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Dear Chump Lady, How come my boyfriends suck?

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badboyfriendDear Chump Lady,

I was married to my husband for six years. When our youngest was six months old I caught him cheating with his assistant. After a few weeks of back and forth, I kicked him out for good.

I’ve had some bad boyfriends since. The worst being my most recent breakup — Ben. I met Ben through work and he asked me out. He was going through a divorce, that he initiated because he didn’t love his wife anymore — but I ignored the red flag. We dated a few months and he ended it without any notice. He blamed his divorce saying he wasn’t ready.

Since the first breakup we have broken up and gotten back together ten times in ten months. Every 30 days he has some crisis. First it was the divorce, then he didn’t like that we worked together, and he ends it. Within two weeks he’s emailing and asking me back saying how screwed up he is and that he wants what we have. I give it another go around and I’m back where I started 30 days later. Over the course of our many breakups he has been online dating and hanging out with other women. He says he only likes to have female friends and regularly takes them hiking. He also texts daily with a few females including two who make me uncomfortable.

When we got back together after the eighth time, I asked if he’d slept with one of these friends. He denied it and insisted I’m jealpus and needy from being cheated on in my marriage. They continued to text and I eventually became suspicious. Looking in his phone I discovered they’d slept together during one of our breaks (hard to say if they were still doing it).

We broke up for what I hope is the final time this week. It was my birthday and he didn’t take me out or even get me a present or card, much less see me. Then a friend of mine told him off and he ended it over email saying this was just too much.

This is a guy who insists on only having female friends and calls me jealous and blames my divorce when I become uncomfortable. He is constantly going out alone with these women.

My question is this — how do I go no contact? How do I convince myself that he is a true narcissist and these women are just kibble? Why can’t I move on?

Kat

Dear Kat,

You kicked the father of your children out after a “few weeks” of post D-Day back and forth, and you give this idiot ten months? And he’s not the only bad boyfriend you’ve dated?

We have a “fix your picker” problem here, Kat.

We broke up for what I hope is the final time this week. 

What you hope? Like, you don’t get a say in this? Like, you hope the break up will stick this time, but if he comes sniffing around your door, you’ll succumb to his dubious charms?

Kat, slap yourself. You don’t need this loser, you need some deal breakers. Let me suggest a few.

1. If he’s “going through a divorce,” he’s not available to date. Either this is a line a cheater is giving you (he’s still very much married), or he’s too fresh from the drama to be emotionally available. The only caveat I would give here are for the poor souls who live in those dreadful states like Virginia where you must have physical separation of one year and a DAY before you can even file. If you’re in one of those It Takes Years To Get a Divorce states, then I’d want convincing evidence that it is OVER. Separate residences and a lot of emotional maturity.

But as a general rule? Be wary of “going through a divorce” guys.

2. If the reason for his divorce is something nebulous like “he fell out of love with her,” that’s a red flag. People divorce for REASONS. She was cheating with her boss. She’s a drug addict. She has a serious mental illness and refuses to treat it. See, those are sad, painful reasons people get divorced. I’m not saying people don’t divorce for lesser reasons, but the vagaries of “we grew apart” or “we fell out of love” are usually concealing ugly truths like —  I was cheating with my boss, I’m a drug addict, I have a serious mental illness and refuse to treat it.

Chumps have sad reasons and heart breaking stories of trying to fix it. People with poor character usually have euphemisms.

Of course skilled liars can come up with reasons and heart-breaking stories (my cheating ex told me his two ex-wives cheated on him). My advice there is take your time to check out the story and see if it adds up. Mine was always fuzzy on the timelines of these traumatic events. In retrospect, there were a lot of inconsistencies.

3. When someone shows you who they are — believe them. The first time.

Since the first breakup we have broken up and gotten back together ten times in ten months.

Kat, he’s not entitled to as many shots at this as he wants. Why are you allowing this? Where are your boundaries?

He’s dating other people and cruising for women online while he’s going out with you — that’s either acceptable to you, or it is not. You don’t need to convince yourself that he’s a narcissist. You need to know WHAT YOUR DEAL BREAKERS ARE. Is this guy good enough to be your boyfriend? What are the qualifications that the candidate must possess for the job? Start putting yourself in the driver seat here.

The mechanics of no contact are very easy. Block his number. Avoid him at work. Trash his emails. The hard thing about no contact is mental — you must trust that he sucks.

He forgot your birthday, he sleeps and sexts with other women — he sucks. Please draw this conclusion.

It’s okay to be alone for awhile. Work on that picker. Know your worth, and don’t waste your precious time on anyone undeserving of you. Period.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • CL is spot on. Take control of the situation. You’re not at his mercy.

    Go no contact and stick with no contact.

    Get rid of his sorry ass.

    Take time off from dating and get to know yourself and why you’d ever accept a man like him in the first place.

    • Ha! My cheating ex was one of those poor souls in VA. He started having an affair with a subordinate when I was pregnant and left me before the baby was born. As soon as our baby was born, I moved to my hometown 2,000 miles away. So they “dated” and got engaged while we were still married (he even “tried” therapy during this time) SO they very honorably married the weekend after our divorce was final. I can’t imagine their sad lives having the endure my existence during their honeymoon stage. Now they are living in my hometown to be close to our kids…

  • oh my drama-o-rama! How can anyone stand that much drama? I couldn’t do it, my anxiety level alone would kill me. Stop being drawn into the drama, Kat. Stop living in high school and live in the grown-up world instead. Stop talking/texting/emailing him. Just stop.

      • The problem is that some folks don’t do this until they hit 45, they go crazy all of a sudden, that’s precisely why we have hope they will come back to their “true self” eventually, but it never happens

  • Kat,
    12 billion people on the planet odds are you will bump into someone who doesnt treat u like crap. Yr a single mom… Its hard… Dont make it harder on yrself by settling for less. Better yet… Dont date for awhile. Clear the closet. Take inventory. Create boundaries and standards. Have a credo.
    Nobody treats u like shit without yr permission…. Boundaries.

    • Kat – I was gonna type EXACTLY what The Clip is telling you: BILLIONS of people in this world, and you’re gonna let some trass-ass douchebag determine your worth?? Com’on! Where’s that woman who dumped a HUSBAND while she had an infant to worry about? That Kat knew her boundaries, if nothing else in those moments.

      I was with the same douchebag from age 16 to 40. “Married” 17 years of that time. Two kids. One grandkid. He was a serial cheater, but I didn’t learn about it till I was 39. I’m physically and emotionally lonely many times, but I was ALONE in that sham “marriage” anyway! I haven’t been by myself since I was a teen. Guess what?? I’m actually learning to love this time of being alone b/c I can focus on MY healing, reassess what I want from my life, and what my dealbreakers are in a man. My 22 and 15 year-olds get to see me kick ass and continue to propel myself toward goodness, happiness, knowledge, spiritual harmony with Christ, and they continue to experience what REAL love from their only sane parent, after witnessing their “dad” abandon us all.

      Instead of focusing on any sadness I feel with this massive void of not having a relationship, and about all my wasted years on that f-er, I focus my energy on continuing to love my kids, on distance running now (never did this before but have now done a half marathon), on monthly counseling still, even 21 months out, learning and reading about things I’ve always wanted to, and now also about disordered fucks and cheaters, I focus on being alone at church 4-5x each week, and am discovering how to love myself for exactly who I am. I never needed to be anything more than the loyal, loving, authentic woman I always was, but I need this time to remind and convince myself of that until I actually believe it. You need the same. I’ve been a mom since 18. My world is just opening up because of the freedom I’ve created by my decision to divorce, but I’m embracing the alone status, and being kind to myself by not allowing myself to be available for a relationship until I know how to love and trust myself first. It’s the only way I won’t allow another scheming douchebag to be around me.

      You’re not honoring yourself or your children, nor all your futures behaving in this way. Stop investing in that f-tard, and instead invest your time in counseling. Shop them until you find the right fit, and someone who’ll level with you, and who will tell you the truth. Spiritually connect with something bigger than you – learn who God wants you to become through this struggle; you’ll gain perspective in why the heck you’re on this planet and learn that through service to others (even if it’s your kids right now), that you’re preparing for something much larger than this situation right now. Exercise – it’s therapeutic for your mind, and the physical and chemical benefits are tremendous for your confidence. I run miles down quiet farm roads, and sometimes cry along the way. NOT for the mediocrity, but for so much loss. I don’t even do earbuds. Forrest Gump had it right. Connect with things around you and enjoy the silence that allows deeper thought to occur.

      You’re disconnected right now from who you are and want to be, and you’re looking for connection with and from some rebound relationship that’s sub-sub-standard, at the very best. He’s a cheating douchebag, and you know what you do with cheating douchebags. You’ve already done it!

      We hope for, and expect, a really awesome update from you soon, Kat. (((hugs)))

      • Wow KFMM. WE should be friends. My story and resolve matches your 100%. I am alone now for almost 10 months waiting for the divorce to be final. I am loving my alone time and i am focussing all my energy to connect spiritually with myself in a deeper way. I am painting paintings and making beautiful stuff. I have been writing in my journals again and have filled 2 moleskin journals. I have been in therapy. I am resolved to wait for my future husband. I have a long list of requests about him but i have 5 dealbreakers that i will not settle with. My soontobe EX tries to eat cake and “win” me back but i am too excited to see what my future brings. I simple cannot wait.

        Being alone for a season is the best gift you could give yourself. In my limited experience that is.

        • moxie, Kelly, FoolMeTwice, HeartChump, and every Chump of CN – you are all completely BEAUTIFUL, AMAZING and INSPIRING. We just didn’t know we were a part of the same club in which we were pulled down into this very personal pit of shit by the loser douchebag, selfish whores we were connected to. LOL!

          HeartChump, I notice you still use the possesive pronoun “my” when referring to that shitty STBX. Do not make yourself “own” that f-tard any longer; not after what he’s done to you and your marriage. I got used to saying “the cheater,” or “the XH,” very early on after deciding to divorce his dumbass, even when I talked with lawyers and judges. They knew about his serial adultery and then finally abandonment of me and our then 14 year-old. Using the article “the” or the demonstratie “that” when referring to that asshat (see?) allows me to be kind to myself and not “own” any of his shitty behavior, or my connection to him. So simple, but psychologically soothing, and powerful.

          A scrillion thanks to you, Tracy, for allowing a forum for us to find each other, and move forward together.

          Massive warmth, (((hugs!!))), prayers and love go out to each of you! =D

          xoxo

          • Sorry – fingers going too fast! I should have typed “demonstrative,” not whatever the heck my fingers typed! =P

            • Another awesome post, KFMM. You’ve given me something new to think about with the use of the pronoun. I’ve got a background in linguistics, so this stuff is inherently interesting to me, and I do agree that our words are a lot more powerful than we often realize. But I’m not sure about using ‘the’ in reference to my ex, in the same way that I still use “my” to talk about my batshit crazy mom, whom I haven’t seen or spoken to in 16 years (violent and dangerous in addition to batshit crazy). Despite my choice to maintain NC, she still *is* my mom, and for better or for worse, the abuse I was born into is part of my life journey. I don’t think we need to disavow what’s happened to us in order to heal, and by saying *my* mom, I don’t think I’m taking on anything, just simply acknowledging an historical fact. Ditto for my POS cheating ex. But, I also know that we chumps are an incredibly resourceful bunch, and everybody finds a way to make peace with what’s happened, and if a switch in determiners feels empowering and keeps it in the rearview mirror, then I say go for it. Really feeling lucky and proud to be part of a collective that brings so much insight and humour into the healing.

      • Inspiring post KF_MM! Everyone in CN has so much to offer – wisdom, encouragement & inspiration. Gotta love it! Thanks!!!

  • It’s so hard to accept the fact that the person you care about doesn’t give a flying fuck about you, at first you would give anything for it to not be true, you will make excuses and bury all the red flags under a mountain of denial, but once you learn to finally accept the truth you will open yourself up to a whole new world of honesty and peace, and it becomes easier to apply the same thinking to any person or situation that makes you feel worthless. To quote the amazing RuPaul: “If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”. Amen! 🙂

    • So true, KJ. But the truth, as hard as it is to accept, does set you free. Peace and peace of mind will return.

  • I read about 1/4 of your story and started rolling my eyes once I saw you were dating a married-divorcing-just divorced guy having recently divorced yourself. I could read no more. Its a problem I have, sorry. Sounds like your choices and decisions may be what’s wrong.

    • I also rolled my eyes when you said he told you that ALL his friends are women.

      You will find that your life gets easier when you dump “the open mind” and accept that certain things are red flags without further investigation.

  • “You don’t need to convince yourself that he’s a narcissist. You need to know WHAT YOUR DEAL BREAKERS ARE. ” Chump Lady FTW!

    Kat, these are probably the 2 wisest sentences you are likely to read anywhere. To that last one I would add “and why you keep letting this loser violate them.” If you’re not already in counseling, I hope you’ll start pronto and stick with it, not just for your sake but also for your kids’ sake. You are modeling relationship standards for them with each pointless text. Whether they’ve met this guy or not, please believe that they’re paying very close attention, and they can feel your misdirected energy, even if they can’t name it. I wish I’d realized that much sooner than I did.

    Get back to that kick-ass mom who knows how to take out the trash. And I hope you’ll stick around here, too, for the daily dose of reality and courage so many of us have come to depend on as we’re screwing our heads back on straight and keeping them that way. You can do this!

  • Why is it that we Chumps put such a low value on our worth? Kat, you deserve so much more than this guy can give you. Take time to discover what you want in a relationship. It doesn’t seem like you really know. Once you know make a list and hold every new guy up to it. If they don’t measure up then keep looking. But it’s ok to be alone. Many of us chumps have realized that our worth isn’t measured by the people that “love” us. We are worthy because we are human beings who love with our whole heart, mind & soul. You have to learn to value yourself. Then you won’t settle for crap. Best wishes for your journey.

    • Kat, I was never more alone than when I was in a relationship with the cheating X. Once you are away from the chaos and set boundaries you will see that your not alone but free. Think about all the energy you have to expend thinking about him. The girls, excuses, the lies, and the wondering keeps you stuck and a prisoner to the mind fuck. Put all that time and effort into yourself and go no contact. Stepping outside makes you stronger. I have spent a year in therapy and working on myself. Testing your own limits rather than having others test your limits is empowering. Once you know your worth you are truly ready to meet others who bring something to the table. We deserve better and need to recognize every day if our life is amazing once we take our power back and have no contact with toxic people. Stop trying to wrap your head around cheater logic as it keeps you stuck. That is an ugly place to be in life. Get strong.

  • DI what chump lady said. Go get therapy & fix that picker!! The moment I found out my ex husband was a serial cheater I marched my ass to a therapist. I was there up to and after finding my amazing boyfriend who also a chump. It’s a whole different world being with someone who is equally as giving as me. It’s like…that sparkly ex made me feel amazing for 5 minutes a day & it faded & I would chase him around trying to get more of that amazing. Now I feel good all day, which is amazing.

    Be alone for awhile. Your picker is done broke!

  • I like the “it’s ok to be alone for a while”. I’m exactly there. Savoring the alone time to figure out what I want next. Really happy not to share my energy with a lover, listening to my own feelings without worrying about somebody else. That is really what getting your power back is all about. I’ve lived this kind of thing with a serious boyfriend in my early 20s, of course not so devastating, sans kids, but I went on a bender after that, leaping into new relationships etc etc. but the only way I healed from it was when I consciously chose to stop dating non stop and start doing things that I wanted to do for me. It really works.

  • Thanks so much everybody! I don’t know why I let him have so many chances especially the way he treats me. I keep looking for confirmation that yes, he’s a narcissist, I’m not inventing is. Of course I’m worried he’s gonnba change for the next girl. But he sure as hell doesn’t cjange for me.
    Your support is so appreciated!

    • “I keep looking for confirmation that yes, he’s a narcissist, I’m not inventing is.”

      Maybe he’s a flying purple people eater. So what? Go with what you know – that he’s treating you like crap.

      “Of course I’m worried he’s gonnba change for the next girl.”

      a. No fucking way.
      b. Who cares? You said it yourself. He doesn’t change for YOU.

      You have a heart that’s willing to love. But for right now, count on your head instead. You know you need to walk away from his bullshit, so do it. You deserve better. If you can’t find it (which I doubt), you’re still better off by yourself than letting this jackass walk on you.

      Save your heart for someone that deserves it. You can do this.

    • Kat, regardless of whether he’s a narcissist or not, he’s a fucking asshole. You don’t need anymore confirmation that he’s an asshole. He’s not even trying to hide the fact.

      Even if he “changes” for the next girl, which we all know is highly doubtful, who cares. He’s not right for you. He’s disrespectful, he bounces between you and other women, he breaks up with you whenever he feels like it. You can’t have a normal healthy relationship with someone like this.

      Fuck this guy.

      • I love this! I needed to remind myself of this point “regardless of whether he’s a narcissist or not, he’s a fucking asshole!” So true, so blunt and made me laugh out loud. I too fall into “what if he changes for someone else” or what if my daughter blames me for the fact that he is now a deadbeat with no contact with her . . . Whatever. I have to remind myself that I was loving and forgiving to a fault, and he was an alcoholic, lying, cheating, gaslighting, abandoning, non-support paying LOSER to ME. Whether he becomes a shining start to a new wonderful beautiful YOUNGER woman, he wa always an asshole to me!!!!

        • That’s such a common fear that they will be fantastic for someone else. It never, ever happens. These idiots are what they are, and usually right from the beginning.

          My life is too short to waste time with someone who adds no value to it. That’s whats nice about getting older, you really start to understand how precious time is, YOUR time. I didn’t really get that till after 40.

          Let the fools continue to fuck up their own lives and you continue being awesome.

    • Kat, you still don’t get it. Get some professional help. Your upside down thinking has you making poor choices. I have a fast and firm rule. I don’t date married men. They must be legally divorced for three years. It takes a long time to get past the emotional drama of a divorce. Be mighty and learn to love yourself.

    • Kat, yesterday’s post was about the myth of sex addiction. One of the points made was that a person can be a total asshole without being a personality disorder.

      It doesn’t matter if your boyfriend is a narcissist. He’s an asshole. Dump him!

      Then fix your picker! For you, it sounds as if your asshole radar is busted!

    • “I don’t know why I let him have so many chances”
      You do – you just don’t want to admit to it. This person is bad news and just thrives off drama and crap. Breaking up and getting back together ad-nauseum? Thats not the sign of someone healthy – its the sign of someone using hoovering to get kibbles. RED FLAG. Also, they’re “getting a divorce”? RED FLAG.
      A person like this should be verboten. And if they aren’t – you need to examine why not.

  • CL has given you some sound advice here. Not a good idea to date someone going through a divorce as if they are available when they are not on multiple levels. CL is spot on about the vague excuses for the breakup as well. You can do better…you stayed faithful through an awful experience with your first husband…you are gold. Do not settle for someone who treats you like the latest flavor. Ben has serious flaws here. Remind yourself…maybe write it down on a card…why this relationship is unacceptable to you so that you can stay strong.

  • “Females friends.” I know some will disagree with me but I do not believe men and women can be “just friends”. IMO, there’s always some sexual tension there.

    Or maybe it’s certain men or women depending on their psychological make up. EH had quite a few “friendships” with women at work over the years. I now realize they were emotional affairs. I didn’t like it (gut instinct ignored) but I trusted him and didn’t even know what an emotional affair was! If I had I might have seen all this shit coming. He and OW were “just friends” too. Next thing I knew he was walking out the door. I’d been pushing back against this “friendship” because they’d started spending time alone together to “work out”.

    Either way, a man who only wants female friends would raise a red flag with me.

    • Totally agree Lina and experienced the same exact thing. STBXH’s “friend” is/was the AP… he never admitted it.. “just friends” but he continued to contact her and lie to my face. No one ruins a marriage for a “friend”.. that never happens. I also think they had an emotional affair for a long time, her M hit the rocks and all of a sudden she was available and he was roped in. Of course, all of this way my fault because he never admitted it. I was just a sucky wife.

      When you are in a committed relationship, no friend, but especially no friend of the opposite sex should be placed equal or above your spouse. Like EVER. Friends of the marriage, friends of the relationship, okay.. but too close friendships with the opposite sex are never okay. Even if they seem innocent. And if your spouse is uncomfortable, you cut them out of your life.. you block your number, you change your number, you delete them from social media… all of it.

      At the least, my STBX didn’t do any of these things. I will never know the extend of their “friendship” but it really doesn’t matter because he turned from me and to her. And he wasn’t willing to cut her off. So there you have it. I hope it’s worth it!

      • Yep! THIS!! My ex and his married Schmoopie were spouting the “we’re just friends” line to me while I was standing in the hotel room I busted them in!! Prior to busting them, I had watched them on the hotel balcony where he had on ONLY his jeans and she was wearing…of all things, a white flimsy negligee! Friends my ass!! But it all worked in my favor in the end, they get to live together now with their best friend and I get….. Every damn thing he owned! Good luck with broke ass Schmoopie!

    • Nope. 100% agree with you, and I always have. Intimacy involves more than genitals. But often it leads to genitals. So I don’t believe men and women (or same-sex if that’s the attractive sex) can spend a lot of alone time together as “just friends.” One or both is going to develop feelings. And time spent with the just friend is time that should be spent working, or with same-sex friends (or opposite sex if that’s your safety zone), but especially your family or your boyfriend/girlfriend (if you’re single.)

      • So right Sunshine. I kept saying to my H.. irregardless of whether you relationship is plutonic or not- it doesn’t matter.. it didn’t help OUR relationship and you should have known it. You should have put up a boundary. When contact with her increased, he got increasingly hostile to me.. by the time he BD.. he was already well entrenched in his views. No pick me dance, no desire to save the family, no declarations of love and dedication I communicated mattered. He was already emotionally involved with her.. which is almost WORSE than a ONS.. because he developed feelings for her. And he emotionally crippled me in the process as I tried to do the pick me dance and he ate cake.

        To this day, he expects me to believe it was on the up and up.. but you don’t spend time DEDICATED to someone of the opposite sex… calls, sneaking around.. texting.. if you aren’t getting something for it. Men especially don’t. If she wasn’t doing “something” for him, he wouldn’t be going back for more and if he loved me, and cherished what we’ve had and what we COULD have in the future.. he would have caught himself and thrown her over. Period.

        People in general do what they want. You can’t make someone choose to make good choices. STBX is a wreck, and I doubt seriously that a relationship with Schmoopie will solve his problems. But you can’t tell him that. He won’t listen to anyone. He’s angry at me, his family, most everyone. He claims he feels alone, and I bet he does, but you can’t expect people to reciprocate love when you don’t give it. And you can’t expect people to trust you when you deceive them. It’s that simple. He created this situation.. and he desperately wants it to be someone else’s fault. But that dog don’t hunt.

        • And sometimes, that ‘something’ they’re getting, is ego flattery, and goo goo-eyed attention. It doesn’t really matter that the sexual part hasn’t happened yet- it’s implied. And of course it will go there, if they keep texting/going shopping/having a coffee. What they are doing is called dating! Of course the spouse has off the charts anxiety!
          I sure am glad THOSE days are over! If you want to stay together (married or BF/GF) you had better pay attention to the one you’re with, and no one else belongs in those activities. Otherwise, admit you aren’t really into being committed to this one person.

        • “but you can’t expect people to reciprocate love when you don’t give it. And you can’t expect people to trust you when you deceive them. It’s that simple. He created this situation.. and he desperately wants it to be someone else’s fault.”

          EXACTLY!!! I lived SO many years begging for love, affection, attention and even for intamacy from a cheating douchebag “husband,” but the thing is, I didn’t know WHY the hell our relationship was so distant. Fucker KNEW he was a serial cheater, but also believes he was the best husband in the whole freaking world. He convinced himself he was entitled to feel awesome, and that I should have been giving kibbles non-stop, and couldn’t draw lines or connections between my growing anger/frustration with him, because of his lack of love/attention to me, and his FUCKING AROUND ON ME. Nah – no connection there at all. Asswipes!! Him and the married whore-worker, black-soulmate.

          Wait – when do I GET SOME FUCKING KIBBLES??!! Oh, that’s right. Never-thirty is when I would get them, because HE was the only one worthy of them. F-tard.

        • “People in general do what they want.”

          Newchumpatl – I love the moments at CN when someone encapsulates a world of information in a few short pithy words. Going to paste this in my journal. It is all the explanation you could ever need for why someone behaves as they do, and we soft-hearted chumps just need to stop second-guessing, or searching for underlying reasons, or creating complex explanations and justifications for why people act like arses.

          It’s really quite simple – beautifully, horribly simple – and just as you have expressed: people, in general, do what they want.

    • My STBXH has always had women friends. I thought I was so confident because it never bothered me. His “friendship” with the OW bothered me right from start. There was just something different about this one. I think my cheater was like a serial killer who “practices” a few times before taking the evil step. I’m with Lina- no more men who have want women buddies.

    • Its possible to have opposite sex (or same-sex, depending on gender math here) friendships that aren’t your significant other, but the VERY IMPORTANT thing is that you have to have strong boundaries. This means not telling your opposite sex things that are, and should be reserved to your partner – even minor things like good news or new talking points being told to the partner first, before the ‘friend’ gets told. Certain topics of conversation are 100% forbidden and frankly no business of the non-partner.
      Also, full disclosure – if your partner wants to know something – they be told of everything that transpires, and all forms are communication are 100% open for the person to view, if necessary.
      Also, having the ability to shut down conversation if it ventures – saying ‘Thats not something I talk with, with people not my partner’ – and if they persist, to cull the friendship.
      I know this from experience – I have mostly male friends – partly because a good amount of women in my general age group around here are drama queens and I have no time for this shit.
      Thing is though – disordered can’t do boundaries – and get off on the deceit. They see the boundaries as too much effort at best, and something they’re entitled not to do, at worst.

      • Should also mention that the friends need to be vetted. If they start showing signs of entitlement or getting too close and the partner says “I don’t like that person” – they get culled immediately.

      • I’ve had 3 really great guy friends since elementary school and we still keep in touch. We never had anything going on other than friendship. They are all married and doing well. If we email or send cards or plan to get together if someone is in town, the spouses go with. The spouses know ALL and nothing is hidden because nothing has to be hidden. I have strong boundaries and they all appear to have strong boundaries as well. I believe if anyone ever crossed a line that would be the end of the friendship. Somehow that’s just understood? I asked two of the three who (as couple friends and yes the wife knows everything they know and in fact I often talk to the wives and they relay….) anyway I digress, I asked if they felt that way too, if one of us (or even one of our spouses) crossed a line that demonstrated they were not a person with boundaries, that would be the end of it. They all agreed that somehow in our group it’s understood that it’s not who we are and not acceptable at all. In the end it comes down to character. I think you can have opposite sex friends if you are of strong moral character. There is NO sexual tension between any of us (ewwwww) because they are like brother’s to me and just thinking about it feels grossly incestuous! YUCK!

        Anyway, in many cases it is more likely true that it’s a bad idea to have opposite sex friends. I don’t have opposite sex friends from any other period in my life by the way. There hasn’t been anyone I met in college or after I got married that I got chummy with in that way. It’s a childhood friend thing I guess, so in some ways seems different than what we’re talking about here.

        No way in hell would I keep going back to the buffet of bullshit this guy is providing you. I don’t care what kind of “specials” he’s offering. I agree with other posters that your sad picker is just broken and needs a tune up. Sorry, but better to know that instead of continuing to suffer because of it. Good luck to you.

        • I disagree with this idea that you cannot have friends due to gender or sexual preference. I think that’s bullshit. Right up there with requiring women to wear a burqa cos men can’t control their urges. Research indicates that a large percentage of women get turned on watching bonobo monkeys getting it on, what’s next? Don’t let your female partner go to the zoo?

          The absurdity that we must have friends that are only of the sex we are not attracted to is even more evident if you happen to be bisexual, come on ppl, are you seriously saying this? It is ludicrous. This is about healthy relationships with good boundaries, not about gender and sexuality

          • I agree, Dat. I have several very close male friends, and their support has meant the world to me in the wake of D-day. They have reassured me that no, my POS ex’s behaviour was *not* normal, that no, I didn’t cause it, and that I deserve a hell of a lot more. More, they show me every day that there are good and honourable men out there. Shout out to H, R and A for being stand-up guys and all-around amazing human beings. Shout out also to the wonderful chump guys on this board. I can never express to you how grateful I have been for your voices. It’s because of you that a whole lot of us chump women keep the faith, remembering that cheating is about character, not gender or sexual orientation.

            Having said all that . . . I do think that opposite-sex friendships involve stricter boundaries and closer scrutiny (of course this is assuming a hetero orientation). Sorry, I just think that’s so. In the case of my POS ex, he had a number of women friends (hey, I had and have a number of male friends), but none of them gave me any reason for alarm until OW showed up. I tried to be cool about it, but you know, 30 texts a day, including late at night, is whack. And that’s not including all the FB messaging and emails with the sickening private nicknames. “[POS ex’s name]-meister.” (insert vomiting sound effect) When I tell him this makes me uncomfortable? He calls me jealous and insecure and continues doing it. When it escalates and I call him out again, he says he’ll stop, but he doesn’t. Then, when I find out he hasn’t stopped it, and that she’s showing up at our house unannounced, that’s when I realize something is very, very wrong. I start looking at his computer and his phone, and BAM. Turns out all the OW drama was just the tip of the iceberg. 3 weeks later? I’m outta there. So long, you MFing fraud POS ASSHOLE.

            So, yeah. The gut does not lie. The moment you are uncomfortable with your partner’s opposite-sex friendships is the moment those friendships become unacceptable, IMO. You honour your partner’s feelings and boundaries, or you don’t. I got the same “She’s just a friend; how would you feel if I dictated your friends?” BS as everyone else here. Forget the fact that I didn’t have one single issue with his O/S friendships until this one chick. But hey, in the end, she did me a favour. Thanks to her, I found out how deep the problem actually ran.

            Litmus test moving forward (and I know I’ve said this repeatedly, so apologies)–when you are in a relationship, and you say, “Hey, what you’re doing is hurting me,” and the other person responds by blaming you? And/or doing it more? Game over.

  • Not just the picker. Get some therapy for low self esteem, as well. My therapist told me I had an incredibly low sense of entitlement, pathologically low. There is , usually, some childhood basis for having this problem. I think mine had a lot to do with my dad’s brutal alcoholism.

  • I also fall into worrying about whether the other person likes me/finds me acceptable/wants to be around me without really putting much thought into how I feel about the person. I do this with job interviews too: I don’t worry about if I want to work somewhere, only about whether or not they’ll like me enough to hire me. I’m horrible at selling myself. I wonder if most or all chumps are like this.

    • WWDSG–I think I was like this when younger; when I was attracted to someone, I felt like I had to please, but to never demand much myself.

      No more.

    • Yep, this is me too. Haven’t tried dating since the divorce but it certainly described me as a teen/young woman. Before (if!) I start dating again, I hope to work on my picker by finding friendships with people I enjoy being around and, most importantly, people I can be myself around. I have to let go of that need to please and to latch on to whoever gives me their attention.

      Arnold, I think you are right – your picker won’t work without a healthy sense of self esteem. If you don’t think you deserve better, like Kat and most of the rest of us here, you will put up with too much.

      And Kat, I think you were involved with my XH! Exactly his mode of operating. He would tell the OW that he was in the process of divorce (I had NO IDEA), would sink his teeth in then release when someone more interesting came around. When interest in the new OW faded, he would be back for more. Got all of this information from one of the OW who finally figured it all out. The whole time he was living with me acting like he was happily married.

      • the exhole i was married to would always find a way for me to throw him out of the house and then find someone who he could cry on her shoulder about how i kicked him out and how horrible his marriage was or his wife was….

        on 2 separate occasions these hood rat woman actually called me to tell me he didnt want me. the first time i fought back and the wasband came home with his tail between his legs. the second time, i started fighting back but it finally dawned on me that this hood rat knew nothing about me, everything she was saying had been fed to her by my wonderful, loving, understanding wasband (that was sacasism in case you didnt know it) so i let her “win”….hardest thing in my life to do

        his excuse now (and probably then)? well he NEVER cheated on me. not once!!! because the 2 times that i am positive about and the other 2 times i am not sure about (he told in 2010 he cheated with those 2, but recently has changed his story) and the other umpteen times i was suspious about….. anyhow all those times he was with another woman was ONLY BECAUSE WE WERE SEPARATED and doesnt count as cheating. his exact words for a 38 year old man who has been married for 12.5 years were “We broke up”

        so that makes it all ok, we were separated and therefore it wasnt cheating. of course he doesnt own up to the shit he was doing to cause that separation. he doesnt admit to the lying, drinking, not coming home, not giving me money for bills, not spending time with me or the kids, the hiding and the sneaking around (famous for just going to a friends house when in actually he only stayed at the friends house for a few minutes, so he could say he was there and then left to wherever the fuck he really wanted to go which he kept secret from me). in his mind, it was all my fault. if i hadnt broken up with him, he wouldnt have stuck his penis in some random hood rat. i cant fight that kind of logic.

        • i had asked Chumplady to clear up the “is it cheating while you are separated” question but i probably sent it to the wrong place. i am curious on what her take is on that and would love for her to UBT it. when you google it, it is 50/50 on the results. Half of the people think it is and the other half say it is not. very interesting results.

          i on the other hand, am with the half that believe it is cheating. which is why i am divorced. i love some ammunition against this when he comes whining about how he didnt cheat because we were separated. the only thing i have so far is that “we were married even if we werent in the same house” and “we are not in high school, you dont break up when you are married”

          • This reminds me of that Friends episode with Ross and Rachel, when Ross slept with someone else when they were having problems. “But we were on a break!” My personal take is that it’s cheating unless it’s a formal separation with an above-board discussion about what ‘separated’ actually means. I agree–it’s a good topic for the UBT.

            MrsVain, I think we joined CN at roughly the same time, and I feel compelled to tell you how much your story and progress has moved and inspired me. Your boys are really lucky to have such a strong and courageous mom, and the fact that you’ve been able to keep your shit together not only after being chumped but especially after losing your daughter is freaking amazing.

            • My friend asked me of my opinion whether I felt she was ‘cheating’ or not when she was separated. Their divorce papers were filed, they were living separate, had no contact (unless they needed to talk about kid stuff) and she was DONE with him. She went on a few dates before the divorce was final. I didn’t think that was considered cheating. However, as in my case – when I found out about asswipes little sexting phone and yahoo accounts, I left. But we were still talking. My head was in the fog and didn’t know which way to turn. I sought out a lawyer. BUT – at that time, I was still talking to the asshole and wasn’t sure if I could forgive him or not. Had I ‘dated’ at that time – then yes, I would have considered myself a cheater. AND – what about these divorces that take years because some asshole thinks he is entitled to everything? Are we chumps supposed to ‘wait’ because of their bullshit? I contacted a lawyer in October 2013. Jackass just got himself a lawyer a month ago. We haven’t gone to mediation…..I’m not waiting (if someone happens along) just because THE stbx wants to make my life hell and drag shit out. AND HE obviously didn’t wait to start seeking out other women until after the divorce. Dick

              • LadyStrange,
                I had a similar experience. I told the stbx that I couldn’t take his abuse any more and was considering divorce. We still lived in the same home, slept in the same bed for the first 3 months and actually had an agreement that we would stay married for the following 2 years so that I could go to school and get a 2 year degree so I could get a job paying above minimum wage to support myself and the two kids. And he would be working to win me and the kids back. He agreed and promptly went behind my back and found some skank to have an affair with. Is it cheating? YES!!!!! We were not separated, and even though I moved out of the bedroom, we were in every other way living as a married couple. Hell, he was taking me on dates (trying to prove he wasn’t such a jerk!)!!! His excuse now is that we were separated and that I gave him permission to have a girlfriend, because he couldn’t be expected to wait two years to have sex. LOSER!! His dick is more important than his family!! Instead of pouring time and energy into changing his abusive ways and saving his marriage and forming a relationship with his children, he decided his penis was more important to him.

            • Thank you FoolMeTwice. it makes me happy that i was able to help someone else with my horror stories. i really was in a bad way when i found this site. i wanted so badly to make my marriage work that i allow all sorts of terrible behavior and excuses, i lowered my standards and values and self worth over and over. And STILL i lost him…..

              but i am getting better. i have always been strong, i just lost my way and gave him too much of my strength. i am ALMOST at the point where i dont care or think of him anymore. it still hurts how he is doing my boys, but after the last time….i honestly think my boys are better off without that loser influencing them. i mean seriously, what kind of man lets his girlfriend CALL his WIFE??!!?? that is NOT the KIND OF MAN i want around my children, even if he is their sperm donor….

              exhole was not like that when we were together. it was like a switch. but i truly believe that in his case, he is only as good as the woman behind him and now his woman is a piece of shit, so he is too. i never realized how weak he was because i gave him so much of my strength…after my daughter past, i just had no more fight in me, i had no more strength in me… and instead of carrying me while i was down and waiting for me to get my head right, he ran off with the first piece of ass that make him feel better…..*shrugs* i will be so much better off without having someone like that in my life. i am lonely as hell but i was alone already being married to him.

              i wish you well in your journey

        • “i cant fight that kind of logic.”

          MrsVain – the beautiful thing is, you don’t have to fight that kind of logic anymore. Let the arse live in his own backwards, self-justifying, after the fact world of reasoning. You are better than him, you will be better than him, and your life will be better than his in the long run.

          • you are right blackbird. i cant tell you how peaceful my house is now. (besides the normal boy noises of wrestling, laughing and even arguments). when i hear sirens i no longer worry it might be him getting ANOTHER dwi, or that he caused a crash, or he was injured.

            i just couldnt live that way no matter HOW much i loved him. i would pray consistently and tell God “i cant do this, i cant live like this, i hurt, i am sad, what do i need to do Lord.”

            at first i was confused, frustrated and in so much pain for losing my wasband. i was really hoping that God would “fix” my loser and make him see what a good thing he had. i wanted my life to change but to change with the man i promised to love, honor and cherish for the rest of my life. i believed that God has a plan for me but i thought that plan included the man i married. and i was so hurt when it didnt happen that way.

            but now 15 months later after my divorce, 17 months after i kicked him out…. and seeing what he truly is and how he truly thinks, believes and acts….i can see that i had no future with him (well, i could had if he really worked at fixing those things, he was so close, had so much potential, he just did not want to put in the work) but i did not have it in me to go thru YEARS of AA, YEARS of relapses, YEARS of therapy and rehab, i think it would have killed what was inside me. although it MIGHT have saved him.

            i still believe and think it is really really really sad. he wasnt a bad person, he is just an empty person. no values, no morals, no standards, no beliefs, no conscious….he acts however the person he is with acts, he believes in whatever the person he is with believes….empty and nothing can fill him.

  • Kat, it’s probable that you don’t know yourself very well, and are focusing on other people to fill you up. At least that’s part of what my issue was after being raised in a home where there was lots of sickness, depression and drama. Get away from this guy and focus on yourself. Learn who you are, what you like, what your values are. It takes time. Once you’re more solid on that, you’ll be much more suitable for a truly healthy and reciprocal relationship.

    My ex also was sparkly and talented, but had lots of female friends. Worked with females, traveled with them, seemed to get attached to them. It was unending heartache, and I was convinced I had a jealousy problem, I didn’t understand that he was not respecting appropriate boundaries with other women. These types of relationships are so not worth it! What I had was a fear problem, I was too afraid to face life on my own. I was terrified, actually. But guess what? The person I was ignoring, the one who truly loved me, was myself! Once you figure that out, you won’t put up with people treating you bad any more.

  • The ‘sexting’ with other women (yes – that is what he is doing!), the online dating, only has female freinds, barely acknowledging your birthday. Sounds like a gigolo POS to me! Why put yourself through that crap? What if your best friend were to tell you about her boyfriend treating her like Ben is treating you? What would you be telling her?

  • I’m writing this before reading CL’s answer. I’ll make it short and sweet: your boyfriends suck because you let them act like assholes and keep taking them back. The first time he dumped you? That should have been it. His divorce was too much then fine, go do that divorce while you get on with your life. Ten times breaking up in ten months means two people who love drama and think this is the shit that makes a relationship exciting.

    Oops…I said short and sweet: grow up and stop putting up with this nonsense.

  • Agree. This is definitely a Fix Your Picker problem. Check out the therapists in your area.

    While you’re fixing that picker, you need to take a break from dating. Get your head cleared out. Take time–real time–to get comfortable living with you and your children. You’ll be modeling self-sufficiency to your children, as well as giving them some real stability. They don’t need the drama from you breaking up and getting back together. God forbid they start to think that this is normal.

    If you need a respite from the kiddos (and being a single parent is hard), check out options for moms groups that involve rotating babysitting arrangements so that the moms get a night out with the ladies. Or check out church groups. Often, they’ll have child care on site while the grown-ups work on their projects. Build in opportunities to meet up with other adults, but in groups, so that you don’t get pulled into a relationship before you’ve healed.

    In the meantime, go No Contact with your POS boyfriend. Block his number and his emails. It’ll be hard for a while, but as you start to fill your life with more meaningful activities than taking care of a manchild, you’ll miss him less and less.

  • Kat,

    Deal breakers, ABSOLUTELY! I noticed in your letter that you caught him in a LIE about whether or not he slept with any of his women “friends” while you two were on a ‘break’. That lie in itself should be a deal breaker for you.

    It doesn’t matter if he’s a narcissist. Save yourself the time of searching for confirmation, and stick with what you already know.

    And you KNOW he’s a liar. That should be enough to have you running for hills, narcissist or not!

  • I suggest counseling or/and some deep personal introspection. Based on what I read, my first thoughts were:
    1. Maybe you like the drama. Is it possible that you are attracted to high drama situations for some reason?
    2. You don’t value your own worth. Learning to value your worth takes time, and a constant awareness. Find some good books on it, and do your homework. I don’t know you, but I can tell you that you deserve better than Ben! Nobody deserves to be treated this way. No Body.
    3. Maybe you have a hard time establishing boundaries? Everybody here has already stated it better than I can… establish, and know your boundaries, because “takers” are gonna take. Sounds like Ben is a taker who gets an ego boost when he triggers your kibble dispensing.
    4. Perhaps you’re afraid of being alone? This can be a scary one. I’m not alone YET, so I’m not really qualified to comment. However, it makes sense that if you carefully consider the 3 above possible reasons, you should be able to find somebody deserving of your affection. I think the key here is to spend some time with yourself. Don’t be afraid to be alone. I believe a confident woman who is pursues her interests will be most attractive to the “the good guys”… the kind of guys you’d like to attract (at least that’s the premise I’m operating on).

    The best thing you can do right now is take the advice that’s been offered to you from Chump Nation. I’m not an expert, but the theme should be clear: Dump Ben for good. You deserve better. Best Wishes!!!

  • I’m pretty sure my ex, and everyone else’s cheaters on here, told his Whore “we are going through a divorce” or some similar shit. I don’t feel married, we are separated, together for the children, blah, blah, blah. Of course, the We have to sneak Around factor lets you know the whores KNOW it’s a lie but at least they can pretend. So they can say I’m not doing anything Wrong!

    • “We still live together but we haven’t been intamite in
      ( insert time frame here). I’m in the process of moving now.

      • I will bet that assclown said exactly that. But it doesn’t follow that he had to come home everynight to me, couldn’t talk to her or go do anything as he was “home with his family”. OWhore knew about me for sure from day 1 and continued to pursue. The lies they tell are unreal.

      • I went on a coffee date with a guy who half way through his coffee told me that he and his wife still lived under the same roof and that he would be moving out as soon as he could find a place.

        Translation – I am still married, not even legally seperated, dipping my toes in the water and need a safe place to land when the shit hits the fan.

        I am a POS husband and probably a broken toy at best – but can I latch on to you as my safety net and maybe live on your couch???

        Thanks to CL I have been working on my picker and ran far far away!

        Time to drop this guy like a lead balloon! As soon as you distance yourself from him you will see the game he is playing.
        You cannot win this game. Time to forfeit and find somebody real to love – like yourself 🙂

    • It’s still a trigger for me (even though I’m almost at ‘meh’) to hear “my wife doesn’t understand me, we’ve grown apart, blah blah blah.” That’s how my X lured in students to bang him, feel confident enough in his affections that two of them (at least) asked him to leave me for them, then dumped them after the request. He’s a user, and I don’t understand how people are swayed by that “poor me, I’m lonely in my marriage” bullshit. That makes it okay to sleep with a married man/woman, especially with young children?

      • the oompa loompa hood rat that exhole is with actually called to tell me that “misery loves company” (she is STILL currently married, but he lives with his new gf and new baby and exhole is boyfriend number 6 for her)

        personally i dont understand it either. if a man is telling you that why are YOU not wondering why he is NOT telling his wife? oompa loompa KNEW about me, he told her about all my faults and how i didnt treat him right. she KNEW about our children. at the time when i did not know about her, she actually sent a friend request to his facebook account. of course i ran his facebook account (poor sausage doesnt understand computers) so i accepted it thinking she was his cousin. that was a full 3 months before i kicked him out on New Years Day for not coming home AGAIN. that means she went thou all his pictures, all my pictures, our wedding pictures, our vacation pictures. she read all the posts i put about how lucky i was to have such a wonderful husband and how much i loved him and how sexy i thought he was…..barf….she knew that the boys looked up to him…..she knew all his life which was contradicting his lies and poor me stories he was telling her……

        AND SHE DID NOT CARE!!!!!!!!!

        what kind of woman CALLS A MANS WIFE to tell her he doesnt want her and that he is hers now? in that conversation before my mind kicked in, i told her we have history, we have children who need their daddy home and who love him (her response was she knew he had children and of course they love him because he is their daddy) and that we have been together for 14 years. and she probably doesnt understand what that means because she probably hasnt been with a man that long…her response was “oh honey, you dont know me, i am still married” which was when my mind activated and i gave up.

        funny how now she and he are both saying they did not “hook up” until AFTER i kicked him out. notice they are not saying AFTER his divorce which was 3 months later. neither of them will admit that they were together BEFORE i kicked him out. even thou she posted a picture of herself wearing my wasbands jacket in October. they are STILL hiding and lying.

        who can fight that kind of crazy? not my monkey, not my circus.

        • Yeah, its cheap whores like this, that would have me dragging her by the hair out onto the kerb.

        • Everyone gets what’s coming to them, MrsVain. Everyone! They will get what they deserve. You & your kids deserve better. All of us chumps do! Count your blessings that you’re out of the crazy! And I use that quote “not my circus; not my monkeys” all the time (since I found it).

    • My cheater’s OW knew he was married. He was her supervisor. She is definitely a predatory woman, but he also scented the blood of a needy woman, and got to play Knight in Shining Armor–LOTS OF CAKE!!!

      I saw the difference between the early texts and the current texts between them. In the early texts, she was okay being OW because she understood that his place was with me (nearly her words verbatim!), but in current texts, she blasts him for being “loyal” to me.

      What did he say to her? Well, at one point, he told her that it was his fate to love two women. *gag* Another time, he wanted her to know that he was trapped in a marriage to me, but loved her truly, madly, deeply, and faithfully. Guess he’d never realized that this is 21st century America. Divorce is legal.

      Odd that Schmoopie bought all this snake oil, but then, she found someone willing to pay her bills, so hey! A woman of negotiable virtue! 😛

  • I have known many women (including myself), who think they have to have a diagnosis of something like NPD , which is incurable, to justify ( to myself) why they can no longer put up with the bullshit and then they can move on with their lives. Now, the biggest regret is not that I was attracted to or got into a relationship with a NPD partner — but THAT I WASTED SO MUCH OF MY PRECIOUS TIME!!!

    When you work on yourself and shore up instead of break down your expectations and establish your boundaries and build up your self esteem, you will reach a point where you feel better about yourself and you can possibly stick your toe into the dating pond again. By that time your picker should be fixed. You will no longer require a diagnosis to protect yourself. This is enough : He is a jerk. He did not treat me well. I do not have to put up with this. I deserve better. It does not matter if he is a world class jerk, the common garden variety jerk will do. Trust that he sucks, and go on.

    The other thing you will find if you give yourself time and do not feel driven to date is that being alone has some wonderful advantages. Everything is not always rosy, even in a relationship, but there are some wonderful things like having privacy and time to yourself, and not having someone you have to report to or explain your decisions to. I may suffer from “you are not the boss of me” syndrome, but after having a control freak for a father and a husband, and a couple of bosses, I am over having anyone tell me how to live my life. People can make great suggestions, and I appreciate them, but I decide how I will live and what I will do. No one can tell me what to do with MY money. I can go anywhere I want to go and I can keep any type of schedule I want to keep. If I wake up at 2 am and decide I want to do laundry, I don’t have to explain that to anyone. When I go to sleep, or get out of the shower, I don’t have to worry about anyone coming on to me because he regards me as one of HIS toys. I can walk around naked in my own home anytime I want to. No one can comment about any of my personal choices, and I don’t get cross examined or have to explain myself to anyone. Now these may not seem like big things to you — but to me, this freedom is delicious.

    Even though I am an older woman, I get approached by men all the time. They seem to think I will be overjoyed with their attention and happy to do whatever they want me to do just to be with them. So far, I haven’t met anyone I have been impressed with enough to even consider doing that. I have met a few who seemed nice, and who I shared at least one common interest with, but when I told them I would like to be their friend, but did not want to be in a relationship — they seem shocked and stunned. I suppose men have been culturally programmed to think all women want to be in a relationship, but the fact is, for me, I just don’t see it happening. I have too much delicious to lose, and not enough wonderful to gain. Maybe that will change some day — but for now, I have arrived at meh, and I like it.

    Not only can you not love someone else if you don’t love yourself, but also you can not like and trust someone else until you like and trust yourself. You need to feel like you are ok, just as you are, and that you do not have to change to make anyone happy. Walking on eggshells and trying to make someone else happy all the time will never lead to happiness for you. Find out what makes you happy — that takes time and solitude — but you are well worth it!

    • “I am over anyone tell me how to live my life…”

      Me too Portia!

      When I think of all I put up with from EHs controlling BS just to end up having him do this to me it makes me so angry!

      I know I need to work on my self esteem badly. Even if just to get to the point of being happy alone. I I will not get married again unless a miracle happens. Not sure I’ll ever date. I suffer from “please like me” syndrome and am working on me.

    • Portia, your post inspires me. I look forward to being “me”, by myself, no outside demands, etc. I particularly relate to your comment of stepping out of the shower and no one fondling me. Yuck!

      • Yes — there was a time where I would enjoy a long hot soapy shower with a man I loved, but it was never in the morning when I was trying to get ready for work and was shaving my legs, and I had a short amount of time to get ready. I did not appreciate being grabbed and fondled, or suggestions about what I could do (“It won’t take you but a few minutes. . . ). Gee, thanks, but I don’t think there is anything in there that relates to anything I would want to do for my own enjoyment! I do not consider it a compliment when my body is treated like a cat toy (“Ooohh Shiny and Bouncy!” ). I am so sorry that I ever had to explain the value of timing and romantic gestures to a grown man. That romance does not equal sex and sex does not equal romance. I could never get across the notion that he would probably have more sex if he learned to be romantic and charming, instead of saying “How about sex?” That the appropriate time to grab me was not when I had a sharp knife or a skillet of hot oil in my hand.

        Seriously though — I think the last statistic I heard about inappropriate sexual overtures toward women was that 3 out of 5 women had been fondled or inappropriately touched by males in their own family or social group when they were young girls. I have no idea if that is correct, but the thought occurred to me at the time that it was still probably under reported.

        This kind of behavior can be carried over into what is considered acceptable and appropriate behavior between grown men and women. The thing that bothers me is that it is often justified as “just teasing” or “trying to be playful” and it never seems to occur to the perpetrator that it is an unwelcome invasion of personal space and is not at all welcome or considered funny by the receiver. I wonder how a grown man would feel if a full grown ape who outweighed him and was stronger than he was grabbed him for a little game of slap and tickle, and then laughed it off as “just a joke.”

        “Gee, why are you so touchy! What a bitch! You just don’t appreciate having a man around that just wants to love you.”

        Yeah, I guess I really don’t. If that is love, I’ll pass.

        • Amen, Portia! I could have written this myself (if only I were so eloquent – I mean that I felt exactly as you did!). The groping! Horrible! Your ape analogy is brilliant.

          And funny thing… now that I’m free of the horrible ex who eventually turned me completely off sex, my lovely new man is delighted that I’m so fond of sex with him. Imagine that!

  • I’m a chump guy who is going through a divorce. Separate residences, no contact as much as reasonably possible while co-parenting, individual counseling, and one hundred percent legally separated, no turning back.

    I’m just getting into dating now, taking it slow and being a little more selfish than is comfortable for me, in terms of pursuing only women I find interesting and want to spend more time with, being careful to ask myself what kind of character they have to offer in a relationship with me.

    There is no way in f-ing HELL that I’d let one of those women treat me the way this guy is treating you, and there’s no way I’d disrespect one of those women enough to treat them the way he’s treating you.

    That guy is a complete and total douchebag. He is not mature enough to handle a healthy, functional adult relationship.

    And frankly, if you think that he is, then you’re probably not at a place where you can handle one, either. It’ll come, but don’t rush it, you’re almost certainly worth more than what that f-tard can ever offer you.

  • One thing more, that you have to watch out for is something called limerence, or false love. I read a book about it and it’s fascinating. My first bf when I was 16 treated me like Ben treats you, and I ate it up with a spoon. They alternate you between hope and doubt of having a good relationship. Next thing you know you are in love with a loser.

  • This whole scene should have never happened at all. It should have been shut down at, “I got divorced because I didn’t love her anymore.” Even “We fell out of love” or “We grew apart” are enough to cause someone who is not interested in drama and heartbreak to say, “Nope, don’t need it.”
    Why do so many people think they are special and this person, who, as CL says, uses euphemisms to gloss over the truth, won’t use you as the victim in their next euphemism? These people loudly announce who they are. And I don’t even know where to start with, “He might change for the next woman.”

    • Since being a chump, I don’t think I will ever date anyone who gives me some generic reason for divorce. People can grow apart, but that isn’t a reason to divorce. There is almost always something else at play. It would tell me that guy isn’t very emotionally mature. I am done with emotionally immature guys.

  • Kat, you and I have a lot in common. I too divorced six years ago when I busted my then hubby cheating. I was pregnant with our third daughter. I took a year and half before I started dating again and here I am on this site for my new break up. He too was a coworker and we have broken up a whole lotta times these past 5 years all over dumb crap he has done. In fact we had been dating from August to December when he won an award at work and he asked me to be his date to the banquet. We get there late and there is no where to sit. No where except with this elderly couple who keep waving and practically shouting at him for us to come sit with them. He does not want to sit with them but there is no where else to sit so we do. Turns out the elderly man is Bill in the mail room. Bill’s daughter is also our coworker. Her name is Michelle. Bill and his wife say, “I see you aren’t eating your vegetables. You sure seem to like them when we had dinner with you and Michelle last week.” and “Michelle had a really lovely time seeing snow for the first time with you over Thanksgiving break.” and here I was thinking, “he said he took his brother to Iowa.” Yep. Michelle met us in the parking lot. He had been seeing us both. She and I both agreed to dump his sorry ass. Then a month later she keeps sending me pictures of the two of them together and forwarding sweet texts to her from him. I went, “OH HELL NO. If I had wanted him back, I could have gotten him pack. ” and now of course I am here on Chump Lady and no I perfomred the pick me dance. And what did I win? A total loser. I should have just sucked it up and let her have him!!!!!!! Then I wouldn’t be here 5 years later. Trust me he has done other just as awful humiliating things since then and I’m asking the same questions of myself. Looking within to make sure this crap doesn’t happen to me again.

    • Girl I hear you. I’m trying to break the cycle and all the help and shared experiences means a lot. I didn’t say in my orig post but I’ve been divorced four years. And when I met ben he was legally separated.

      • I think this is a pitfall that could happen to any of us. We chumps are especially vulnerable… I know I am. But someone who is separated is still married, they are still attached to that other person, maybe even weighing whether to go back home.. which means you get to be baited into a pick me dance contest.. as a first class pick me dancer I can tell you Ana that’s not ever going to work out. The ex wife or wife, or whatever, might still be in the picture and clearly this guy has other chicks too. He’s spreading his bets.. he probably doesn’t like being alone and would really like a cake eating situation where he can have you on the burner, but keep his options “open”. That’s no good. People who are newly separated or divorced aren’t good relationship material, unless as Chump Lady says, it’s been a LONG time.

        Having a good time is one thing, but we tend to get too attached. If you can really just have “fun” with someone with no expectations, that is okay I think, but I don’t think even that is common.

  • Kat, if you’re not going to make better relationship choices for yourself, think of your child.

    You might not realize it or be willing to admit it, but the head space and the emotional time and energy this guy is taking up is most definitely taking a toll on your job performance and your parenting. There’s just no way that you will be able to function optimally while in the throes of all this drama.

    My sister is in a relationship exactly like yours with a (coincidentally) divorced-but-not-divorced co-worker. Whenever they have an explosive fight or are going through their monthly breakup, she becomes exhausted and irritable. Her young son, unfortunately, has become a barometer for the current state of their relationship, as he misbehaves and acts out in response to his mother’s behavior and moods. She’s also lost a lot of clients because it’s clear that she’s not focused on her work and isn’t providing optimal service (she’s too busy preoccupied with checking the creep’s Facebook or wondering who he’s talking to when he closes the office door).

    So how do you go no-contact? You block his number, his e-mail and all means of contact via social media. If you have to work together, you either request reassignment or you find another job. It’s difficult and it sucks, but if you had the where withal to kick out a cheating husband who was the father of your child, getting this asshole who isn’t bound to you by any legal, financial, spiritual or familial ties is not a big deal in comparison.

  • Its never ok to sleep with anyone that’s still married even if he’s wife is a dragon or whatever he told you.His wife might be a chump.You giving this guy to much time you not getting younger.Maybe its the love bombing that you like because Narcs are good at this but not long term stable relationships.He’s a serial cheater and they love leading double lives.I think we trust too easily and don’t realise that there are people who care more about themselves than you and are too damaged to be saved.There’s no shame in walking away.Its not your job to fix him even if he did change how would you know if he wouldn’t relapse at a later time by then you will be in serious danger of your emotional and mental well being.Have you ever thought that maybe he won’t change and person that you are supposed to be with is out there lonely loving and praying to meet their significant other.

  • What I find most disturbing is that you have a child and anyone capable of leading a double life is not someone I would want near my kids.You not only choosing for yourself but also your child.If you can’t overcome in you relationship how do you expect your child to do so?Let’s lead by example.Children watch more than we realise.You are not there 100 percent there for child because your in an emotional and mental tailspin.Men are not everything.Your self esteem and self worth are not dependant on some low life who has shown you exactly what he thinks of you.You need to expect more and value more.A good man respects a woman that respects herself.No this guy can see he can do anything and you will take him back.He is using you divorce against you.His not your friend and he doesn’t love you because he is already in love with himself.

  • I think that if you want someone decent for a long term relationship you have to make Character your number one priority. Clearly, Ben has none, with the lying, cheating, etc.

    But most people won’t be that transparent, especially in the beginning. Don’t be distracted by looks, charm, money, personality, etc. People with character are usually average in those areas anyway. Watch how they treat others. Are they rude to service people? Bad tippers? Tellers of white lies? Mean jokes? I remember one guy I dated did not tip the waitress at Sonic, and I felt bad for her. Red flag. My ex and his whore shared a nasty sense of humor. They liked to feel superior to people less fortunate and laugh at them. Red flag. If you wouldn’t accept it in yourself do not accept it in another person.

  • I’m guessing Kat that you are still pretty young in the scheme of things even though you were married for 6 years prior to this guy who’s doing a number on you. Growing is part of life – Coming here and asking the question is a HUGE step in self discovery and you are on the right road to self worth! Congratulations.

    Lose this guys number – block his advances and stay away from him. He’s a selfish immature loser and he will do you or your child no good. Stay safe, Stay sane!

      • Hi Kat, let me chime in with krking911 in congratulating you for reaching out. Often, realizing that there is a problem is the first step to fix it.

        Two things I’d like to share with you:

        Back when I was a young, pretty thing (and dinosaurs walked the Earth, hee), I, too, dated a guy who said he was “going through a divorce”. I was working as his bookkeeper. Went through the wrong (or right, depending on your point of view) and saw that “going through a divorce” meant he had received a letter from her lawyer, but neither had filed. I’d like to say I walked that very minute, but I tried for another month to “fix it”. What was there to fix? Not much, like your STB-divorced guy, my guy liked hanging out with lots of women, hanging out in bars, etc, etc, etc. I had to be stupid enough to catch him in bed with his “ex” wife, the morning after her birthday. They’d gone out to dinner and well, we all know what happened next. Trust me, keep this break up permanent now, so you don’t have to live through one of those surprises.

        Second thing. It has been mentioned several times upthread, and in your original letter, that you’re worried this guy will be better for the next woman. First, I’d like to suggest you go back a few days on the blog and read Chump Lady’s post on that. It’ll be like a frying pan upside your head, trust me. Second, the man I referred to above, and the guy I ended up marrying about five years later (whom I refer to as Cheater #1), both were not better for any other woman, or, in fact, any other person. First guy had a string of broken relationships and his daughter, who was four when we dated, doesn’t even speak to him now. Cheater #1 had a string of affairs, then a string of relationships after we divorced and he barely visits our son now. Thirty years later, I see the pattern repeating with these kinds of people. They use, discard, have no empathy with anyone – partners, spouses, parents or kids. Save yourself three decades – learn now!

        Good luck, Kat. Block him, set him on ignore, delete his emails, the whole enchilada. You’re worth so much more. Don’t waste your time any longer.

        • Edited for clarity: went through the wrong FILE.

          Note to Chump Lady: an edit feature would be just groovy, both here and on the forum. Justa sayin’.

        • Your story is mine, Her Blondeness. Not one single turd from my past ever got better, just progressively worse. And not so hot in the looks dept. either, for those that aren’t dead.

      • Kat, I think we all understand how hard it was to reach out here. Being vulnerable enough to tell our stories is IMO one of the bravest (if not *the* bravest) things we can ever do, and I’m not sure there’s any real path toward healing without that. My hat’s off to you, and I hope you stick around.

  • There is a very helpful book called “Women Who Love Too Much” by Robin Norwood. I highly recommend it. It helped me a lot and I re-read it as necessary.

    • I think my assy Ex will write a book about me soon which will now be called “Women that Hate Too Much”. He thinks I am “bitter” and “can’t get over it” because I won’t be friends and am always angry and every time he says love shit to me, I start calling him out on all the lies and things he refuses to admit to . .. .so yeah, I went from the Woman who loved too much, to the one who hates “too much”, but I say just about right. But really I want to become the “Woman Who doesn’t really care at all too much”

      • I’m with ya Raging. Things went from love to hate in only a matter of days – as soon as I was out of the ‘haze’ of what just hit me. He wants to be friends? Fuck that? How can you be friends with an obvious liar and loser? You have every right to be bitter!

  • “Since the first breakup we have broken up and gotten back together ten times in ten months. Every 30 days he has some crisis.

    If you insist on dating, I think you need to raise your standards on behavior and memorize this mantra:

    “One chance per lifetime per person”.

    Hope this helps.

    • “It was my birthday and he didn’t take me out or even get me a present or card, much less see me.”

      Kat, I think you should go back and re-read your letter where just about every line you wrote about this guy is a whopping red flag. And then read what TimeHeals wrote over and over again about 500 times.

  • Kat, after my ex left, one of my good friends reminded me of what her father always said: “once you throw away the trash, don’t pick it back up.” I have never heard of a situation where one of these guys (or gals) actually improved and became better for anyone. It’s hard, but move on. If you could do it once, you can do it again. Let out a roar and feel your power, and your worth.

  • Kat: You left your cheater husband when you had a 6 month old infant. That is some inner bad ass! I’m sending you a bit of inner bitch to kick you over the threshold so you can get rid of ‘Ben’ once and for all.

    First step–block his number, ignore his emails, pick up a new hobby to replace him (watching paint dry is an improvement), then tattoo a warning sign on his forehead and send him off into the world.

  • Big hugs Kat. I know exactly how you feel. I could have written this letter. I also fell for this. Did this. I was married for 21 years to a cheat/liar/douchebag. He up and left for his final OW. That was over 4 years ago. About 6 months after he left a guy just seemed to come into my life. I told him I wasn’t ready for a relationship. He pursued me. We started dating. He told me the story of his life.. He had 3 children to two different women, left all of them for his ex girlfriends to raise the children alone (big red flags). Told me how he was the victim here, how they were horrible to him. We had a lot of chemistry together and I got really attached to him. He was fun, funny and very kind in so many ways. A couple of months into our relationship, I find this text message on his phone to one of his “female” friends – so have you bought any sexy lingerie. I confronted him about it. He apologised and didn’t see any big deal with it. It was very innocent. I was in abusive relationship with my ex husband for such a long time and didn’t know how to react to this. Another few weeks went past, I was going to his place on a Saturday. I was told I couldn’t come over because “Kelly” (the female friend) was there and he was spending time with her and her kids. Could I come over that night. I get over there and Kelly is just leaving when I am arriving. My boyfriend did not even come near me. When Kelly left just says to me “well that was awkward”… I said what was? I got really angry but still didn’t go. There was always a couple of girls on the side that he was always texting.

    He moved himself into my house a few months later. Was really great for about the first 6 months. We went on holidays, had so much fun. He then started to withdraw into the bedroom, started to accuse me of not being there for him, not allowing him “into my life”. Not paying attention to him. He was not paying for anything, not paying to live at my place, always said he had no money.

    A few months after this, I was organising a surprise 40th birthday for him. Invited his friends and all his family. He took the day off work. That night, I took him out so everybody could arrive. We got home and he was really surprised etc. At the party somebody asks him if he had a good day, he said yes he had gone and spent it with his “friend” Alison. I just looked at him and said, what you never told me that! I didn’t want to make a scene at the party so just kept quiet. The next morning, I asked him about it. He said he just wanted to spend the day with her. I said are you joking???? I thought there is so much more going on. I logged onto his facebook account. Here is a conversation between him and Alison saying that she was invited to the party but didn’t want to come because she wouldn’t be able to help her self and would have a go at me about the way I treated him!!! WTF???? There was also another message from Kelly on there talking about meeting up for coffee on Tuesday again. I went into the bedroom as he was still in bed. I said so have you heard from Kelly lately? He said na, haven’t spoken to her in ages. I said so what you aren’t going to see her for coffee on Tuesday? He just turned on me and said you have been snooping on my facebook wall. I just said you just lied to me and what the hell is going on??? He said nothing anymore and picked up his keys and just left. Relationship over and out.

    A few months later, I get this heartfelt text from him about how he doesn’t know how to be any other way, how he misses me, how he is trying to be different. We start seeing each other again. I told him the trust is gone but am willing to work on it. He is still texting the other women.I ask him if he has been with them while we have been split up. He says no, they are just friends. I finish it. Say I can’t trust him. He says that there is nothing going on between these other girls and him, they are just friends and it is my lack of trust that is the problem. It is me not allowing him into my life that is the issue and that it is all my fault.

    Another few months go by, I get a text from him about how he misses me and he doesn’t know how to be any different but wants to work things out. I then get a text message from him saying that his daughter has been kicked out of her mother’s home and wants to come and stay at my place until things can be sorted out. Chumpy me says sure. My ex boyfriend moves himself with his two daughters back into my house again. The daughters stay for a month. Me supporting all of them. The daughters move back to their mothers and I say to my ex boyfriend that he needs to move out as well. I just can’t do this.

    A month goes by and I discover that I have an STD. Oh yay! Considering I haven’t slept with anyone but my boyfriend and my husband for the past 25 years, it has to be my boyfriend. I send him a text asking if he had slept with anybody else when we have been apart. He said no. I said well you must have because you gave me an STD. He then said oh only once with Kelly. He had stayed in a bed with a couple of other of his “friends” and just cuddled but nothing had happened so it must be Kelly.

    At this stage, he is dating another girl. It lasts a couple of months, all the while sending me heartfelt, I’m sorry messages, how he knows he has a lot of personal issues etc. He then tells me he has broken it off with his current girlfriend and would like to see me to talk. Stupid me again, I got to his place, I go home. He sends me this text saying that his newest ex girlfriend is coming over to talk. She is really upset but she won’t be staying. Ok. The next morning, I discover she did in fact stay at his place the night. But they didn’t fuck so that is ok. They just stayed in bed and cuddled. OMG I’m such an idiot.

    So that is a long story but that is where I am today. Back in counselling. Trying to fix my picker, trying to work on the issues around why I allowed myself to be treated like this. Trying to come to terms with it. Gradually getting there. Been so emotionally abused. Understanding my self worth, understanding why I let this happen. Why I have trouble letting go from these type of men. Sending out big hugs Kat xxx

      • Thanks LadyStrange. It is so hard sometimes because I was and am still very much in love with him.I fell really hard. I can see all of this and yet I still miss the man that I thought he was. The man that he was when we were first living together. Fun, kind, very funny. It is so hard to let that go. I kept hoping that person would come back but he didn’t. Still miss that person.

  • If someone is “going through a divorce” they should be able to show you the signed, stamped, approved application papers for them and their partner. Even if this is true, be careful. There could still be some conflict and, more importantly, they may not really have given themselves the time to move on.

    If someone is really divorced then they can show you the divorce papers.

    If a person gets angry when you ask to see any of these things, then there’s something shady going on and you might want to end it.

    Contact with the ex should only be in the case that there are shared children. Even then, it should be business-like and on an as-needs basis only.

    A little more to my 2c worth – I really believe that, after a divorce or significant break up, a person should be able to spend at least 1 year alone (no dating, sex, anything) to worth on themselves. I can highly recommend it. I got to the point where starting to date again just felt “right”, but I was mostly pretty happy alone and was not inclined to latch onto the first woman who showed some interest.

    Guys like “Ben” are not over their past in any way. They’re using you to self-medicate.

    You need to be happy with yourself and your own life before trying to look for a partner. This isn’t a platitude – it’s the truth. If things don’t work out, you know how to survive it and you know how to look after yourself and get back to a good place – alone.

    Men who have mostly female friends, or exclusively female friends, are not “enlightened”. They just love the attention. Quite possibly they’re keeping a harem ready for when they need a sexual fix. I was once married to a woman who had only male friends, but I didn’t see this as a red flag for years. I don’t know how many other men she slept with while we were married.

    • Another great post, ken doll. I’ve been single for 20 months, and it’s been both terrifying and exhilarating. Best of all is how it’s put me in a place where I’m at choice, maybe for the first time ever. And I think there is a difference between ‘having a choice’ (as we always do, even in our darkest moments) and being at choice, which is a frame of mind/way of living. These months have involved a whole lot of clearing on so many different levels, and along the way I’ve lost many people I had considered friends. That’s been sad, but it’s been powerful, too. Someone (Tempest, maybe) likened it a while back to cleaning out your closet, and I think that’s a good analogy. It’s a horrible feeling when you’ve got a closetful of clothes and still feel like you’ve got nothing to wear, right? So now, I’m slowly recreating my wardrobe, and I’m putting a lot of thought into each piece. Not just “Does this look good on me?” and “Does it fit?” but “Do I feel good in this?” and “Does it reflect who I am?”

      Not Tuesday, but I do think ‘meh’ is here. 🙂

      • your right. our timeline is pretty close. 15 months divorced, 17 months separated.

        i am not sure if a year is long enough. some days i want so badly to have a boyfriend/love/special male friend because i am super lonely, because i think is if i had someone to hold, someone to talk to, someone to be there the way the exhole does……that maybe i could “get over it” as quickly as he seemed to do.

        but then some man actually talks to me and i freeze up!!!! i am scared shitless and try to run away as fast as i can. So i know i am STILL not ready. when i was younger, in my 20’s i could do the one night stand thing and the duck buddy thing, but now i am 47 and it is just not my thing anymore. marriage was THAT important to me and i am way to damaged right now to “get over it”

        now,,,,,if i could just win the lottery to pay off my house (that way i wont be stressing about making those monthly payments and losing it plus be able to use my pay check for other things like food), i dont even want the whole million or couple of millions, i just want 60K…..hahaha that is my NEW dream since the old dream didnt work out.

  • Kat Honey…..Repeat after me…..” I am worth too much to have to put up with this shit!” and you know what? You really are.

  • Kat,
    I went back thru yr letter and the comments … Including mine. We have all been a little hard on you and yr self esteem. I would tell u that it is tuff love. We have have gone thru it… And most of us are on the otherside. You havent quite hopped the fence yet… U peeked over but not ready to leap over.
    The strengths that u read about here have not been acquired easily… For some they had no choice… Sink or swim. We see a fellow chump and we are so full of advice because we know the pain. We know that u could waste years and years in the same pattern. We know. We learned the hard way…. Not one of us woke up and said’ fuck this shit’ and left our cheater. Nope… Some of us wasted days, months…years. ….not the mousy housewives and ass kissing husbands u might think… But physicians, lawyers, scientists…people with smarticle particles… young /old, rich/poor and everybody in between. Chumps..the lot of them. Nobody did it the right way out of the gate.
    At some point you will read a line from someone’s comments that will resonate with u. U will identify so strongly that u will be convinced they are talking about u…. In that moment u will know that u need to change. Keep reading. Learn. And when u are ready to make the leep…. Yr cheering commity is here.

    • Thanks, TheClip. Most of the comments have been helpful and supportive but some of them have hurt. I realize I need to move on, but came to the website for support. I know things need to change and this is the first time I am taking all the necessary steps to do it. No contact finally. Resisting opportunities at work where I will run into him. Its strangely the hardest thing I have ever done. But I am ready to protect my own mental health and trust that he sucks. Because he does.
      Thanks for your support and love.

      • the truth usually does hurt…..

        i am sorry if you feel like you were not being supported. personally i found this site to be a life savor. there will always be some posts or comments that you dont agree with 100%. take what you can from them, take what works for you from them and dismiss the rest. it might not help you, but it might help someone else. sometimes, all i take is a sentence out of someones post.

        when you are still in denial (and i wonder if you are), sometimes it takes a virtual slap in the face to get you going, to get you to open your eyes, to get you to move and protect yourself. we have all been where you are, we have all allowed someone to take advantage of us in more ways then we should have and we all made excuses as to WHY we let our loved ones hurt us. And for some of us (me included) it takes a 2×4 to the head and someone’s brutal honesty and painful words to snap us out of it.

        you HAVE been foolish to let this guy come back 10 times in 10 months!! that is excessive.

        you have been neglectful or not only yourself but your child by allowing this kind of craziness to happen over and over and over

        you have been ALLOWING this guy to treat you very badly and use you and somehow made you forget what you are worth…

        i could go on with more examples but i think you get it…….the thing is NOW that you KNOW what you have been…..WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?

        will you continue to allow this loserman to hurt you AND your child?

        will you continue to live in this drama and crazy life and let it effect your child?

        OR WILL YOU RISE UP AND BE A BETTER PERSON?

        we can not make that decision for you. we can not force you to do what we think is the right thing for you. Believe me when i say that some of us even backslide to the same problem or the same man (i would have been one of those if he just gave me an inch). we all know the pain and the hurt by doing the same thing over and over with the same man how hurts us over and over. (smoking that hopium pipe and HOPING that it will change….and for a very few it does change)

        you will have to make some really hard and painful decisions. but please understand that you are not alone. each and everyone of us had have to make that decision in some shape or form, some of us are still in the process of making that decision. it is THE MOST painful and hard chose i have ever had to make in my life. and some days i STILL wonder if it was the “right” thing. (not as often, Thank God for that!!!)

        i wish you luck on your journey. i pray God takes away your anxiety, And i hope you find some peace.

      • Jedi hugs Kat. Be glad the guy dropped his mask with you early, congratulate yourself on reaching out for support in keeping him out of your life. Get a therapist, don’t date for a year, get to know yourself, find out what makes you happy without a SO. Find your inner badass, it’s there somewhere. And for learning how to self care and set boundaries I highly recommend reading Captain Awkward blog posts. Don’t miss her posts on Darth Vader boyfriends, sorry I don’t have the direct links on this iPad.

  • I love this topic. I have been practicing for the three years post divorce to keep my inner circle mine. I am the CEO of me.
    I watched my Boss at work fire many, many people. I try to keep my ‘inner circle’ like a good business. No weirdos, leeches, soul suckers or inefficient/narcissist creeps. (no more 2nd chances either… not now; too risky)
    I have ‘broken up’/’fired’ many people: male & female. Sure, it has gotten me screwed by immature & vindictive people, but it is so worth it. Right now, people see me as a discount-bargain girl. I don’t see myself that way. I see myself as the CEO of me! Power to you Kat; be a good & smart boss of you. It is worth it!

  • Why do women NEVER check up stories with the previous woman, the ex-wife or the ex girlfriend? We would save ourselves a whole lot of grief, if we did.
    When their big sob story is unravelled by – ‘he cheated on me’, it all becomes very clear.
    I will never forget THE RELIEF I felt when I discovered that he was having an affair.
    All the gas lighting, all the lies, all the frankly strange behaviour that I just could not fix, no matter how I tried, became clear.
    The relief didn’t last for long, but at last: I wasn’t crazy.
    I will never not ‘trust, but verify’ ever again.

    • Patsy, I also felt relieved once I found out what was really going on. It’s a funny thing to say, because how can you feel relieved when life as you’ve known it is crumbling underneath your feet? But along with the shock and the horror, I did feel incredible relief. FINALLY–all the pieces fell into place. “So *that’* why . . . ” It really did explain it all, and for a while I felt like I had found Jimmy Hoffa’s body. You can finally lay the mystery to rest.

      Of course, later the relief turned into outrage, once I could see how deeply I’d been deceived. Worst of all, it had been going on since Day 1. Day freaking 1. The whole thing was doomed from the get-go because he never showed up in good faith and integrity. What a colossal waste of time and energy! Actually, it’s more like theft than waste.

      When you recognize this kind of deception for the terrible abuse it is, the anger is like nothing else. I have never experienced anything like it and really do feel as though I’ve been cleansed by fire, but I’m on the tail end of it now, thank God. The challenge now is to relearn trust, but I don’t think it’s really about other people; I think it’s trusting myself and listening to the voice within. Sad, but true, I don’t think I will ever again take someone at their word.

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