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The Compassion Trap

compassion

“What we want most is only to be held…and told…that everything (everything is a funny thing, is baby milk and Papa’s eyes, is roaring logs on a cold morning, is hoot-owls and the boy who makes you cry after school, is Mama’s long hair, is being afraid, and twisted faces on the bedroom wall)…everything is going to be all right.”
― Truman CapoteOther Voices, Other Rooms

When I was cheated on, one of the many things that surprised me about that trauma, was that I desperately wanted comfort from the very same person who had hurt me.

Isn’t that odd? Can you think of anything else in life where you’d do that? Would you go back to the restaurant that gave you food poisoning? Would you ask a mugger to help you find your wallet? Or invite your IRS auditor to be Facebook friends? And yet, when we’re betrayed — infidelity being one of the most intimate and traumatic kind of betrayals — chumps almost universally seek comfort from their cheater. Who, let’s face it, is usually in serious cake withdrawal and not one bit interested in your pain. In fact your pain is hugely inconvenient and mortifying to them right now (assuming they’re not sociopaths, in which case it’s only inconvenient).

We so desperately want cheaters to show us some compassion, to hold us, and say “everything is going to be all right.” But it doesn’t play out that way, does it? What usually happens is that the cheater wants compassion from the chump. Tell me you’re not going to tell anyone! Tell me you aren’t going to divorce me over this! You must understand that I am grieving too! (Grieving the affair partner.)

Chump Lady often gets taken to task for not being compassionate towards cheaters. My answer to that usually is — there are many other places on the internet that offer compassion to cheaters, and not just compassion, but in other quarters, celebration of their infidelities as sexy and risk taking. My business here is compassion for chumps. But, the argument goes — what if it were you? Can’t you imagine doing something horrible for which you need forgiveness and were being denied?

Sure. I’m not perfect. My husband and other loved ones show mercy on me for my failings — and I have a lot of failings. It’s a beautiful thing to be accepted “warts and all.” But I do not confuse that mercy with unconditional love. That I can do anything, and my family must accept it, and work harder to have me in their circle. Grown up love is conditional love. If I was a drug addict, and I stole from my family, I would expect that they distance themselves from me out of self preservation. As they say in recovery speak “detach with love.” Similarly, if I cheated on my husband, if I were truly remorseful, I would have to understand that I broke our covenant and no one owes me a second chance. My husband is not obliged to stay married to me, or forgive me.

But I see that expectation all the time! From cheaters who act entitled to as many reconciliations as it takes to Get It Right. And from chumps who think they must be the bigger person and eat this shit sandwich. That they must forgive and ask themselves what they did wrong and try harder to win their cheater back.

You can argue that people reconcile out of fear, or crappy financial consequences, or keeping it together for the kids. But I also think mixed up in there is compassion — a great big heart that is trying very hard to love someone who has grievously hurt them. That IS a virtue. A beautiful sacrificial thing.

And it’s that very compassion, chumps, that gets you played.

That may be why, to anyone who hasn’t been chumped, my posts come off to some as angry or unforgiving. In real life, I’m actually Chumpy McChumperston. Pretty trusting and gullible (ask my husband about the rattlesnake vaccination I got talked in to… or any contractor I’ve employed). But I’m not as chumpy as I used to be. I understand now the blues song that goes: “you mistook kindness for weakness/And you walked right over me.”

Cheaters mistake chump kindness for weakness — and they will walk right over you. It’s not that it’s wrong to be compassionate. I don’t want a life in which I never trust anyone again. It’s just that you’re casting your pearls to swine. Recognize that disordered people will use your kindness against you, and your strength and your generosity.

“Remorse” kept me stuck. My ex was operatic in his feigned remorse. It hurt me to see him in such pain. I could not imagine a world in which someone could MAKE THAT UP to play me.  Who could say things like “I swear to you on my father’s grave” or “you know how much I love you and <your son>, I would never do anything to jeopardize our relationship.” But he did say those things, and more, but his actions told a very different story. We meant nothing to him and our pain didn’t register with him one bit.

My husband reports that he got zero “remorse” from his ex. Absolutely none. Just a cold eyed stare. And so it made his path much clearer — he divorced immediately (after 10 days of false R). But I didn’t have that. I feel into the compassion trap. I was afraid of leaving, absolutely. But I also struggled mightily with the thoughts that I had to be a good person and not quit. Not let this person down — even though he had let me down in the most intimate and humiliating of ways.

My willingness to shoulder that unfair burden kept me stuck in that marriage. I should’ve wised up sooner and realized that he saw me as a mark. My sticking by him to him meant he got another chance at cake. The price of admission was some kabuki theater that he was “sorry” and sitting in a shrink’s chair once a week and spewing word salad about Why He Did It. (Never got an answer on that one. Other than once “I like being a narcissist. I like me.”)

The take away from this is NOT don’t show compassion or never trust again. No, it’s that chumps need to choose better. Compassion toward someone who is appropriately humble and acts contrite is very different than compassion for someone who acts entitled to it and does the same dumb shit over and over. Hold your compassion back and watch what they do. If you must love, go ahead and love. But detach out of self preservation. Have compassion for yourself. People with self esteem have conditions to their love. That’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a wise one. Give that big heart of yours to someone who has demonstrated that they deserve it.

This article ran previously. Feel free to comment.

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      • Yes. I swore out loud reading the first part. “FUCK that is absolutely right!”

        I know WHY I did it (sort of) – she was my best friend. She was the person I told everything – hell she WAS my everything – but it is the stupidest thing I did. And I did some REALLY stupid things!

        Her reaction was exactly as you described pretty much (after the ‘Just talk to me! just talk to me!’ cries)…

        What the hell am I doing?

        • I don’t know what you’re doing. I’m doing the same thing. Just this morning, I called him because I had no one else to talk to. I felt like shit before I called and even worse after we hung up. I have friends and family who care about me, and I know that, but they just don’t know. They don’t know how embarrassed I am about how I feel and I can’t talk to them. I feel like he should understand, but he just says all the same shitty shit he says, over and over again. But I keep thinking, maybe the next time we talk it’ll be different, or, I shouldn’t have said that last time. Maybe if I keep talking, it’ll spark something inside his brain, like, “Oh yeah, I should not be shitty and be wonderful again towards this person who loves me.”

          I’ve been reading all the posts and all the responses for weeks now, just trying to convince myself that I need to take control of my own life, and I am better off moving on. My rational mind knows that. But that part of me has no bearing on my emotional outbursts and embarrassing behavior. I thought I’d sign up and share here, since I feel I can’t talk to anyone in real life. Honestly, I feel kind of embarrassed about this post too.

          Now, tell me I’m being an idiot, and I’ll do the same for you.

          • SuperSissy, sounds like this is pretty fresh for you. Have you read the articles archived here at Chumplady? Please don’t be embarrassed! You are just a normal person reacting normally in a crappy situation. Unfortunately the person you once trusted is now untrustworthy and isn’t going to suddenly wake up and be the person you knew! That person is gone! Chump Nation and your friends and family are the people to surround yourself with now. I urge you to read every article Chumplady has here and get her book. You will be okay, it’s just fresh right now! We got your back! Hugs!

            • Supersissy you are not an idiot. Idiotic crap is hard to deal with. We all have are reasons for staying,.hope, kids, money, the perpetrated is our best friend. I have been screwing around with this for over a decade! LOL and hevhas just been screwing around!! Yep total chump…believed alot of BS, learned I am not crazy I was gas lighted almost to death and ya i am a giver he is a taker, match made in heaven! I have some bad days, mainly regretting it took me so long to finally say NO MORE CHANCES!! The cool part is I am pretty damn good with breaking free now. Goals are what keep me grounded. Maybe some small personal goals will help you help yourself. If i am right you have been caught up in all his crap, you havent got caught up in caring about YOU! Remember you are your true best friend!!! Good luck. Stay strong:-)

          • I am such a flake SuperSissy (but knowing is half the battle, right?) – I don’t feel qualified to tell you you’re an idiot…

            It is bizarre, isn’t it? I have been at it for…. 3 years? 4 years? Some days I feel like ‘yay! we made it!’ But I keep hearing a tiny voice, from waaaaaay down deep inside, saying ‘look at who these people REALLY are! STOP!!!! STOP!!!!’

            I sincerely wish you the best.

          • Thanks Roberta, thanks Jobin. I’m gonna read ALL the articles! And be better at living my life! Someday… It’s surprising how support from strangers online is quite helpful.

  • I got caught up in an 18 year false reconciliation. He put on a good show. I spent a boat load of time second guessing him, thinking to myself, “He wouldn’t do that to me again, would he?” And then, alternatively thinking I was the luckiest woman alive to be married to such a great man. But, out of nowhere, he did it again. And it wasn’t that he cheated again that destroyed me, it was that he blamed it on me again. I always drove him to its, you know. That’s the part I can’t wrap my head around.

    • You can’t wrap your head around it because it’s complete bullshit. You didn’t cause him to cheat.. I don’t care if you were the worst wife in the world (and chumps usually are very good partners)… you still didn’t cause it.

      His shitty character caused it.

      • That’s right – you didn’t cause him to cheat. And chumps ARE very good partners. I know I was. Thanks CL for this post – it really hit home with me today.

  • The first sentence says it all. Thanks for summing it up and wow, why the hell did I want comfort from him?
    To prove that I was worth it? To justify my hurt? To prove that he was human? Best advice ever CL: “hold your compassion back and watch what they do”. So true. Once you remove yourself ever so slightly and stop baking cake the cold hard truth will be staring back at you.

  • You are right on target with this one! When I finally grew enough backbone to throw him completely out of the house, he found it completely incomprehensible. After all, I’m so nice and have made allowances for his flaws for so many years. Thanks for the post – I needed to read it this week.

    • I had a similar issue when I kicked mine out too. I had been such a rug for SO long, he too found it “completely incomprehensible”. He had accused ME of affairs with practically everyone to my son. According to his brain, there’s no possible reason why I would or should EVER want to divorce *him*!!

      Interestingly, almost 2 years since he’s been gone – and – has been court-ordered not to contact our son (the order says the only way communication is to start is by OUR SON). Xhole has twisted the court order around to HIS convenience; and, has contacted our kid 4 times (twice via text and when he was blocked, 2 more times via mail) to try to get him to respond. CPS told us that since the litigation was over, the only way they could get re-involved was if my son felt “threatened”. Son doesn’t feel threatened, yet, but sees it as an annoyance for sure. He says, “(Dad’s) oblivious to the truth.” I have been gathering all the evidence and sending it to the police department. One copy looks at me like I’ve got rocks in my head – but the other one totally gets it, so I email all of the stuff to him to keep on file!

      I just don’t know how angry Xhole will get about our son ignoring his communications, so I figure best to keep this all documented.

      Unbelievable these people.

      • Hey, onthehill – what was it that made the court order him not to contact your son? This Tuesday, I’ll be in court trying to have my 15 year-old’s visitation dissolved, and only at her discression until she’s 18. Right now we’re on an emergency restraining order and suspended visitation because of a recent burgalry and assualt & battery charge that he’s created for himself a few weeks ago. (He beat up his soulmate’s NEW soulmate.) I’m just wondering what it took to get the judge to say to these disordered freaks, “No more. You suck. Your child is better off NOT seeing you.”

        • KibbleFree – My ex was emotionally and intellectually (those and financially to me) abusive. Long story short it was witnessed in public. When the school was alerted, they called DCPP (CPS in our state). They took my X to trial. There was a recommendation made to the court by the State Assistant Attorney General that NO contact from my X to my son be allowed, for which the court agreed. When X was found in violation of the abuse law in our state after his trial, the No Contact order was stayed after litigation was complete, and the ruling was referred over to the marital court, should there be any subsequent question of child custody, after our divorce was finalized.

          We never did have an official Restraining Order. Everyone involved (including CPS) thought that an RO would not really do any good. My X is guileful enough to make his harassment vanilla enough (after CPS got involved) that a judge could very well look under his glasses at us like, “…Really??…” So what our CPS caseworker DID say, was to document EVERYTHING that happens and give it to the police. This is just in case he gets angry enough to escalate his behavior into something that is RO worthy.

          See, my X likes to make up his own rules and he would likely laugh at an RO (which really would be Temporary one to start) and make me keep going back to court to reinstitute it. And that’s where the judge would have to, each time, decide if his bullshit was enough to continue it. KWIM?

          Just not worth it for now. I just document everything.

          • This is my x as well. No one else sees the underlying control and implied threats in what he does. I am amazed that someone as unintelligent as he is can be so good at this game he plays. Perhaps mine is not book smart because he spent all of his time in his formative years leaning how to manipulate people?

          • Thanks, onthehill! I can only pray that my judge (who already awarded the restraining order & suspension of visitation) will require extensive therapy before he gets to see her again. Since he believes himself to be without flaw, or wrong about his behavior, that might mean she’ll never be forced to see him again. Just 3 more years of this. I also hope she’ll get to CHOOSE whether she wants to see him or not. (((hugs, girl!)))

            • Kibble- Hugs back at you!!!

              My son was deemed old enough. So, your daughter should be as well. Whether my son sees his father is ENTIRELY in my son’s hands.

              My X saw/sees how he treated my son, also, without flaw.

            • Now there’s an image, an “all you can fit on your plate soul mate buffet!” Funny, I thought that was FaceBook!

          • Hey, Julia, Donna, Roberta! I was equally as shocked to learn that his “Soulmate! My best friend!!” (what he said to me on DDay) would not only dump him after destroying two “marriages,” and only giving it a good 21 mos, but that she would have a new soulmate in her bed in less than two weeks. Sad for her small kids, all these weird guys she lets in their house.

            After the x-douchebag broke into her house (burglary) and beat her new soulmate into a concussion (felony assualt & battery), she did a protective order on him for her and her kids. Hard to process that because I thought it would be forever after they FINALLLY found each other. (puke!!)

            Lame asses. I just want my daughter protected from his chaos and trainwreck life now.

            • KF

              X’s new soulmate climbed into her previous boyfriends window and beat him up and was later arrested for breaking and entering,assault, and a felony drug charge. Then sitting at a bar picks up my X. At that time she was going to court for assaulting a 66 year old man. After being with her less than 6 months she wanted him to have a restraining order falsely placed on me. Who would want that life? I’m laughing into my future.

              • Hey, Donna – it’s just unbelievable that these douchebags really believe that they’re SO f-ing special that they won’t get cheated on by their KNOWN cheating soulmate, or that they’re so special they can just continue with their destruction of everyone around them.

                I wonder now how freaking tight I had the lid on this violent, self-destructive whore-boy?? After 23 years, you’d think I’d at least know what was lying underneath, but nope. Sure hope that ho-worker was worth everything he worked for in his 20s and 30s. After these charges and sentencing go through, and after the guy he beat up sues his ass off, I don’t believe he’ll work in a professional setting again. Especially not with background checks being the norm. Yeah – soulmates. More like blacksoul mates.

  • Another aspect of this is that we weant the cheater to agree with our narrative…we want our reality validated…at least, I did. It is hard to compute that someone you actually loved is so cold-hearted as to betray you in such a way and not really care about they did to you.

    • I did too. I kept expecting him to wake up and see things “logically and clearly”.. but he won’t ever. Because doing that would mean admitting fault and he just can’t do that. It would probably destroy him to come to grips with what he’s done.

      • NewChumpAtl, you sound like me! I kept hoping that something, anything would break through to this man and get him back on track, but each crisis only revealed even worse behavior from he and Schmoopie! It was and still is quite surreal! I was waiting for even a smidgen of concern or compassion from him, but all I got were crickets or a ratcheting up of more abuse! I’m sorry, but the way I feel is that it is their loss to live such an empty and useless life void of f true emotion. Let them enjoy what they tortured good people to accomplish! No one will care about them in the end and they will leave a legacy of nothingness. They just won’t be talked about unless it’s in terms of a cautionary tale to the next idiot who thinks screwing around is a great ideal

    • So true DM. Even I after I left and was still in contact with him, I wanted him to understand things from my perspective. The last email I responded to from him, he said “We just aren’t on the same page anymore for some reason I don’t understand.”

      At first I was so angry about that. Then I realized that was the truest thing the ever (unwittingly) said.. Not only were we not on the same page, we weren’t even in the same book. That’s when I realized that there would never be anything I could do or say to make him see things from my point of view. He was incapable of that and I was wasting (even more) of my time.

      Pretty much the last correspondence between us that didn’t involve the kids and there’s only be two of those in 1.5 years.

    • At some point, you really get it and that in itself is another injury. It’s a shock to the system to realize how ruthlessly shallow and duplicitous people can be. It’s diabolical.

      • So true, Einstein. I still can’t process how someone who professed love and seemed to show care toward me sometimes was as ruthless to me and our marriage. Even during his attempts to reconcile, the mask only slipped a few times fully, but it was enough to finally convince me of the darkness underneath.

  • Beautifully said. So poignant, like it was aimed directly at me. So much of my pain and anxiety has come directly from wanting his comfort and I just couldn’t put all those mixed up emotions into words. You gave voice to that here CL, thank you. I seriously felt a little meh for a minute 🙂

  • I remember my mother told me many years ago that some people mistake kindness for weakness or being stupid and to steer clear of those types of people. The funny thing with my mother as well as myself is we are really nice people till we’re not. Those types of “people” were always shocked, hurt and devastated when we turned on them,they never saw it coming.

    • “we are really nice people till we’re not”.

      Your post could have been written by me KB22. So, so true.

  • On D-day, once my exwife of 25 years threw the grenade in my face that she was leaving me for workmate schmoopie, I drove away from the house to try to clear my Chumped head, but only got about 2 blocks and stopped. I will never forget sitting, broken, in pain and ashamed in that car, and desperately wanting to TELL someone about the trauma that was unfolding!
    Somehow, I could not stop feeling the natural draw to turn to the one person who I had always loved, trusted and bared my soul to.
    The fact that this same person was my betrayer brought such incredible shame and humiliation.
    Instead of comfort, I had to turn around and drive back to face the perpetrator of it all, who was already on the phone to her Downgrade, telling him that the coast was clear.
    …Sociopath Indeed CL.

    • Except I believe sociopaths actually ENJOY the pain they inflict on others. It’s fun for them.

      • I heartily agree with you Chutes. It’s as if they have to make us miserable in order to feel alive and happy! Sickos!

        • Roberta and Chutes

          The compassion for the whore after the hotel erased the lack of compassion he had in our 41 year relationship. Suddenly I heard she wouldn’t like it if he spoke to me. Suddenly he’s been driving by my house and when I see him I flip him off. Yes he gets kibbles. Can’t help myself. Guess the whore is getting boring. Oh well.

      • Pain in others is an indication that cheaters and sociopaths hold power over that person. They feed off that power the way Dracula feeds off blood.

    • That was the difficult part for me, too. This person I had shared my whole adult life with, raised children with, and experienced great accomplishment and loss together, was naturally who I wanted to turn to, for his comfort and mine. Sadly, what I got instead was the blank stare. Of course, there were times he tried to elicit sympathy from me and, at times, I succumbed to my tendency to be his caretaker. For the most part, though, what was difficult for me was understanding that we were no longer a “team.” We were not in it together and he did not have my best intersts at heart. It is now difficult for me to rely on other people for any sort of emotional support, but this site gives me hope that there are trustworthy people out there.

      • I feel the same way, Violet. I’m very protective of myself and don’t really want to depend on anyone else. I feel less connected to others but more connected to myself.

        • Yes, yes, a million times yes. I am less connected with the world in general, and yet more connected with myself than I have ever been.

          I suppose that is good and bad…but I have discovered that I really like me, so I’ll take it.

          • Ditto. It has taken me 63 nearly 64 long years but I do actually like myself now. Albeit too late !!

    • Reminds me about the email that I wrote my ex-wife about how damaged our marriage had become and how much pain she had caused me. She fully ignored the part about the pain and launched into justifying her affair with schmoopie by reiterating how damaged the marriage was, insinuating that it was beyond repair so why even try. Hmm. I guess she was right.

    • Don,you`ve described the anxiety of this trauma perfectly. How can the person we most loved and trusted bring us the most traumatic painful experience ever? This is the part that is soooo hard to deal with rationally and emotionally even after time passes. I told EX once during divorce procedures that I blamed him completely for making me pass through the most horrible feelings I had never experienced that strongly: pain, shame, sadness, desperation, anger, anxiety, betrayal but also rage, revenge, hatred, etc, …I never in a million years would have anticipated that he would be the one to revoke my love for him and turn it into disdain and contempt. What a way to end the best friendship you thought you ever had….

        • Ditto…been 4 years since my d day. Chumpita, you described the feeling perfectly. It is still mind boggling that the man I spent 31 years with could be so evil and cruel to me and our kids. My kids and I are all doing well but there will always be that missing piece in all of our hearts mourning the husband and father we thought we knew. We were a very involved and popular family in our suburb. When I run into someone I haven’t seen in a few years and tell them what he did and that I am now a two year cancer survivor, they are always deeply shocked. It has really been a life lesson for my kids to trust a person’s actions as a barometer of their character, NOT their words…Love is verb! Show me you love me by your behavior toward me. A card or gift once or twice a year for a holiday or birthday is not love. It gets easier but for me the sting of everything he has done will always be there. On a happier note I better step it up and organize my lovely new kitchen that I paid for with my settlement money from the ding dong!

    • Yes, I believe a true sociopath would genuinely enjoy having enough power to hurt someone, but I think they are rarer than the garden variety narc who hurts people and finds the pain they cause a tedious detail that dogs them.

    • Don, I remember having the same exact feeling. A horrible feeling, to be betrayed by the one person you turned to for comfort. He didn’t just do that to me as a lover, he did that to me as a best friend. Those were some devastating and dark days for which there was absolutely no relief.

  • Great article. Handout Boy clearly counts on my kindness and strong desire to live the 10 Commandments, etc. Our false R lasted 5 years and he jumped through every hoop I gave him to prove himself. The problem was it was an act. I’ll never be able to prove that he cheated during the last 2 years. But I don’t really need evidence. Leopards don’t change their spots. I’m going to file for divorce in Oct and I don’t think he will see it coming. It’s not what he’s expecting of me. I need to rid myself permanently of this leech.

  • I tried so many times to reconcile and each and everytime I found out it was simply a ploy by him and his AP to either gather information or get something he wanted from me! I have NO compassion for him or her at this point. I was treated worse than dog dirt on his shoe. He turned his back on me when I needed him more than ever. I had a Cancer diagnosis, I was alone, scared and falling apart! He literally told my kids that they would have to handle it! Well, so much for compassion! Now the tables are turned and he has a Cancer diagnosis and his AP rings the kids phones off the hook. What goes around comes around. Are we of two minds sometimes? Yes, but we figure it this way, it was okay for him to turn his back on me and the kids then so what makes him so special that the kids should run to his side now? He is reaping what he sowed! Not to mention him ignoring his parents for nearly a year then when he did visit he dragged the AP with him knowing full well his Dad refused to meet her or accept her. He goes to leave town with Schmoopie and his Dad suffers a fatal heart attack minutes after they leave! All he was worried about was getting her out of town before the whole family showed up! What a great guy! Compassion…..,,not much!

    • It would appear that schmoopie wants your kids to take him off her hands with all the phone calls. I hope your kids don’t fold to their manipulations.

    • Every time he cheated was when I needed him the most. It was when I was pregnant, buying a home, health problems, and when my mother died. When emotional needs were the highest he screwed strange. It never failed. Yet when he needed me I was always there. What repulsive assholes cheaters are.

      I agree with CL in regards to unconditional love. It’s for children. X was like a child and will not change. I’m doubting affairs last long once the OW puts the conditions on what she expects. The way I see it we get to grow and the stunted spend their lives sifting through the needy whores.

      • Yes, Donna, I got told this week by the IC that the reason he had his affair, was because after 15 years of patient waiting I started making demands with my needs.
        Although I have been told and know he is a narcissist, I still find that shocking.

        • Patsy

          I grew tired of being the one responsible for our future. X wanted control of my money to finance his dreams while he spent his on his addictions. He was only working a few days a week and I said if you want to buy a retirement home then save your own money. He wouldn’t spend money on me for a year, making me pay for my half of everything. Who does this? A cheating asshole who can pay for hotels all year for whores.

          Within 6 months of living with mis piggy he buys a new vehicle and has her rosary beads hanging off the mirror. Guess they found God. Our needs were never in the picture.

        • Patsy: You cut off his narcissistic supply and made him sing for some of his supper. How dare you have needs! Apparently you didn’t get the planet/satellite memo (eye roll).

  • What floors me is how hateful and pissed my X STILL acts toward me after two years post divorce. We have to communicate because we have children together. I am at the point where I can send brief and informative information without any ulterior motive. Still, every single email and text reply from him drips with demands, sarcasm and vitriol. He still has to get in the last word.

    For someone who blew up his own family to follow his bliss, he’s more hateful and angry than ever.

    It feels like the devil temps me every time to respond in kind, but I don’t. It takes everything in my being to not tell him to fuck off.

    Not at meh yet.

    • That’s because his life isn’t as rosy and happy as he thought it would be. Schmoopie (or multiple schmoopies) haven’t filled the void, his activities post family haven’t filled the void.. no matter what he does, the void is still there and since he lacks the self awareness to take responsibility for this.. he has to blame someone.

      The X is the perfect scapegoat.

      He’s not at Meh either.. he is STILL trying to get kibbles from you.

    • C&L…I am glad you mentioned this because I am going through the same experience now that divorce is finalized and it has been a year and a half that we separated after Dday. I thought he would be happier than ever by now because he has all the lovers he wants, I am not there to annoy him and he only has half the responsibilities with the kids. So why is he so mad? Did Schmoopie not turn out to be have a golden vagina? Is his bachelor pad not as cool as he thought it would be? Does he not have anyone to do the million things for him that I used to do?

      But who cares? I am happier than I have ever been…that is what matters to me now! I love the land of Meh…

    • C&L – I know, right? I think this comes from their own narrative that they’ve had to create to justify their cheating. Their narrative about how horrible and abusive we were/are that gave them no alternative than to start fucking others. Sorry, if you can’t tell I’ve not reached Meh yet either!

    • My theory about this is that narcissists believe they should be able to be all powerful. They think the universe owes them this. It’s an affront to their sick, inflated egos that they are not given everything they desire. One of the things they desire is complete domination over every single person in their life. Because, naturally, that is their narcissistic due. They want to have all their wishes fulfilled effortlessly, immediately, and by telepathy, so they don’t even have to bother to open their mouths. There is no clue in their tiny little brains as to what love is, what compassion is, what sharing is, there is only the all encompassing I Want.

      Any concession to anyone is a blow to this premise, and their pride. Selfish to the core, the narcissist believes winning, always and in everything, is their absolute right. Any opposition to their will is intolerable. Their spouse breaking free from narcissistic tyranny is intolerable. Their children growing up and beginning their own lives is intolerable. Anyone leading a happy serene life after kicking their selfish butts to the curb is supremely intolerable.

      Anything they can’t control elicits one emotion in them …..frustrated rage. They may cover it up in all kind of manipulations, but that is the core of what we are dealing with when we thwart a narcissist. That leads them to the natural narcissistic conclusion….revenge. They indulge themselves by being increasingly cruel especially to us. They are going to pay us back in spades for even thinking of obstructing their wishes. They honestly believe they have a right to win, always, and in every way. Anything thing less is a narcissistic injury, which results in frustrated, impotent rage…..and on….and on…The snake swallowing its tail. This is what makes them potentially dangerous. Then they swing into self pity. Of course it is all OUR fault.

      Unfortunately for them, the world is not set up to grant a narcissist their every wish. Again that is all our fault too. It all pisses them off. WE piss them off further by insisting that we matter too.

      That we dare to be happy…. without them….cue the mushroom cloud.

  • This post is right on point and so true! Roberta, so sorry you had to suffer through cancer diagnosis all alone. That had to be rough and thank goodness you somehow got through it. Hugs…

  • Thank you RO. Talk about lack of compassion for me. He also cancelled my health insurance at one point and I wasn’t able to see my doctors. These two unfeeling fucktards literally made every day a torture session including ignoring a court filed request to back off of the divorce action until I was better and he agreed… On paper! But he and she would bother me constantly to move forward! What part of that did they NOT understand? Like I said, they were relentless in hoping for my demise so I have to ask myself, what do I owe this guy? I say, less than nothing! That’s what they gave me! I am fine now, no thanks to them, and I intend to live a full, happy life. They can do as they please! Just leave me out of the drama!

    • Wow Roberta. That is major suffering and stress, which I’m sure did not help your health issues at all. I am so glad to hear you say, “I intend to live a full, happy life.” You are awesome! I am cheering for you!

      • Thanks ChumpB, I delight in creating a new, fun life and living well for ME, but I know it pisses him off to see I don’t need him and his life seems to have taken a sharp downturn! Oh dear, I just don’t give a shit cause he wanted that life sooooo bad!

        • Boy, they really are a match made in hell, aren’t they? Two evil, twisted, toxic narcissists trying to feed off everyone unfortunate enough to have to be around them. Not to mention, each other….until the going gets tough. Then they bail.

          Good for you, to kick them to the curb. It’s not even revenge, it’s just a natural consequence of choosing truly shitty behavior. Treat people badly, they just naturally leave the abusive jerkoff in the dust.

          I’m giving you a standing ovation tonight, Girlfriend, simply because you are putting yourself first and have made up your mind to strive for health and growth.

          Kudos for not spending one second feeling guilty. You ROCK my friend.

    • Wow Roberta our xh must have been separated at birth!! The spawn of satan actually filed the divorce papers a month after my breast cancer surgery and the same week I started chemo. Were separated for 20 months at the time. The ole kick em when their down theory. Then didn’t pay the insurance premium and I couldn’t get my $3000 injection I needed. Wish I’d recorded the call to him about that! Anyway, I am happy you are doing well as am I. It really is eye opening!

      • Magical mamma, Astounding how downright evil they can be, isn’t it? And they act as if they have done nothing wrong! It’s mind boggling!

  • I was doing this too at first, wanting compassion and affection for the very person that did the harm to me, it’s the most painful experience I’ve ever had because I didn’t get it from him, just more pain. Now I’m going to God for comfort and he’s taking away the pain and healing me. 🙂

      • newchumpati and Lyn, I truly feel God’s presence now, and when I fall back into the misery of my thinking I try to remember to ask him to remove it and he does and then I feel this amazing peace come over me. There are just somethings we need to turn over, it’s to much to bare on our own. It’s good to see you two turning to our Father as well, he’ll never let us down. 🙂

    • I dont say it enough but God really did companion with me during the terrible dark days…He held me up – breath by breath on the worst days. I find it sobering that it was God who put an end to the marriage when thenH dropped dead. He had God can work this out between them…it is likely my weakness that compels me to revisit this but I need to find context.

      • Well you know unicornomore, I’m in the AA program, people keep attending the meetings all there life to stay in recovery from their alcoholism, what does it is hearing from newcomers and helping them, it actually helps the one with long sobriety not want to go back to using. That’s how I think CL site works, we tell our stories and support each other here, trying to recover from our abusive relationships, because that’s what they are and then we try to heal ourselves from the damage it did to us so we don’t find ourselves back into the same situation again down the road. I love this site just like I love my AA meetings! Thank you CL for saving lives, that’s what your site really offers to us. 🙂

  • This describes me to a T. I kept expecting compassion from the person I thought was my best friend in the world and that always provided it before. But this time, nothing. Not one shred of compassion, empathy, or even a shred of love for the 20 year relationship. Just dead, nothing.

    Oh he can still show up, make small talk, expect to be fed, laundry to be done, kids to be taken care of.. stuff the useful chumpy newchumpatl does automatically.. stuff he once said “didn’t show him love”.. but he cannot show me any compassion. If I cry, he gets angry. If I get sad, he withdraws, if I ask tough questions, I get the dead eye stare, blameshifting or he just walks away.

    I can’t tell you how long I smoked hopium expecting the guy I married to show back up and resurface, to wake up out of the whore induced fog and realize what he’s done not only to me, but his two young sons, his extended family, his friends. But nothing. He simply has nothing. He doesn’t have the integrity.

    He drug me out for nearly 8 months, eating cake, like your XH ChumpLady, giving me just enough “fake reconciliation” signs to keep me on hopium… just to throw all of my overtures in my face. Ironically, he claimed I didn’t love him enough all these years, but if that were true, would this situation have destroyed me like it has? Would I have kept offering chances if I didn’t love him? I finally figured out he was projecting his feelings on to me.

    He wouldn’t know true love if it bit him in the ass. The whore deserves him and he deserves her. They are both void of human decency. They are the best either of them will ever do. Good riddance! Me, I’ll survive, more importantly my sons will survive, I will not be bitter or be sorry that I have a big heart and a deep appreciation for love and loyalty. There are people who will appreciate these qualities. I will surround myself with such people. Mr. Newchumpatl’s loss.

  • In my case, my ex was already being a big-time jerk, so my first inclination wasn’t to run to him for comfort. But I did fall into the compassion trap. I put myself in his shoes, and figured it was his lack of experience in life….his insecurities….that factored in his piss-poor decision to have an affair. So I was willing to put it behind me and work on our marriage, one of the hardest things I’d ever done. But then he cheated again. And I was out. It’s hard to have compassion for someone who takes your heart and puts it in a blender.

  • “They are both void of human decency. They are the best either of them will ever do.” OMG! No truer words were ever spoken! I agree!

  • My husband told his lawyer I was very “sweet”….this is of course after he took out a trumped up PFA against me, had me escorted off my property by a Sheriff and evicted out of my home. SWEET….yes…I am and was, and he took full advantage of it. I wonder how “sweet” I am now that I have demanded and been awarded by a judge 60% of the assets and retirement, plus alimony. THAT Is SWEET….
    I still remember saying if I am so sweet why is he doing this to me? I was a deer in the headlights. I didn’t see it coming and once I got hit I kept asking HIM….the soul rapist why he did this. Divorce Minister calls adultery soul rape. That is exactly what it is. And who would ask a rapist for comfort?

    • Tracy, congrats on your 60% settlement! Welcome to the winners circle. Now, kick the dust off of your shoes and go be happy! You deserve it! Then sit back and let everyone who knows your EX tell you about his bitter downward spiral. Schmoopies generally don’t “keep” broke, sick “catch, they cast their lines again and again for a bigger, better fish!

    • Tracy

      Sweet indeed on the 60 percent! X wanted my pension after everything he did and got zero. We are in an equitable state and he could have got 50 percent. But alas his entitlement got in the way and his lawyer withdrew because he’s so fucking dumb he told her things that were unethical. I wish I could call her and say thank you. In the end he got what he deserved. My attorney was a powerful and strong woman. Through all her years of experience she stated he had something wrong with him, he was toxic, abusive, and dumb.
      What woman will want an aging narcisist with limited income and no retirement. There are so many red flags he will raise now that I cut off his supply.
      Tracy you rock. Congrats

  • Thanks for reposting this one today!
    It’s exactly what I needed to help explain this situation to some folks who can’t understand why I can’t just talk it out with my abuser.

  • This has been the MOST painful part for me in the aftermath, and one of the main reasons I am holding on to so much anger. But he was never any good at comforting me anyway so why do I still want it so bad? Such a disappointment.
    Thank goodness for my dogs! Dogs are the absolute best for just snuggling and somehow letting you know its all going to be ok.

  • Some of the wanting comfort from these cheaters is that our spouse/partner was often the one person we could confide in and it takes time to break that pattern once we discover the cheating. This was the person with whom you could share your innermost thoughts, talk about what mattered to you and (you thought) vice versa. They too, often seem to depend on you to be there for them. The night before my cheater publically humiliated me by showing up with another woman in tow, I spent hours comforting him because his favorite relative had died. He came to me with tears in his eyes, exhausted, a mess, I sat him down, let him talk, got food in him, sent him off to bed. We are both highly educated enviro outdoor types working in a small, redneck, isolated mountain town. We both were supporting chronically Ill parents from afar and would strategize together about how best to cope. It was he who’d pursued me and I was at first the reluctant one. Zero indication that I was, an unwitting OW (or more accurately, a Second Woman as he wasn’t married) for two years. When the First Woman showed up publicly, in the presence of my colleagues, I walked away with as much dignity as possible. I found out later he was/probably is still a serial cheater, cheated repeatedly while married, and has been diagnosed twice as an extreme narcissist. I did everything right; cut contact as best I could, read everything I could on narcissism, took a year alone to grieve, have tried hard to get out there, train harder to be in good shape, taught myself woodworking skills, expanded my farm to work out my grief. He overlapped this woman with another, ironically my woman friend and colleague, whom he now, four years later, intends to marry. More ironically, it was ME that wound up comforting First Woman who was devastated. All the while he is seeing my friend,he still would want to do stuff together, would ask about my dad, offer to help with stuff in my home as though she didn’t exist. Seeing my sadness or when I’d decline to have anything to do with him, HE would chastise me for my “bad attitude”. Soooo…. Cheater Dude gets to marry whereas cheated upon chick cannot find anyone even remotely suitable, is now completely alone after the demise of my dad, is too old to obtain another teaching job (looked extensively), has a house that’s under water, horribly alone yet hasn’t met anyone even remotely attractive, healthy, in any way compatible and at 55, time is running out. Still saddled with paying off my dads funeral, his bills, maintaining his house as well as my own, so I cannot just quit and leave without trashing my reputation and credit rating and perhaps loosing my retirement savings. Effing trapped. Its going to be a good five years before I can get it all paid off, and outta here. Feel as though it is ME that is being punished for HIS dishonesty. Leaving, doing right, getting wiser, making correct decisions, doesn’t guarantee things get better. As an older, non-family, very independent, skilled chick, I cannot imagine how hard it is for you men/women who did right and left with children to raise. I get why some do not leave and my heart goes out to you all.

    • copper, I’m sorry that you’re struggling. My house is so far underwater I can see Atlantis from my front porch. I’ve been considering walking away and dealing with the consequences in order to get away from the ghosts and memories.

      My ex is the type who never has a problem finding someone to either hook up or be in a relationship with, whereas I go years between dates. Sometimes it’s all I can do to not panic that I’ll be alone for the rest of my life. Then I get back to work on being okay with that idea, whether it happens or not.

      I have a picture on my computer that says “Your ex asking to be friends after breaking up is like… kidnappers asking to “keep in touch” after letting you go.” Yeah, that about sums it up.

    • “Leaving, doing right, getting wiser, making correct decisions, doesn’t guarantee things get better”

      Copper, I have to disagree…You are already better off without the cheater.,,and as you say yourself, luckier than most chumps who also have to deal with the financial challenges of raising children and making up for a devastated family. Look at your freedom as abundance and go out and meet like-minded people, even if just to hang out while you get your mojo back. I am sure that there must be ways to meet people even if you have to drive out somewhere. Or maybe this is an opportunity to save some money to travel somewhere once a year, a place where you`ve always wanted to go…..If you have a goal like that, it will keep you focused on yourself and bring a reward.

      • Chumpita
        Thank you for your comments. Right now, I am trying to pave the way to leave that won’t leave me in poverty and thus alone for good. My dads passing has left me with a good many unanticipated debts. Paying off all unsecured debt. Honing my farming and woodworking skills. Today I put up an electric fence to keep out a resident bear. Upgrading this house as the market for it is as an upscale second/vacation home. Have looked for another academic position for four years, they just don’t want old proffs, not much I can do about that. My experience here has sadly made me loose all desire to teach anyway.Have tried to get transferred to another campus so never need deal with Mr. Narc, nor his Latest Conquest. Am on line but only on environmental and fitness sites as non standard, mixed race chix like me don’t fare well on mainstream sites. Try and meet folk at the race series as I am a serious athlete but Ive found a lot of the guys who are interested and I am attracted to have hidden wives/girlfriends back home. Something about this part of the country seems to incite one heck of a lot of cheating/dishonesty. Guys from the nearest cities won’t come here for a relationship and with my job, it’s pretty hard for me to go there plus I never get sleep due to the noise. I want to travel back home, the far Northern Midwest, and stay there. Preparing for that. Better environmentalism, better morals, accountability, than in the ski and hookup mad mountain states. Abundant water too. May actually import a potential boyfriend from Minnesota. Not sure if something like that would work but at least he’s healthy (at least his photos indicate such) and has good values. I understand my eventual reward is a long, lonely ways off and it’s gonna pretty much suck til then.

    • Cooper

      I will never get why anyone would stay in an anusive relationship especially when they have children.

      I am older than you and I’m also independent. I’m sorry for your loss. I gave up so much being married and now it’s time to do the things you enjoy. I lost all the “cants” when I divorced the asshole. Improving your life may mean letting go of a house under water and moving somewhere you can utilize your skills. Take a chance.

    • “Feel as though it is ME that is being punished for HIS dishonesty.”

      Me too, Copper. You have expressed what so many of us continue to deal with post divorce. It’s another harsh, parting flip off from the cheater. It wasn’t enough to destroy your self-esteem and sense of safety, security and reality. He also left you with an overflowing cesspool to wade through blind from tears. All the while, shithead was already on to his shiny life with his toilet-holed skank.

      Still, I’ve come to the conclusion that being alone for the rest of my life is preferable to being with someone so ice-cold, calculating, selfish and hateful. Save the births of my sons, any other dreams I had for being a couple never did and never would have come true had i stayed married to him. He hated me all along.

      I’ve already mourned the dreams I once had before I married a cheater. The truth is, reality — while these days often difficult and lonely raising three teen boys who have no clue how to become good men — is a far better life than in the nightmare that was our marriage. I’m no longer shackled to a cheater (and all that implies).

      Also, once the cesspool receded, I noticed that the ground was quite solid underneath. My biggest regret is that I didn’t trust my own foundation.

    • I recently told a male friend of mine that “I wish I had been born stupid”.

      I am mid 40’s. In good physical condition. Attractive enough and have a great job. Not a lot of $$$, but I do well enough.

      The dating pool is more like a cess pool.

      Most of the men within a 10 year radius of my age want superficial women and put the emphasis on young, fun, flirty and non committal relationships.

      There are great men out there. They are either happily married or just like me, damaged and afraid to try again. Either way, they are not available, which leaves us middle aged women with the left overs from the catch and release program!

      I shudder to think I could spend the next 40 years alone. But I won’t be the first or last woman to do so.

  • My ordeal was much like Tracy’s husband in that I made my decision to divorce in about 10 days because my ex-wife showed no remorse in her actions. She did play the poor sausage however, trying to spring the compassion trap on me to keep herself in cake. She would say things like:

    “I don’t know how to stop.”

    “I’m a whore.” (Like I’m supposed to say ‘there there, it’s OK. You just made a mistake.’)

    “I admire your moral and good values. I want to die Mike”

    “I don’t know what I want. I need time to sort myself out.” (Really it was to keep cheating without being checked.)

    “Do people who kill themselves go to hell?” (This one was the most repulsive for some reason.)

    Yuk.

    • On D-day I asked my thenH how he could reconcile his actions with his proclaimed Catholic faith and his answer was “Im going to burn in Hell” (said with the steely conviction of a war seasoned Marine). Not sure if that was maybe the pity channel of narc-tv.

          • My mom had BPD and when I was an adolescent, she said she was going to hang herself from the Chesapeake Bay bridge using a rope that was 1 foot shorter than the distance to the water…mainly because I was a bad kid. Odd though, I was just a normal kid. She made sure I knew if she and dad ever D that she didnt want custody of me. They are still married to this day…I have no idea why he puts up with her

      • My ex, a self-proclaimed “good Christian,” solved that little problem by forgiving HIMSELF for all the adultery, and then proudly proclaiming that Jesus had forgiven him as well.

        • Yeah! My EX’s whore, whose Mother is supposedly a pastor, told me in an e-mail that God has forgiven them each and everytime they knocked boots! Really? Who told her that? Does her Mother the good pastor have a “church” that involves a tent and a tamborine with a “Bible” she rewrote herself? This was written to me Thanksgiving of 2013 when they blew up a family Thanksgiving at my daughters house and my EX was describing their love making in gross detail, positions and all, to my adult children and anyone who would listen! Oh what “Twu wuv”! Everyone was devastated and he was relegated to my sons basement until we left! It was special I tell ya! And people wonder why I don’t give a shit about his alledged pancreatic cancer! I call it poetic justice!

          • Roberta

            There comes a day in the the lying cheaters life when they have to face themselves. That goes for both of them. This is why my boundaries stand firm daily. I’m shifting toward indifference because how he lives or dies really is no concern to me. When we spend our life with someone who displayed this indifference toward us given their actions it is by far the most injurious of crimes against our soul. My feeling is that even in his dying your X and his disordered OW will continue to manipulate and use power and control to further hurt you and your children. I say this because they went out if their way to cause harm and were sadistic in their behavior toward you.
            Please protect yourself and keep your boundaries high. Now more than ever remove yourself from whatever plays out and resist the temptation to know any of the details. Don’t waste a minute engaging or thinking about what’s going in in their lives. Not your problem. Don’t care. This will keep you safe from further abuse. Take care of you. You are a survivor and mighty.

          • Uh…uh….I am without words, Roberta.

            Wrong turkey on the table, that fucker should have been there with stuffing up his ass…

              • Thanx to all you guys! Yes, I believe he is mentally ill at this point in time and don’t mention turkey on the table because I suddenly have visions of carving it! Oh how I wish he hadn’t done what he did at a family function, but my kids let him know in aces that they were NEVER going to stand for his nonsense with his HO! He is on his own now no matter what happens. Me? I’m closer to Meh than ever. I find their antics quite pitiful and mildly amusing because they really believed they were so smart and look where it got them, absolutely no where! The bloom is off the rose, the romance is over and now they are left with the gritty task of dealing with a horrible Cancer diagnosis. I warned him early on in his affair that “real life” was going to crash into the sack with them one day! I just never imagined it would be this quick!

    • “Do people who kill themselves go to hell?” (This one was the most repulsive for some reason)
      This is disgusting, because once again, they are trying to take advantage of us. It is heart-wrenching to have your spouse threaten to kill themselves, the ultimate in selfishness. Especially if you have kids.
      And, it’s your cue to Pick Me dance like never before! Beg and plead for them to stay with you!
      My therapist said it’s an unfair manipulation, and try to ignore it, and hope they go get help, hardest thing I’ve had to do.
      And then, you know what he did? Dropped it, and pretended it was some kind of joke. Ha Ha, very funny

    • I got “I want to be a better man for you” hundreds of time. He never did become a better man but when I cut off cake he left because he didn’t want to put up with my crap anymore.

  • I’ve heard stories where an child that’s been abused by it’s mother, will cry for that same mother to come and comfort him. I think it’s just what happens when the people you have deep attachments to hurt you. Your brain has trouble integrating that the same person is capable of doing both things.

    My compassion was definitely used to manipulate me in the end. My husband was sobbing and crying for weeks in a way I’d never seen him, in fact I’d hardly seen him shed a tear in 36 years! His behavior was so strange I thought he had a brain tumor. I was desperate for him to go to the doctor but he refused. I even called his mom and asked her to talk to him about going to the doctor, still he refused. (He looked like hell and had lost about 20 lb from some weird herbal tea OW was giving him for weight loss). All this was going on when he said he no longer loved me and wanted out of our marriage, but before I knew the true extent of his relationship with his coworker. To me him saying he wanted out of our marriage seemed to come from out of the blue because he’d never once said he was unhappy. He’d never said “Let’s go to marriage counseling.”

    At one point during this phase he blurted out in the most pitiful voice “OK, so I’m a BAD PERSON!” The way he said it was so gut wrenching that I immediately started trying to convince him that he was a GOOD person. Of course at the time I didn’t know the true extent of what was going on in his life. I’m sure I’ll never know everything, but I know enough.

    Sometimes I wish I could have that scene back. This time I envision him sobbing and saying, “OK, so I’m a BAD PERSON!” and I answer, “Yes, you are.”

    • Lyn, my Ex would pull that line out too! Fed up with him I finally told him, “yes, you are a BAD person!” It’s just a ploy for sympathy kibbles!

      • Lyn and Roberta, I too received that line when he came home one weekend, from who knows where. The kids and I were out in the backyard playing and I had NO CLUE to what he talking about. I said “no, you’re a good person” thinking he was depressed or something and trying to cheer him up. If only I knew then.

    • Yes, the analogy of an abused child seeking comfort from an abusive parent is very fitting here…I thought the same thing.

      DeadH was too much of a prideful coward to ever admit to me what he actually did (he denied ever having sex with the main OW but I learned after he died that he was a fucking serial cheater) butone day he yelled at me “I have failed at everything I have ever tired to do”. At the time I tried to reassure him, but I have come to see that it was his grand confession…his way of telling me that he had betrayed me when he was too scared to say it in any other way. Oddly enough, he was right, he did fail.

  • I also feel that these bottom feeders are not worth one more minute of our time! They squandered any good will we may have shown for them when it could have counted! They have no discernment between good and evil, just what they want what they want, like two year olds! To Hell with anyone else! Let them live in quiet, isolated misery together, they CHOSE that and created that sort of animosity. What did they expect would be the result of such cold blooded tactics? And they do get nastier even though they seem to have gotten what they want. It pisses them off to no end to know we are living a good life and we can actually sleep at night knowing we did everything we could and they rejected us! I wish them no harm, but I wish them no good either!

  • “I will not be bitter or be sorry that I have a big heart and a deep appreciation for love and loyalty”

    You just gave me an idea for another possible ‘theory’ about them.

    I think the majority of us not only have compassion, but we LIKE that we have compassion.

    My late husband (narc) couldn’t seem to understand how I could have all these ‘flaws’ and ‘weaknesses’ and still LIKE myself.

    Possibly the narc/cheater doesn’t like us because WE HAVE SOMETHING THAT THEY LACK.

    Just a thought.

    • Meh, more often than not, it’s about how useful you are to them. They like what you can provide, and if you’re angry and hurt or they have a replacement lined up, your value approaches zero.

    • “My late husband (narc) couldn’t seem to understand how I could have all these ‘flaws’ and ‘weaknesses’ and still LIKE myself.”

      YES YES YES YES YES a thousand times yes.

      My late husband swung widely between a grandiose delusional self-perception of perfection which would be violently violated by reality (when he would make a mistake) whereupon he flung himself into deep dark self loathing and narc rage ensued. He seemed to consider himself as either a god or a monster.

      I, on the other hand consider myself a goofy flawed person who is basically decent and does ok and is a good gal. I think he was endlessly perplexed by my capacity to be comfortable with my own flaws.

  • I think you are onto something Gypsy57. I think they know deep down inside that they don’t really deserve us so they go find some nasty, self centered downgrade to be with! Water seeks it’s own level.

    • My ex suffered no such belief. She was pretty sure she deserved whatever she wanted. The fact that reality didn’t comply was a constant source of disruption and irritation.

    • I had a friend tell me this early on.. that the hobag was as good as my STBX would ever do. A shallow, dimwitted ho with no integrity, decency or morals. A decent woman wouldn’t entangle herself with a married man, or even a man who is in the MIDDLE of divorce. No intelligent woman would do this. Women (and men) who respect themselves and relationships wouldn’t entangle themselves with someone still attached to a family!!!

      For whatever reason, that is where he is right now. He wasn’t always that way.. because I lived with/loved him for two decades.. but right now, he’s in a place where that POS Ho is worth his family. Breaking up the family is WORTH it to him, and only him. Our feelings matter not.

      No amount of conversation or talk will change that. No amount of begging from his kids, begging from me, talk from relatives/friends/counselors. It has to change from within him and it might not ever, or it may.. months/years/decades from now. When it does, I’ll be long gone. It’s a tragedy. A real tragedy.

      • It is a tragedy, but they will have to live with what they did! I can’t imagine having to live out my days knowing I had destroyed everything good in my life. To me that would be Hell on Earth, but to a cheater it is just another day! It’s not our problem to deal with anymore. Save your breath for better more loving things! Don’t waste it on thick-headed, selfish sub-humans! It’s a pure waste of good energy that could be used rebuilding a better life. They CHOSE that shitty path, let them walk it!

        • Thanks Roberta. I have young children and that’s the real shit sandwich of it. So I get to live this hell for years to come. Who leaves little kids? I just can’t imagine it.

          • Who leaves little kids? Who leaves their spouse when they have Cancer then cancels the health insurance? Who turns their back on their aging parents, then tries to shove a whore down their throats? Who lies, deceives and just doesn’t give a shit? Really, really screwed up assholes, that’s who! It sucks but now we know who they really are! Do you really WANT someone so blatantly selfish around you or your kids? I don’t! Cut him loose and save yourself and your kids! He has absolutely NO redeeming qualities! Let the OW claim the “prize!”

            • Selfish assholes do that…and really good hopeful people (who try to see the best in people) resist seeing it even when this reality is right in front of them…most of us did that.

            • Roberta, you are a great example to me and so much closer to acceptance. Acceptance is hard for all of the reasons everyone has already stated, primarily because we believed for so long that they cared. To accept that they probably never cared or loved us is the process I am trying achieve everyday. Yes, I want to say let OW have the prize and mean it!

              • ChumpB, it takes time to get to this point. I also have been through some pretty unusual things during this stressful time that generally don’t happen to everyone. His behavior and reaction to these horrific things have helped to propel my acceptance, but I am still not totally to meh yet and I have my moments. Don’t try to push these feelings down though. It’s awful, but necessary to arrive at a place in your own mind where you are comfortable with your situation. It does suck till you get there, but it will happen, I promise! There is no straight line to our new “normal” or a one size fits all solution, but it WILL happen for you?!

              • ChumpB

                Acceptance is by far the most difficult aspect when someone we knew and loved for so long displays actions we can’t for the life of us understand. There is NO logic yiu can apply. The best way I found to deal with this was to recognize what mattered to me never really mattered to him. Cheating is a selfish act.
                What I accepted wasn’t love from him rather disrespect. Instead if embracing forgiveness he continued. Acceptance is knowing yourself and setting up boundaries on what you expect from a partner. Acceptance is knowing that no matter how much you love them, you deserve better.

  • Yes to all of this. I remember literally grabbing his arm and leaning into him seeking solace and having him tell me not to. Fucker.

    I realized that whenever I saw an infidelity scenario on tv/movie…the confrontation always resulted in the betrayer saying “I love you , Im sorry and I will never do this again!”…I really expected that. What I got was a mean, blaming entitled asshole who said “I wont apologize for falling in love”.

    Im now really mad at myself for sticking around for the wreckonciliation after the extent of his cruel selfish actions.

    He repeatedly said to me “you want a guarantee and life doesnt give guarantees” (not sure where he got this) BUT in a way he was right. In what other circumstance do we collect in a church and declare vows and commitments in front of people and establish covenants like we do in marriage? Getting married is the closest thing that humans have to “guaranteeing” a commitment between people.

    When he decided to reconcile, he went from offering me ZERO reassurances to quickly fishing for assurances from me regularly. It was so sick and perverse and selfish.

    I got married this past saturday to the best man that I know. I feel immensely blessed to have found such a good partner. He was chumped and dumped 14 years ago but he is too nice and gracious to even see it that way, he nicely tells people that she simply didnt like being a military wife. That was true but she also didn’t like being trustworthy, committed, hard working or fair – but he doesn’t tell people any of that.

    anyhoo… it sounds kind of hippyish but we wrote our own vows…likely very influenced by the lives weve led and brokenness weve suffered.

    “I promise before God that I will be faithful to you & honest with you;

    I will respect, trust, help, and care for you. I will love you and be devoted to you.

    I will forgive you as we have been forgiven; I will share my life with you through the best and the worst of what is to come as long as we live. ”

    A fellow chump questioned my including the thing about “forgiving” fearing that it sounded like an invitation to cheat. I chose to include that because my parents, my deadspouse and his xw were/are all very harsh and unforgiving people and I want to live in a loving place where we forgive each others normal foibles and blunders – this does not include fucking the mailman. I wanted to include the word “devoted” because it describes to me the commitment to the relationship even in the moments when the feeling of love seems too far away to help in the moment. I will choose to be devoted even when I dont feel the pixie-dust of ooey gooey love.

    • He repeatedly said to me “you want a guarantee and life doesnt give guarantees”

      Oh yeah. Passive and blame-shifting. There you go: Life didn’t enter into a committed partnership with you. He did, and there are conditions on partnerships, but there he is telling you that he’s not going to accept such conditions, and it’s life’s fault really.

      Perfect example. Textbook really.

      • Wow, you are right…I didnt see it all that clearly…thanks for sharpening my view of that issue.

      • Mine said the same thing.. life has no guarantees and feelings aren’t “black and white but gray”. Yeah, marriage vows aren’t gray. Asshole.

        AWESOME for you and your New H. Congrats.

        • Thanks : ) I forgot all their talk about “feelings” …they seems to think that “feelings” justify any behaviors….well, please know that I have had “feelings” that I want to smack the crap out of people who annoy me, steal the Mona Lisa and/or have sex with all the LA Lakers but I do none of these things as they are wrong…a temporary “feeling” is very often not a good guide in deciding on ones actions.

    • Wow, beautiful vows! Blessings on your marriage – sounds like you’ve both risen like phoenixes out of the ashes to create something wonderful together.

      • thanks, we have risen. I find it beyond ironic that his XW & my lateH seemed very driven to have riches…they wanted to be envied. I simply wanted a nice H and hoped to live in comfortable middle class.

        His XW has some family money to fall back on but its finite…in the end she was single for years and later married a (seemingly decent) working class guy who will never be able to give her the kind of life she would have had if she had stayed with my now H. Bad call. My H died struggling to prove his worth in business ignoring the one person who loved him regardless of his income. Sad, really.

        • Unicornnomore, I understand what you meant about in most movies they portray remorse. I was hoping that when I explained to my ex that what he was doing was making a joke out of our life together, like Karen does to Harry in Love Actually, that he would see how devastating his affair was on our family unit. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t22jjX0–u4

          That would take compassion and empathy and ethics and morals and an ability to connect with others on an intimate level. It would take a real man or woman to feel the true remorse. I was so hoping for the real man to snap out of it. Showing him compassion made it easier for him to continue to be the NPD person he has become. I am SOOOO happy to hear that you have met the true, healthy love of your life! May you find much honest love, support, validation and reality within your marriage!! xo

  • That was me too. When you’re hurting, when something is going wrong in your life, when something awful has happened to you, it’s natural to seek comfort in the arms of your partner, where you’ve always felt safe before. That it’s the partner who caused the pain doesn’t erase however many years of habit of turning to them for that safe harbour.

    And yes, then they go and have an emotional breakdown now that they’ve been caught and their perfect double life is crumbling, and that same habit of providing comfort to THEM is hard to overcome too.

  • Unicornnomore, Congratulations to you and your Groom! I’m thrilled for you and I found your vows to be beautiful! I wish you both the best life together has to offer!

  • Whoa….such good timing for this post. I get so caught up in wanting was-band to reach out to me. Hold me (really?). After 27 years, this was the person that I came home to for comfort. He was usually there for me. Not great at the comforting/snuggling. So now I have been chumped…..and I look to be consoled by the cheater. Ugh! A text or a phone call makes me feel like he is still thinking of me. I actually makes me feel less crappy because I am on his mind. It also gives me an opportunity to reject him back. If he does not reach out….I lose that opportunity.

    I really like your closing statement. People with self-esteems have conditions to their love. I brought up the question about unconditional love at a party this last weekend. One person said…..how do you define unconditional love? Is it that a person will always “be there for you”…..”have your back”? I thought this was an interesting definition. Anyone want to song in on this??

    • IMHO, there is no such thing as unconditional love. The closest we get is a parent’s love for a child, second closest is what our pets give us. But all of us could think of scenarios that would challenge even a parent’s love, or a dog’s love for its owner.

      Love is a human emotion that always comes with conditions. If that love is chipped away at little by little through criticism and coldness and lack of empathy, and then an axe is taken to that love through betrayal, it disappears or is fatally wounded. Love is always a contract; unfortunately some people donate more to the contract but take less out, others, like cheaters and the emotionally abusive, take more than they give. Eventually, the imbalance affects the emotions of the put-upon partner. Just my tuppence.

  • Afaboulder, the one and only time I want to be “on his mind” is the first of the month when he pays his alimony! Otherwise, I’d rather he play with himself and leave me alone! His dick always was his best friend and first priority.

  • I saw a video on the news a few years ago of a man abusing a 2 year old in a convenient store. The surveillance cameras caught him hitting the child and then purposely hitting him with the cooler door and knocking him down. Of course the boy was screaming and then the man stomped on his little hand. He was a very large man and was wearing work boots. It was horrifying. But the saddest part was that the little boy got up and just followed after the man. He didn’t know what else to do. This was his ‘person’. The grown up he depended on. He knew nothing else.

    I think it’s only natural for us to cling to our ‘person’. After all they are supposed to be your partner, your best friend, your confidante. It’s hard to turn that off. The betrayal leaves you as shocked and bewildered as that little boy. (Btw, the man, who was his mother’s boyfriend, was caught and prosecuted.)

    As for compassion for the cheater, where was their compassion when they were supposedly enduring all of our alleged flaws that caused them to cheat? They wouldn’t say ” I feel neglected by you, so I’ve booked you on a golf weekend away without me” or “I resent your muffin top. Here’s a box of donuts.” So why should we say “you have ripped my heart to shreds and destroyed our family. Here’s some more love.” I think any initial compassion we feel comes from our desperate attempt to keep the cornerstone of our lives from crumbling.

  • You at your most vulnerable when you sleep. To sleep even in the same room as someone you need to trust. We were all friends, and I can think of times when we would all be in the same roof over all of our heads, sleeping. I can’t decide sometimes if I am more pissed at shmoopie for cheating, or for the dillweed that tried to be my friend during this. I think it works in shmoopie’s favor currently, if I stop being upset at him, I don’t think she’s strong enough to feel my full wrath.
    The light I see, is a sign that says Meh. Had to talk to her last night, separation agreement shit, in and out in less than 20 minutes. Slight undertones of anger were felt, but ghost of meh’s future was in the air. Thank you Chump Nation.

    • My STBX’s whore was also a “friend”.. who needs enemies with friends like this.

      You are getting there Laughing squirrel.

  • “everything is going to be all right.”
    ― Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

    CL’s 1st sentence. “When I was cheated on, one of the many things that surprised me about that trauma, was that I desperately wanted comfort from the very same person who had hurt me”.

    These 2 pieces sent shivers down my spine. When my ex pushed me out my sister invited him and our daughter down to her home. She never invited me by the way!! Anyhow, when I was speaking with my sister, I said that I just wanted my ex to put his arms around me and tell me that everything with by all right. In a very nasty way she stated, “Maree it ain’t going to happen”. I wondered to myself how she had such insight and why she invited my ex and daughter and not me to her home. Suffice to say whilst I love my sister, I do believe in some ways she is quietly pleased that I have been dealt this awful blow.

    You live and you learn who really does have your back when this terrible ordeal happens to you.

    • Sorry to say this Maree, but maybe your sister also had/has an affair with your Ex….I can`t see any other reason that your sister would not be on your side and have empathy for you…

      • Hi Sara, no my sister has been married happily for more than 40 odd years to a great bloke. I come from what can only be described as a complicated and nasty family. My sister and I have discussed many things since but she still claims to be surprised by my ex and his behaviours and actions as he seems too nice. He is still fooling people!! Also, the ex is only interested in teen and 20 something Asian girls. He is living with one who is 23 with 2 little boys in Cambodia as we speak. I want to vomit.

    • Marlee,mso sorry your sister did this. I’m working through FOO narcissistic abuse issues in therapy and it has been suggested that my eldest sister is a narc. I never realized it! But her cruelty at my most vulnerable times is so obvious now. Could this be the case with your sister? Hugs to you. Stay strong

      • It was definitely the case with my sister. She cheated on my her live in boyfriend of 10 years and moved her new Schmoopie into their home while her ex still lived there holding on to his love for her and still financially supporting them both (and the new POS) for a couple years until he simply had enough. He used to tell me that he would never stop loving her (even after she moved her lover into their home and her bed and was “oh I am in love with POS and X never meant anything to me other than being my good “friend”). What a cluster. He held on though for about five years. Still cared for her. Still hoping she would recognize his worth. The minute he moved out was when her new POS moved out too. POS Schmoopie wasn’t bringing in the money. She was with someone new a week later. Living with him inside a month. Dysfunction at its finest. Funny thing she was really upset with my ex but could not see how her same choices hurt X and impacted her relationship with me.

  • Of all your wonderful, insightful and compassionate posts CL – this is the one that hit me square in the solar plexus. Thank you 🙂

  • Carmella1722, I see your point. I agree that we are trying to keep the cornerstone of our life from crumbling. And I had to ask myself if he was really worth fighting for and what a future would look like with him. As an adult we have a far greater advantage and more options than that small child and thank Heaven! My problem was I just wanted the dream I had held onto for so long. I finally came to the realization that my “dream” was just that! And any future with him was always going to be tainted by his AP and I wasn’t going to compete with a fantasy of what could have been for him! It could NOT work. So I filed for divorce and kicked him out. Did it hurt and was it hard? Hell YES! But then MY options were wide open. His options are now limited. I can still create a new, wonderful dream, but he is stuck with his nightmare choice! Sucks to be him! Careful what you want, you may just get it!

  • I know I spent a long time looking for compassion from my cheating ex. It should have been obvious right from the start that she was more interested in herself but she put on enough of a show that I didn’t want to believe it.
    But straight away it was about her – yes she felt terrible for what she did to me but felt equally as bad about what the AP did to her – used her and then dumped her. That was my que to tell her she wasn’t a whore like the AP said (she was) and not a bad person (she is).
    I was sure that if I kept at it and tried to be the bigger person she would come around. But she was due to deploy (we are both in the air force) so she insisted that she go on a pre deployment course straight after D Day in another city, and go on the deployment (a few weeks after D Day). I was meant to realise how important the deployment was to her (she’d been kicked off the last one for incompetence and causing problems in the workplace), support her through it etc. If I didn’t support her through the deployment then she would hold it against me and we were through.
    I look back now with embarrassment but it’s amazing what you’ll agree to when your world is falling apart…

  • I think that the reason chumps turn to the cheater is that in many cases they have been isolated by the cheater themselves. Cheating is abuse, and abusers love to isolate the victim to abuse them more. For example, ex made sure I was busy working, cooking, cleaning, taking care of preschooler so I had no free time. I lost touch with most people, He was really about all I had.

    • notJuliet, I think this is true. I spent my whole marriage hundreds of miles away from family and friends because I supported my ex’s career. My family came first and we were initially very happy even as isolated as we were. After he had seniority in his job we moved back home to be near family (we had three young children then 3,5,7). A year and a half there I was employed, hanging out with other families raising children, coaching with a good friend, and just blossoming. He however was not. So he solicited a transfer back, and after it was a done deal he told me we were moving back. I think he liked the anonymity we had in a “new” town far away from people we knew, and in a job that required me to be a little distant with the community. I think he liked to be my whole world but, looking back, I suspect I was not the only one in his life. He set himself up. I was busy raising our children, trying to be content out of the spotlight. I think Chumps are required to dim down. We can’t help our gifts though so when my kids and I started to get noticed I believe it really bothered him. He was competitive in unhealthy ways.

      • Amazing how almost all of our experiences have similar elements. I was doing well and thriving, but he was miserable. So he moved back to where he was doing well in his career, I was to follow with the children after the lease was finished. I was pregnant at the time when he left to get his old job back. Two weeks after I gave birth to our fourth son, I got ILYBINILWY, and “I’ve been seeing someone else, but I’d still very much like for you to move out here with the boys.” Stupid me doped up on hopium went out there to serve up cake and do the pick me dance like a disco queen on the last night of studio 54. Almost there, this marriage reaches 10 years in November.

        • I also felt and kinda of still feel the weird competitiveness. I left my career to run all over the planet in support of his. When we began to have kids, it was in a place I knew no one. I didn’t know the language or culture.

          Within a year of the four year assignment, I was fluent, established friendships with adults and the store vendors and post office workers knew me by name. The children had become bilingual and I was considered a local resource for other American expats in the area. I JUST found out that this really pissed him off and he was jealous that I had become so immersed.

          He’s still competing with me. I have always been in an active, invested relationship with my kids. Something he never experienced growing up. He has always been passive in interacting with them. He has recently taken over some of the activities I traditionally do with the kids. In these instances, I back off and let him go. The only ones who really profit are the kids, and this isn’t a middle school rivalry. His emotional immaturity is ridiculous. If his “new found” interests benefits my kids, I’m ok with it.

          Actually when I think about the 20+yrs we have been together, there is not one thing he has brought INTO the relationship except for an STD. Everything we did as a couple and as a family was organized by me, or I invited him along with my friends.

          So….makes me wonder if we all were in relationships with soul sucking vampires?

    • Particularly if yours is the kind who gets canned every couple years (according to him his bosses are always jerks), so you have had to move so many times you no longer bother trying to create or maintain close friendships or even ties to your own family.

  • The statement on ‘Conditional Love’ struck a note with me. My old Cheaterpants came up with this statement to me in a letter, after I discovered his affair with Schmoopie:

    “In my message to you I merely said that I have been happy this last three months. Partly because I have come to accept your priorities (that our relationship has conditions) and partly because I have chosen to enjoy my life day to day as best I can.”

    It struck me at the time, that the Schmoopie, who was a high school English teacher who did not believe in the miracle of Spell Check, the sanctity of marriage or family stability for children, was the one telling Cheaterpants that she loved him “Unconditionally, unlike his wife” who was making ‘unfair demands’ on poor Mr. Cheaterpants. I called Bullshit on Cheaterpants telling him that even Miss Schmoopie Schmoop had ‘conditions’, he just hadn’t identified them yet…..

    I was a chump, I took him back…poor Cheaterpants was trying to make me so angry I’d pull the plug on the marriage. In a perverse way I won the prize of a man who wanted to run off with his Schmoopie, but didn’t have the balls, the honesty or the integrity to do the dirty work himself. When his plan for me to do the dirty work failed, he just pouted for the next 7 years. That’s a prize no one wants.

    • I called Bullshit on Cheaterpants telling him that even Miss Schmoopie Schmoop had ‘conditions’, he just hadn’t identified them yet…..

      LOL!!!!!! That is the truest statement ever. Schmoopies are never the pushovers and kibble dispensers in real life as they are in the fantasy affairs. Literally the streets are littered with men who have learned this lesson the hard way, and are on to schmoopie #2, 3,4, 5, etc and living miserable pathetic lives.

    • “I was a chump, I took him back…poor Cheaterpants was trying to make me so angry I’d pull the plug on the marriage. In a perverse way I won the prize of a man who wanted to run off with his Schmoopie, but didn’t have the balls, the honesty or the integrity to do the dirty work himself. When his plan for me to do the dirty work failed, he just pouted for the next 7 years. That’s a prize no one wants.”

      OMG…my life word for word …he was assbastard mean to try to get me to throw him out but I refused and he was too indecisive to do it himself so he pouted for 7 years. I never got the whole full story…the whys of him not leaving for his twu wuv are a mystery to me to this day.

      He would stomp around our house whining (like a 6 year old who had to pee on a car trip) that he didnt like living here (we had to stay secondary to logistics he absolutely f’ed up when he was crazy). After 7 years of whining, he died.

      I wish I had thrown him out at BD

      • Unicornomore: I can feel your pain…

        I asked Cheaterpants point blank if his actions were part of an exit strategy (before the full reality of his betrayal was clear) and he vehemently denied that the exit was what he was looking for….I provided the words that he could not say, and for some weird reason he couldn’t say, “yes, I don’t want to be married to you, I want to be with my own true Schmoop”

        It boggles the mind….so Chump me took him at his word, not his behaviors…. He wrote some really weird letters where he spun his fantasy of living with schmoopie in another city, enjoying her company (read: humping like gerbils) sending me money for the support of our family and coming to visit on occasion and eventually, maybe, ‘reuniting’ with me. When I told him that I wasn’t signing on for THAT fairy tale, and he had to shelve schmoopie schmoop, the long pout began. He stayed late at work and made phone calls to schmoop, probably getting a sidefuck in from time to time, and composed Luv poems to her, chronicling their very romantic courtship, including schmoopie drooling on her pillow after oral surgery…. a regular Robert Browning…

        Cheaterpants had a bad cancer diagnosis before he found the Schmoop, so I knew it was a matter of time before the Big C got him. The Chump part of me hoped that cheaterpants would show some grace before he died, but he went to his grave mooning for Schmoopie, while I held his hand and mopped his brow. I found his Schmoopie Poems when I cleaned out his office. Too bad, so Sad…this is how I’ll remember him, being an unremorseful creep.

        “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” – Maya Angelou.

        • “I found his Schmoopie Poems when I cleaned out his office. Too bad, so Sad…this is how I’ll remember him, being an unremorseful creep.”

          Yes. Even if he did have some good moments, this is how I will remember him too. I found photos and gifts from Yoko in his papers – in a house we moved to supposedly AFTER they broke up, so he either squirreled away memories or they never broke up or whatever.

          I texted her about a year and a half after he died, to let her know he was dead…it was a calculatedly cold text…boo hoo.

          When I learned that he was a serial cheater, it explained why Dee from Boston (his VERY GOOD FRIEND mind you) didnt come to his funeral. I think she had one molecule of decency in her…enough to not go to the Catholic funeral of the married man she boinked. A friends whose H killed himself said there was a woman at his funeral so wracked with grief it was clear they were involved – ewww.

          I now wish he had left me for Schmoop…as long as I still got the life insurance

          • I know what you mean about the retrospect…The only saving grace in the whole shitty mess is that my adult daughter did not have to spend her fathers dying days with the Schmoop…(that is assuming that Cheaterpants and his truSchmoop would have stayed together until his very messy end… You see, all of that surgery in the last year rendered his Cheaterparts non functional..Since the reason that Schmoopie told Cheaterpants she was cheating on HER husband, its quite likely she would have dropped Cheaterpants for a sexually functional man…

            7 years of limbo for Life Insurance and a relatively clean estate. That was the price.

            • Hanecita and unicornnomore, I feel nosy asking and I will understand if you tell me to mind my own business, but what kind of Cancer did your husbands have? Mine has pancreatic and I so hope it screws up his sexual abilities! I know, I’m a bitch!

              • Mine had an exotic soft tissue tumor in his colon (but not colon cancer)……normally this tumor presented in the upper GI, but his appeared as a very small 2cm tumor in his lower GI..At the time of his diagnosis he was told that this tumor did not respond to radiation or chemo and surgical excision was not generally very effective He had his first surgery in 2002 and then was treated with a new targeted drug that held the tumor cells at bay for 8 years. When the drug became ineffective and the tumor began to grow again he had 4 surgeries in 12 months. It was gruesome.

                I do think that my Cheaterpants had a “burn the candle at both ends.’ reaction to his diagnosis…still doesn’t justify his actions.

              • My H got a bad case of strep throat when he was living in his bachelor apt during the time he claimed we were wreckonciled (but things I found later lead me to guess that he may have still been deep with Yoko during that whole time).

                7 years after his strep throat, he had a sudden bout of not feeling well that he believed to be the flu…he was very achy and feverish. He slept in the theater room lest he get me or the grandchild sick. I went to check on him in the morning and he was cold and dead on the floor (yes that was traumatic).

                The Medical Examiner asked me his history and when I mentioned the strepthroat and the “flu” he said “stop talking, I know how he died” … his theory was that there were vegetations on his heart from the strep and he threw one which became a septic embolus. He went into septic shock and his heart failed. By the looks of him and his environs when I found him (clothes, lights, directions he was facing etc) I dont think he knew he was dying…likely not until he saw the bright light. No one heard him collapse since we were all 2 floors away.

                He always said he wanted to be walking around the house and have his heart explode one day and he got his wish.

  • The only time you’ll get comfort from a disordered person once Dday hits is if they are engaging in image control, or they are buttering you up to gain some advantage, usually financial.

    During the hellish five months between Dday and my moving out of the house, my ex alternated between “I’m such a good guy” image control and vicious, hate-filled emails and talks sent my way. There was NEVER anything genuine, because disordered don’t roll that way.

    The day I moved out, ex left me a card that said how sad it was that I was moving out, what a hard thing it was, so sad too bad, blah blah blah. The next morning, he threw a big party at the house to celebrate my being gone. The card was bullshit, the party was his reality. What comfort could I ever have received from such a person?

    To this day, I still occasionally receive weird texts from him that, on the surface, appear to be gestures of caring. Without exception, they either turn out to be image control or him actually phishing for information or trying to get me to do something that would benefit him.

    • Yes, it’s amazing how much time ex spends spinning his narrative, he’s such a good guy. I think they even believe the lie that they are human. They aren’t. I do think they deserve their futures though. 😀

    • “The only time you’ll get comfort from a disordered person once Dday hits is if they are engaging in image control, or they are buttering you up to gain some advantage, usually financial.”

      Exactly, GladItsOver. You hit the nail on the head.

  • Same with me Hanecita. Coward tried to use neglect and cruelty to get me to pull the plug. They are cowards pure and simple. As I posted yesterday, he could never look me in the eye during and after his announcement and walk out. Nor could he face my Dad.

    My attorney counter sued him for emotional cruelty so it’s on record for all to see. I have that consolation anyway. Dumb ass also used a family member as his attorney (the price was right) so his whole family know and they also know he committed perjury. I often wonder if his attorney knew before hand that he’d lied. Not good if he didn’t, especially a relative.

    They’re completely insensitive too. His attorney is married to the niece that was my flower girl. I sat next to the guy talking the previous Christmas Eve. Not one of them had a clue of how that all made me feel. Pieces of s**t.

  • YES!!! So true!!!

    You are EXACTLY right, CL!!! The one person I wanted comfort from never offered it, except a very brief moment in time- like 120 seconds, if that!!!

    He is a narcissistic piece of shit and deserves a woman just like him!!!! He will need me a lot sooner than I will need him and I will do unto him exactly as he has done unto me!!!

  • All these stories of abuse from cheating entitled fucktards make my ass tired! I’m steps away from Meh and I can almost feel it! Best revenge: Live Well!! Narc/socio’s love knowing you are destroyed! It’s a sport for them like baseball or hockey, but they try to make the rules! Well, I’m through with playing by his rules on his playground! I’m taking over and making my own rules! I don’t give a shit why, how or with who he screwed around with! She can have his useless ass and good luck! And I don’t ever want my EX to think he destroyed me! HELL TO THE NO! He lost the best thing that ever happened to him and everything he worked for all his life! He’s the loser, he’s the dumbass! So what if he did or did not love me? My bottom line doesn’t change! His life sucks and he has limited options, but my life is limitless in options! He gave himself to a cheap hard-up whore! I wish them the best, but I know they’re willing to take someone’s leftovers! They proved that to me. Chumps, go live and be happy. It’s the ultimate revenge!

  • Also, recovering is important because one day the OW may contact you. It won’t help to be bat shit crazy! It will only help to confirm the BS stories your EX told her to justify his cheating! If she gets dumped and calls you to finally find out the truth about your EX, you will want to really screw with the bitch’s head by being a calm, cool, collected individual with class and manners! Just think, she’ll know she was duped by your EX and she’ll go nuts! Don’t ever behave in a way that would confirm some lie that a cheater used to get into an OW’s bed! Remember, you actually won! They are and will always be losers!

  • So true Roberta!

    I’m ashamed to admit that a couple of days after he left I sent him a text that said, “help me”. His answer was, “?”. Asshole! I texted back that I was in agony and got no reply at all. Then I was done. 23 years gone just like that. He will never see me cry again or even see me or hear my voice if I can help it. He wanted me gone, I’m gone. He lost the best thing he’d ever had.

  • Yes he did Lina, but guess what? He just gave you a golden ticket to pursue your genuine life and possibly meet someone who really appreciates a real lady! To all of Chump Nation I apologize for my rant, but I can’t stand the way these cheaters try to make us feel! We’re good folks, salt of the Earth, compassionate, smart, witty and just great people! And we are lucky to have insight into ourselves because cheaters don’t have that! There is absolutely nothing wrong with us, but there is something fundamentally wrong with a cheater. In deposition my lawyer asked my husband what his reason was for wanting a divorce. His answer: I really don’t have a reason. Roberta is a great wife and a great Mother. She’s a wonderful person! Okay then, so what happened? Lust and opportunity presented itself via FaceBook and he jumped on it! Loves the OW? Probably not! But she is willing and available! I cannot and will not buy the excuse, after 41years of marriage, that I am less than and I will not compete with a fantasy whore! It’s about to get real for Schmoopie soon. Let’s see all that “Twu wuv” then! Is the OW/OM better than us? HELL NO! Just a bit of fantasy and tittilation! It will end badly and we will be gone! Their loss! Onward to a better life without the idiots. Do you really want some fool who follows his dick and blows up his family? I don’t!

  • And Lina, he doesn’t deserve to ever see you or hear your voice again! You are too good for him! Did I mention that cheaters are so unoriginal and predictable too! Makes it easy to see we have lost a follower. We need leaders for our families, not timid cowards!

    • Roberta, the very last time I spoke with my ex, I stated that I once had great faith in him being a leader but sadly he was just a follower and what an appalling example morally he was to our 2 adult children. He didn’t give a damn because he was on his way to Phnom Penh into the arms of his twu wuv !!

      • What a great relationship they must lead Maree – where his “2 dolla hooker skank” can’t speak a word of English. Makes you wonder how they communicate – but I guess it doesn’t matter when shes got his dick in her mouth 24/7, right?
        Everyone in your family or friendship circle that can’t see that’s cheap and nasty, is disordered themselves, Maree. Don’t ever feel like you’re “lesser than” because of judgemental pricks like them. Because really – theres something so fundamentally disgusting about the above.

  • this is so true! When i look back that is ALL I wanted- to be embraced and soothed and told everything will be ‘ alight’ by my husband…. he (and OW) begged me not to share the emails and evidence I had found with OW husband to prevent him any pain (what about mine?) STBX told me to stop contacting his OW as ‘shehad enough to deal with now’ (naughty me I did share the evidence). Even in one of the email exchanges she was showing such love and concern for ‘the pain she could see in his eyes’ at ‘what he was going through’ (this is before I had found out but had guessed). I wonder what he told her- that he was going through (that his wife found out he had made secret sex tapes/bathroom for years, that he was a porn and granny porn addict, that he was a lying voyeur and like to secretly watch his wife in the shower using a mirror under the door). or was it that his wife didn’t understand his needs and was being awkward and constantly checking up on him while he was away for work, that he stopped loving me a longtime ago but had been trying hard to make it work…(not) and we were separated and it was sooo painful going though that when the wife doesn’t understand him- and he was being sooo nice sharing the mortgage and helping her clean the house for the open homes. When he was wither her he ‘felt so relaxed and slept so well listening to her funny little snoring noises’ Awh bless I am over run with compassion

  • Great responses. This brings to mind during the monster period with shark eyes when he was trying to make my life as miserable as possible. This is when I had no clue about an OW, just figured a brain tumor. His treatment got worse and worse that I started to say things like, I’d be better off out of here – you’re so angry with me and it’s hard to live here. I truly was thinking of getting a 2nd place – it was hell. So, as I was out at various dog shows, I’d check out the area and say, Yeah – Carmel looks nice…you know, dreaming. And tell him so. He would totally agree.

    Then, out of the blue he said, I went with a realtor yesterday to find you a home (30 mins from this town and a real dump) and said he could get me a really good deal on it. I was completely speechless…I said, you did what?? And, he seemed so proud of himself. I mean, I was ONLY BLUFFING! I guess we weren’t communicating very well, or I was in shock, or something so I didn’t say much – but it was just one more of the nails he was putting in our marriage coffin, and I had no clue why. Talk about denial.

    I’m sure he was convinced once I moved that he could move her in.
    Well, ha ha – that sure didn’t work out for him one bit.
    I’m in our home, with my dogs and he’s in a trailer in a trailer park. ha ha ha

    • LOL!
      Mine’s in the OW’s basement!
      Good place for him, that’s what I think. Thanks for the laugh!

      • Serves these cheaters right! They think they can cheat AND give what was ours to a cheap whore, ummmm……NO WAY! Glad to hear your cheaters are right where they belong!

  • This is one of those posts that causes phantom pain.
    I remember sitting in the doctors office waiting to hear the diagnosis of our daughters condition. When the doctor stated the diagnosis that we had already were suspicious of but never confirmed until the words came out of his mouth. And there it was ‘ the news no parent wants to hear’ The room narrowed… The air vanished… My chest tightened… I was suffocating. I reached for him and despite his own painful reaction to the news he braced himself to support my crumpling body. He held me tight and told me over and over again ‘ she is going to be ok’
    On DDay I was handed the news after months of suspicion… Except there was no one there to tell me it was going to be ok. I was caught between my yearning to be comforted and my pain and repulsion. I fell to the floor and he stepped back instead of forward to brace me. The cleave.
    I still suffer the phantom pain of a life that once was. I amputated him in order to save me. My first selfish act.

    • TheClip – may there be many more ‘selfish acts’ in your life, then. It is not selfish of you to put the mother of your children first. If you are the only one who can look after you at the moment, then you need to do that and do it well. If you don’t protect and care for yourself, how can you protect and care for your kids?

      This is something I have realised and come to truly understand in the year and a half since the shit went down – on the days when I don’t care enough about myself to look after myself properly, I remind myself that I am my children’s mother, and my children’s mother deserves to be looked after and protected. Sounds a bit like a split personality, but I recognise that if I am unwell, or stressed or scared, it is harder for me to look after my kids.

      I love your posts! You are an awesome kick-arse woman and give so much strength to others here. I am glad you amputated that rotten flesh – you could never have started healing with it still attached and poisoning your blood. xxx

      • Blackbird, this is so TRUE. We need to take care of ourselves first and model healthy for our children. They are what matters.

    • TheClip–self-preservation is not selfish You were simply smart enough to realize when the limb had to come off, before gangrene spread throughout your body.

      • I wish it had been a clean cut! Months of dragging that thing around… Useless apendage. Today I would gnaw it off like a coyote and beat him with it.

  • Wisdom to the 10th power!

    Now if only some pastors and deacons understood this and stopped guilting chumps into staying with Mr. Cheater Pants. Even Jesus gave the green light to remove oneself from the toxicity.

    • While I do have religious faith, and respect others’ right to choose their beliefs, it always seems to me that those of us who allow pastors, deacons, priests, ministers, counsellors, (and so on) to tell us how to make choices about this issue — those of us who give them the right to tell us right and wrong, we are only skipping responsibility for our own predicaments.

      These “counselling” men and women themselves are only human with their own limited experiences, and although they may have some enhanced education, until they themselves have experienced the ultimate betrayal, then how can they possibly advise us properly on cheating.

      I worked for a minister who had considerable gravitas in the community, until he himself was exposed as a cheater, and was found to be sexually abusing some vulnerable counseling clients. I swore then and there never to put another human being on a pedestal.

      As for my Cheater, he has definitely destroyed my willingness to trust again. I will always be an equal partner in any future relationship, but it will definitely be conditional love.

      • Good stuff Marci; I agree.

        There is a movement called “Patriarchy” that has women brainwashed and they can’t even begin to think such freeing thoughts as you articulated above. They have bought the lie: a man makes all the decisions and they follow = glorifying God. The mistake “headship” (man dominates) for leadership (man serves and leads by example. Jesus says women and men are equal. Amazing how patriarchy men think they trump God.

        • But we’re in the 21st century – not the stone age. Where both men and women are equal.
          Its why I don’t believe in any claptrap that says a man is supposed to be the leader, or treats a woman as less than 3rd class – religious or otherwise.

        • 7stelle,
          I grew up in a household with a father who had the ‘patriarch’ attitude, stemming from religious persuasion. My mother, who had an economics degree and a career before she married, was ‘not allowed’ to work when they emigrated here. She endured his dominance for years to keep the home intact ‘for us kids’. It was crushingly sad when my mother discovered his affairs while she was dying of cancer. She died heartbroken.

          He went on to marry the OW who expected to play grandma to my kids. While My siblings went NC with them, I decided to play narc and stay in touch….for one very good reason. He needed my financial advice (or so he thought). In the end, after 16 years of enduring having to occasionally sit at OW’s dinner table, I became his executor and made sure my plan to keep the family inheritance in our hands worked(the money was my Maternal grandmothers after all).

          The OW’s adult children had the audacity to sue the estate for a share anyway, claiming that he had become the patriarch for them! Their mother was 65 when she married him…they spent years kissing his butt for money too! They even adopted his religious edicts to fit in.

          Some of these hyperreligious folks (and this extends to most religions around the world) use religious guidance as a means of power. It’s got little to do with glorifying God, it’s just twisted logic….as is the stupid stuff spouted by cheaters. While I remember my father with mixed feelings, I cannot imagine him in any role but as a total control freak who had a meltdown every single time someone opposed his authority.

          No wonder I married two passive men…both of whom turned out to be cheaters anyway. I decided I have no picker whatever, so my choice is to simply not pick any more. At least I have a career and two sons who so far seem emotionally balanced, having witnessed their grandfather’s life. I smile when I hear them speak of him as a loony-tunes.

      • The Deacon in my very conservative Catholic parish tried to get me to be self protective…they never pressured me to stay…I came up with that madness all on my own. He also told me that my H needed a psychiatrist not a priest. oh my

  • Just before DDay I read, “The Human Magnet Syndrome” by Ross Rosenberg because I was strongly questioning why I was still in a relationship with a person who clearly did not give a second thought to my needs or feelings. Strange how fate sometimes intervenes.

  • And along with the compassion trap there is the nice trap. I’ve taught my children the difference between nice and GOOD. Nice is only external with nothing to support it; it eventually crumbles. Good is internal, of the heart, it remains true and sure.

  • Just when I needed him the most, to help me through the worst thing that has ever happened to my kids and to me (well, except losing my dog, that, it turns out, was worse for me than losing him), he’d become my enemy–not my partner. And he had a new partner who was also my enemy. And they had each other, while I had nobody. I thought I needed him to cry into, to counsel and encourage me, to hold me.
    I could not wrap my head around the fact that he was not going to help me through the chaos that he himself had created, that he was intent on abandoning our family with nary a glance backward, except to claim the belongings he wanted, as he stepped over me.

    Well, then I realized I had two choices: bang my head against the wall, allowing him to crush my heart over and over and over, with no feeling whatsoever, OR, go No-Contact.

    And then, just like that, Tracy launched the Chump Lady, and it’s been a great relief.

    Non-chumps can say what they like about my lack of forgiveness (I still don’t know what that means) or lack of reconciliation as “friends,” but they don’t know, really. And I forgive them for that.

    Yes, indeed, grownup love is conditional.

  • Just been told that I need another MRI because they found abnormalities in my lumbar spine ( already diagnosed with a ruptured disc a couple of years ago ) and also they noticed a very large mass in my pelvis. My first reaction was to call my STBX for some comfort and reassurance. He was not the least bit interested. It hurt more that he didn’t care then knowing that I may have serious disease. What’s wrong with this picture?

    • mgirontree. sorry you are ill without support. seems like you are still smoking the hopium pipe. you don’t trust that he sucks. he.really.truly.sucks

    • Hugs, MgIronTree!

      NC with these cold freaks is best. You don’t need that sort of pain when you are healing.

    • Mgirontree, one lesson I’ve learned through all of life’s challenges is to embrace…myself. Rely on yourself. I had emergency surgery a few years back and though I was surrounded by family and friends, few of them came to the hospital (all my kids were miles and miles away too). I was okay with that as I knew they cared for me. I did write up a will though. When you realize that the only person you can rely on is yourself you just.get.stronger. So, know you got this! I have always looked at life as a journey, even the challenging stuff can be looked at as having value, it certainly has made me appreciate all the good life has, all the little things. Even on my worst days and there have been plenty I just try to focus on what really matters. I hope this makes sense. Do baby yourself. I took walks out to the hospital’s balcony to absorb nature, had my favorite magazines and music nearby, some art supplies, and texted/phoned my loved ones.

    • Mgirontree,

      It’s always that wish, hope that these jerks would comfort & care. But they are not mutual partners. If someone opened up his chest they would find an empty cavity devoid of a heart. There’s not anything there to even jump start! I pray God puts someone in your life to walk along side you through these medical situations. He did that for me and the person was so gentle, kind, & comforting—just like Jesus, I remember being SO glad Mr. Heartless wasn’t with me.

  • mgirontree, so sorry that you are going through this. My best advice is to surround yourself with people you know have your best interests at heart. I too have experienced going through awful medical problems and found myself wishing he would show some glimmer of compassion, but he didn’t. This will be a turning point for you. You will find strength you didn’t know you had. When things get real tough, then let your supportive family and friends help you get through it. Once all is said and done and your health is better or more stable you will have the gift of hindsight. Believe me, you will think of your STBX and you won’t want him around anymore! He is showing you exactly who and what he is….an empty, selfish person. And with any luck the karma bus will pull up to his abode in record time just like it did for my EX! What goes around comes around! Hope you are doing okay at this point. Hang in there!

  • Sending you hugs Mgirontree. Roberta is right, you will find grit you didn’t even know you had. Hang in there, my friend.

  • “When I was cheated on, one of the many things that surprised me about that trauma, was that I desperately wanted comfort from the very same person who had hurt me.”

    CL, you are the only one to identify this bizarre and horrifying phenomenon. (Along with so many others involving cheaters and sociopaths and their victims.). it is perpetually stunning, and you have to tell yourself over and over and over “he/she just does not care.”

  • CL, Thank you for this post. When STBX abandoned me (via email on my 60th birthday) through all my crying and screaming, I all wanted to do was talk about it with my best friend. But he was my best friend and he wasn’t communicating with me (still won’t) so I reached out to his daughter who I thought of as my daughter. She lashed out at me twice, basically telling me to leave her alone. Through all the craziness of the past year, I kept wanting to be comforted by him and was embarrassed by those feelings. I thought I was finally over this until July 4th. I was lonely and feeling sorry for myself so I called the only single person I knew and arranged to meet her for lunch. She is a fellow Chump, husband ran off with a coworker decades ago. My friend had a seizure in front of me on the restaurant parking lot. I spent the rest of the holiday at the hospital with her. Diagnosis? Stage 4 brain cancer with approximately 12 months to live. I cried all the way home and, darn it, all I wanted to do was talk to STBX. The man who horribly betrayed me. It is a crazy feeling and I hate it. But it is so helpful to hear from others that they too have experienced these feelings. People that have not gone through something like this really cannot understand. My friend, who is being incredibly brave, told me the other day that she is so angry over the time she wasted crying over her ex. Life is short. I don’t want to waste any more time crying over someone who treated me so badly.

    • I experienced the same reaction at least initially. I think for me it was holding on to what I wanted to be true instead of what was. Fear of losing what I thought I had. Fear of being rejected so powerfully, that I tried to make things right to reverse that rejection. Pick me. I’m not as bad as you say I am-am I? Once the shock wore off (it’s still wearing off-four nightmares last week) I came to an acceptance that I can’t be in a marriage with a person that lies, cheats, exudes selfishness, and shirks responsibility. These are anti-marriage. I wouldn’t even have a friend with these qualities.

  • Live and Learn, I think sometimes this is just us fooling ourselves. I don’t grieve my spouse as much as I grieve the person I thought he was and the fairy tale I worked so hard on. My life was good. Right up till I figured out that living with the devil was NEVER going to give me that happy ending. A life without disordered is beautiful. A struggle maybe but in the end I believe a lot better than waiting around for Mr. Perfect to recognize how good he had it. Thing is these people will never be capable of love. Just check out that new movie Trainwreck. There’s a Chump story if there ever was. Problem is Amy Schumer’s character will be right back at her default setting when real life rears its ugly head, and she will be cheating on that lovely doctor. People don’t grow character.

  • Totally off the thread here….today is the anniversary of when my son was taken and probably murdered by cheater ex. I’m asking for your prayers for my son, my family, and me. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all of you for caring. Thank you so much……

    • Tessie, I was feeling really fucked off and grumpy with ‘well-meaning friends’ who seem to feel that my slow move to ‘meh’ makes everything alright. I came in to the latest CL post to ‘connect’ with reality and good people who understand that getting to Meh doesn’t, in anyway, make what happened to me ‘alright’.

      The first post I read is yours. Thank you.

      Thank you for reminding me that neither time nor ‘Meh’ makes any of that alright. Thank you for humbling me by reminding me it could have been so much worse.

      Of course, I pray for you, your poor murdered son and your remaining son who, with you, shoulders this dreadful, unimaginable burden. You know you have been an inspiration to many of us here and I, for one, want to thank you wholeheartedly for the many words of wisdom and support you have offered us all, for so long.

      Tessie, I continue to wish you peace and love and I hope today is full of beautiful memories of your lovely son, memories that will make you smile through the tears. You have my heart.

      Love

      Jayne x

    • Dear Tessie, my prayers are sent for you, your son and family. I cannot imagine your pain. You are an incredibly strong woman and an inspiration who deserves love and peace. I hope life is becoming easier for you and your family. xoxo

    • Tessie, my heart goes out to you and your sweet family. Jayne has eloquently stated all that I feel but I too will send many many good wishes, thoughts, and prayers your way. May your son’s sweet legacy be remembered today with much love to his brother, your other beloved son as well.

    • Tessie, I pray that you will find comfort and peace on this day, and that you will continue to carry your son in your heart. Nothing can ever change what your ex did, but I pray that he is brought to justice. I’ll say a prayer for you and your family tonight!

  • This response is for Hanacita, I am doing it here as there was no reply box under your post. Thank you for answering my question. I hate being a nosy person, but I’m trying to wrap my head around this diagnosis he has received. I know his end of life is going to be ugly and messy and I’m trying to assess information to help my adult children cope with the inevitable. Unfortunately, my EX is living with his Schmoopie now and they will no doubt have to share his last days with this woman IF she doesn’t dump him in a hospice. I want so badly for that time to be of some quality to them. I know I’m probably hoping for too much, but for my kids sake I will do the best I can. My old Fool seems to think his Schmoopie is an angel and I am afraid that’s simply not the case. She’s an over the hill party girl and I’m willing to bet she dumps him relatively quickly!

    • Response to unicornnomore, thank you for answering my rude, crude question. I am not ghoulish nor do I wish to dredge up bad memories for you. I guess all that matters is being prepared to get my kids through this and make sure Schmoopie doesn’t dump lover boy in their laps! I understand pancreatic cancer in later stages is very painful and not “pretty”. I figure Schmoopie wanted him, so let her deal with all the messy stuff!

      • No worries…most people in grief benefit from telling their story, I do. It was so wildly freaking bizarre for him to be fine one day and drop dead the next…everything changed SO MUCH, omg…in 2 more months it will be 3 years since his death and it still seems surreal at times.

        • Roberta: I’m no expert, but I’ve known 2 people with Pancreatic Cancer…My grandma had it over 30 years ago…it was relatively quick…6 months, no surgery because it would have been pointless. She had good meds for pain. The other had a diagnosis and was told he had 4 months to live; he made it 6 months…

          In the case of my Cheaterpants, he was on morphine for pain for about 2 months before his Dr. decided that further treatment was pointless and had us arrange for Hospice… His Hospice was at home. Hospice is one of those things where you either have a great experience or a horrible experience. Ours tended to the horrible.

          My Daughter, who was living 2,000 miles away was able to get Family Medical Leave….She was with us for about 6 weeks, and was a great comfort to both Cheaterpants and myself. The problem with FML is that it is unpaid leave, which made it difficult to pay rent back at her expensive city apartment.

          If your kids live in the same city as your EX the logistics will be easier… If the Schmoop doesn’t cut and run, she might use your adults kids visits to your Ex as time to run errands. If she doesn’t get out of the house or hospice while they visit: YOUR KIDS can suggest it: “Schmoop, we’d like to have some time alone with our dad. Why don’t you take the next 4 hours to go do some grocery shopping….” If the Schmoop does cut and run…who knows how to handle that? You can’t plan or anticipate for that…Just encourage your kids to visit their dad as often as they can…The earlier in the process the better. End stage cancer with Morphine is very weird..At some point the Morphine gets bumped up so you have a skeletal zombie in a bed. Our Adult Developmentally Disabled son had a hard time with the process, the hospital equipment, the bed, oxygen tanks, walker, etc, etc. that rains upon you when you contract with Hospice just flipped him out. After my Daughter had to go back to her job, and CheaterP was in Zombie state, our son was able to go sit with his dad and hold his hand…at that point, Cheater wasn’t able to talk, but he did seem to respond to our sons voice..he would smile…

          CheaterP was on Hospice from July 8th until his death Sept 27th…. average hospice enrollment is about 2 weeks…CheaterP was still going to his office until about a month before he passed… Only there for an hour or two, but was able to function relatively independently… Could not drive himself anywhere because of the painkillers he was on. Also needed us to dispense his drugs…he couldn’t keep track of it….once we got him on a schedule, his pain was managed… our in-home hospice did not do this for him, nor did they suggest it. Hospice charged $280.00 a day regardless if they showed up or not. I was doing their job, they got paid…. When I had an emergency and needed them, they showed up 5 hours after I called.

          I don’t know what to tell you about your roll in all of this except to be there for your kids. Your EX is convinced that his Schmoop is an angel, because if she isn’t, he made a colossal mistake and he wouldn’t want to admit that. My CheaterP at his last lucid moment was STILL maintaining that his Schmoop would have seen him through it all…he never could show remorse or regret because he didn’t have any. My CheaterP’s inability to admit a mistake was one of his largest failings… it cost him at least 5 jobs, perhaps more, and continually pissed people off because of it. And he was always clueless about it…

          The weird part off all of this is that I alternate between raging in anger over his treatment of me and mourning his loss. It’s a conundrum to be sure. And like Unicornomore says; talking about it is cathartic….

  • I think this is a great post. In one go, you answered two nagging questions for me:

    a) Why does infidelity destroy a relationship so completely?
    b) Why do so many people fall for ‘reconciliation’?

    a) Because you are bonded with the person and you naturally turn for them to comfort, but they are the one who broke everything and hurt you, so you have to stare into a void instead. Now THAT’S destruction. And you can have had decades with them and kids and the works, but it’s all gone now, as surely as if an avalanche went past.

    b) Because that instinct of turning to them for comfort overrides all the others, eg. your survival instinct, in some cases.

  • Lola Granola, you are right when you say “avalanche.” My ex’s infidelity put to death a twenty eight year relationship; it not only destroyed my relationship with him, but my relationship with his family as well. Ask me how my children move on after that crap legacy. There is no authenticity, no honesty, no respect, and no future for “us” after that. Normal people don’t destroy people they love.

  • I fantasise sometimes about becoming a marriage counsellor and delivering talks to groups of engaged couples along the lines of ‘Have you actually talked about how infidelity would affect your relationship?’

    Practically no one has this conversation. It doesn’t even occur to you when you’re in love, and yet that is exactly when you SHOULD be having this conversation. OK, so it doesn’t cheat-proof your marriage, but it might help potential cheaters to realise that they will seriously lose everything for their bit of strange.

    You could argue that this will just drive them deeper into hiding, but I think for a lot of engaged couples it would be a huge eye-opener just to have that conversation. It’s a conversation I am now much more willing to have now with potential partners as well, as a result of my experiences.

    • I do not believe that potential cheaters are unaware of the consequences of infidelity. In my opinion, such talks would be useless.

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