone line – all kind of ‘stuff’ came out of the woodwork. When we were fighting, I suddenly find out he was mad at me for ‘not coming to bed with him’ when we were having a party. Huh? This ‘party’ took place over 10 years ago and he’s saying that we were having a party. HE went to bed. HE is mad at me for not coming to bed with him? SOOOOO – I was supposed to leave the party WE were having. At our house? Seriously dumbass? Oh another thing I found out is how ‘disgusting’ I am because I wear the same bra 2 days in a row. Hmmmm – this is coming from a man who showers in the morning, puts his clothes on and wears THE SAME CLOTHES HE WENT TO WORK WITH to bed!

        • Here’s one I just remembered. On dday, ex was mad that we didn’t attend the funeral of a friend’s mother. Well they live out of the area & we didn’t find out until a month after she was buried. I flung that one right back but it didn’t matter as he just took another breath preparing for the next onslaught of spews.

      • Here’s the funny thing: I was always big on bringing up things that I felt needed to be addressed in our relationship. Not in a nagging, bitchy way but in a ‘I think we need to sit down and talk this through’ way. Ex’s response was always either ‘Yes, yes, you’re absolutely right’ or ‘You’re always telling me how crap I am’. No matter what he said he’d improve whatever it was for awhile and then straight back to his old habits.

        Not once did he ever bring anything up and say ‘I think we need to talk about this’. Ever. So big red flag and no, I am not a mind reader.

        • Swap out the pronouns for narc and non-narc, I don’t like the gender generalizations, and this pretty much sums that up.

          “Generally when a woman is unhappy, she lets her partner know. She feels better afterwards because she’s gotten it off her chest. It doesn’t interfere with her love. She’s trying to improve the relationship: “If I tell him what makes me unhappy, then he will know how to please me; I am giving him a gift by telling him.” Unfortunately, many men don’t see it as a gift. They feel criticized and put down. Instead of thinking, “she feels lonely; I will move toward her and make her feel secure,” they think, “What is wrong with her? Didn’t I just do that?” They pull away. If they come in contact with somebody else who says to them, “oh, you’re wonderful,” then they move toward that person. They aren’t engaged enough in the marriage to work things out. The partner keeps trying, and becomes more unpleasant because he’s not responding

          The more a person puts energy into something and tries to work on it, the more committed to the relationship that person is. The other partner, who is only semi-involved in the relationship, is freer to get involved in an affair, because they’re not as connected to the marriage. This is interesting because the popular notion is that the person who has the affair wasn’t getting enough at home. The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home.”

          • “The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home”. That sums it up for me! I was always wanting to talk, work on things. I took on more and more to try to ‘free up time’ so we could have more family time. Instead, he took all that ‘time’ and put it into some one else….definately wasn’t going to give anymore at home!

          • That is absolutely spot on. And funnily enough, ex keep saying at the end that he ‘gave and gave and it was time for him to take’. I laugh about that now but at the time I was really scratching my head.

        • For me working on the relationship was met with agreement. Most of the time they are already involved with someone else. So those times we feel something is wrong, it’s usually because they are ALREADY involved with someone else (he,she,narc,non narc)

      • Thanks, all!

        Chumpion, your excellent point about resentment is important and, I think, one that’s not dealt with enough in the narratives around infidelity in general.

        In my personal example, I’m quite certain that my stbxw will always believe that my behavior towards her either caused her to cheat, or justifies her cheating/lying/gas lighting/etc.

        I’m also fairly certain that she will not grasp that it was her resentment about my behavior that is actually what caused her to cheat, or is what she is actually using to justify her cheating/lying/gas lighting/etc.

        That difference sounds subtle, but it’s actually enormous. Allowing resentment to become a gateway into despicable behavior serves only to make you a bad person. People who do that have issues, and it doesn’t matter if those issues don’t manifest in exactly that same way with someone else, that’s how they manifest when the cheater is with you. And that alone is a valid deal-breaker.

    • Yes, good post sephage. That hole in their personality prevents them from being able to reciprocate, so the relationship is one way. The chump gives and gives and gives, and the potential cheater’s hole is never filled, so the cheater lets the chump know it’s just not enough, all the time ignoring that the cheater is giving nothing to the chump.

      • That’s the way it felt to me too, Buddy. And in the end he said I didn’t do ENOUGH for him. I remember thinking “I give up. I couldn’t have done any more.”

        • I like what Liberty Ross said:

          But Ross tells Vanity Fair that she already made her decision to divorce. “I’m not a quitter. I’ve done everything I could to be the perfect wife and mother and really support my husband,” she says. “But I just didn’t have any more to give, you know?”

    • Sephage, that was awesome. It was a tough weekend for me and I needed to be reminded that I really should look at the big picture. My physician had told me something similar about how the spouse that was cheated upon typically ends up with a better life than the cheater.

      • Cindy and Sephage, I believe we end up happier, healthier and “younger” feeling because we don’t have the weight of being a lying, conniving sneak who has to hide things from so many people, including the current “flavor of the week!” My ex came a week ago to pick up his crap at the house and I was mortified to see how awful he looked! I believe these assholes know exactly what they are and what they have done to their wives, SO’s and extended families. The guilt and shame is a constant source of irritation and it requires their little pea brains to justify the piss poor behavior to themselves and everyone else. It just has to be exhausting, but Hell, they CHOSE this! Let them stew in their Hell on Earth, the real thing is coming, but they think they can bargain on that too! They are idiots!

    • Brilliant post, sephage. And let’s see if I can post a reply without your name turning into “seepage” via autocorrect.

  • It’s been 9 months since DDay, I can file for divorce in August, and I am seeing, through my son’s visits with Dad, that the cheater has settled into “home life” with the OW. Runs to the grocery store, babysitting her grandchild, etc. I guess I was upset or saddened by it at first. I was steeling myself for when my son finally meets her and they play family on weekend visits. Now I have a different view. I hope these two have found a way to get along and can maintain stability in front of my son. Because, as I am fully aware, I can’t control that crap over there. It bothers me sometimes because I wonder how my son makes sense of it all. He’s 7, so he can’t fully understand it all…I wonder what he thinks about me being alone now. No Dad at home for him. I think as he grows, he will start to ask more questions, understand more….how can daddy be happy there with the OW’s son…and not with me?

    For myself, I don’t care if he is happy or not. I am indifferent most days. I miss having someone in my life though. I have lots of love to share but I will make sure to give it to someone who wants it and reciprocates it.

    • conniered, I think you’re wise. You and I know that the cheater always is a cheater. Once the shiny and new has worn off–and this may take a few years–the cheater will be back playing the field for the next person who understands him, poor sausage. In the meantime, you have a son who has to spend time with them. While that’s a shit sandwich, at least if the home life is stable, the OW’s son is nice to your son, etc.–well, that’s about the best you can hope for out of a bad situation.

      And you can be there for your son when your STBX’s relationship with OW goes south.

    • conniered, in a moment of complete breakdown my d13 wanted to know why OW’s adult daughter has 2 dads, a house, money, animals, and why her father didn’t love her enough to even try. It breaks my heart when she thinks she isn’t good enough. STBX treats me and the kids like POWs. Amazing what we all have to go through for someone’s happiness.

      • glinda, your post points out exactly why the “there is something wrong with me” is such a fallacy. Your daughter does the comparison and thinks she wasn’t “good enough,” when in fact, cheaters jettison lovely spouses, wonderful kids, people with life-threatening illnesses, their devoted pets–you name it, they can abandon it. The only answer to her question is that her father isn’t capable of the kind of love she is talking about, the kind where people stick around and build a life that is whole and healthy and honest.

  • I’ve gotten over the fear that he’ll be “better” for Wife #2, because he’s a completely different person these days – not the same guy I married at all. I wouldn’t date him if I met him today. I do wonder when this particular persona is going to implode, however. He tends to act one way when his wife is around and another when she’s not, so clearly, the mask isn’t sticking. Whatever. She can have him.

    • Although that manifesto is comforting and sometimes true, that was definitely written by a BS. I have seen letters of warning from OW/OM and they come with personalized stories…this thing happened and then that was the result and this family did this to me and his kids did that to me and this is how I felt all the time.

      This letter is all full of lecturing towards the OW. Its a great letter to give comfort but APs don’t have that kind of introspection and definitely not that kind of concern right off the bat foR THE CHILDREN.

      • I agree. No way this came from a remorseful affair partner-my computer almost exploded over that contradiction in terms. It all may be true and I’m sure most of us hope it is but it doesn’t matter because there are no cheaters or affair partners on the planet that are that introspective and even if they are, do you think any of them would actually admit it? Me thinks not!

        • Firegirl & Cheaterssuck,
          haha, I’m sure you’re right – was just another version of hopium.
          I guess I’m going to have to go with the Stephen Hawking advice to heartbroken One Direction fans (in another universe Zayn is still part of the band). In another universe cheaters know they suck and OW & OM are collapsing with remorse. 🙂

  • Something I did while being the marriage police, deliberately because I was advised that connecting all the dots was crucial to disinfect…seriously engage with his family, friends AND the OW (and in my case that is plueral). I guess this won’t work with hookers but it does with straight up affair partners.

    I didn’t get nasty. I educated. Seeds planted. Doubts sowed. Friends and family and OW may have claimed they didn’t belive me but if you CALMLY state the facts, the situation and portray your spouse with clarity (not nastiness bcuz thy ask if he is so bad why did you marry him/stay with him?). This works like magic because it gets back to your spouse.

    Doesn’t matter if THEY believe you in fact. If you know anything about the disordered they care only about what others think of them. If they think you have ruined their smokescreen they cut and run from whomever you planted the seeds with.

    OW #5 was the last for me and she was so willing to talk to me because he had been mindfucking her for months. She said she could never get a straight answer and when she would have long discussions with him the story would sometimes change inside of THAT convo.

    He did the same with me. They are who they are, whether they are with you or someonw else. They have the lure stage, the hook stage, the happy catch stage and the throw ’em back in the water stage.

    Boring and sophomoric and gald to be shut of him.

  • The cartoon gave me a new mantra to get through the divorce: “I am closure!” with emphasis on the “I” following by a motivating “followed by a new beginning”. Too often, I wait for circumstances to provide the closure organically, naturally, but I don’t have the time or resources or aimless drifting for that any longer – “I am the closure!” (and the new beginning).

  • well let’s see. These narc cheaters idealize, devalue and discard. Anyone who gets involved with one will experience this cycle. They objectify. As long as you are the ideal object of use to them (kibble supply) they will use you. However, because you are not ideal, or an object, they will always become disillusioned, and will then seek another ideal object. All that is required is that the ow/om be new and different. This means anyone is better than the spouse. So, the new and improved object is destined to be subjected to the same devalue discard pattern. I think, at times some marriages to narcs survive, but only if the spouse is willing to be a nobody in the relationship, and perfectly insignificant. Kibble supply. No, The next man/ woman isn’t going to get any better.

    • ” I think, at times some marriages to narcs survive, but only if the spouse is willing to be a nobody in the relationship, and perfectly insignificant.”

      Spot on, Kim.

      • Sounds like my ex MIL. She subjugated her entire life to my ex’s father – they were affair partners, naturally.

  • Best. Thing. You. Have. Written.

    The sunk costs are really a big part of it–the family biz, the property, the “growing old” together, the kids, the brand, the public perception, the place in the world. My sense of myself has been ripped away. But the idea that these weren’t investments, but “playing against the house,” and the house always wins, is really helpful.

    The OW in my case, 30 years younger, told me it was on her bucket list to have an affair with her boss, and she discovered she liked him and decided to try and keep him. I was astonished. She doesn’t know about all the others, or perhaps she thinks she’s just better than me. I don’t know how to spell schadenfreude, but I’ll know it when I see it.

    But mostly, I’m sad. All of it is hard. At the same time, I trust God and the Universe that plans for me are good and not evil, and look forward to Tuesday.

    • The way she talks to you points to an ugly surprise for him down the road. Sounds like he hooked up with someone as superficial and amoral as he is.

      • Yes Trusting it does sound that way, but serious, isn’t that usually the case? These idiots change their minds on who they “wuv” at the drop of a hat! If they do stay with the OW/OM I truly believe it’s out of convenience or they have run out of other options. Sucks to be them. Let their lives go to Hell in a hand basket, I have way better things to do than watch them go down the tubes!

  • This is so true… I am terrified that Cheater will be on his best behavior for the next woman. Because he will have learned SO MUCH from all we’ve been through trying to repair our marriage. However, I have realized that we have been going to marriage counseling for 15 months, and he has been going to individual counseling for 8 months, and NOT ONE EFFING THING HAS CHANGED! So, I am thinking that maybe I just need to lower my standards so his horrible behavior is acceptable…

  • Though we divorced years ago(I wasn’t aware of his cheating) this time I had a case of that “dreaded fear”. I knew it was irrational but couldn’t seem to shake it off. In between the years we were divorced and getting back together he had many relationships, including the one with the MOW after I moved away.(EA) Did they last? Nope. All of the relationships he was in lasted 1 year or less. I am pretty sure the dynamics were the same. The only thing “special” about us was we married and I put up with his shit for 7 years. I had almost zero self esteem back then. I had blamed myself for our marital problems and worked on myself those years in between. This time around he behaved for 3 years. He acted like he had his shit together. I moved to be with him in June and was out of there by December due to his emotional, mental,and financial abuse.

    It was after I left him when he did the guilty dog barking and showed me who he really was. I learned so much here.CL and CN taught me about triangulation and Plan B as he was giving me mixed signals at the time. CL and CN said to drop him like a hot rock and go NC which I did for 8 months. As far as the OW he was sparkling for….. I figured she wasn’t stupid and he didn’t have a chance. She wasn’t and he didn’t. I am now a very smart and discerning woman thanks to this experience. A friend said to me the only way he’d be “better” is if he was in a permanent vegetative state,

  • Here is the bottom line.. is it possible they will find another chump who will be willing to put up with their BS long term, but it’s not likely.

    Look, people who lie and cheat are disordered. It takes a lot of planning, a lot of dedication and a lot of effort to foster a relationship with someone other than your spouse. The thought of it makes me tired.

    A person who would do this is pathological, fucked up.. to put in another way.

    A relationship that starts on lies with a liar doesn’t have a whole lot of long term prospects. People who do these things eventually do implode. Because they are lying to themselves first and foremost.. and in the end, that never works out.

  • Phi, are you being too nice?. Get your self a bulldog atty and go for every dollar you can. Do not let two assholes determine your future. Be loud and be proud. If the two of them are dressed to the nines and trying to shove you out of the picture make so damn much noise the rest of the world will hear you. If someone acts like this is no biggie wipe them out of your life. I have relatives who have found happiness in their fifties, sixties and seventies. In fact the last one was on a cruise every other month until she died in her eighties. Go get your life.

    • Amen to that Let Go! The only thing these disordered assholes usually treasure is their pocketbooks! Mine spent hours with his Schmoopie trying to figure out how to screw me out of a decent settlement, but none of it worked! Now she gets to support the stupid lazy idiot! Yep! File, go for it all. I like what Zaa Zaa Gabor used to say, ” I’m a great housekeeper, every time I get divorced I keep a house!”

  • I remember telling my lawyer a few weeks after Dday (the earliest I could see her) that the worst thing I could do would be to let the OW and STBX be together. I still believe this to be true.

    Oh, I’ve had moments of anger/jealousy as I’ve seen that STBX has taken her to restaurants that I’ve liked. Or that he took her and her grandchild to the zoo, or that they spent a night at a cute inn. Yep, those bothered me a lot. How could he be so nice to her?

    Now they don’t, but that’s because my thinking about STBX has evolved quite a bit. I don’t think he’s changed for OW. I think he’s exactly the same. He liked to wine and dine me, too, in the earlier stages of our relationship. And then he’d commit to something and cancel out at the last minute. Then he’d do something with me to make up for canceling out.

    He’s now doing the same thing with OW.

    Could he change? Maybe, but to do so means he’d have to realize that he needs to change, and that would take some therapy and coming to grips with his FOO issues and his own character flaws. That is soooo not happening. If it does? That’s okay too. He’ll have better job security and perhaps more of a chance for promotion/raises.

    After all, we’ve been married for over 10 years. It’s to my advantage if he does well and swells his social security. 🙂

    • Just curious, will you actually get some of his social security?

      I would dread the though of my cheating, child-neglecting, bankrupting stbxw getting any of my social security. Guess I need to discuss that one with the lawyer as it didn’t cross my mind.

      • Check the SS website. I think the marriage has to last 10 years for that to be the case.

          • This is true. The marriage must have lasted at least 10 years, and if the ex-spouse gets benefits (not always a given–it is an either/or, not a both/and, and depends on the benefits accrued), it will not affect the other ex-spouse’s benefits.

    • KB, that’s pretty funny because I realised the same thing at some point. I was going a bit nuts early on, watching how he did all this great stuff for her but then I thought back to 20 years earlier and realised he had done the same with me. It’s the big rush to impress and love bomb and show just how great they are. Then things taper off and he does less and less, while the target does more and more. Already I’m hearing that she’s doing a lot more than she was and all those great trips and glam dinners out are now take out or the local Indian.

      Meanwhile, I’m doing all that stuff for myself and my kids. 🙂

    • Just learned about the SS benefits last week from an investor; 10 years married and if the ex has a bigger retirement benefit them you do, you receive the bigger benefit.

      STBX gets paid more and is a work-aholic; go worker bee, GO! 😉

  • THIS! KB I agree! Let him get the wonderful job he’ll have to work at till he’s almost 70 just to pay me! More Social Security that I can collect!! I wish him every great break as it pertains to income because eventually it all comes to me!!

    • This info is for Buddy. If your ex was married to you for 10 years or more then yes, she can apply for half of the Social Security you earned. However, this will NOT mean you get only one half of yours. You will get the same amount you see on your statement. Legally this is allowable and even if this is written into a divorce decree it will NOT and cannot be denied to the divorced spouse as Federal law on SS takes precedence! She can do this if she wishes.

      • And she can take either hers or half of your amount. She will likely only apply for half of yours if her whole benefit is less than half of yours. But again, what you receive will not be affected.

        • Thanks for the info. I can be at ease – well, if you consider PTSD at ease 🙂 but that’s not due to SS

  • Let’s see. Him being more special for her. I’ve never met the fat whore but she apologized to both my kids. Really?! To them. Not to me for the extra damage she did. Bitch! For about six months he lost weight, worked out, gave our credit cards and my car to her and her family, manscaped (double triple shudder ew!) Got him to wear deodorant because his underarms never stank in the 26 years we were together, wear aftershave, nicer clothes, go out and socialize more, spend money, not talk to his kids, family or long time friends much, not watch so much TV, understand her pain from being CHEATED ON FUCKED OVER AND BEING LIED TO BY HER HUSBAND. fun stuff huh? Fast forward, ran his credit cards up over 20 grand. He is now over 80000.00 in the hole, says he’s a man without a home, extremely unhappy everywhere but working. The whore spends every penny she makes instead of helping him pay down his business debt. She has no access to his money now none! He works to keep my house going. She gets no money. He’s gone completely back to where he was with me. Lazy, TV watching, go no where do nothing, he’s a good provider I’ll give him that. Except I’m the one he’s providing for not her. No deodorant, no aftershave, zip, Nada, and spends tons of time avoiding her. I was so pissed in the beginning but the krama bus has smacked them both right in their ugly cheating faces. Bahahaha!!! I’m in the clear money wise and I get the house, the classic car, the race car and the truck. End of this year I’m free free free!!!!

  • Even after 32 years, I still get these pangs that he will be better for her. In fact he told me I am the only person he rages at in the world. And I do think that he might be a ‘little better’ as in better at hiding it, and she might just be more of a wet rag than I ever was. But that being said, he has a very pronounced sweet/mean cycle. Things did not get bad with us until the day after our wedding, It was amazing how bad they got how quickly. Now they live separately, but as soon as they live together, my bet is that the shit is going to hit the fan. He is going to figure out the only interesting thing that woman has going for her is between her legs, and she is going to drive him insane with her inanity.

    Even with all of that rationality, I still have moments when I wonder… So I listen to this… a lot, because how he is, in the end is so foreign to the way I am, I need to hear it over and over (slow learner)

    I also read about this a lot too. 1) Because I have to see them coming… I can’t waste one more second of my life with a person like this and 2) to keep my ‘Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm’ attitude in check. I need to remember there really are disordered people out there, their brains are different, their biology is different, and they know it, and hide it under a facade of charm and faux caring.

    • This reply is coming late, but Jackass started discarding XW#1 almost from the moment they walked out of the church on his wedding day. XW #2 he married because he felt sorry for her–she had a miscarriage. Made her life miserable for 10 years until she moved out of their home and business with their child while he was out of town on business. There were at least 2 and maybe 4 married women before he love bombed me–and he had actually been sending out hooks for me via mail for 2 years that I ignored because I was married. Then of course comes the MOW who replaced me. He discarded her within 6 months. So there are guys who start the discard as soon as they are in some way committed.

  • It’s amazing to me that so often these articles are exactly what I need to hear when I need to hear them. In the whole process, which has been about six months of D-Day (it wasn’t his 1st time) and my decision to divorce and getting the ball rolling, I felt SO strong. Like, no doubts about what I was doing. Even to the point of not telling my friends and family the real reason behind the divorce, doing the “grew apart” thing.
    Then, a week after the kids and I are settled in our apartment and he’s in his, blocks away mind you, he drops the bomb that the 24yr old (he’s 48) AP is moving in with him. I have to say, it knocked me sideways. Just brought me SO low. Trying to deal with the fact that while I struggled with taking care of the kids, he was in instant “happy” life. BUT – with the help of my therapist, friends and family (who now know everything) I am starting to realize that what they have – that’s not real happiness. Never will be. Because he’s not going to change who he is, which is a narcissistic child. And I am so much better off without him.

    Just have to keep repeating that to myself!

    • Self talk…YEP. I AM SO MUCH BETTER OFF WITHOUT HIM! My head knows it, I wish my heart would get with the program…I am fighting with myself about his new “instant happy life” while I am still picking up the pieces. Mine just bought a cute little townhouse and fixed it up SO nice. He just introduced his mom and sisters to his newest piece of meat. He is trying to get her to move from another country to live with him. She will be cut off from her family and friends. He will have complete control (as he did with me for almost 40 years). All the while he has other female ‘friends’ and takes necessary “work trips” out of the blue. Wish people didn’t feel a NEED to share with me so much about his wonderful new life. NO CONTACT actually works best. As for me? Moved away…Healing…slowly…one breath at a time. I NEED peace

    • DK, I know there are stories out there about happily married couples with a huge age diff but i don’t believe them. One example is Michael Douglas and his wife who is now suffering from some form of bipolar disorder which didn’t surface until her marriage. Hmmmm. Anyway, I have a friend who is close to a nervous breakdown because her 16 year older husband has such serious illnesses that she has become a virtual prisoner in her home and is on a first name basis with the EMTs. Your ex isn’t too far away from Viagra, wild nose and ear hairs, arthritis and all the other issues that go along with aging. Best of luck to you that she can deal with him when he surfaces from the crazies.

  • When I would say this, my best friend would say, “you know, informal, he is not going to change. They can’t.” Although the message still whispers to me, I know it is not true. I do not want to be abused, disregarded, or the mom to anyone except my kids. Thanks for the reminder!

  • When I found out my XH knocked up his current wifey (not the AP, at least not the one I found) 4 months after I left him and married her before our divorce was finalized, all I could say was “That woman has no idea the amount of crazy she just married herself into.” She may be crazy herself.. don’t know, don’t care.. but I know for sure that he and his mother are on a whole other level of crazy.

  • One of the things that messes with me is that he just left. He presented it as a fait accompli — doesn’t love me, loves her.

    Doesn’t want anything. Gives me everything I ask for. IT’s been a year and is yet to introduce the kids to the OW.

    He’s happy, happy. Going to therapy when he never would when we were together.

    Planning to have another child with his girlfriend. Even as I give up trying cajole him to make up the hours he misses with our kids because of work (the last of my kibbles, I realize.)

    After 20 years and 2 kids, the sunk costs really are a big factor. But It comes down to trusting he sucks. And mostly I do now days. I think that the problem is that I and my fellow chumps cannot imagine behaving the way our spouses have, so it makes it really hard to accept that people are actually like this. It is the other side of the cheater coin that says all people cheat because they do.

    Our couples therapist (who also asked if he has aspergers because of his utter inability to process other people’s emotions) gave me my mantra, “well, he’s not right for you.”

    • Ha! The therapist we saw shortly after dday – and whom I continued to see after realising I could not sit in a room with him – blatantly said that she seriously thought ex had Aspergers. Because if he didn’t have that then he was really fucked up. She actually said this. ‘Twas a true eye-opener.

      • Yeah, my daughter’s therapist also asked me (second therapist!) if he had aspergers after being in one session with him to go over daughter’s history. I said “no, I think he is just a jackass”. But then it occurred to me those things are not mutually exclusive. I have been saying he has “Jackassperger’s”.

        I have come around to the fact that he probably is on the spectrum. It actually explains a lot of weird head-scratching interaction I and other people have had with him, but he is also a narcissist. I’ve stopped trying to figure out where the narcissism ends and aspergers begins

        He isn’t the right person for me…

  • Yes, yes, and more yes!

    I went through ALL of it.

    Problem was me?
    I bought that one when I found out about what turned out to be the last in a long line of OWs.
    I had been sick for a while, and always knew he didn’t DO sick very well, so convinced myself THAT was the problem.
    Once I found out that he had been cheating the whole time we were together (25+ years), my tune changed.
    Because if the problem HAD been me he had no reason to stay at all from the beginning.

    Kibble starvation rations?
    Yup, and looking back I realized I only got kibbles when he was behaving badly somewhere else.
    One would think that was a conscience on his part kicking in, but since narcopaths don’t have a conscience like you and I I realized that it was simply a distraction tactic on his part.

    Tunnel vision because of sunk costs?
    Yuppers. I had literally half of my life sunk into this piece of crap.
    Damned if I wasn’t going to at least TRY and shine it up!
    And shine away I did for a full three years after DDay.
    Can anyone say waste of MORE time?

    Believe in miracles?
    Absolutely. I pride myself on being one of those that can think outside the box for creative solutions.
    There’s ALWAYS a fix.
    Except in this case there really isn’t.
    Even the “experts” mostly agree there’s no cure for personality disorders.
    (“Dexter” is a verified narcissist/sociopath/borderline. The trifecta of PDs. There’s is NO fix for that much broken)

    Now I know that most “sane” advice recommends that you go no contact, and NOT to look at what goes on in their life after they leave.

    In my case I found it very helpful to watch the shitshow unfold.
    (Otherwise I’d probably STILL be doubting myself)

    He didn’t get back together with the DDay OW. She cheated on him, and ended up marrying HER OM.
    Instead, he waited six months after moving out and hooked up with one of her best friends.
    The one who helped facilitate the cheating.

    These two DESERVE each other.
    Both already know the other can’t be trusted.
    (if she condoned the cheating, he should already know that it’s not a far stretch for HER to cheat, and SHE has already seen him do it)

    In the 2 years since he’s been gone, he’s gone back to drinking (she’s a part-time bartender..hooking up with your dealer is handy, huh?)

    He’s back to the porn…he’s with a brand new piece of “strange” and it’s still not enough? Good luck honey. LOL
    Cheating himself already?
    Not sure about that yet, but it can’t be too far off.

    He managed to get himself BACK into debt to the tune of at least $20k (he’s done this over and over in his life, and now he has no one who even TRIES to keep him in check).
    If history repeats itself he will totally implode in 3 years out or the $30k mark.
    This usually manifests itself as a stint in rehab, or “hurting” himself either at work or a car or motorcycle accident.
    This earns him the “oh you poor baby, it’s not your fault you can’t get yourself out of this hole” pity points from everyone around him.

    I’ve ALMOST reached the point of meh.
    If it wasn’t for the fact that once he gets to the implosion point my alimony (my only source of income) will probably stop, I’d be all the way to meh because I know EXACTLY how the rest of this works out.

    He’s not changed one iota and he never will.

    PS- I fought for the alimony because I’ll be damned if he was going to walk away with NO consequences this time.
    He’s never paid a consequence for ANY of his life fuck-ups, so this must be a shock for him! 😀

    The ONLY reason he agreed to any of it (I ended up with some pretty decent terms) was because it gave him someone to blame for his “financial misery”.
    I’ll chalk that up as a win-win for both of us. 😉

      • Mary Beth,
        Yes. It’s almost as if the universe has a cookie cutter for these creeps!

        • Monsters us right. I have gotten to the point that u DETEST every one if these cheating creeps.

      • Some of these jerks probably choose chumps because we are responsible, mature, hard-working and reliable. We provide a measure of stability, like a parent would do, that allows them to do the self-destructive things they do.

  • I needed to read this today to slap me back into reality. You see, I have been going along so well and I saw a short video of the ex in SE Asia and his latest young acquisition was in it. Yesterday, I stewed the whole day thinking what a wonderful life he has now created for himself and his girl. Her smile seemed so shy!! I know he will be different for her because she is young and he is trying to impress her but I know she won’t be his last plaything. I said to my sister the other day, “I didn’t get married to get divorced” and 37 years is a very long time, but looking back he absolutely did me a favour by leaving. However, it is the feeling of “what’s wrong with me” that still plays games in my head!

    • I know a guy who hooked up with a much younger SE Asian woman. She got herself pregnant, twice. Now at the grand old age of 67 he has a new born and a 3 year old and a SE Asian wife who refuses to learn English. She clearly doesn’t like him and mean as mean can be to him, always wants to move back to Thailand. He now has 3 children including her. Please don’t think that SE Asian women are sweet and pliable, they are not. They are hard working, have a very clear grasp of their economic situation and are not so willing to put up with crap. Their situation is dire, and they are very clear about it. As for the men, they are weak ‘poor sausages’ so for the price they pay little nookie, is a sweet looking dragon woman. Seems like a fair trade.

      • ring, if my ex impregnates anyone it will be an immaculate conception. He had the snip nearly 31 years ago but he would be foolish enough to pass off any ‘child’ as his to keep the kibbles coming. However, he would know the truth. He could have trusted me with his life once but I would like to see him set up the way he set me up because he destroyed our marriage and family unit although he will keep on his merry way as he is extremely lucky. I still think of the disaster he created and understand that you can’t put the egg back in the shell but I grieve anyhow. The fool that I am.

        • Mare, you realize that in the not to distant future he is going to wake up an old man in a foreign country? It ain’t gonna be pretty!

    • One way to get him out of your head– do not read or watch anything to do with him. Don’t give this much space in your consciousness!

  • I ssssoooooo needed to hear this today!!! I put him out Friday night and since then there has been no contact from him- and (YAY ME!!!) I haven’t contacted him either!!! I did call him Friday afternoon around 5 asking him where he was- the first thing out of his mouth, “Why, are you out running the roads looking for me?!?!?!”- I wasn’t, honest to Go, but still, that was a “Wow” moment for me… a few hours later after confronting him for all his half-ass “attempts” at “working it out”, I packed up his shit and he left…

    However, now I am constantly checking my phone, calling friends to “talk me off the (proverbial) ledge” so I don’t call him, text him or check his Facebook (it’s all blocked/private, but still)…

    He swore on our child a few weeks ago that there hasn’t/isn’t anyone, but all I keep wondering is “Where is he? Who is he talking to? What’s he doing?”— not as much as before when he was still living here, but I still roll them in my mind…total mind-fuck, I know, and I also know that just like EH#1, these moments shall pass and I will be just fine— I already am fine without him, just slowly getting him out of my head.

  • It took me longer than it should have to stop telling him what he needed to do to change so we could get through our – no really, his – problem. I’m guessing about 8 months….I knew all along that he would never change but like a good chump, I kept hoping. I some point I must have finally smacked my head hard enough up against the wall to knock some sense into ME – he’ll never change and when I tell him how he should act, it will 1. be just that, an act; and 2. simply give him some insight as to how to fool the next person a little better. At 2 years out but still having to deal with him while breaking the financial ties, I’m much better at sticking to business and having no reaction to his snide comments.

    Everything said here on CL is spot on – mostly, focus on you, not them and go no contact. It makes a world of difference in getting the crazy out of your head.

  • Everyone feel free to use my line to the ex…When he told me he was marrying OW (14 years older than me, truck driver with grand children Yuck!) my response was, “And I hope you treat her as well as you treated me.” And I meant EVERY WORD. He thought I was paying him a compliment!

    • I wish there was a “like” or even “love 1,000 x’s” button!!! I’m going to save that in my Rolodex/brain for if and when that day ever comes.

  • Yes. This is something that I struggle with everyday. I am proud that I did not let this fear stop me from divorcing ex or allow myself to be sucked back in by probably the lamest reconciliation attempt ever, “I don’t reckon you would take me back, would you?” to which I replied, “I do not know you have been pretty awful to me.” But… now that the divorce is final and I have to see him and MOW together. I wonder what if it was me? What if every awful thing he said was true? He claimed that he was unable to respect me or treat me well and that I forced him into leaving by being a miserable person. He also stated that if “I had learned how to have sex.” He would not have been forced to go with her. He actually wrote in our interrogatories under the section where it asks if your spouse had committed any wrong doings that I “was unable to have normal marital relations.” We were married 4 years and had two kids under two when he left. This has really thrown me for a loop, because he is the only person I have been with and there certainly were some issues there. I feel like I can’t defend myself of that front. What if I was abnormal as he claimed. He certainly seems to be trying a little harder for her. When going over the phone records for court, I discovered he had been talking to her hours and hours when he flat out refused to talk to me. He is taking her out to eat when we have not been out anywhere in like 2 years. He took her and all the kids to the zoo. When he would never do anything family oriented with me. I wonder if he really was miserable the whole time we were together and if now that he is finally “happy” he is acting better. But then I try to remember he may be superficially doing better. But he does not respect her either. I do not think he is truly capable of respecting anyone. I need to be reminded over and over he is the same person. She is not special or superior. And I deserve better, but it is hard. I am glad this posted today.

    • Middle, please do not continue to think you were the problem simply based on that one comment he made about sex with you. It’s cheaterspeak and mine did a similar thing. He said in our legal documents that I verbally and physically refused to have marital relations with him. It was a lie simply to counter my very vague statement when I filed that he committed adultery. Like you, he was my only partner too and, aside from one HS girl one time (if he was truthful then), I was his only one when we married. He didn’t know what he was doing either. He lacked intimacy, that’s for certain, but he blamed me for that too. It’s all about them, of course.

      • Married four years and 2 kids under two? You were pregnant half that time and I’m thinking they weren’t virgin births. And then you have the postpartum stage in which your body is trying to recovering while nursing or raising a newborn and next raising a newborn and a 2-year old. Your STBX is disgusting for making that remark.

        • Yes!!! Thank you. It was flabbergasting to me that he said that in the official papers like I had been withholding. We did have issues, but I did not deny him except for one time when our youngest was 3 weeks old. I cruelly made him wait the full six weeks. But MOW and I were pregnant at the same time, her baby is 2 months younger than mine, and somehow she managed to carry on an elicit affair. Hats off to her, I guess.

          • You had issues because he is a selfish prick. You most likely would not have issues with a man who was loving, kind and understanding of your need to recover from pregnancy. Women are not rubber dolls. And doctors recommend abstinence for that 6 weeks to allow women’s bodies to heal. And of course, you aren’t getting any sleep either, which isn’t an aphrodisiac.

      • Mine said in legal documents in one section “That he tried desperately to save the marriage” and a few paragraph later “it was a marriage that never should have happened”. boy did I beat myself up about that. It’s a game…the lawyers know that it will all shake out in the end. My lawyer warned me that in mediation, the mediator looks for the “weaker party” in order to finish the process….we walked out. When we returned to mediation I got a hell of a lot more! You are not the problem, he is the problem!

  • For 10 years my stbx was tired. Stressed. Not feeling well. Didn’t have enough money. We were going to do X after Y “came through.” (Future Faker) He always had a reason why he denied me intimacy. We got along great in other areas, or so I thought. Fast forward to the woman he left me and the kids for. He’s wining and dining her. Spending money hand over fist. Dressing up. Taking her places that I would ask him to go with me but he would have some excuse as to why we couldn’t do it). Holidaying with her (he was too busy for me). And yes, he fu@ks her too. I am beyond hurt and angry. So to me, he IS treating her better because I never got these things. The kicker? I’m was just laid off and money is tight. He has committed himself to helping her so she “doesn’t have to go it alone with her two children.” So it does appear that he has changed for her. Will it last? I don’t know but it sure hurts.

    • He could do all that with her because the triangulation produces a whole lot of fun ego kibbles.

    • Let me answer that for you: It will NOT last. They are incapable of TRULY changing for any serious length of time. He’s got you in the middle of a mind fuck, and that makes it worth it to him. The minute he’s not getting that attention from you, and has to have a “real” relationship with her – he’ll go right back to his bullshit. AND/OR – he’ll cheat on HER with someone new. He HAS NOT CHANGED FOR HER. Repeat this over and over, because it’s true!

    • Cynamon, Your stbx sounds like a clone of mine –

      “For 10 years my stbx was tired. Stressed. Not feeling well. Didn’t have enough money. We were going to do X after Y “came through.” (Future Faker) He always had a reason why he denied me intimacy. ”

      But during the affair he was taking his slut out for meals/drinks/buying her jewellery etc. I found out later that he had maxed-out his credit card and was in a load of debt.
      After we divorced I found out via the grapevine that she “wasn’t as happy as she thought she’d be” now she was living with him. Reality hit with a bang and now there wasn’t the spare cash to blow on fripperies now they had a mortgage to pay. So it was bye-bye to the w/e’s away in hotels and fancy meals.

      They are still together, so I guess she can put up with his procrastinating, avoidance of intimacy, sarcasm, sulking and low-levels of affection.

      They do not change, trust me !

      • I’m in my mid fifties and have a long line of loser exes. If there is one thing I’ve seen play out is that they do not change. For anyone. The guy who cheated on me when I was 18 is still a slimy cheating playa. The drug addict and the drunk are both dead. Some exes now have lengthy Court records. None of them went on to better things.

  • What was missing from the marriage that made them cheat? Their integrity.

    I had a big epiphany myself one day when I was snooping on communication between cheater and mistress during the awful time between deciding the marriage was over and him moving out. He was going over to her, in great detail, about how much yelling at him I did, how annoying everything I did was, how I was hiding his stuff, etc. When what I was actually doing was my best to be busy in another room as much as possible, living in the awkward silence of two people who have nothing to say to each other, and not touching his stuff at all. That’s how I finally knew who he was, still a liar, still busy manipulating the ‘love of his life’ to respond how he wanted, just working on the next target. Now, this precious liar is hers, and their relationship isn’t any better than my marriage was; she’s just earlier in the being fooled process and hasn’t figured out he has no integrity yet, so it looks wonderful on the surface. Once she stops providing the kibbles, he’ll be looking for the next supply.

  • Funny…ex looks like shit too. Each and every time we are faced he looks worse. All the new clothes, BMW leases, he still looks like a pile of shit to me. OW does too. I rememeber thinking she was prettier, skinnier, brighter, now she’s got that mess and it’s making her look like shit too. My life is sooooo much better without him in it!

    • Saw my ex on divorce day last week, and he looks like absolute shit. Prob lost 20 lbs (way too much), was pale as a ghost. Just awful. Meanwhile, he is sending one of his brothers douchebag pix of him “working out.” Gross. Please.

  • Love this post. Thank you CL.
    What a life saver you are to have created this space.

    We buy into the idea that we aren’t good enough and the next person will be because that’s what they sell us. Like you don’t appreciate the snakeoil or know how to look after it!

    This has been my achilles heel this one, along with the ‘I need more evidence despite 24million examples staring me in the face’ and the reliable old chestnut ‘ Its not that bad it? I bet she’d (or he’d) never run out of kibbles’

    I’m just coming to end of 6 months gruelling surgery and chemo. He has been very ‘supportive’, shopping, cooking, taking me to the hospital. With me every step of the way. Oops… obviously other than when he was texting, calling, meeting up with and generally attending to her. I have posted on here before and received amazing, generous and heartfelt support for which I was very grateful. I had been diagnosed with cancer and was seeking strength but couldn’t find it in me to resist the thinking path of ‘what if he’s a changed man’.

    Recently thank god, I had a revelation. I noticed on our shared account that we somehow had managed to purchase a petrol locking cap with two spare keys for model of car that neither of us own. When asked what reason there could be for such a purchase he said it was a ‘mistake’. Yep! Couldn’t agree more. Biggest mistake he ever made purchasing parts for OW’s car using our joint account. If he is a changed man for OW I honestly couldn’t give a rats ass anymore. I guess only time and wading through layers of shit take the effect eventually and something inside us snaps to say ‘no seriously this is shit and there are people out there who are honest and have one integrity’.

    If no contact changes them. So be it. I agree with CL you need to get to a place of beyond caring. I wish you all the ‘life changing snapping that kicks starts true self respect’, takes you to immediately to ‘meh’ and allows you to live free of what if’s.

    Best wishes for your very own ‘petrol cap’ moment. X

    • Wonderful post, notsure, but sorry that you are going through chemo and betrayal at the same time. Stay strong!

    • Not sure – I have terminal cancer now. Back when I had it the first time, and indeed this time so far 2+ years living with it, he was Mr. Model Husband. Attending doc visits, chemo, everything. Meanwhile, back at the ranch screwing his whore for 7 years. This was SUCH a mind fuck to me, I really had a hard time making the decision to leave. But leave I did. And since, he has shown his TRUE colors over and over. I feel for what you’re going through. Betrayal AND Cancer – that’s just like – oh Come ON already! I know it well.
      Hugs –

      • Hugs to you, TBC. There are no words for what you are going through. But ((((hugs)))) and Chump love going your way.

  • There may be a few exceptions to this that I’ve read here in the comments, but in my own personal experience in watching cheaters sometimes years down the road, every single one of them was not better off after pulling the rotten shit that they did. I don’t believe this is because of Karma, or God. IMO, it has everything to do with the fact that cheater types are inherently bad at making decisions and just continue to fuck up their own lives when left to their own devices.

    I have never once not seen evidence of this in my own little corner of the world.

    Sure, some may be rich, maybe they have a sexy trophy wife, and maybe they went on to marry a doctor and are swimming in luxury and leisure. That doesn’t mean that they are happy and faithful to whomever got caught in their orbit. If you think so, you might be forgetting how important image management is to this people. You’re only going to hear about the good stuff. You’re not going to hear from the OW/OM that that your X is still up to their same antics, checking out prospective partners on or trying to fuck the new secretary at work. These people don’t change. They lack integrity, they are selfish and short-sighted and are still the same pieces of shit who cheated on YOU.

    Some examples:
    Exhibit A: I have a family member who has always had a girlfriend or wife, and then does whatever, cheats on them and is on to the next. This family member has nothing. Zero. He’s pushing 50 and at this point, might as well be living in a van down by the river.

    Exhibit B: An acquaintance of mine left her husband because he wasn’t “meeting her needs”. To this day, I still have no idea what needs he wasn’t meeting. He probably didn’t appreciate the fact she was fucking one of his best friends, even though she swears she would never do such a thing. Now, good X husband is remarried and living in a sunny state 1600 miles away, while cheater is still bouncing between men complaining all over Facebook that men are assholes and she can’t trust anyone.

    Exhibit C: Another friend went on to marry her AP. Life is good she says, but says his kids hate her guts and there is nothing she can do about it. She’s the victim see? They treat her like a guest in her own house and her fantastic cheater husband does nothing. In fact sparkly husband tends to resent her and act as if he had it made before he met her. Now he has child support and has no money. She’s almost playing the “pick me” dance with his kids.

    You get the idea. Like I said, in my experience, I’ve never seen life be a carefree existence for these cheater types. Eventually, it all comes back to them and their dumb choices. In my case, my X and his AP married last month. Do I expect eternal bliss between these two where he never cheats again? Of course not; I know what he is. And she’s a cheater too so, they’ve just bought and paid for an expensive, cringe-worthy divorce somewhere down the road. It might be 5 years from now, might be 10, but it will happen. And if it doesn’t, they’ll both just cheat on each other so outside parties won’t know how they royally fucked up again.

    They make horrible choices, and there are always repercussions to that.

    • “it has everything to do with the fact that cheater types are inherently bad at making decisions and just continue to fuck up their own lives when left to their own devices.”

      That’s it in a nutshell, isn’t it? Love it!

  • CL, you always seem to hit the nail on the head! Awesome topic. Thanks for level setting the “truth”. You are the best!

  • Rumble kitty, yep, generally speaking these freaks of nature with crap life skills manage to eventually pay for their indiscretions in one bad way or another. I knew of one man who divorced his wonderful wife to marry his AP. You see, she was the only child of a fairly wealthy family and he thought the parents would pass away soon and leave her all the wealth. Plus, she was pretty easy on the eyes and looked great on his arm. She and he built a huge dream house on land that the rich in-laws owned and the parents made sure his name wasn’t on the new house. Then his beautiful “Barbie doll” developed a physically debilitating disease that destroyed her physically and mentally. Her kids from her first marriage hate him and her parents are still alive. His former “Barbie” requires round the clock nursing care and her family makes sure he caters to her. He resents the Hell out of it! But the true kicker is this, he is on NO legal documents, once she passes on he will be required to move out of the house and has NO legal right to the residence or anything in it! His gold digging and lust was apparent to this wealthy family and they fixed it so he will end up with nothing. He does, however, manage to “travel” often and that is when he is with the OW he believes the family knows nothing about. And yep, you guessed it…. The new OW is also pretty well off! What a snake this guy is!!!!

    • What. A. Scumbag. I can only WISH my mooching, sorry-ass STBXH would get this kind of cosmic reward!!!!

  • The narcissists are always equal opportunity assholes in every relationship they may have. At this point I am close to Meh, and happy with my life. I had lost my self worth and believed his lies for years. I wasted time and energy gathering evidence and reconciling. Deep down they understand our desire to be loved and play with our needs and desires. They are users. It made me feel unworthy and pathetic each time X started dating. The ONLY way I could heal was to detach completely through no contact X was TOXIC! Really? Yes! Not being with X allowed me to remove the poisonous sting. X was controlling! Throwing X out and filing made me stronger. X no longer controls any aspect if my life. Now I see with clarity. I now think in terms of my needs and could care less about the lying asshole. Staying in an abusive relationship out of fear is taking the hard road. Inevitability they raise the bar. Facing the pain led me closer to freedom.

    • I had many days where I agonized about my decision to divorce him right up until the night before going before the judge to get the rubber stamp on the settlement agreement we both signed. The waiting period here is 60 days, and I swear to God, almost every day I asked myself, am I SURE. I’m so glad I did it. Staying truly would’ve been harder than this, as hard as “this” is some days. A great portion of me had been smothered, feelings stuffed down, all to appease him. When the cheating came out as the icing on the cake, I just could not, and would not accept it. My heart and brain tried…oh for a time there, I stopped being angry and questioning, and almost reverted (quite by HABIT) to calm, smoothing things over. Then my gut screamed at me – WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? He just did the unthinkable, and you cannot, CANNOT allow this. Because if you do? He will destroy you, and punish you for even coming close to being strong enough to leave. You MUST get out now. And I’m glad I did. I can attest that the less you have to deal with them, the easier it is. Seriously.

  • probably thanks to my therapist and the fact that i still had a modicum of self esteem left, i never believed that she’d be better for someone else. we have a kid together – i hear stuff whether i want to or not. nothing’s really changed.

    interestingly, quite some years ago i lived with a girlfriend who, after we broke up, i found out was cheating on me (although i had some pretty strong suspicions beforehand). she was also into self harm (cutting). i had some pretty serious issues too (drinking a lot to relieve anxiety – i didn’t know i had this problem at the time, some anger issues – mostly directed at myself). when we split she told me that she was afraid that whoever i saw next would get all the good parts of me.

    i think that we were both young, un-wise and somewhat narcissistic.

  • I figure that the ex might actually be happier with the OW, for now at least.

    Her kids are grown, while ours were 11 and 12 when he had this affair #2. So she can concentrate her time, attention, and kibbles on him.

    He doesn’t have those annoying responsibilities for children any more, either, since our kids dumped him once they realized how very neglectful he could be of them, and that they were his Plan B only, or perhaps C or D. Not that he ever did his half of child care. but ya know, he doesn’t even get nagged about that any more! Bonus!

    She hasn’t been and won’t be terribly demanding on the ‘character’ front; she cheated on her ex, blew up her kids’ family, so she ‘understands’ what he’s done.

    She likes the sparkly life-style. He’s big now on renting SUVs (we lived car-free in a big city), expensive restaurants, and sailing. Never mind that he’s spent all his retirement savings to sustain all this so far! I was SO annoying in insisting we be responsible financially ….

    They both now have 9 to 5 jobs, so can actually spend plenty of time together. I juggled a job and a half in such a way that the kids never had to spend much time in after-school care or summer camps. And we both worked our asses off, while he was getting many extra qualifications, because we were both in the beginnings of our careers.

    They have ME to blame for his unhappiness! He’s a super-negative, mean and selfish guy who was NEVER happy for more than a couple of weeks a year. But of course, his unhappiness was always somebody else’s fault, mainly his bosses, but me too, and the world in general. But now I’m influencing the kids not to spend more than a few hours a month with me, don’tcha know? I’m so MEAN and BITTER (’cause there’s NO WAY they could be refusing most contact with him because of what HE DID, right?), and this makes him so unhappy! Never mind all that money he sends us (by HIS CHOICE) that probably limits his options (although I imagine she makes up for that, she makes more than he does). His missing his kids and my meanness are the outlet valve for all his unhappiness, so she’s not the main target …. yet ….

    But of course, the mere fact that he would make this switch-a-roo meant that he saw no value in me, our kids, or the life we had together. So he doesn’t deserve us, and it doesn’t matter if he’s actually happier with her. Empty narc happiness anyway, not what I’m interested in, in my life.

  • This morning I looked at a journal entry for a meeting with a counselor I had a few months after DDay. There were lots of interesting notes, but one things she said stands out. I put these words in quotation marks: “He will never change.”

  • LAJ, no they don’t change, but they ARE decent actors. I personally am counting on my ex having taken his “charming” personality into her life. He created a Facebook persona and now that he has actually moved in with her I can’t wait for the “real” him to come out! Boy is she in for a HUGE let down! Oh well, she wanted him soooo bad and now he is ALL hers! I wish her luck!!

  • Nothing to add here, this is a fear I never had. I know he won’t be better for his new GF or anyone else. In fact he gets worse the older he gets. I’m just glad the OW/now GF showed up, wish she’d done it sooner. If only he’d had someone telling him she was his soulmate sooner I’d have wasted less time. Rub out the love and you will see real, then this fear should be completely gone.

  • What a timely post! In my head I know STBX won’t change for her. Right now everything is shiny, new and perfect. But late at night, when my thoughts wander those feelings come back, why wouldn’t he do the things he does for her, for me? He tells her she is perfect, beautiful and that he loves her daily. I haven’t heard anything like that in years. I feel like he will always treat her better, that he will never cheat on her because he loves her more. Ugh! I don’t think he really knows what love is and I question his ability to be faithful to anyone (he has cheated on me several times, and he always said he was in love with AP) but I can’t shake the feeling that he will change for her!

    • So what are the odds this pitiful cheater asshole found someone perfect? Really? They are asshole cheaters. Sorry you are tortured by an asshole who was so disrespectful and selfish. They are the lying dishonest ones.

    • For a long time, I was tortured by the no doubt breathless, passionate texts that Jackass and the MOW exchanged. But the greatest blessing of this site (other than my fellow Chumps, of course) is learning that narcissists and other disordered types cycle through the same tired behaviors, over and over. And then of course, he dumped MOW and is no doubt stalking someone else. And so on.

  • Up until recently, the thought that he would be different “for” her haunted me. One of the mindfucks he took me through was to tell me everything that was wrong with me while letting me know how “wonderful” the OW was. Since I knew her and knew she was a disordered, idiotic, self-absorbed twit, I knew he was full of shit and was insulted that he might actually think she was better than me. He’s different “with” her because she’s as fucked up (or more) than he is, so he has to be different “with” her in order to keep her in line doing what he wants/needs her to do for him.

    I had an encounter with him not too long ago. He’s been in therapy for awhile now and had bragged about his new insight even though he still had a long way to go. During our encounter, I realized that not only was he the same asshole, he was a worse version of the same asshole – to me. He has a way that he thinks of me and how he feels he should treat me and that thinking is not going to change. Whatever “good” behavior he has with the OW, he is never going to exhibit that behavior with me again. That ship has sailed. I’ve seen behind the mask. I might get a glimpse of it, but it would only be an attempt to extract something from me or to harm me (emotionally or financially) in some way.

    I have seen enough during this divorce process that any “changes” he’s said he’s made don’t actually exist. He is almost 60 years old. It will take years to even make a dent in his behavior (because his thinking is fixed) and why would I want to live what’s left of my life with someone that I know is constitutionally incapable of treating me well? If he had been capable of treating me well, this divorce would not be necessary. It doesn’t matter how he is with the OW. He has not loved or cared about me the way I deserve so I have finally accepted that have not really lost anything of lasting value.

      • I’ve been in therapy a long while. I’ve never come out of that special space feeling I needed to “brag” about my “insights.” Nice to know that they use therapists for kibbles, too, which is why marriage counseling doesn’t work either.

    • Chump Princess – so true. Once they know you have seen the ugliness behind the mask – they’re done with you, period. Doesn’t matter what happens after that – they know the game is up. Period. They’ve blown their cover, and really MUST start over with someone else.

      • Yup, that’s my ex. The way he behaved on dday & the next three weeks before he left was frightening. I’d never ever seen him like that before – the mask had come off.

        “They’ve blown their cover, and really MUST start over with someone else.” That he did.

  • “The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home”.
    This rings so true to me!! And the whole “getting better” for someone else- uggh. Tonight I took my son to T-ball and my stbxh is the coach, and I heard a parent say that he is “so good with the kids”….ahhh…ya – if I hadn’t confronted him on D-day (which made him try to become dad of the year), he not only wouldn’t have been a coach, he wouldn’t have even signed our son up for Tball – it would have cut into his affair time. I’ve been wanting him to be more involved with the kids for years, and it took destroying the world they knew to make him step up (if he didn’t step up even his own family would have disowned him – as it is they are so disappointed in him and he used to be the Golden Boy). Fuck this pisses me off – I think “why couldn’t you have done this before, we would have been fine if you could have been connected to us” – but it is a time bomb, he barely even likes our friends kids, never mind dozens of strangers kids – but he will keep the image up short term, its the charm he exudes. Fuck it just makes me shake my head. I believed his shit for 17 years (not a narc, just selfish and entitled) – he can totally get someone (still with Schmoopie) to buy it for another 17 (especially since he can’t have anymore kids, which is what seems to have created his “unhappiness”) – gggahhhh – the logic disconnect is killing me, it does make me think it was “me” – but I really know it wasn’t…I was a damn good wife to that ungrateful fucker!

    • I once heard a wise shrink say, “the person who gives the least and cares the least and has put the least into the relationship is the most likely the cheater. It is their lack of investment that makes them able to disconnect.” (not the you did not do enough or give enough for or to them!) I so agree with this. Chumps can’t believe the Ex could walk away from so much. It is because the “so much” is what you put it, not them.

      • This one goes into my file: “The person who gives the least and cares the least and has put the least into the relationship is the most likely the cheater. It is their lack of investment that makes them able to disconnect.” (not the you did not do enough or give enough for or to them!)”

      • ‘I once heard a wise shrink say, “the person who gives the least and cares the least and has put the least into the relationship is the most likely the cheater. It is their lack of investment that makes them able to disconnect.” (not the you did not do enough or give enough for or to them!) I so agree with this. Chumps can’t believe the Ex could walk away from so much. It is because the “so much” is what you put it, not them.’

        Regina, ^^^ this just so true – I wonder how many other Chumps “loved too much”, like I did ???

        • Juliet, the simple fact is we all loved too much. The one thing I learned is believe people’s behavior, not their words.

        • Juliet and Regina, WOW This is SO true! I loved him more than myself or anything else. I put up with 39 years of his BS. Thanks for sharing and helping me better see myself and my co-dependent ways. Hope he and all of his future ‘friends’ have a happy life. I am FREE! Thank God-

    • I wouldn’t bet money that a man who has no time for his kids isn’t on the wrong end of the narcissist continuum, even if he does not have NPD.

    • “The reality is that they weren’t giving enough at home”.

      This ^^^ x 100 – yes, sadly, they weren’t that invested in the relationship……

  • Ever since my ex and I split up I did not fear that he was going to be better for someone else because I knew that he had a shitty character and will not change for anyone. He may not cheat on the next person, but he will still be the same shitty disconnected entitled asshole he always was.

    What I fear is that I won’t find love again and he will. That’s the injustice that pisses me off sometimes. That there’s no real consequence for him (except that he will never find a partner as great as me, but he wouldn’t be able to tell the difference anyway). But as CL has said many times, I can’t control that. And honestly I just don’t care what he’s up to anyway, since I am mostly in blissful meh.

    • Exactly, Lunachick!!! That’s my fear more than anything!!! Realizing sadly that EXH#1 and STBXH#2 are exactly the same, so I need to do some serious work on my “man-picker” the next go ’round!!!

  • I feel the same way Lunachick. I don’t know how to begin dating again and am terrified of it all really. I had the bad luck of stumbling on his open facebook private conversation with a poor sap he was flirting with, confiding in her that he’d been trying to leave me for years (smear campaign) and I’m stuck in the shock those words even now, some 15 months later. Where was I when he was trying to leave? In Chumpville no doubt. And I think I’m still stuck there emotionally as I just KNOW the smear campaign was/is so much worse than I discovered. How to get out of the Chumpville in my head?

    • Deepbreaths; Just that discovery should be just what you need to recognize what a whackjob he is! Another poor pitiful me type of LOSER that I am sure should have been thrilled to have you! Instead, he is too much of a coward to do so, and being single and actually dating is not nearly as exciting-these Cheaters want to have a wanton romance where they think they don’t have to worry about anything serious. After all, they are married, right? Without the Chump. this is not fun at all!! Have you ever heard of men giving someone they are simply dating, money, gifts, dinners and all this attention? Only if they are really serious. When they are married, they can indulge and have much less fear the OM/OW will get attached, and if they do, well, they were warned, right??
      I wished I would have found some of this type of proof, because they really can’t lie after this type of evidence is found. Otherwise, you have to take their word for how it did not mean anything, blah, blah, blah!
      He wasn’t trying to leave, he was eating CAKE! He is too much of a liar to admit it, and she is too desperate to care.
      There are people out there who would love to have a woman who doesn’t cheat, just ask the men on this site. We say “he” a lot beause4 I think women are more apt to open up about it, but the number of cheating women has skyrocketed!
      I guess the lesson for us Chumps is don’t ignore the red flags.

      • You’re right on the $$ Regina … I’m seeing this bs everywhere now that it’s happened to me. Honestly, I guess I’ve gone through life with PollyAnna glasses on and just didn’t see how weak many people’s values are. In fact today a group of us went out after work h and I was shocked at the gossip about a former employee – married, female, with kids – who made her rounds with 4 or 5 of the yes, married men at work. They finally fired her for sexting the wrong guy (told him she had no gag reflex!) and he pressed it with HR. My co-workers villainized her but wouldn’t dish on the names of the married men who took her up on it. WTF. And now for the real kicker … I’m a teacher and these scumbags are too. Again, WTF. I take my job as a teacher seriously and know that our kids really do expect us to be role models. I’d fire all of them if it were up to me. I’m sickened by humanity sometimes.

        • Oh deepbreaths! Oh I wish I had no gag reflex, just had to barf in a small trash can!! LOL!!
          Can’t remember where I read this, but an article somewhere said beware the teachers and IT people are big cheater categories! (I don’t know where the proof is, but I did read it.) We all hope our kids teachers are above normal in their ethics & morals.
          In addition, I find the gossip all around shocking and disheartening too. I went for a job interview last week & by the time I got back to my office, my boss knew I went on a job interview and where I went. WTF? No one there knew me, but I guess someone I met knew someone where I worked. It meant nothing to them, but it screwed me.
          Please believe me when I tell you I learned all this the hard way too about the Cheaters.

  • Before I discovered CL’s pithy incisive blog, this was an issue that always me bugged me, even thought I had been divorced from Cheaterpants for many years. Supposed he had changed and was treating her like a queen ?

    It took me along time to truly believe that people don’t change unless they are motivated to do so. Changing requires insight, honesty, commitment and therapy – and cheaters don’t have the first 3. It needs a willingness to take responsibility and own your own $h!£ – and cheaters can’t/won’t do that because they are happy to abdicate responsibility by playing the “blame game”.

    I take responsibility for my marriage breakup – and before all of Chump nation start jumping up and down, I’ll explain.
    I was a Chump.
    I loved too much, I gave too much, I put up with his moods, snide remarks, put-downs, bad selfish sex, laziness, for 7 years without complaining. For 7 years he got what he wanted and I became more and more unhappy, frustrated and unfulfilled.

    Then I woke up.

    I told him I wanted a better deal seeing as I was earning more than him and putting more into the “pot”.
    I wanted him to help me with the housework, seeing as I worked full-time the same as he did.
    I told him I was sick of staying up until 11.00pm ironing his work-shirts while he watched TV – in future he could do his own.
    I told him he could clean and wash his own car, and if he wanted to drive around in something that looked/smelled like a mobile ash-tray that was his choice.
    I told him I was sick of bad sex and suggested we see a sex therapist to fix his premature ejaculation problem.

    Instead of knuckling down and addressing these issues, he started an EA with an employee and got her sympathy. He told her stuff like – “My wife doesn’t understand me, she actually expects me to help clear the dinner table after a hard day at work !!” etc etc “She won’t iron my shirts, she won’t have sex with me” etc etc.
    He then graduated to a PA.

    So Schnoopie was given the message loud and clear from the get go, that he was auditioning for the role of a sexual housekeeper who would keep him comfy and not ask for anything for herself. She willingly took that role and has fulfilled it despite being hospitalised twice for depression.
    She got the big house and the holidays abroad, but at what cost to her emotional, physical and psychological well-being?
    I almost feel sorry for her…….

  • So many great stories; I had a gallbladder attack early in the morning (3AM), I didn’t wake my wife I just drove myself to the hospital. I was in the hospital for 4 days. My wife came with the kids and preceded to tell me what a pain in the ass it was coming there. I had a co-worker come to the hospital to pick up my car and my boss drive me home from the hospital. It would have been too much of an inconvenience to ask my wife. We split for the first time right after I got home from the hospital. I can’t even remember the details.

    She has since remarried and her husband had neck surgery. She left him the day he got home from the hospital. She took the kids and went to a hotel. She went back a couple of days later and they are still married.

    As I like to say, she did a complete 360.

    Good luck getting to “meh”, you will get there on Tuesday

  • I needed this post. Found out my ex is getting married to the OW…took her to meet the family. I’m not sad he is marrying the teeny tiny skinny whore. What bothers me is that he blew off the kids for his new woman and her kids. It’s a sickening feeling. While I am working two jobs to rent this house, he’s living large with the OW. Not fair.

  • I STILL need this post…I feel like I am about to lose my mind!!!!

    He was supposed to have our child all Memorial Day weekend, instead he went to no contact- nothing- no text, no phone call.

    He came by to see our child yesterday telling me he couldn’t take her for the weekend because he said he had to go out of town work-related….yet he’s been here, all day chillin’ at his house and is on his way over to friend’s house to hang out…meanwhile I am sitting here with our child feeling lost and alone!!!!

    OMG< I want to RRRRRRAGE at him so much!!! I fucking hate him!!!!

    He gets to leave me and our child and go out and act like a single man while I'm doing what I've always done- take care of our child and wonder what the hell did I do to deserve this shit????

    I would have a drink, but all I have is Tequilia and I don't want to get hammered and send out drunk texts to his stupid ass!!!!

    God help me get through this. I've been through this with my EXH#1, but I never thought I'd ever go through this again!!!!

    • Unsinkable, you can do this. You have inner strength. He is a zero and you are a hero!! You will walk through this next wall of fucking pain. We all do and you will. Just keep breathing and imagine him being eaten alive slowly by a swarm of locusts.

      • Or crabs, or fleas from the damn cat he left behind. 😉 Thank you, malbecrioja!!!! He sucks. Truly, madly, deeply- he SUCKS!!!!

        My sister keeps telling me that I don’t give myself enough credit, my “coven” (inner circle of women going through this right now or have already been through this too) keep telling me this. It’s nights like this when I know he’s out free as a fucking bird and I’m home all alone that sucks.

        I started watching Madea and Steve Harvey/Family Feud clips— laughter really does help!!!!

        • i try to watch comedy as well, and became absorbed by a few Netflix series too. That alone part can be tough. But remember, sink him, and stay yourself unsinkable!

  • Oh they do treat the mistress very very well while they are still in the idealizing phase but watch up when boredom settles in ( unfairly enough this process can take up to 5 to 7 years apparently…) My ex-father-in-law who ended up with his mistress ( by total chance encounter 4 months after leaving, absolutely complete serendipity you understand) is very good example of this principle. His daughters cringed on how perfectly gentlemanlike he behaved toward this woman as opposed to their mother in the first few years until he started belittling her in front of everyone including her own children. Became embarrassing to witness in fact. Whined and complained to her in front of all like a tantrum-prone little boy, he of 70 years of age, well educated, well-established and oh so wordly. The joke was on her by then. I wasn’t aware of her past at that time and of the fact that she had been the home wrecker, so would feel rather sorry about her predicament. Total narc of father-in-law never saw anything amiss in his behaviour though, mind you. Weirdo!

  • It’s been six years since I got my divorce. He is remarried, not to OW, but to a nice girl in her twenties that he met off the internet. I turn 40 this year. Sometimes when I drop the kids off , I wonder why it is he isn’t cheating on her and he’s so happy and I am still single. But then I think how happy and in love I was and how he used to buy me flowers and take me out on great dates and that it was all a big lie cause he was cheating the entire time and then I think, give it six more years. Poor girl. I am facebook friends with his first ex wife who was gone a good ten years before I came along. Mrs. Girl from the Internet will be in our ex wives club eventually.

  • You are brilliant and I love you! My cheating narcissistic sociopath of a soon to be ex-husband of 17 years stripped me of everything, including my career before his betrayals were revealed and I’ve been spinning around in a desperate circle trying to salvage something, then getting angry, then trying to get him to see the evils of his way and come back, then rejoicing in my awesomeness, then questioning my value and reading blog after blog. But I think yours is the last I need. You are so right and so articulate. It’s not me, it’s him and I need to rejoice that his sorry ass is someone else’s problem. Thank you!!

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