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You Don’t Need it THAT Bad

paralysisI get a lot of mail and many of my questions boil down to — How will I ever manage? How can I be alone? Surely it’s a cesspool out there and All The Good People Are Gone!

Generally, these people are telling me this to make rationalizations to stay. On the one hand, they’ll outline chapter and verse about how completely untenable their situation is, but then they’ll tell me how the future is so scary, so they stay paralyzed with indecision. As if these things were commensurate and could be weighed — the dreadful existence you are currently living versus the nightmare you imagine you’re going to.

Did anyone ever hesitate to run out of a burning building because they were afraid of fresh air?

Sure, you could imagine future calamities, but does that justify staying in a burning building?

But it’s hard out there! I won’t have a house. I’ll have to rebuild one, stay with relatives, and be the sad object of pity because my house burned down.

Okay. But you survived the fire.

And uh, duh… your house was burning, what did you think you should do?

These discussions usually come down to — I hate that my choices suck.

Yes, they do. I’m sorry folks, often choices suck. But when choices suck, I think the best thing to do figure out where you have the most agency, the most control over a given set of circumstances, and move in that direction. (Remember, you only control yourself.)

That’s why my advice here is — go save yourself, you’ll figure out the what next.

And I know it’s hard. I lived it. But it’s also full of rewards and surprises, and it’s a hell of a lot better than being married to an arsonist.

But how do you get into that mindset? How do you become someone who acts with self-protection? I think you have to let go of whatever you’re holding on to and realize it’s going down with that burning house. Your ego. That intact family. Your sex life with that person. You need to tell yourself that whatever it is you’re clinging to — you don’t need it that bad. Seriously, you can do without. Let it GO. The shit you never, ever thought you could let go of — let it GO.

I need to stay married so I don’t feel like a two-time divorcee and middle-aged failure.

Nope, don’t need it that bad.

I need the constancy of an intact family for my children.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at this price. No sir-ee.

I need this person’s financial support.

Don’t need it that bad. Not at the cost of my dignity and self-respect. Nope, think I’d rather flip burgers and live in a box.

I need to be coupled, because no one will ever love me again. There’s no one left.

Don’t need it that bad. Living in a bunker alone with cats until the end of your days is preferable to this cheater.

See how that works? You have to be prepared to run into the arms of “I’ll figure it out.” I know it sucks, but I have every confidence in you that you WILL figure it out. Seriously, I do. I know there are huge, scary challenges out there — serious shit like supporting your children, like facing 337 lonely Saturdays, or figuring out how to reinvent your remaining years. But you’re a chump and you’re mighty. You have deep reserves of faith, misplaced until now, but directed to yourself? You’re going to be okay. And then fine. And then better than fine.

When you “need it that bad,” you’ll do anything for it. You drive down the price of your self worth. Demand a higher price. Know your worth. I promise you, whatever it is? You don’t need it that bad.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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  • I’ll be single til end of my days hopefully some nice gentlemen friends along the way. I hate living alone bit I love being single everything the way I want it and I’m loving it. No worries about what ex wants or does or lies about anymore. Because I no longer give a shit about any of that. No complaints about what I do or don’t do. Its actually really nice once I got used to it. My sanity and what’s left of my heart is worth it to me. Thanks. Great post!

    • I loved your response Kar Marie! I’m right there with you. I have no interest in ever getting married again but a nice gentleman friend would be fantastic. It seems like every day I notice something I can do now or don’t have to do now that my STBX is gone. You are absolutely right “my sanity and what’s left of my heart” are worth it. I’ll add my dignity and self respect to the list of worth-its as well. 🙂

      • I feel exactly the same. I felt very “The Story of an Hour” once I realized I was free. I have a young son to raise (likely alone since, once POS realized he couldn’t weasel his way back into the house, he cut off contact and there’s been no financial contribution), but I can finally breathe.

        I went the couples/individual therapy route when D-day happened 3 years ago, but had a lingering sense of feeling trapped with someone I could never truly trust. How fortuitous that one of his unsuspecting women (who had no idea we were married still — half truths from POS — and only found me because he was paying our bills with her credit cards…did I mention he lied about working, too?) knocked on my door to confirm her suspicions.

        Now I can eat what I want, watch what I want, go where I want…I don’t have to consider him at all and I don’t know that I can ever tether myself to another person like that again. This was my second marriage and I think I’m done.

        • For your sake, I am so grateful to that OW who came and knocked on your door, if that is what clued you in to what your asshat cheater was up to. How I wish ANY of my Ex’s multiple OWs would have done that, and saved me years of wasting my life w/him.

          • Yes, grateful that my ex’s OWife stopped at the house to confirm her suspicions… It got me out of a terrible marriage to a horrible person. One that I would have stayed in because I meant my vows. Grateful she stuck around and forced him to sign the papers. …and she got what she deserved for being the OW knowingly…she’s an ex wife of his now too. And she had to take him to court over unpaid child support.. Karma

            • I hear all of you. I wasted 10 years, but I would have wasted the rest of my life because I meant my vows, too. Thank goodness she found me and freed me from the lie I was living. I had to give him an ultimatum because he dragged out the signing of the papers forever. All the while, he was calling our child, coming to see him, asking for one more chance, even paid a bill or two (for once).

              After the divorce…crickets. I hate it for our child, but honestly, I’m happy that he won’t be around to influence him. My child will be surrounded by people of character instead of a charlatan who only wanted the both of us around so he looked like a normal, upstanding father and husband…a mask.

              And, you better believe I was sue his ass into the ground if he doesn’t pay child support.

              Can you believe that after the woman knocked on our door, he came home, admitted it, said we could go to therapy again, have another baby, but he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t do it again. With a straight face.

              • “I can’t promise I won’t do this again…”

                “Okay, then I CAN promise I’ll divorce your ass.”

      • Dignity and self respect! Right on. That too. I will not tolerate any disrespect in any shape or form and that’s all my ex did once he hooked up with that whore. Now if a gentleman friend gets on my nerves I will say with a big smile “go home!” My divorce won’t be final for awhile and I took that promise seriously and if and when I ever decide to date again will be after its final. I don’t do that for ex I do that for me. At this time I’ve no desire at all to date. I shudder at the thought but done the road hoping that will change. We don’t need anyone to complete us. It could be nice but not essential.

  • Last night I lay in bed worrying how I will deal with the snow next winter (stbxh did the plowing for cheaper rent), because I don’t have a plow or snowthrower or anything. Then I laughed at myself. It’s JUNE. Why worry about December? I don’t need to project issues. Someone will plow. I DON’T NEED HIS PLOW THAT BAD LOL!!

    • Carry On, I had the same issue with the snow. I got a lithium battery powered snow thrower and it works wonderfully. It is lightweight and does a great job even if I need to make more than one pass. The best part is I’m not dependent on anyone else. The plow drivers didn’t want the smaller jobs and the neighbourhood shovelers tried to rip me off by quoting one price and then raising it after the job was done. We had a very bad winter with record snowfall this year and I made it through okay. I got my snow thrower on QVC with the six easy pays option. It has already paid for itself in what it would have cost me to pay shovelers.

    • Me too! It’s one of the biggest things I worry about. I have a bad back and can’t shovel. I know I can get a service, but that’s an added expense. I live in western New York and last November we got 7 feet of snow in 3 days. It was two months post DDAy and I’m stuck in the house for five days thinking “what will I do without him?” There is a utilitarian aspect to marriage whether we resist gender roles or not. I know it’s not a reason to stay, but it just sucks that I’m left to figure all this out on my own. He’ll either move in with his whore or his parents. Either way, someone will cook and clean and do his laundry, but what do I do if the furnace breaks at 3:00 a.m.? It just sucks that the cheater gets the soft landing.

      • Me three. I found a plow…I have elderly neighbors who use him. It’s a necessary expense for me, my back is crappy in more ways than I can count, and as Carmella says, last winter was a doozy (the one before it, too). Really, it hasn’t been more than about $700 for any entire winter.

        Then I got I little electric snow shovel (Green Machine) on Amazon for the areas the plow doesn’t get, and the bits where the car gets blocked in. It’s amazing! The best $100 I ever spent.

        If I can get through the winter hell, everyone else can too. Chins up folks.

        ps. crapweasel moved to sunny California, and if my brother didn’t live nearby I would be seriously wondering when the next earthquake was coming. ahem.

        • Central NY here… I pay a plow guy $400 per winter… sounds like I need a lithium powered snow blower too. But even w/ hired help (which I can’t continue to afford, actually) it is very empowering realizing that I do not need the controlling micromanaging OCD freak here to do everything… he was always implying that I couldn’t do anything and on D-Day when I threw him out he said, “But you can’t take car of this place!” “This house will swallow you UP, Muse!” … um, WTF? it was my money paying for all of it all along and two years later I and the house are doing just fine.

            • I had a summer mowing problem. So I bought a name-brand riding lawnmower someone had on the curb for cheap. Called my mechanic who ordered me a new battery and my neighbor loosened the bolts so I could put the battery in. Now mowing isn’t a problem. As for the winter, I’m going to look into those snow blowers mentioned above. Last winter was pretty mild here, but it is best to be prepared for next winter!

        • Here in UK we rarely need snow throwers but I guess its not really about snow…what if the roof leaks…what if there is a really strong wind and damage gets done…what if the boiler stops working??? The boiler was the symbol of my “cannot cope” mentality. Anyway the thing did stop working which is to be expected as its getting on for 30 years old…the reality was not nearly as bad as my fear had been and I managed to restart it and its still going!

          • Ohmigosh, mary – that is EXACTLY what kept me in that hell of a sham “marriage” for so long. “How would I even do all this on my own?!” I’d think. Turns out, I was already doing it on my own the whole 17 years of that BS “marriage.” Turns out, we’re all mightier than we gave ourselves credit for, and are all more amazing than we believed. Guess that’s what extended amounts of time tethered to a douchebag cheater does to us.

            Every time I’m doing a job around the house that the douchebag x knew I hated doing, or ever time I fix something I thought only he could do, I think to myself, “Yep. I can’t stand him, and this job I’m stuck doing sucks ASS, but I’d do this every day if it means not another minute wasted on a disloyal, scheming, back-stabbing, lying, piece of crap like him.”

            (((hugs)))!!

      • My divorce will be final in a few months (God willing) Ive had all those same OMG moments of how Im going to manage. I call them the ” What if aliens land tomorrow” worries. Deal with shit as it comes up, don’t worry! We cannot predict anything except, cheaters will always be cheaters!

          • And you know what is amazing, how many problems that came up, and that I, just little ol’ me, solved. I have solved every last stinking one of them. All those years I lived in fear… poof, gone. I am mighty.

            • Amen to that. The fear that I couldn’t handle life on my own was paralyzing. One day I realized that I have been doing life on my own since I was a teenager. I’m not sure at what point I thought I needed someone else to “help me”. I am a strong and capable woman. If I can’t so something, I pick up the phone and find someone who can 🙂

            • There have been so many people who have been there for me and it’s amazing. X had to give me a ride after I threw him out. Both my cars broke down and it was necessary forme to interact with the asshole as he had my daughters keys to her car(she was on vacation). It was a ride from hell. He raged at me still insisting I owed HIM money. I was so distraught I told my mechanic I have been doing business with for 30 years. He didn’t charge me for the repairs ever since then he fixes little things and smiles and says pay me later. It’s because I am kind. There are good people out there. I’m wondering if x gets charged more lol.

      • Hey, carmella! I live in WNY as well and although I have had an awesome neighbor who has plowed my driveway in the past, this past winter was too dreadful for me to even think of expecting him to help me out again. If I find a decent plowing service, I’ll let you know! 🙂

        • I’m in northeast NY (little south of albany), and when I say PLOW, I mean a long steep dirt road. No shovel will touch it, and plows are very unreliable. We will still manage.
          I killed a spider today, and plunged the toilet yesterday. I. Can. Do. ALL!!

    • Shoveling was the only exercise I got during Boston Snowpocalypse 2015. I found it empowering. My landlady is 89, and lives downstairs. She was very grateful and offered me compliments and coffee. 🙂

      • LOL…snowpocalypse. Did you get snangered this winter LilyBart? I heard that on the Boston news this winter. Snanger=Snow+Anger mostly directed at anyone that took your parking space after you spent three hours digging it out!

        I live about 40 miles west of our state’s capital. We got even more snow than Boston but parking isn’t nearly as bad where I live. We were more snow weary than snangered. 😉

        • I’m lucky enough to have my own parking space in Somerville. Big win for me this winter. 🙂

          My anger was directed at former New Englanders who moved south who would say “Yeah, I know how bad the snow can be.” No. No, you don’t get it, because this is unprecedented and beyond comprehension. This is why I don’t tell my mom friends that I “understand” the pain of childbirth. Either you live it, or you don ‘t.

          Here it is a perfect June day, and I’m still in need of post-snow therapy. 🙂

          • This winter definitely sucked hard core! Worst one I remember in a while, although 2011-2012 was not great either. That horrid October freak snow storm that took everyone’s power out followed by the rest of winter coming in 4 weeks at the end of January so half the business had collapsed roofs. We didn’t get multiple blizzards though. 2015 was the worst one so far though.

      • I’m proud to have shoveled my driveway of the most snow we’ve ever had in my state in one season all by myself. I outdid the men in our neighborhood!

    • // , Pretty sure a well-worded craigslist ad might attract the sort of men who step up when someone in the neighborhood needs help with a difficult, “manly” task.

      • Shirley you Jest, AC… it’s hard enough dealing w/such unwanted attention as the lawn mowing guy I hired to help with the hills that are too steep for me to mow with the riding mower. Later that night, a fb friend request, wtf? after asking me all these q’s like “So you live here ALONE??” then a text msg “is there anything else i can do for u :)” ?? huh? because I’m single and female, apparently these guys think that means, um, that I would do what my cheating EX did? he was a “remodeling contractor” who like to fuck his customers. That’s how he met OW. And how he met me too, sadly, 18 yrs ago.

        No, I would not be soliciting home maintenance help on Craigslist, thanks.

        • LOL – that’s nothing – my washing machine repair guy had a hurt shoulder, older married man, had been to the house to fix things at least 4 times before. He came to fix the sink for me and he said jeez, my shoulder hurts – I said awww, your shoulder hurts do you want me to rub it for you? (Totally innocent) – he said – my dick hurts too will you rub that? I was like…..Ah, noooooooo – I think you’d better leave now…. good bye. I didn’t even pay him!

          WTF – can’t say anything these days without thinking someone might take it wrong. I guess I asked for it.

          • WTF is right! Are you serious! The repair guy said that. I would report it to his company. I can’t imagine being in business too long acting like that. Thats a major ethics voilation, to say the least.

            • Jon Doe – he was just an old man who worked for himself. I even made him and his wife banana bread, before this incident as a thank you for coming out on a Sunday to help me out (in addition to paying him for that particular job) and went to his house, which is right up the road btw to deliver it! I do have a good sense of humor, so I do find it sort of funny – but jeez… He never said that kind of stuff when I was married.. I get divorced because of a lying cheat, and he figures I’m “hot to trot” or something like that.

          • X also has his own service business. This is just another way he hooked up. He always scheduled the females he was interested in fir himself and gave the other jobs to a worker. He always commented in who was getting a divorce. He wrote the hookups in his appointment book as recalls. Doubt his whore will catch on to this.

            • Donna, what a self serving douchebag. I don’t know about you, but as a person looking for something to be fixed the last thing I’m thinking about is can I have sex with him! All I want is someone trustworthy, reasonable who will do a good job, quickly – fix what’s broken and leave.

    • Me too. I worry that he is going to find someone great and have a wonderful life. I worry that my children are going to love this woman more than me. I worry that financially I will never recover. I worry too much.

      • Nah… real happiness doesn’t come from stepping over the bodies of those you are supposed to love and protect. A lot of these guys “claim” to be happy.. but can they ever really be happy? Or as Chump lady says.. are they an endless black hole of kibbles? You can’t fill it up, OW can’t fill it up.. the only person capable of doing that is THEM and that requires self reflection and work. They don’t do either very well in my experience.

        • My ex was happy for the first six months he lived with the whore now extremely unhappy, can’t sleep and is depressed and hurting all over. After six months of living with the bitch he found out what she was truly all about. She started acting like the real her and not all sparkly any more. So no they don’t.

          • TayraP,
            If your X was a happy person, with you, he will be a happy person with her BUT I will bet every woman here that her X had some really unhappy aspects about him. So don’t worry…it might take a little time, but that ugly dog will raise its head and start biting him and biting everyone around him. The only thing you can do is work on making yourself happy. Also, if you are the safe and sane parent, you kids will know that. If OW is a great woman, who got sucked in like your X sucked in you, your kids will know that and they might like and respect OW and feel bad for her that she is stuck with their Asshole dad…but if OW is disordered as most of them are, your kids will just love you more.

            • Karma yes indeed! How’s that brand new commitment you made while still in a committed marriage working out for ya?! Huh?! Hahahahaha! I hope every last cheater gets exactly what they deserve.

              • I do wonder, however, what it means when the disordered don’t accept their bad karma and instead still blame shift a lot of their misfortune on us. This has been ex’s MO for years now. He even tried insinuating that our child’s nervous ticks are result of me kicking the poor sausage out of the house. See how this is effecting our child? Seee?

              • Monika–They will ALWAYS blameshift their bad karma onto us. Always our fault. Who the F cares. they are stuck with themselves, and we are moving on. Next time your X blameshifts, just remember Shirley MacLaine’s lines in Terms of Endearment, “blah blah blah.”

      • Suddenly the grass doesn’t look as green. When we apply chump logic to their new found love it’s laughable.

        I can only imagine the narrative X will use when the infatuation wears off and he needs a new place to live.

        I imagine it to go something like this as he tries to find a new victim.

        I met N in a bar while my wife was with me. She didn’t care that I was married (this was important). I took her out to dinner and a hotel and it was magic. I no longer needed to masturbate to porn two times a day in the basement.

        N have me an ultimatum and I took the opportunity. After all she didn’t care about my prosthesis and need to pump up my dick to have sex. She gave me all the attention and it made it easy to leave. After all I told her I was unhappy for two years. My wife threw me out if the house and N was more than accommodating. She didn’t make much money but was willing to treat me to chicken wings and beer. My wife wanted me to eat healthy and quit drinking. I moved in with her and she insisted in calling all the shots. I gave up my entire life for this bitch. I tried to leave her and she went crazy and beat me. She had a restraining order placed on me and I can’t go in my home. She ruined my business and I no longer can ask my family for help because they no longer care. It’s all her fault. I wished I met someone like you. Can I call you.

        Kar this is what they get when they discard the life and normalcy we provided. My children and I have all moved on and will have to accept the consequences some day.

        The key is they can no longer destroy us only themselves.

    • I worry the same. After doing the most humiliating pick me dance for a few weeks, I wasn’t picked… Because I was told that my brain, personality, and thinking were “defected” and “cannot be fixed”. The other woman was picked. Yes, the same one who he told me wasn’t special, who was a terrible person, who was crazy, who wasn’t very nice, and thus far has very dysfunctional relationships. He also mentioned that I was more beautiful but she was more cute and adorable – but being cue and adorable is more important to him. Apparently she was the better choice! And now he parades her around, telling people “I’m happier and having more fun than I’ve had in years!” and “what an upgrade from that last chick I dated” (yes, referring to me, his fiancé, who he’d been with for 4 years)… I’m still trying to accept it as the truth. Because, what if it is? I can’t go on telling myself that he’s just trying to convince himself.

      • Dear Dollparts,
        I’d say he’s trying to convince himself. If I heard anyone announcing that in that manner, I’d think he was trying to convince himself and others that he did the right thing. Sounds like the kind of thing someone might give a fake smile to but inside they’d be rolling their eyes and wondering what kind of douche says things like that. He sounds obnoxious. You sound smart.

        I’m sorry you are in the worst of it now. It’s so hard. Keep your chin up and take good care of yourself.
        Nwrain

        • Dollparts. You escaped a future with a cheating asshole. Thankfully he showed himself before you married him. You can let people know he was not your type. You prefer someone who had integrity and has respect.

      • To answer your question in the forum about how to rebuild your self-esteem: start by going no-contact with this loser. You’re still eating poison and wondering why you feel sick. You have to cut off that supply of degradation.

        • Oh, this guy is history. He couldn’t understand why after all of that, I still didn’t want to be his friend!!! And he told me how unbelievably selfish it was of me, that if I couldn’t have all of him, that I didn’t want him in my life at all – not even as a friend. I blocked him number, and he found other ways to contact me through new numbers and anonymous numbers. Eventually I had to change my phone number because he couldn’t understand that I wanted none of him.

          Before I vowed to never look at any of his social media or online propaganda again, I saw him say all that stuff about him and the new flame. That’s what did it for me. Never again did I look, but the words still haunt me.

          • What a dick, sounds like my ex. I can definitely relate to the haunting words. As if you want a friend who looks just like the guy who treated you like shit!

          • Dollparts, he really sounds like he’s trying to convince himself that he’s one of the special ones. If they were really happy, they wouldn’t need to go proclaiming it to the world through social media like it should be front-page news. It also sounds like he’s trying to keep you in the triangle in order to keep up this sick game. Be glad you got away from him when you did and keep telling yourself that you do NOT need someone like that in your life.

      • Dollparts–It’s a sad fact of nature that some people prefer hot dogs to filet mignon*. Yes, the hot dogs contain toxic chemicals, and parts of animals we wouldn’t normally eat, and cause brain tumors, but some people still like them a lot. Do the rest of us say, “Hey, dipshit loves hot dogs. They must be higher quality than filet mignon!” No, we agree that filet mignon is better for you and higher quality, and simply attribute dipshit’s love of hot dogs to a culinary (and character) flaw. It’s him, it’s not you.

      • Cut off anyone who tries to tell you anything about him. The people who repeat those comments to you are not your friends.

      • dollparts, isn’t it so funny how they trash talk the OW to us.. then they run to her? My Ex also told me, the OW was “not the kind of person he could ever be in a relationship with!” actually he started out with, “Don’t tell anyone I said this but …” and of course I have told everyone who wanted to hear about it that Ex is living with the woman he said was not worthy of his super awesomeness. Because she has $ and I threw him out, that’s why. He also said she would be a better GF for him because she has no children, and is estranged from her family, unlike me. So there ya have it. Confessions of a pathological liar and user.

        • Muse
          Yes, before I threw X out he admitted he did it for the thrill if the chase and she was into having sex. His phone records indicated he was dating multiple whores. X was not planning on moving in with her as he lied to his daughter and was planning on moving in her basement. His criteria for moving in with the whore was simple she was willing to pay for him, have sex on demand, and lived within close proximity to the beach and casino (his hunting ground). He openly admitted she was not attractive to her in any way and he was seeing other women. I passed him yesterday in his new vehicle and sure enough he was with the blonde woman others have seen him with since the divorce. He makes more than enough money to live on his own yet prefers having a home base with one OW and still having the thrill if cheating on her. He is a psychopath. A liar and a user. This’s is their bliss.

    • Plain

      Are you happy? I was never fulfilled by the serial cheater. Does the person your with fulfill you now? These are the questions I knew the answer to yet stayed. My emotional needs were never met. The response to my needs was always cheating. Pregnant with my first child he got crabs. Pregnant with my second child, OW came to the hospital to visit. Love poems and letters found. False remorse. Buying a home and working three jobs to get up a down payment and X was screwing women in our bed. The list is endless. Final whore X found as my mother and father were dying. My mothers last days, gone. He was fucking his pig. X declared, you have needs?!! They were never met. He repeatedly told me what we had was rare until I stopped giving into his needs. They suck the very life out of you and will continue as long as you allow them to maintain the status quo. I was never happy or fulfilled. I filed for the divorce crying. It wasn’t what I wanted.

      What I wanted was a man to look at me with lovr in his eyes. I wanted intamacy. I wanted him to walk next to me and know I was the most important person in his life. I tried to control him. I begged him to stop demeaning me by looking at young girls. I stopped doing the things I enjoyed because of this. When we were together I was alone.

      I used to blame the other women I had him on such a pedistal I thought he was so desirable these other women were tryng to poach this good solid husband I loved. It was ALWAYS his doing. HE was leading a double life. I blamed the Numerous OW and he blamed ME. Do you see his this works for them? They get to continue with NO consequences.

      Here are the consequences I finally imposed after 41 years of ABUSE.
      I divorced him
      I maintained no contact.
      I got angry and got what was necessary in the divorce. And I WON
      I told my story to everyone. The truth.

      Worries
      The fear is great I mowed the lawn. I paid to have the snow plowed. I went without and cut back on things that I could live without. Every compromise I have made since I threw him out last June was for MY well being. There is nothing I can’t do without him. The sacrifices I make now are for myself

      Words
      Their words become our truth.
      I spent eight months trying to prove him wrong until I finally got him out of my head. I lost 43 pounds and work out every day. I dropped from a size 16 to 8 I look pretty hot for my age. I paid down credit cards. I supported my son and granddaughter. I went on mini vacations. I am dating. My house is clean and organized finally!! I did these things for ME. I am saving for my own home.

      Happiness
      How can they be so happy with someone else? Who cares. They take their cheating character with them. All those qualities we thought they had were our own. We make the look good. They are not good. It’s that simple yet hard to wrap our brains around. Think about all the work you put into making them happy. It’s a mirage. You finally think you found the water in the desert to sustain yourself and there’s nothing but sand in the horizon. That’s hopium. Let it go. Now I think of the OW as someone who relieved me of my duties. The changing of the guard. We get to be duty free. It hurts like hell at first until you honestly look at what you’ve PASSED ON. I passed the torch on the serial cheating, disrespect, pathological lying, and hope that there was one ounce of anything worth this abuse. She gets that package.

      • Donna, that is awesome. Every word you wrote. Thank you! I tolerated 16 years with my abuser up on the pedestal and his secret double life was only revealed to me six months after D-Day with the final OW who was the only one I knew of when I threw him out of our house. I cannot imagine the hell that you went through for 41 years but it makes your victory and liberation that much stronger. Thank you for all your wonderful posts!

        • Thank you Muse. I pray no one stays with an abusive partner who cheats. Never mind tolerating it repeatedly. We are truly liberated when we leave them as you did. That takes so much strength. If it wasn’t for CL and CN for support I doubt I would have made it through the pain, grief, and paralysis. Life is better.

          • I can’t agree more…my divorce lasted 2 long years after 36 years of marriage! Those 36 years were full of CRAZY SHIT…CHEATING…STEALING…DRAMA….CONSTANT LYING…ABUSE..until the day it stopped…when the he and other women decided they wanted to switch me out to steak our retirement assests…large paid off home…good pensions…children grown..no child support! Asshole’s mask slipped and both escalated into full blown harrassment to get me to abandon my assests…I stayed …I fought …and I am fighting to get what is rightfully mine!!!! I am finally no longer a chump

      • Donna,

        I am in awe of your recovery from this horrific existence with a cheater.

        You are truly a Phoenix rising from the ashes.

  • It hurt losing my ego, but I can live without it. I didn’t need it that bad. BUT I do need my self-esteem, which was damaged in the ‘fire’. I’d like to get that one back. Going to start therapy soon. Keeping my fingers crossed.

  • I’ve survived the fire and with the help of family and friends, I am now well on my way to meh. Got my lovely 2 bedroom apartment and my two girls living with me for a few more years. I wake up each morning and I’m thankful that I don’t have to deal with him anymore. No more worries about finances because he had champagne taste and a beer budget. I don’t want the big house anymore. I can lock my apartment and go off for weeks if I want to. I don’t have to answer to anyone. No more visits from my supercilious MIL. No more “vacations” visiting the same people and places each year. No more holidays spent with “Mother and Father”. Nope and it’s all good. I feel free for the first time in 30 years and I’m loving it! This is MY life and if I want to be single for the remainder, so be it. I don’t want to EVER be defined by another human being.

    Actually, maybe I have reached “meh”!!

    • I’d say you are already there, Susan! Not having to deal with exMIL and same vacations going to the same places and seeing the same people are some of the things I do not miss AT ALL!

      • This week I got a taste of the bliss. My STBX took the kids and went to visit his parents. I am enjoying every minute of my freedom. The house is all mine, I can do whatever I want and I am loving it. It is the most relaxing and peaceful atmosphere. I miss the kids but he can get lost. I imagine, this is what it will be like once this disordered cheater is out of my life. Do I worry sometimes that I will not be able to make it, especially financially, yes you are dam right I am, But I bounce back with inner trust that everything will fall into place and that I will be o.k. This week I celebrate myself and how far I have come in the process. I no longer doubt „cheater suck“ and I need the hell get out of this dysfunction. I can’t wait to come here and be like the many of you that have already crossed the murky water and that have landed on white sand.

    • Wow, I thought I was the only who felt this way about vacations to same places, same people, etc. and I have always felt so guilty for feeling that way! Why is that I wonder? Until reading your post Susan, I felt like an ingrate and ashamed of myself for it, like there was something wrong with me. Thank God this is normal! All I was wanting was for us to explore a new place or have a new adventure TOGETHER, as a family, and Id get the verbal attack and criticism and berating (notice who found adventure elsewhere though! The pig!). And this one more thing Chump Nation has helped me work through without the therapist! What a mighty nation! I love this blog!

    • Add one more to the list of same vacations and having to spend waaaaay too much time with the inlaws. I was told I was being selfish for wanting dates nights with my husband that didn’t involve the inlaws.

      • Our only real vacations were related to his work and he always found something to rage about too on the way or while there. Sometimes they were great places but he was always working. He had 6 weeks of real vacation which he gave away and the only real place we went was to Yosemite…because that is where his research was. I am so sick of Yosemite. Guess where I have been since leaving his lame ass. Puerto Vallarta, Thailand and Peru…next year Cabo Pulmo and Europe. See me ride off on a white horse… no prince at hand… just me

        • Our vacations were ALWAYS camping. Don’t get me wrong, I love to camp, but it hit a point where I told him we had to do more then just camp, stay in a nice hotel now and then. Guess what happened when I set boundaries like this…you guessed it, he found the OW!

          Right around the time that I started regaining my own life and setting healthy boundaries he became extremely angry and then found OW. He said I treated him like one of my students. UBT says he really meant that I wouldn’t let him call all the shots. Narcs hate to not have free reign to do what they want.

          • Jeez, HeHid, you wanted to stay in a hotel? Instead of sleep on the ground? How unreasonable of you. You probably wanted a real shower, too. No wonder he sought solace elsewhere (eye roll).

          • Our vacations were all camping too. Yeah, that’s a break for the woman, all right. Pile 2 humans and 3 big dogs into a camper and away you go. Always cooking, cleaning dog hair, and setting up and dismantling. Not much of a vacation and I was always pushing for a nice hotel for a change. Nope, wasn’t gonna happen.

        • And good for you for getting out and enjoying real vacations! I am looking forward to having extra income to do that one day.

  • “You’re going to be okay. And then fine. And then better than fine”

    Isn’t that the damn truth?! I love this line and will remember it always. I remember the early days telling myself, “You’re ok, you’re ok, youre ok” Then I got to “doing much better, doing much better, doing much better” I actually was gushing to a friend yesterday about how HAPPY I am. I never thought I would be. I was so destroyed, but dammit I’M MIGHTY!!

  • I call it the Buffet of Bad Options (http://www.divorceminister.com/buffet-of-bad-options/). Personally, I don’t think any option left after infidelity discovery is good. All are offering pain. The real question is which is worse. Personally, I think tolerating the ongoing contempt that comes from a cheater is worse. That’s why divorce is a better option out of the bad options left often times. Do you really want to enable or tolerate adultery?

    • That is a great post, Divorce Minister. Luckily, my church is anti adultery and I was not encouraged to tolerate that mess.

        • My first cheating ex came from an immediate and extended family that were pillars of that particular denomination. I was told by the pastors that the divorce was my fault. He cheated on me, stopped coming home, filed for divorce, but it was MY fault, or so said the pastors. That turned me away from the church for a long, long time. Fortunately, I figured out that men are weak, even Godly men. My faith is now firmly grounded in God and I realize that the men who run the church are just that. They sin and are fallible just like the rest of us.

    • That is exactly right DM. If you tolerate it, what does that say to your spouse… “Hey, I can do anything to this person they will NEVER leave me.. I can abuse them all I want.. do whatever I want”. Essentially, it’s like refusing to say no to a toddler throwing a tantrum. IF you GIVE them the cookie, you teach them that throwing a tantrum results in a cookie. If you put up with adultery, you teach your spouse it’s okay with you.

      Talk about a major shit sandwich.

      • So very true newchumpl. I am a little upset with me that I have carried on with my STBX so much longer. I tried to reconcile and it was very one sided. No remorse or sincere apology, he just carried on like before and even worse. I tried so very hard to hang on to our family and wished so very much that it will all be saved. He made a half-ass effort and within a short period got very resentful, kept lying and deceiving and gas-lightening and cheating. And I hung on regardless. This is hard to acknowledge but I did and I am ashamed now that I did. I am finally angry and I need my anger to move forward. But I do wish I would have shown backbone and would have responded with more confidence. I waited too long. It seems like there is never a consequence for my disordered, entitled asshole. I can’t stand being around him anymore he really poisons the atmosphere at home. I am glad I get to read all your wonderful posts here and I must say this is very healing and encouraging and helping me to stay on track.

        • Thanks for your comment Schmetterling. I also hung on, made all the wrong moves. The pick me polka, the hope he’ll “wake up”.. “get it out of his system”, pointless MC with a “marriage industrial complex” guy.. even stood by when he bought a 100K car we couldn’t afford.. Just took it, took it all. And somehow, in his deluded mind, this is ALL MY FAULT. Even after he ADMITTED to me that he had spent time in her apartment, ALONE with her (she is separated), he still repeats the mantra that they are only friends, and it’s all innocent. This is after he PROMISED me NC….. lied to me for months about it. Clearly never cut contact. He continues to minimize, gaslight, and avoid responsibility. With me, with his family, with friends. He’s cut people out of his life that he doesn’t want to face. Most in his family are also passive aggressive so they just avoid the subject, and the ones that don’t he won’t return their calls.

          It’s like one day he just flipped a switch. 18 years this month. My whole life. A beautiful family. Apparently, it’s not worth fighting for. Not worth coming clean The icing on the cake is that he blames ME for the divorce, because I won’t accept his cockamamie explanations. Somehow, the fact that I don’t trust him is MY fault.. he actually told me once.. it was MY problem.

          The mindfuckery.. it’s devastating. This site is great because you find out you aren’t alone.

  • It’s been two years since d-day and one year since the divorce and I still feel like I’m living in a nightmare.

    • Me too Michelle. I do okay with the practical side but am a mess emotionally. Nightmare describes it perfectly. Anxiety through the roof.

      (((hugs)))

      • Joyce

        What helped me to move on was reflecting on my life with the cheater. There were several D-days. When you hear the lies told about you, it hurts really bad. But then I compared the lies to the person i know i am and refused to accept the person he made me out to be. I reasoned that through al the D-days, I never cheated on him, that shows me to be a loyal person. I took very good care of him, cooked his favorite dishes, took good care of our kids, shows that I’m a loving person. So i reasoned the 2 most precious gifts I gave this cheater were my love and my children. What he basically did was throw them back in my face. So what i did was take back my gifts my love and my children , and let him go. It was not easy, because at the beginning it looks like your mind is stuck on replay.
        These days I enjoy my freedom. I rather be alone than have the life back with the cheater.
        The reason it hurts so much is that our moral values don’t match with that of cheaters, because we would never dream of treating them the way they treated us.
        So like CL says if you think about all the lying and cheating, she’s right, you don’t need it that bad.
        There are 3 songs i would recommend you listen to that helped me a great deal are:
        1. Fighter from Christina aguilera
        2. Brand new me from alicia keys
        3. Ring of from Beyonce.

        • “So what i did was take back my gifts my love and my children , and let him go.” That is so smart, Joyce, and an empowering way to view it.

          I too listened to many songs (first time in my life) and they gave me both comfort and strength. I loved Fighter, as well as quite a few songs from the group Linkin Park (strange for a 50-something attorney but it really really helped), and many others. 🙂

        • Music is so healing! I could not get enough of Patty Griffin’s live album A Kiss In Time (Nobody’s Crying, Peter Pan, and Goodbye) her voice is so pure and for those who are grieving the end of a marriage (commitment), it’s what real normal people do. It took me six years to come to terms with how my marriage ended and not once did I blame myself for my ex’s crappy choices. If he did not cherish a beautiful strong giving woman that is all on him, his loss! Personally IMHO I believe that unhappy people sabatoge their relationships, they don’t know how to have a good time (special days, vacations, and time with family are so much better without disordered in it!), don’t appreciate all the good, small, amazing precious moments (it’s the journey not the destination we have to pay attention to), have trouble handling life’s challenges, are boring because everything is about them—new times and experiences are amazing now! 🙂 –and bury themselves by disengaging (pick a vice–drugs, alcohol, work, working out). They don’t know how to balance it all out and feel very put out with others’ needs. To those who worry they won’t be able to step up to the plate and get everything done, you were probably already doing it all when you were married! It’s amazing how handy we are when problems challenge us and we just.do.it. I am having fun now, I love being single, even though I still have moments when I feel a wave of sadness wash over my heart and I wish I was sharing life with the man I thought I knew. Then I remember something he said to me on his way out, ” _____, you were always so much happier when I was away; the kids and you were so happy, and the house were always running well. I don’t think you need me.” Truth is, None of us deserve a cheating significant other. Life is too short.

          • “I believe that unhappy people sabatoge their relationships, they don’t know how to have a good time (special days, vacations, and time with family are so much better without disordered in it!), don’t appreciate all the good, small, amazing precious moments (it’s the journey not the destination we have to pay attention to), have trouble handling life’s challenges, are boring because everything is about them”

            ^^^^THIS^^^^ It explains my STBX perfectly!

          • “Personally IMHO I believe that unhappy people sabatoge their relationships, they don’t know how to have a good time (special days, vacations, and time with family are so much better without disordered in it!), don’t appreciate all the good, small, amazing precious moments (it’s the journey not the destination we have to pay attention to), have trouble handling life’s challenges, are boring because everything is about them—new times and experiences are amazing now! 🙂 –and bury themselves by disengaging (pick a vice–drugs, alcohol, work, working out). They don’t know how to balance it all out and feel very put out with others’ needs. To those who worry they won’t be able to step up to the plate and get everything done, you were probably already doing it all when you were married! It’s amazing how handy we are when problems challenge us and we just.do.it.”

            Thank you, Drew!!! You nailed my STBXH in THIS ^^^^^!!!

      • Dear Lina and Michelle,
        I’m sorry you are in the nightmare stage. I remember it well. Sitting on the toilet at work wondering how normal little me ended up with someone who used whores and had a Russian “mistress.” I felt like my friends could not understand the horror I felt–like being in a horror movie where the world didn’t operate by the rules of science.
        You will get past it. It just takes a lot of time. It’s now three years for me. When I think of that nightmare feeling, I don’t feel physically feel it anymore. I worked really hard in therapy which helped me in many ways to understand how I got where I was, but mostly it was just time and distance.
        I wish you both the best. Everyone here is right, it gets better eventually.

    • Michelle and Lina, I felt like you did. My ex is a narc sociopath…he has disordered credentials after his name . But there is a way to feel better, really!
      For 30+ years the ex had me convinced I wouldn’t be able to function without him, (this was based on my own insecurities, that as a predator he learned about when we first met). This is how he protected his kibble supply keeping me close by and yanking on my insecurities so I would grovel and feed kibbles on demand. He also projected himself as the hologram of my dreams.
      After D-day I did the pick me dance for 2 years, he married the wifetress immediately after our divorce, destroyed our family and has done many things to reach out and show me how insignificant I am.
      I have begun to heal when I realized I could fight back by understanding my insecurities and healing them, focusing on me and learning to love me, forgiving myself for each mistake and not being perfect, learning to self soothe my anxieties, laugh at my goofiness, not take stuff so seriously and let go of the scary future knowing I can trust myself to be okay. The ex doesn’t control nearly as much real estate in my head and I am building my own life that is calm, relaxing and feels nice to be in now. My advice is find the holes in yourself the ex was able to infiltrate and heal them up closed-focus on you, protect yourself as if you are a small child just starting out, love yourself and be very kind, spoil yourself and your true life will start.

        • Lina

          It truly was a nightmare loving someone who had the ability to discard me like he was taking out the garbage. Recently someone close said I should forgive him and this would help me move on. That is pure bullshit. I forgave this asshole for years. Instead I forgave myself got tolerating his abuse. The best advice I received was to take care if myself. Tempest spoke about the slow boil. That described my relationship in its entirety. I wondered how it was so easy for X to disengage and create a new identity so easily. Essentially he erased our life together. How the fuck do they do this? It still impacts me emotionally. They live in a different world of fantacy and we are stuck with the reality. We have all the knowledge and it all fits their lack of character. I am working on taking the power and control he had over me back. It’s very difficult but necessary. When I saw him sitting alone at my granddaughters graduation as I sat with my beautiful daughters I thought of just how pathetic this father and grandfather was to give this up for his lust for whores. He will never be a part of my space again. Our consequences are to have a better life and create authentic loving memories with good people. You are free.

      • Overcomer, Good for You!!! Each of us is so uniquely gifted, so beautiful, so precious, it is a shame to waste it on those who don’t recognize our worth, and do everything to destroy it. Reminds me of the book, The Little Prince, a story about a little boy who didn’t treasure his beautiful little flower.

  • I probably will be single for the rest of my life. I’ll live paycheck to paycheck. I’ll have to shovel snow. It’s all a real pain in the ass. None of this is how I imagined my life and most days, that thought brings tears to my eyes. I didn’t deserve any of this. But NOTHING is worse than living with and trying to love a liar. And that was my choice. This or that. Life isn’t fair. And everything depends on those who go on.

    • So true, Carol. I have almost forgotten what it is like to walk in the door, wondering what I might be criticized for that day, or whether I would get the chilly silence or disdainful look, or whether he would inflame the kids (rather than calm them). And the mindfuckery of D-day (including being blamed for his affair) is like a distant memory, albeit one I dredge up every time I am tempted to think, “he wasn’t that bad, was he?” Yes, yes he was.

      I now go through life without a small river of tension running through my days. Having to mow my own (huge) lawn, cook or clean up my own meals (X & I used to take turns), deal with the emotions of a 14-year old all by myself, are heaven compared to the slow boil I was subject to in my marriage.

    • Carol, I don’t look at my new challenges as bad. Life is different now, sometimes hard, sometimes easy, but always full of beauty. After moving out of our foreclosed home (resulted from Narc going scorched earth), I lived in a leaky 20′ travel trailer for a few years until I could move into a real home (lol! Okay, farm housing but it’s a little step up!). Shoveling snow, such beauty!-is a great way to get/stay fit. Not enough money? There is never enough! Not with starting over mid life and three kids going to college…. Please look at your local resources they may be helpful to you, know when to ask for help when you need it! Food Banks, CSAs, women’s groups, your church, local college, library, and places seeking volunteers are great resources. Just networking with others is one of the best things we can do for ourselves. Helping others works too as it gets us out of our little worlds and into new ones. Life is so full of possibilities (life with my disordered ex just grew smaller and smaller) and it requires us to get out in it. One of the best experiences my children and I had after Dday during our first holiday together was at a DC shelter serving breakfast and lunch to the homeless. Best day ever! My point is is that we have choices to make every day, on whether to get up and make it great, or fall back on “it’s a scary world.” Secret is Chumps are Mighty! And resilient, and loyal, and questioning…! All great qualities and we get it right every day we choose to engage! Baby steps you know, We got this!!! And a very special (((hug))) from one who has been there.

  • Whoever is in this situation, I promise you everything will improve even if you have less money, less property …because you will get yourself back and this means that, if you have children, the fact that they have one stable honest parent back will help them through whatever issues they may have with the divorce.

    In my case, I realized that being married to the cheater is almost the same as being divorced from him, but without the stress: we deal together with administrative and money issues related to our kids, he is never around, he is usually angry and in a bad mood whenever we do speak (normal for him), he blames me if anything goes wrong (but now its in writing) and he gives his time, “love” and body to other women! The difference is that I don`t need any of that anymore just to sustain a fake happy family image for myself!

    The other amazing thing that happened when I “let go” after a year of mourning for the marriage and his death in my heart, was that a few good men as well a couple of narcs have shown interest in me and it is exciting because I can distinguish one from the other easily now, but I have no rush to be in a relationship again (even though I am 49) because I am enjoying this re-discovery of myself and if I want to be with someone, it will only be with a person that is happy and hones with himself first, and appreciates all of my individuality as a contribution to his/our lives and not as a source of defects that should be changed (as my cheater thought of me).

    Finally, I should add that money has been no problem because I always assume that the world is abundant and that things will come my way when I need it. Of course it was difficult at the beginning of the divorce, and I do have to pay my X for my share of our home, but now money seems to roll in exactly for what I need (example: cheater took the washing machine, next day I was hired for a small job that gave me the precise money to buy the washer AND the dryer I always wanted!).

    • I love this Chumpita! It is a wonderful phenomenon that the universe WILL provide and we WILL thrive! I really needed to read your post today to help me take that deep cleansing breath and get back in the game today.

    • So true chumpita. I always seem to have exactly what I need. Maybe not as much as I want, but enough for what I need. I have learned to enjoy the small things in life. It is amazing how wonderful life can be when you are at peace. And oh what walking down a tree lined street can do for your soul. Or how great you feel after a good long walk, or laughing with your kids, or knowing you get to eat whatever you want with no one else to please.

      I do think some of the healing comes from making a conscious effort to decide that you will be happy. I could have chosen to dwell on all the negative, but one day I decided that he didn’t get to take away my happiness. From that day forward my healing truly began. I still have some bad days, but doesn’t everyone? Even the happiest person has a bad day now and then. Fortunately my good days far outnumber the bad ones.

  • “Not as a source of defects that should be changed”

    Exactly how I was treated once the love bomb stage ended. It is beyond horrible to be treated that way.

    • totally agree Lina, and in my case, that was my status for years : “how can I improve, change so that he loves me again like at the beginning?” I did the pick-me dance for at least a decade without even knowing it..it is not only horrible, but takes a big toll on our emotional and physical health. I would add that it is another part that I regained: I look and feel much better than I ever did living with the narc-cheater. And people notice it everyday!

      • I have to add that this has all come about, not because I am a happy-go-lucky person, but even though I am generally optimistic about life I did (and am still doing) a lot of self therapy, exercise, meditation, diet changes, journaling, recovering friends etc. etc every day since Dday, even when I was most depressed I would listen or read something or talk to a friend or go dancing. It all helped, little by little. So, this is not a coincidence that my life changed for the better. I have also been consciously working on that improvement.

      • I was pick me dancing without knowing too I guess. I was also fighting to retain my own identity while trying to please him. He wanted me to give up everything I loved and that was important to me and I wouldn’t. I tried to compromise. That wasn’t good enough for him and I had to be punished. He resented my caregiver stress but felt sorry for the lady across the street because she was a caregiver. Go figure.

        You are mighty Chumpita!

  • The interesting thing is that when you make the decision to leave the life that you have been programmed to believe you should have, and start living the life that is actually available to you, you may be pleasantly surprised. I was raised in a big family, and I was expected to marry and have children and keep up with everything — like the little red hen in the children’s fairy tale. Every time the sky began to fall, the little red hen had to run out and fix whatever problem there was. Everyone else was more important than the little hen, especially when it came to being happy.

    After I decided there were many things I had not broken, many things I could not fix, and many problems that belonged to other people — I was much happier and more relaxed. I enjoy my new life much more than I ever enjoyed my old life, the life of “should have” and “could have.”

    My children proved to be resilient and quite capable of taking care of their own problems. They were resistant to taking charge of their own lives at first — it is much easier to let mom take care of you — but they adapted and now are living on their own and seem to be both stable and happy. My X, however, did not fare so well. He went thru a string of wifey-wanna-be’s, and (Surprise!) none of them worked out. Instead of living the life of Mr. Wonderful, and being super sexy life of the party guy, he found out he was bald, fat, middle-aged, and no one else found him amusing when he was drunk guy. The potential OW’s found out that it was much more fun to be a girlfriend than to be a wife — and before the divorce, he had so much more time and money to spend with them! Funny how that sucks for him.

    I learned that being alone was not the same as being lonely. I relish my freedom and my privacy — I only clean up my own messes and I only take care of my own problems. I have more time to do the things I want to do — and without the stress and drama in my life, I am happy most of the time.

    Living well IS the best revenge!

    • Amen to that. I cannot wait for my ex to figure out that he was able to have his lifestyle because I too had a good job. He makes slightly less then I do and he has a champagne budget, Starbucks everyday, out to lunch everyday, etc. I can put money away because I am careful about how I spend it, I pick and choose my indulgences. Money is like water to him, it slips through his hands. He didn’t want me to be a stay at home mom because he wanted to have money to go out and have fun. I’m not sure how he is going to do that being with women who make half of what he makes. I cannot imagine a women with a good salary would want to be with him. He really is not a great catch.

  • It has been a year since cheater XHusband walked out and I can honestly say I’m happier. The pain was horrific and the sadness was unlike any I ever felt before but I do believe I came out of this shit sandwich a better person and loving myself. It still tugs at my heart here and there dealing with x and the ow since we have a child together and he immediately moved in with ow. I’m lonely at nights and miss companionship but I will not settle for crap and I know I’m a good person…plus a year with no sex is awful lol nobody ever brings that up…I’m worth, we’re all worth something wonderful!!!!!

  • I have been paralyzed with indecision at several points and the prospect of divorce and the changes that brings are terrifying. I get sad when I think of our last vacation together as a family, the holidays, the safety and security of our little family.. we were really living the American Dream… except my H was cheating. So.. dream shattered, bubble burst.

    My STBX would LOVE for me to sweep all this under the rug and believe his cockamamie explanations for his “friendship” with the skank, but to do that I’d have to lie to myself. Then what would I be? Wouldn’t that eat me up over time? Sure, I’d have a husband.. my kids would have a father at home every night.. but their mother’s dignity and self respect would be non existent.. is that good? Is that what I want? Is that good enough? Not to mention, what message does that send to HIM? That I’ll put up with whatever shit he wants to do? That I have no boundaries at all?

    Once I realized the life we had before is Gone, the H I thought I had is also Gone.. it was easier to realize my choices were really limited. We can’t go back to the way things were.. and to go forward and come out BETTER… that would require my H to admit what he’s done, atone for it, express humility… and since he refuses to do any of these things… my only real choice is to move on. Either that or choke down the shit sandwich and hope for the best. Hope this whore doesn’t show up in 1, 5, 10 years.. when I’m that much older and that much more ingrained. That would be the risk. I know my H isn’t capable of saying No to her and he’s clearly not capable of being truthful.. so that’s a double decker shit sandwich.

    Not worth it. Folks.. happy comes from within yourself. Could you ever be happy with a cheater? Do you want to spend your life looking over your shoulder? Sure X and Schmoopie might seem happy now.. but is that real fulfillment? Finding “wuv” stepping over the bodies of your wife/husband and kids in the process? How can that be authentic?

    Chump Lady is right on!! Stay mighty people!

    • newchumpatl,

      you don’t need to answer, but curious, are you divorced now? Your story sounds similar to mine – I have not yet carried through with the deed, and my cheating wife has been trying to reconcile, although she’s not very good at reconciliation. The affair has been over for about a year, but I still just can’t “get over it” She really wants to stay married and keep her intact family and all that, but I can tell she is still indifferent to my inner soul, to me as a loving, caring, sensitive human being – I am still just a provider to her: a provider of money, an intact family, parenting, time, convenience, image, reputation, security, stability, etc.

      My story does differ from many here in that I am the one who earns the money, shovels the snow, cleans the house, parents the kids, fixes the cars, manages the finances, pays the bills, cooks the dinners, does homework and sports and music with the kids, tucks the kids in at night, maintains all the computers and home networks, mows the yard, weeds the garden, teaches the kids to swim/bike/ski, pays for the kids piano lessons, etc.

      So the only thing I’m really giving up is the “intact family” and the kids living in one home, and the idea of what I thought my life was.

      • Hi Buddy… Not divorced yet, but filed and in the process. H keeps trying to woo me back but his efforts fall short because:

        1. He lacks humility
        2. He is still denying the relationship with whore was anything but friends- despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary
        3. Continues to blame shift me every time I try to deal with the issue.. Ie.. try to ask questions about his choices.. somehow, it always ends up being my fault.

        I would like to preserve my family too.. I have thrown my STBX LIFELINE AFTER LIFELINE. The last just yesterday, I asked him to see a minister or priest with me… thinking that maybe if he saw a man of god, he might come completely clean. All I want is for him to see the light and humbly recognize the relationship with the whore was totally inappropriate. I have to have some measure of security he gets this. But he won’t even do THAT.. what is the chance of reconciling with someone who can’t admit they are wrong?

        Breaks my heart.. but what can I do? I’d literally have to eat the shit sandwich with mustard on it and stick my head in the sand. H has also cut contact with family/friends… he’s in la la land. My guess is, still seeing whore.

        I sure hope she’s worth all this. (snark).

        Buddy, I think you deserve better. In order to reconcile, someone has to be sorry, really sorry.. is she? I doubt she is. You are a good man.. you deserve better. Let her pursue her fairy dust land herself, make her own living, and see how she likes it. Yeah, you’ll have to eat the shit sandwich of alimony (unless you have PROOF of the affair) and giving up time with the kids clearly YOU have raised.. but isn’t that still worth an authentic life?

        Believe me Buddy, I’ve struggled with this too. Staying would be so easy.. but is that who I am ? Is that who you are?

        • Thanks for the reply. I think my wife is very sorry that her life is so messed up, and I think she is sorry her marriage is so messed up, but I don’t think she’s truly sorry for the pain she caused me. I don’t think she has the life skills to be sorry for me in that way, for that would mean pain to her. She is not sorry she had the affair. She is proud for having the courage to have the affair. She is proud she was vulnerably enough to explore this possibility of true love.

          Can you be married to someone who prides themselves on having the courage and vulnerability to seek out true love outside of the marriage while making no effort to create or discover true love within a marriage?

          As sarcastic as I often am, I am not being sarcastic in asking the above question.

          I suppose once the affair failed and fell under its own weight, she then tried to force herself to be OK settling with the simpler, stable life that is her marriage.

          • “Can you be married to someone who prides themselves on having the courage and vulnerability to seek out true love outside of the marriage while making no effort to create or discover true love within a marriage?”

            Buddy, of course you know the answer.

          • “Having the courage and vulnerability to seek true love outside the marriage”. Oh man, that needs a rinse through the UBT…it will come out as “stupid shit cheaters say”.

            Buddy, I dated a guy whose wife and mother of 3 (youngest child 6 yrs) years ago went and had a year long affair with the kids tennis coach. She justified it as “he pursued me and I just fell for him”. When the affair came to light, coach dumped the wife and she immediately wanted to reconcile. Chump husband told himself she had been pursued by a predator..They tried reconciliation for three years, then she got restless again and asked if she could move her latest lover into the house, have husband live in the next street so they could “share” child custody.

            That of course was when chump husband finally clued in to what a horrendously disordered person she is. Keeping up the appearance of a Brady Bunch family is a damaging example to set for your kids. Better to show them authenticity by valuing yourself. If she can’t feel true love for you, then she should end her contract with you before testing new samples.

          • Buddy–a life of integrity is so much better than life with a cheater who is remorseful only about his/her consequences (and not about hurting the chump).

            I know how you feel–my oldest daughter had made me a personalized CD for mother’s day a few years ago. I ran across it the other day, and played it. It revived memories of that mother’s day–going out to brunch on a sunny day with the (then-intact) family. But it also made me angry that cheater-X had robbed me of that intact family, something I had worked VERY hard to make a *happy* family. 9.5 months from D-day, 4 months from divorce, and my next emotion was relief. My relief at no longer playing Sisyphus while X was constantly undermining my efforts is SOOOOO much stronger than my bitterness at what he did to me.

            I wish this for you.

          • Buddy

            So she was looking for love in all the wrong places? You were right in front of her taking care of your family. Just out of curiosity did she have suggestions in how you could make the relationship better? More than likely she will offer up all the things you need to prove to KEEP her. That’s what cheaters do. When I finally put the responsibility back on the cheater he plotted for a year rather than step up. What has she offered up other than sorry.

            • She would phrase things in a way that made it sound like she was taking responsibility and ownership for the affair and for repairing the marriage, but it was always against this subtle backdrop of blaming me for not meeting her emotional and intimate needs (which was near impossible because she is the one who withdrew from and neglected me – gaslighting at its finest).

              Her suggestions were lots of sex, marriage counseling, going on more dates together, going on a vacation together, signing up for a long bike ride together and things like that.

              Of course all that was talk, not backed up by action (except for the long bike ride which she registered for even though it was out of our budget. I did not register for it because I can’t justify the travel expense, can’t find child care, and hopefully am not married to her at that time. And I’m not being cheap, she really did destroy our finances. I’m trying to dig out.)

              • Notice all those things she’s suggesting are all about her, and not about repairing the damage?
                You’re dealing with someone who really has no clue, and never will have a clue, Buddy. Time to bail.

          • I agree with the others Buddy. I don’t even know you but based on what you’ve said on this board you are a great person.. you provide for your family, take care of their needs, love your kids… and basically you are this woman’s plan B. She disrespected you and now wants you to just go on and forget it. I get the sorry but not sorry deal. My H is “sorry” for the things he’s done.. so he says…. but he still won’t admit that seeing this woman was WRONG. He continues to defend the relationship which means he’s either still in so deep his head is up his butt or he’s in total denial about it. Either way, it’s not authentic. Like Tempest said, better to live an authentic life along. The buffet of crappy options are before you.. divorce SUCKS… but I would think tying yourself to a lifetime with someone who has proven over and over they don’t give two shits would be far worst. Give you life a chance Buddy. You deserve happiness. Blessings.

        • Buddy and New Chumpatl please keep in mind as you make your decisions both of your spouses are completely aware of what they are doing and have done. They don’t want to tell you what they have done…period. They just are not concerned about how you feel as much as they are concerned about how they feel and what they will have to deal with by acknowledging it…”boring, can we please move on…I don’t care if I hurt you, I wanted to do what I wanted to do so I did. You are not the boss of me!”

          In my 30+ year experience living with a narc you can count on them consistently for these things only:

          They always have their best interests in mind, no exceptions.

          When caught in bad or selfish behavior they will appeal to your integrity and emotions of love for your family to manipulate you into doing what they want, easy peasy! (As my ex would say).

          They will project holograms of who you think they are for as long as it benefits them.

          They will project their bad and selfish behavior onto you and blame you for making them do it.

          Their brains function emotionally as toddlers while the rest of their brain has progressed into adulthood.

          Oh and your children will take on some of their disordered behaviors because this is THEIR normal.

          My suggestion to you both is RUN!!!

          • This really resonates with me. I never thought my H was a Narc.. and maybe he’s more covert but lately the mask has slipped big time. The fact that he is trying to justify this outrageous behavior and blame me for it is just the end of the line. There is no excuse.

            I think he won’t tell me everything out of self preservation as well. A person really concerned with saving the marriage would let it all out there.. .do ANYTHING.. see a minister, a priest, whatever. He won’t do this because then he’d have to admit he was wrong to the world (too hard, easier to just deny it and call me crazy) and he’d have to do some hard work to win my confidence back (nah, too much work, easier to go to sparkly whore who hasn’t seen the mask slip).

            I know the drill.. it just hurts so damn bad. I am so angry at both of them… H and the Owhore (who is a friend of mine) for what they have done to not only me, but my kids. They are altering my childrens’ lives… BASTARDS. I am starting to get REAL ANGRY.

            • That is a hard thing, dealing with our children’s grief and disillusionment. Be the sane parent. Let the facts be known and do what you have always done…. Make your new family your priority. And take extra special care of yourself.

          • I suspected my wife had some narcissistic tendencies before the affair and I took corrective action, treating her like a toddler who didn’t understand boundaries while I tried to impose healthy boundaries (like not spending more than we, ahem, I earn. I obviously failed in that quest and was not resolute or firm enough.

            I think what makes it a bit challenging is that my wife is not overtly verbally or emotionally abusive. She does not come across as bat-shit crazy. But when I replay the stories, I then see the detailed manipulations, and if tested, the rare occasion of more overt verbal abuse. And often, the ongoing contempt. I just feel it oozing out of her saying “I am a special princess. Why don’t you make more money for me? Why didn’t you stop me from messing up our finances? Why don’t I get a personal trainer and a trip to Tahiti like my friends.”

            I think I’ve just learned how to avoid the painful overt abuses, which is one reason why they don’t occur – she’s trained me well. I’m not even aware of the eggshells any more – they are just the new normal. Although she’s occasionally accused me of forcing her to walk on eggshells and accused me of having a “biting” sharpness to my personality, which is just not true. What’s she’s really saying is that she doesn’t respect my healthy boundaries and wants to do whatever the fuck she wants to do as its not destructive and I should support it.

            • Buddy, love and hugs to you but Very clearly you are not the boss of your wife’s choices and hell if she feels like drowning…let her! In a great marriage there are two sane adults making respectful, healthy decisions together and having the freedom to be “your own unique self” while not being unkind to your partner. Quite the balancing act but worth it. Ditch her for someone worthy, and model authenticity to those beautiful children of yours.

              • Funny you mention “feels like drowning” as she often plays the suicide card as well.

                My therapist says next time she does that, call 911 or take her to the ER – of course she wouldn’t let me take her to the ER and if I pickup the phone to call 911, I’m sure she soften her stance.

        • “All I want is for him to see the light . . . can’t admit they are wrong.” — Even if your husband pretends to “see the light”, even if he admits he was wrong, he will be doing this as a manipulation so that you will do what he wants you to do. He will not “come clean.” Sure you want this — it would be vindication and closure. He may say the words, but he will never mean them and he is only buying time. Time to take some more from you and waste more of your life. Time to get some things squared away until he finds the next victim, time to get prepared to dump you again even more maliciously than the last time. You are wanting to live in a fair and just world, but that is not the world we live in.

          I am sorry. I wanted the same things. The day I realized that I would be stuck in the same cycle forever, like a crazed hamster on a wheel, was the day I got my sanity back. No more chances, no more trying to fix him and everything else. Just freedom and giving myself another chance to have my own life. I was much more likely to succeed at improving my life than he was. It took time and a lot of work, but it was worth it.

          • Portia, your second paragraph in its entirety is worth copying. We can not have a good life when someone we love is lying to us (and to themselves).

  • I don’t miss my STBX husband at all or the relationship – by the time I filed on him for adultery there was nothing to miss! He was gone one-third of the time at the OW’s place (denying he was with her the whole time), relentlessly hounded me about my perceived faults when he was at home and was a major douchebag to our son. He’s living with her now, good riddance and good luck. I am happier – things are calmer, I’m not walking on eggshells, etc. Life is better! He was never much of a companion the whole time we were married and our sex life was dead for the past 10 years. I don’t care about ever marrying again but a nice #manfriend at some point would be nice.

    • Amazing how they keep denying… then a few months later, there they are.. LIVING with their whores. My STBX won’t admit it either, even with mountains of evidence. It’s infuriating. I wonder if he will move in with her.. that would make visitation with his kids quite complex. Surely he’s not that stupid.. or maybe he is?

      • It’s like the holocaust deniers– I believe that they deny what is obvious as another form of insult, another humiliation, another atrocity.

      • I keep wondering if mine will be that stupid too. I tell him I know, he denies. I have pictures, he still denies. I stopped being infuriated and started throwing shade by making obscure references to things they have said to each other (because I have the audio) and I just get angry dirty looks. What can he do without admitting? I can’t help it sometimes it makes me laugh a little. He tells me I’m mean. I laugh harder! Pretty sure a multi year affair is meaner than a little obnoxious banter.

        • As soon as I realized my ex had a whore I saw his future quite clearly. Ex ended up marrying her–quickly after our divorce–and I find there is plenty about their life together to laugh out loud about. I have my own life though, which has always engaged me. I always knew I was worthy of being loved and I don’t need “perfect” to be happy. I look at his train wreck at times, feel sorry for what he threw away, but remind myself that I dodged a bullet. Life is better.

  • After being separated for six months and as I was preparing to file I looked back and realized that I had gotten through the past six months without him. Nearly everything fell to me in the relationship anyway. He was always gone doing his own thing, spending money the way he wanted. Then he would come home and try to control me. The price that I am paying – I mow my own lawn and shovel my own snow. Actually I had done that sometimes in the past – those weren’t new things.

    When I was a little girl, maybe I was 7 years old, I went and spent the summer with my grandmother. She was a widower. One day she took me to the lumber yard and purchased all of the supplies to install a tree swing. Then she went home and hung the swing herself. She was in her 70’s! I think of her and I think of my mother and how they were/are very strong women. That helps me find strength in myself. I can do anything my husband did, or I have a friend or family member who can help, or I can hire someone. I did it before I met my husband and I can do it again.

    I think the worst part was that I felt I had no choice. He decided to end our relationship by his actions. I couldn’t make him stop and he took advantage of my behavior more and more. I often wonder how I could have made such a poor choice for a spouse. But it is what it is and I’m not going to waste another moment of my life. The joy that I have in making my own decisions and not living with someone who clearly didn’t even like me….well, I am starting to feel happy again. I can’t think about him without feeling some sadness so I just don’t think about him. And, a little pep talk from the Chump Lady always makes me feel better! 🙂

    • I don’t believe he didn’t “like” you, more that he didn’t “like” himself. He made crap life choices too. That does not change with a new partner, IMHO. We just can’t “be” for those who are incapable of love. I never felt unworthy of healthy love, he did however make me feel “less than” but he was cheating and lying to me at that time. Funny how that correlates.

    • Several times before finding out about the OW I remember thinking it’s like my husband didn’t like me or our daughter. He’s now an ex and still doesn’t like me and I could care less. He hates me actually for his poor choices and can’t be decent to me even about our child. My life is better and I don’t miss and his bs.

    • Sad in Seattle please know there are Others close by on the I5 corridor that have supported each other as we have individually navigated thru this life changing crisis into calmer more peaceful waters. Sending validation, support and hugs your way!

  • Much to my surprise, as soon as he was gone, I started feeling good !!!
    The co-dependency was the biggest source of pain. Once I convinced myself that I was not responsible for his well-being, I felt enormous relief.
    People at work and elsewhere now try to establish contact with me, while during the last decade I felt everyone hated me.His constant complaining, passive-agressive attitude at home had taken a toll on my own behavior without my knowledge.
    Family and friends timidly tell me that they never understood what I saw in him. Many speak about his embarrassing behavior, he would always look bored, and never participated in conversations, as if he was superior, not interested.
    There are neither dirty underwear nor dirty socks on the floor now. No one is lying on the bed watching TV while I do chores.
    I haven’t gone to the supermarket in more than a week, I eat a good lunch at work, I do not need to buy and eat a whole meal every evening.It is quite a relief to stop buying meat at last, and my bank account is all the better, and my stomach will soon be flat again. I go to a small organic shop when I need something, that does not conflict with my values.
    I sleep across the bed, I do not hear him snore, I can snore and make all rude noises that I want without him complaining. I can get up as many times as I want, I can even jump and sing and flush the toilet and if inspiration hits me hard, I can sit at my computer and draw on my tablet in the middle of the night, my doggies don’t mind, they are always thrilled to see me.
    I can listen to Frank Zappa, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Weather Report, no more Bulgarian/Russian slut hits.
    I can invite anybody anytime, no need to worry about his schedule and the fact he doesn’t like most people.
    I can still paint, make concrete, cable solar panels, anything that this house needs, because I was the only one who bothered anyway. Better still, I can offer my skills to the dog shelter, and no one will frown at home that I am not spending all my time with him.
    I realize that people are generally nice towards a lady, that I can now use the website that offers so many opportunities to go out in the area, private parties, huge rave parties on the beach, small restaurants, picnics, sports, etc. Yet I do not feel pressured to go out: I respect my rythm and do only what I feel like doing.

    • well said – i’m right there with ya! i have experienced a lot of the same things, especially the part about having my friends come around who didn’t in the past because of xh.

    • ChumpFromF:

      I am right there with you!!! EVERYTHING you just said is how I am/feel!!! I can watch what I want, I can do whatever the fuck I want without having to worry about his stupid ass!!!!

      OMG, THIS!!! Yes, AMEN!!!

  • each morning I open my eyes and think ‘omg, what did I ever do to be alone at this stage of my life’. The word dread fits

    I had a divorce when I was 50 and while I was re emerging into single life, I targeted by a disordered Cheater. Chronic Cheating was the least of his bag of horrors

    I have a great career, but I’m at the age where friends start getting ill or people think of slowing down. I’m okay financially but being alone at 60 truly Granted many of my social connections shrank while in the cheater vortex and I need to work on that

    I read CL each day and there’s never a day without a comment about a post without a reference to person who’s 60 as if they’re near death or too old to be desirable or should be past wanting sex or romance so 60 seems to be some creepy line of demarcation

    The concept of the time I wasted at this point in my life combined w the damage a sociopath does, has had a profound effect on me — leaving me with a very hopeless feeling about my possibilities for companionship and love. Much worse than my divorce which was my choice

    My parents and siblings are passed, my child lives in another town. i looked forward to retiring but the prospect of downsizing on my own or moving to another town as I always wanted to seems too much to figure out on my own. It seems overwhelming

    So I sort of sit in a paralysis. I’ve even gone back and thought wow maybe I should have never left my marriage – he was not a cheater. Yes it was lonely but …

    It was in ‘couples therapy’ that I learned I was with a disordered person but after that there wasn’t much therapy could do for this feeling of OMG I really am going to be alone forever or I am doomed. Or as Tracy says ‘how am I going to reinvent my life’?

    It is lonely and the choices are fewer at this stage Men seem to have not taken care of themselves physically or financially as much as women — I don’t want to carrying someone’s oxygen tank or be with someone who hasn’t planned financially.

    I just can not get myself out of this mental spiral.

    • (–> I have no idea who wrote this; this is an approximative translation, sorry).
      The day when I truly loved myself, I understood that under all circumstances, I was at the right place, at the right moment. And then I could relax. Today I know it is called Self Esteem.
      The day when I truly loved myself, I could perceive that my anxiety and emotional suffering were only a signal that I was behaving against my personal values. Today I know it is called Authenticity.
      The day when I truly loved myself, I stopped wanting a different life and realized that all the things that happen to me contribute to my personal growth. Today I know it is called Maturity.
      The day when I truly loved myself, I felt the abuse in the fact of forcing a situation or a person to obtain what I want, knowing that neither the person nor I are ready, and that the moment is not appropriate. Today, I know this is called respect.
      [etc. etc. …]
      The day when I truly loved myself, I stopped mentally reliving the past, and I stopped worrying about the future. Today I live in the present moment, where life is actually happening. I live one day at a time, and this is called being complete.

      • I like this. I am pretty much there…just the last one is hard.I struggle with reliving the past. Thanks for posting this. Gonna print it up as a reminder.

        • I lost a sibling not too long and I’ve had 5 deaths in my practice this year. I don’t think I’ve had two in 15 years.

          I just keep hearing a loud tick toc, tick toc in my brain. I just came back from a short
          Beach vacations on my own I do okay during the day but the nights are really long as I watch couples eating

          I read a study that says 40 percent of women over 65 will be single — it didn’t make me feel any better.

          • Get a dog and a maybe try to find a hobby. lol I have two dogs, and between walking and taking care of them, and work, and this hobby I sort of backed into, the weeks are too short.

            Plus, I have to watch True Detective tonight.

            It gets better. You just have to find your new rhythm, usually one new routine at a time.

            For me, the dogs made it so I wasn’t ever able to always just think about myself. Heck, I have had the flu, and they are still pawing at me for their morning walk, They love me to death, but walks trump the flu,

            • Thanks. I know the pet thing works for some. The last thing I want is one more thing to be responsible for with my job and it’s heavy travel. Sitting home watching tv just depresses me. I need to be social.

              • Regarding sex at sixty I would like to say this…I am about to turn 59 and have the sex life my 29 yr old self would have envied. That would not be hard as my cheater was also a sexual refuser within the marriage and our sex life was lousy from the time we got engaged and so infrequent that I am aware of the couplings that our kids were conceived on as months would go by with no interest. Along the way I tried my utmost to make it happen and used to cry because I felt so unwanted. I guess there were affairs all along and I was a prize chump.
                I am now with another man who finds me attractive sexually and its all in working order.

              • Chump du jour, You know you are social so get out there. There is truth in that old cliche, get busy living and soon you will be. Cats don’t require much care and are great easy companions (fostering them from the local shelter is a great help and does not require a life long commitment either). Sixty is the new fifty! No really! I know it’s difficult to lose loved ones but I hope they chose life every day. (And GO Mary!!! ) if you engage in new experiences, isn’t square dancing all the rage?, you may be pleasantly surprised. Yes, it’s scary to put ourselves out there, we are so used to our little worlds but we aren’t happy if we shut out new opportunities. Possibilities. My advice? Make them.

          • I can totally relate to your experience ChumpDuJour. After my 18 year marriage fizzled out in divorce, I was trolled by an old high school sweetheart and love bombed into a whirlwind marriage to him. We were both single and wanting “that special someone” to spend our “golden years” with. Well, since I knew him from high school, I had immediate trust for him and off we went into the sunset … and then the mask came off and all his secrets were exposed. He became physically abusive the first week we were married. I was too ashamed and emotionally retarded to get the heck out so instead I put us in counseling (but he had to pick the counselor) It was like looking into the mouth of Hell. Here’s the short version of my nightmare:

            *He was actually living with his mother when we met, not in the condo I visited (which was also his mothers, but his sister was living there). He was 52 at the time.
            *He was so broke when we got married that he had to cash in his 401k just to move out of his mom’s place and in to our home together ( That I put up the down payment for not knowing that he wasn’t matching funds). At 52 he only had $38,000 in his 401k, after 25+years as a nurse manager.
            *He drained my savings (I even paid for his father’s funeral) and ran up $20,000 on MY credit cards.
            * When I told him the gravy train was dry he went online (within days) and found himself another “bunny”‘ then bragged to his sister about how rich she was and how “crazy” I would get when I found out. And I found out because he left his facebook logged on and open to the private chat he was having with his sister…I had no idea but saw my name in the convo. He said “I’ve been trying to leave Micha for years now” (we had only been married for 4)

            After that revelation I saw how fucked I was. Counseling was a joke ( he would make appointments for me but not tell me about them so I looked like the jerk), my finances were worse than devastated, I was an emotional wreck, and he had thrown me down the stairs one day and ruptured two discs so now I’m dealing with a life long disability.

            I’ll be 56 this year and honestly can’t stand thinking about how bleak my prospects might be … so I don’t. Instead, I’m taking lots of deep breaths to overcome the panic attacks, and I’m BELIEVING that all is going to be fine. I’ve lived in truth and honesty my whole life and surely the universe wants more of that! So I keep on keepin on and I’m saying YES to my life without malignancy, YES to working hard to recover my finances, and I’m in eternal gratitude that I made it out alive. So big hugs to you dear. And cheers to feeling mighty again one day. It is better without them! Xox

            • Oh the similarities. We were living together about a week when Fed Ex came on a Saturday from his mother. I said Fed ex is expensive for weekend delivery. He said, oh my mother has a friend who lets her ship for free. The first of many many lies

              I watched from another room and What came from that envelope was 5 -$20 bills taped to a piece of paper. His mother was about 85 then.

              He stepped outside and I could here him berating her ‘if you were going to fed ex money, why only $100 — it’s not worth it’. No gratitude. Nothing Turns out that she was still supporting him in large part at age 50

              Even the car he had belonged to his last girlfriend. I learned it when she came to claim it– she lent it to him her spare car for a month and he never returned it His family eventually took control of his mothers finances but his sister told me he had drained her of everything over the years.

              He did not get me for money but he stole years from my life and made me truly doubt myself I thought it was my gift, just like you said. My special person who I’d go for into the sunset with. Yea it was special all right

              • So sorry for both of you… these men are true psychopaths. {{{Hugs to you both}}}

              • Unbelievably shitty thing to do anyone, let alone to his own mother. We couldn’t make this stuff up. I’m imagining all of us chumps surrounded by a magical force field of light that keeps us protected from these bastards from Hell … and that’s the image I’m falling asleep with so night night CN 🙂

      • That is beautiful and perfect. Learning to live in the present is an amazing gift. It is like the clouds parted and a weight is lifted.

    • Chumpdujour–The average life expectancy is 78.74 years, 85 years for a well-educated woman (I assume from your post you are a doctor with an advanced degree). You have 25 years!!! That is 9,125 days of fulfillment you can still have. Is it statistically likely you’ll remain single? Perhaps. Is it necessarily the case? No, a good friend of mine just found true love at 75+. But it’s worth re-considering whether you need marriage to BE happy. Frankly, I’m happier out of my marriage than I was in it (only 9.5 months from D-day). And, TBH, most marriages I know are not ones I’d want. Being part of a couple is not a requisite for happiness; social support and finding things you love to do–those are necessary for happiness.

      Some of your ‘spiral’ is because you’ve forgotten how what an emotional vampire your X was, and just how draining it could be on a daily basis. Write down specific episodes you remember to remind yourself that life is better this side. Then, move on with that new life, one step, one re-united friend at a time.

      Hugs to you.

      • Thanks Tempest and Portia. Your comments always help me. I’m not a Dr — it’s a different kind of practice.

        I think a lot of this is coming from losing so many close to me this year and that I just returned from a very sobering biz trip where there was a lot of info on ‘succession planning and what life would look like in retirement ‘.

        Very depressing statistics like the most popular guy in the retirement community would be the guy who Still had a drivers license or that more adult diapers are sold in Japan than children’s diapers.

        I do not need to be married – I would never ever subject myself to community property again. However you are right. I am in desperate need of social connections. Thanks

        • Chump du Jour, I’m close to you in age and was married 31 years to my high school sweetheart. My kids are grown and have lives of their own. I understand how you feel about losing family and friends as you grow older. It is hard! I joined Toastmasters and have been challenging myself to overcome the fear of public speaking. It’s a great organization and there are people of all different ages and walks of life that participate. It’s a wonderful way to meet people, and there’s something to do almost every weekend if you want to. Maybe you could try finding an activity or group with a purpose that excites you and get involved?

    • Life is not over at 60, or 30, 40, 50, — if anyone tells you your life is over because you are too old, they are giving you bad advice. You say that you were lonely in your marriage, and you realized he was a disordered person and would never change — so what exactly are you missing?

      If you always wanted to move to another location or make some other change in your life, and you are not doing this because you do not have a disordered person’s dead weight to drag along with you — ask yourself why you think you need either permission or dragging him along to do what you have always wanted to do?

      You don’t have to settle for someone who is dragging around an oxygen tank, or who has not done his own financial planning. You don’t have to “settle” for anyone at all. I think you will be surprised to find that you will be the one who chooses NOT to get into a relationship that you do not perceive to be good for you. I have been approached by both younger and older men — their age was the least of their problems as far as I was concerned. I wasted too much of my life on trying to make an unsuitable man happy. I am busy now enjoying activities that make me happy. I do not look for anyone to make me happy — male or female. My happiness is up to me.

      I think you should try to put one foot in front of the other and MOVE in some direction. Whatever it takes to make you feel better and make new/better friends, or achieve a goal. The hardest thing is to get up and start moving. It doesn’t really matter if it is to join an exercise class, or go to the bookstore, or the pet shelter for a furry companion. You might volunteer for some cause you believe in. You need to find a purpose, a reason for your life to become better.

      Your X in no longer your problem. You did the hardest thing – but the best thing for you, you got rid of that brooding problem. Now, work on making yourself happy. Just accomplishing a small thing will make you feel better, and ready for a bigger thing. A step at a time.

      • I do need to start to find something that will give me pleasure and regardless of how overwhelming it is, take the steps to figure out how to downsize from a life style that no longer fits me.

        I have so much regret for how much time I have wasted ‘waiting’ for my turn or doing something that was ‘some one else’s idea of happiness that I can no longer seem to find what’s mine. Thank you

        • I have been taking classes at the local junior college for years now and during my divorce I took ceramics. So so healing and the people I met were amazing. I think you have to carve out for yourself a “small town.” I had a girlfriend once who started a small book club and to this day she is still friends with “her good souls.” She says they’ve been through so many good and challenging times together…and isn’t this what CL provides for us?

  • I am 60. Divorced 2 1/2 years. Still struggling to move on but so much better off, in so many ways. I have learned that I am a sensitive person as I think Chumps in general are. We are good people who find it so difficult to believe that the person we “thought” we knew (married 33 years) and who we “thought” loved us, could be so callous and self centered. Yes. My ex left me for a girl 34 years younger. Had a long term affair before that. Has had 3 more “girlfriends” and drives around in his little sports car like a proud peacock. That being said, all the vaginas and shiny new things will not fill that void in his soul. I am glad to be free of his arrogance and demeaning ways. I have very little contact with him. Tomorrow night, my son’s band is playing a final time before he moves across the country. I know the ex. will be there. I keep replaying in my mind,the time he called me over to look at his computer. “Wanna see something ugly?” It was me and my daughter dancing to my son’s band. To me, it was a beautiful time. Just one of the many daggers to my heart. Part of me wants to sit in the corner tomorrow night and just stay put. But dammit…ain’t gonna happen. I am going to dance and love on my kids and my friends and be ME!.

    • “Wanna see something ugly?”… wow that was so mean ! Although I am not suprised. They can really be cruel and enjoy it.

      • Jane, unfortunately that nasty little prick (literally and figuratively) that you feel when given some shit like the “want to see something ugly” comment from the pathetic loser ex of yours is a testament to your own humanity. It is still always shocking to me when I see someone acting like one of Satan’s minions. It is like a cosmic insult to every thing good and decent. You just wonder why the sky doesn’t part and the wrath of God reigns down upon them. They truly are abominations of evil. Good cannot interact with evil without being repulsed by it.

      • Jane. I’m still amazed at the crap I hear on here. That’s so terrible but definetly somthing said from pure evil. It’s like they’re just filled with demons. But it was beautyful. There is nothing more beautyful than a parent dancing with their daughter. I remember the father-daughter dance I took mine to when she was 7. I remember her little eyes looking up at me wile we were dancing. One of my precious memories of my baby girl.

    • The fact that he feels the need to put you down proves he still has feelings for you, and is just too immature and stupid to know how to deal with those feelings. He’s a manchild. No different from a 12 year old who pulls a girl’s hair in class to get her attention.

      Pfft.

    • Jane, I’m so sorry you had to hear and experience such cruelty. I hope you you have the time of your life at your son’s gig, and I hope “the tumor” smolders inside with jealousy that your smiling! That’s thriving Jane so keep on keepin on! Hugs!

        • You dance away!! Your X is a worthless air thief. I hope he contracts internal parasites (aside from the ones that have already eaten his heart).

        • Jane I find your ex’s snarky comment a view of his world wearing his glasses.

          He cannot see or feel the beauty and love you and your daughter were sharing nor can he see anything else of beauty and depth in this world…he knows he is missing something and for a time he lived with you so that he could see this world through you. But he left and is now is surrounded by people and things that only share and reflect the shallow ugliness he sees as reality.

          Rejoice you have the ability to see and feel such love and depth in abundance, pity him, his limited vision and his reality–he is truly disabled.

          Tomorrow dance with joyous abandon, celebrate the true loveliness of who you are! Sending you serenity, love and hugs!

          • Overcomer, so true! Ask any of us Chumps, Jane, what we would have seen when shown a picture of you and your daughter, his beautiful girl, dancing together…. (It must be hard to live without a heart.) Fact is the chronically unhappy want everyone else to be so and will try to poison everything good. Don’t allow it.

    • Your ex is a loser. I was so steamed while reading your post! These guys are empty, shallow, hollow-men. There’s nothing honorable inside of them… nothing. He will spend the rest of his days trying to fill the bottomless pit that is his soul. Take, take, take. That’s all they know. These morons don’t recognize or value authenticity or beauty. It has no value for them. (venting, sorry).

    • Can’t believe anyone would say that… what a pig… dance, do the funky chicken, the macarena, the electric slide and anything else you feel like shaking your booty too. Grrrr! I just get mad at shit like that.

    • Only a disordered person would say something like that. I am willing to bet it was a beautiful picture and that is exactly why he said what he said. He cannot handle the fact that you can move on without him and be happy. He tries to bring all those around him into the depths of his unhappiness. I say go see your sons band and dance right in front of that jackass.

    • Jane, I echo what all the other chumps have said. Not only is your ex is a mean-spirited and vindictive person, he’s also a walking cliche. Running around in a sports car with a woman 34 years younger? How completely ridiculous and pathetic. He sounds like a total loser, and your kids must be mortified. And he wants to talk to *you* about ‘ugly’? bahahahahahaha

  • Like most of the folks on CL, I went through the pick me dance – unknowingly for many years and then for months after I figured out what he was really doing. I think I had to go through the months of me trying to fix us, worrying about the future, the impact to our daughter, finances, etc. in order for me to ‘see’ the truth and know that it was in my best interest to let go of him and the life I thought we would have. I learned so much about him, but more importantly about myself. I’ve always considered myself strong and independent but I now realize what that really means. It’s about being the right kind of person and allowing the right kind of people in my life. Yes, financially things may be tight but I’d rather figure it out myself with my integrity intact. I’m taking time to get to know myself again, who I am as an individual and what I want out of life. I’m not dating, although I have been asked out, because I know I’m not ready for that yet. I do hope that someday I will have a special man in my life.

    It’s really hard to stay in the burning building and it’s really scary to leave the burning building. But the air outside is refreshing, and exactly what we all need.

  • Wow, I am always truly amazed by the narc treatment, even when i think I’m immune. Long story short, I have a former narc boss who i still have to interact with because we are in the same department and she sits about ten feet away, ugh.

    Anyway, this woman treated me like shit when she had authority over me and still uses social activities to do so. Her husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months ago, and subsequently died. We rallied around her, cards, money, support, etc. Trying to be a good person, I participated. Every single time. This morning she brought in a gigantic bag of t-shirts, from Gordon (dead husband) and do you know she gave one to every single person. Except me. The kicker is that I was not surprised. But yet you get that “sting “. Pre chump, I would have thought it was a coincidence but I know that it’s really not. They never miss an opportunity.

  • I think you really have to be targeted by a NARC,/sociopath,/psychopath yourself before you can really understand how they operate. They are rampant in work situations, and surprisingly church and social situations. I was able to spot my narc former boss by comparing her to my former psychopath boss. The psychopath had no redeeming qualities and delighted in spreading misery, discord, and anger. She looked like a sixtyish brownie baking grandmother and was evil to the core. I have never experienced another person like this. If you are familiar with Dennis Rader, the BTK Killer, this lady is who I thought of when I read about him. Yet there are dozens of people, including my own friends, who think she is a wonderful person.. It is an eerie eye opening experience for sure.

    • One thing NARC bosses love to do is bring in food, goodies, etc. Recent narc one loves to bring in the cake for birthday celebrations. She would always bring in a large cake and a pack of cupcakes. This went on for years.

      At one celebration, I got a cupcake and said ” I’m not going to eat mine. I’m taking it to young daughter “. ( It had a princess ring on it or something, and daughter loved cupcakes). I noticed narc boss heard me say that. I told my ex what happened that night and said I bet she quits bringing cupcakes. Lol. Do you know I was right? Those were the last cupcakes this woman ever brought. It’s like I got where I could look inside her mind and predict what she would do. It’s all about trying to make you feel bad. Always.

      • Undermining other people gives them power. Sick fuckers, they are, to like to see people squirm. The best thing we can do is run.

        • Or become the boss, which is what I did. We have a policy in our emp hand book, no disordered clusterbfuckers allowed… well not really but if you are, it is amazing how your position evaporates and poof you are gone.

      • I always found it interesting that my ex would spend a lot of time finding gifts for his employees, but he rarely put much effort into gifts for his wife or family members.

  • When comparing your current situation to future uncertain, scary stuff the first step should be to take a good long, hard, realistic look at your actual current situation. This is incredibly hard to do because cheaters work very hard to make sure we are missing huge chunks of information, it’s a lot of work (sometimes sneaky work that goes against a chump’s nature), and because it hurts.

    Two places to start. If you’re worried about money in the future, are you sure you are clear on your money right now? Read the April 3, 2015 CL blog on Financial Infidelity for clever and creative ways cheaters fool chumps when it comes to money. http://www.chumplady.com/2015/04/financial-infidelity-2/

    Another issue to consider is your health. How’s it been lately? Are you frying your insides trying to keep it together? Stumbling through each day, exhausted from not sleeping? Having headaches that bring you to your knees? No one can figure out what’s wrong with you and you wonder if you will feel like this for the rest of your life?

    How do I know this? Because I DIDN’T do it. And I paid for it many times over. Ignoring it, putting it off, living with it – none of these make it go away. They just make your life disappear.

      • Cognitive effects can also surface. I started to suffer memory loss from all the stress & hypervigilance of living with narc-cheater. 9 months out, it’s still not back to normal (as of yesterday, I still couldn’t find the passports that I moved to a ‘safe place’!), but is on the mend.

        • Tempest, you will heal, so give yourself time as 9 months is not that long. Is it possible to apply for a new passports? Whilst I understand that, that is an added expense you don’t need at least you can then cancel out the existing one(s). I find these days I don’t have music in my home and I was raised on (with) music, being a child of the 50’s!! I am starting to go to live shows to get my fix that way, so I am slowly moving forward in that area but I can no longer concentrate on my cross stitch any longer. I have 2 beautiful ones partially finished and I look at them and I feel that they will never be finished. Cross words are another thing that have gone by the wayside. My brain is still as sharp as ever but it appears that I have closed down the creative side of my brain. They take so much from us but in return I am learning that they also give us much to be grateful for even with all the stress and angst.

          • Maree, it will take time to get the music back, but it does come. I know with me the creative stuff always had to fit into the little bits of time I had between work, housekeeping and raising kids, and in the end when things went pear-shaped I pretty much gave up on even those stolen moments.

            I had to give up my beloved piano when I sold the house and in the months after the move (to a condo) the thought of playing just made me really, really sad. I didn’t think I would ever want to play again. My kids kept nagging me and I finally went out and bought a keyboard, a nice one, and last night sat down and played for the first time in a long time. It was hard – I still don’t know why playing makes me so sad – but I felt so much better this morning.

            Maybe it’s just that after all the trauma and drama and bloody hard work, and after our lives change so radically, cross stitch and puzzles and music and knitting all seem trivial and remind us too much of our past happy times, imaginary or real. Now I’m finally ready to start to reclaim some of the things that give me joy, with X not around to try and ruin it for me. My house will be filled with music again, starting today!

            • My children and I have made the conscious decision to engage in new activities because a lot of the old was so wrapped up in our old life together and yes we still grieve. We have been through a lot and we look at our process as becoming reborn. So while we may return to some things at times we know it’s healthiest to move forward and we are doing that now. I just think it’s part of our healthy grieving process and when our hearts are ready we can revisit some of those old activities again. I guess that is why so many of us can relate to that story of the Phoenix….

          • Thanks, Maree. I did apply for new passports, so that problem is solved. My therapist assured me that the decline in memory and lessened ability to concentrate will come back over time (thankfully, hippocampal cells are the only brain cells we currently know do regenerate in humans!)

      • Cardiac issues, anemia, migraines, arthritis ….. On and on. My hair went white. I needed a night guard to quit grinding my teeth in my sleep. You know what? After DDay and to the present these symptoms of living under constant stress have gone away, except for the tachycardia. That’s life long but exceedingly under control. My friends have told me their spouses and aquaintences want to know my secret: why I glow. Why I look so much better.

        Cheater’s lies and manipulations-ABUSE- affect the betrayed on so many levels. Weird how the stress of it all manifests itself. Our bodies are literally screaming at us to WAKE UP and RUN.

  • I love how CL says that it is better to flip hamburgers than to live with a Cheater. I second that. If there is a Will there is a Way.
    It is so difficult to leave. There is so much stress, and being trapped is a real problem. I have survived only by miracles, but like Tempest said, “You cannot live in a cesspool without being affected.” So, “Give me liberty or Give me Death”. 😉 Patrick Henry

  • CL,
    Thank you for this column today. I just got home after walking out of a six-year job (with 6 months severance pay) because I was able to identify my boss as a malignant narcissist. Same shit, different relationship, but just as potentially damaging as a cheating spouse. I spotted the narc early on, then made my plan calmly — applied for the severance back in January and finally was given it! If I had stayed for the security, it would have had the same bad effect on me as being in a bad marriage.

    This time around, although now unemployed, I have faith that things will work just as well as when I jumped off the divorce cliff. I will execute my plans, and do what’s best for MY HEALTH.

      • What first clued me in to the narc boss was that feeling of always having to walk on eggshells, and the overwhelming instinct that I needed to feed her kibbles to keep from being her victim. Very clever and manipulative, charming, accomplished, but wow…when you get her in a little room alone, the monster within rears its head. I just applied my lessons from chumpdom, exercised patience and resolve. Having made my decision to eventually leave on MY terms, the rest just involved planning and awaiting the opportunity. Sort of like out-narcing them in a way.

        It didnt surprise me that several colleagues said they envied my foresight in applying for severance, wishing they had done the same.

  • I adore this column! This is the one I found the night I discovered the cheating. It was the first thing I read that wasn’t about reconciliation, the first thing I read that told me “you can get out of this horrible situation” and it lead me to many more insightful pieces that affirmed that I was not alone and that I could make the decision to move on without the pick me dance and the wondering how we would stay together. I didn’t have to stay with the POS I could go have a life and enjoy it? Yes!!!!!!! I believe that I will have a life and that I will move on and that when this crap wraps up I will find happiness! “Journey of ME 2015, the trek to meh”

  • My sweet youngest daughter graduated from HS last week and we (me) held a huge sit down home made dinner (60 people) grad party like we always do for such events at our house. I made 25 lbs of bread in the clay oven. I looked down this long table and smiled. There they were, 25 years of people, coming to say congratulations to my daughter, enjoying themselves, being friends and part of her life. As I looked down that table, I wanted to kiss and hug everyone of them, for being there, for being our daughter’s friend and my friend and our family’s friend.

    Dr. Demento was there too. He had invited two people, who quite frankly don’t like him very much but are good people. He is moving to eNVy to be with CFMily (Come Fuck Me) in two weeks and I over heard him saying, that he was having second thoughts. I thought yeah right you fucker… It takes work and love to make friends. It takes making people important to you, it takes loving them and holding their hand when they need help. All skills that he lacks. So I have the pleasure of seeing this community of wonderful people and he had the vague sensation that he was giving up 25 years of life, love, family and community to go and be with a woman who dresses her two rat dogs in elf costumes and has their pictures taken with Santa. Sometimes karma does not come in a bus, it comes on little rat dog elf feet.

    So my wonderful friends here, you will have a happy day like this, with your community, with your family and with your friends. Why? Because without him, your natural love, kindness, empathy, goodness and overall wonderfulness will start to shine through that mud that he covered you with. At first it will shine through the cracks and as it falls away completely, you will glow. You will feel so much happier, safer and more loved than you ever felt with his royal disordered arse.

    • Ringin–Congrats to your daughter! Your home & life is filled with abundance; cheater’s life–not so much.

  • I stayed for so many reason, I was going to save enough money to get a place, I was waiting for him to pay me back, for my truck to be running, for my family to work through their problems, to get proof he really was cheating, I was afraid of being homeless, I thought I couldn’t live without him.
    I stayed until he made the choice for me and i left with my dog, no money, no place to go, my truck barely running, and he had destroyed my business. my family wasn’t talking to me, I thought i would die, he told me to kill myself because no man would ever want me.

    Guess what, I am still broke (but not broken), my dog died, my business died, my truck died, i had 2 heart attacks and almost died. and I have more inner peace than I have ever had in my life. I don’t want a man, I enjoy my life too much to take the chance of some guy fucking it up. I don’t want to cater to someone else’s needs or moods. Maybe some day I will meet someone man worthy of my time but I think we will keep our own places because I am just not into cleaning some other person’s toilet, or toothpaste and whiskers out of the sink. I like my life, don’t fix what ain’t broke and I ain’t broken any more.

  • Belated thanks for the Father’s Day thread. The picture of the two robots fishing was absolutely perfect!

    Truthfully, it felt odd to keep reading in comment after comment such quaint concepts being mentioned positively such as integrity, loyalty, fidelity, hard-working, kind, gentle, great Dad, role model, good guy.

    You can actually get so far down the rabbit-hole that these can almost seem like vaguely insulting characteristics. W made me feel as if these were at best irrelevant and boring, if not outmoded and out of synch with what a man should aspire to. So much neater to be thought of as edgy, hot, bad boy, hip, exciting, etc. etc.

    Right back at you, ladies of CN, who reminded us Dads that there are mighty women out there who value these things.

    Thank you.

    • It’s funny you say that ChumpGuy.. mine told me that what he labeled “chores”.. Ie, cooking, cleaning, taking out trash, childcare even.. those were “responsibilities” and didn’t show love between spouses. This floored me. See, all these years, I thought that keeping a home, taking care of children, working a job, handling finances and providing extra income, doing all the domestic work.. that showed LOVE. I was THERE for my H. I was loyal, solid, dependable. But apparently, those characteristics didn’t matter. What was more important was hot sex, wearing high heels, being “spontaneous”, “passionate”, and “fun”. I didn’t realize I wasn’t fun… maybe I was too busy working, doing laundry, wiping noses and asses to be a lot of fun the last few years… but I thought that’s just how it was. This is adulthood, raising children. It gets easier as they get older. I thought we were a team. But apparently I wasn’t meeting his needs. Not the needs that really mattered. Of course he never told me. Geez, if I had known wasting all the time on clean bathrooms wasn’t appreciated….

      If I had known all I need to do was wear short skirts, high heels and feed his ego… I could have kept his attention… well.. maybe. MOW did all these things well, she has no kids to distract her (and apparently no H now either), she has endless time for kibbles.

      ChumpGuy…. lots of women out there that would value a guy like you. Not all of us want a bad boy.

      • Could be a question of maturity, too. Being fun, sexy and colorful, acting a bit crazy, is okay when you’re 20, not so much when you’re 50. No wanting to party with friends and staying home to vacuum at 20 makes you a boring person, but is rather normal later in life, when parties don’t offer that much novelty anymore and just leave you tired, and you had rather build a future. But some people don’t mature, or they didn’t get laid at 20 and want a revenge (thinking about the cheater who goes to Asia a lot). Anyway, a 20 year-old behavior at 40+ is ugly. People who do not evolve towards more wisdom and responsibility are pathetic. Let them fornicate in a pig stall.

        • I don’t think that ‘not partying with friends’ at ANY age would be considered boring. Its only one step away from being a narc itself. It might be ‘boring’ to people who always need the next hit of ‘OMFG I NEED VALIDATION AND CONSTANT ATTENTION’
          I’ve NEVER been one to go out to parties, especially the parties that 20 year olds prefer – I see it as trashy and isn’t what any person with morals or self respect would stoop to. And this is coming from someone who only days ago graduated from the ’20-something’ age bracket, hah. Quiet nights in are far better.

      • Amazing how many of the same themes we all share. Other than the short skirts and high heels, most of your comments could have been mine, newchumpatl. Thanks for the kind words. As best I can tell, I still enjoy a good time and love the company of my friends. But morphing into a 60 year old club kid and party boy just wasn’t in the cards.

        In any case, it really doesn’t matter. I played the pick me dance for a while, to no avail; the goal posts just kept moving. I’m willing to bet you could have put on the highest heels out there, worn the shortest skirt that wouldn’t get you arrested, and gone 100 shades of grey under a shower, disco ball and strobe light, and his “needs still wouldn’t be met”. It isn’t about us in the end; it’s about their issues.

        For that matter you could look like Kate Upton; contribute Martha Stewart’s bank account, meals and rose garden; provide candlelit champagne dinners nightly in the high heels and short skirt; have the personality of an angel with a great sense of humor; and brag about HIM in front of all your friends. And it STILL wouldn’t be enough.

        In the end, they are who they are, and the cheater and disorder in them will eventually shine through.

        Try to keep smiling and hang in! Thanks for all the other supportive comments, CN.

      • I hear ya, ChumpFromF, again!!!

        He STILL blames me playing Candy Crush too much- that I made him feel unloved…yet, sitting right next to me, he was Facebooking, Instagrammimg, Snap Chatting his OW- RIGHT in front of me, FUCK HIM…

        I know this is just temporary, and that I will for sure find a good man to love and appreciate me, and be gentle, kind, understanding for an Autistic child…

        In the meantime, I am sitting here still playing Candy Crush, working through the process of letting go…fuck him- he’s a pathetic loser, and I have my circle of mighty women that keep me going, and I have ME!!!

    • ChumpDad, I did the same, all those Father’s Day cards, all the sentiment and descriptive words to sum up such an important role– no one thanks their Father for being hot, edgy, wild, irresponsible. What are the things that makes a good father? Hell, what are the things that make a good man? I dare say it is everything you mentioned, integrity, fidelity, hard working, kind, gentle,etc. Those are the fathers who are a blessing to their children and to their wives (as long as the wife is not a disordered and empty POS). My children’s father has completely abandoned them in every way since the divorce, and I so very much wish that I had chosen a better man than that fucktard to breed with, our children most certainly deserved so much more.

      Keep on being quaint, ChumpDad, quaint is cool. There are many women and people and especially your children who will appreciate it into eternity.

      • ChumpDad, quaint, as Kelly so eloquently put it, is as hot as integrity, honesty, and hardworking. And who says we can’t be spontaneous?!? And wild, and edgy. Great marriages have this too!!! Along with shared goals, respect, values, vows, and fidelity.

  • comments spot on, as usual. Just wanted to add that just the other day, sociopath ex texted me saying he makes more money now so would I consider reconciliation? I burst out laughing because the delusion grandeur of most of these losers has no bounds. I wanted to text back that I don’t need it that bad, but I restrained myself and didn’t respond at all.

  • My marriage became an insidious disease that progress to terminal. By the time I caught on that we were sick…it was bleeding out the seams. I tried and tried to resusitate that mother fucker. The divorce was just a means to an end. Not a peaceful death but a way to end the suffering. And then it was done.
    I am not happy about it. I am not sad either. Not sure what I am. Or who for that matter. I am trying to replace the space that he occupied in my life with things that bring me joy. I sit in the grass in the grass listening to crickets on hot evenings. I can hear my foot steps on the wooden floors and my house breath …because there is no TV blaring in the background. I sit and enjoy my daughters face. The petite nose that is mine and the big eyes that are her fathers shade. Her face where our lives merge and the only evidence left that at one time there was love. I take in all these things and much more. I have time to think, reflect and find peace. I need this time. Not sure for how long.
    He tries to penetrate the bubble that I have enveloped myself in. Sorry muchacho,who you are and what we were is dead to me. DNR.

    • All I could think after reading your eloquent description of your marriage dying was “Ebola” (and pictured your X as the disease-addled crazy monkey from The Hot Zone).

      Thank you for reminding us to find the beauty in small pleasures.

  • TheClip, your honesty and candor are appreciated, you grace me by your presence as I am sure you do to all those you love. It’s not an easy journey, just keep moving forward. (((Hugs)))

  • Love this article; surprised I don’t remember it from before.

    But everything you’ve said is so true and I need this reminder today. Not because in the place described here, but to remember how far I’ve come and to just to feel comforted by the fact that there are people like CL who see things the same way I do.

  • I know I’m late to the replies, here. Just wanted to acknowledge that, no, it’s not all roses. Restarting adult life was not all a magical, beautiful adventure. The downsides were there, and severe–less income, reacquiring possessions, re-entering the dating world without the innocence I used to have, having half (or even fewer) of my friends. I’m still formulating a new life plan, given the one I had was stolen from me.

    No, it’s not all happy all the time. If fact, some of my days sucked. I’m farther out from the divorce now (one year since legal finalization, actually), so terrible days are gone. But sad minutes happen. Some wounds never fully heal, or do heal with thick and knotty scars.

    But I have not, for a single day, EVER, thought that I made the wrong decision. I have had milliseconds of weakness, in which I had a fantasy of a spouse transformed into someone she is not. And then those milliseconds were over, and I was back in reality. I respect myself. My friends and family (and significant other) respect me. I have more knowledge about love and personal relationships than most.

    In short, leaving was hard. And some days, I can still be sad. That’s normal. But I know my worth, and it’s far beyond how I was treated. I sacrificed a lot of that worth to stay with a cheater for the months that I did. And I won’t sacrifice more.

  • Thank you, CL!!!! You are so on the money— that’s what I’m going to tell myself next time I get those thoughts and desires to try to reach out to him…thank you, CN for the songs- they are now on my daily “listen-to-this” list!!!!

  • Oh yes, one more thing: I FINALLY blocked STBXH about 4 days ago from my Facebook— he’s had me blocked for a couple of months now— would you believe he’s actually MAD about it?!?!?! SMH…this mother*cker right here…

  • Just been dumped for the second time (Foolish me for returning) by a 63 year old idiot who thinks the grass is greener on the other side. Instead of wanting to be in a fulfilling relationship for love, companionship, travel, adventure, fun and laughter – he wants to make sure he’s exploring all opportunities that come his way. He is a walk leader for a holiday company and meets many single women. In the past month he met and swapped numbers with another woman and he just has to pursue her. “It’s just what I have to do” he says with no thought of me and the relationship that we have been enjoying. So he can just sod off.

  • I had those same feelings of how scary it would be to move on and how would I do it and it was crippling. So, I made a list…literally…of all the scary obstacles. Then, I went down that list and I discredited every item on it, one-by-one. All that is at my blog here: https://operationmermaid.wordpress.com/, under the post titled, “A Well-Informed Decision”.

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