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When Escape Is Your Best Option

How_to_leave_a_cheaterToday’s guest post is by J.C.

You were one of the mighty chumps. With the universally understood truth that it is the cheater who should leave the comforts of hearth and home, you told your philandering husband to hang his hat somewhere else. And yet despite his brief lost-puppy act of dialing friends, he instead decamped to your living room for the night. So you changed online account passwords, packed a week’s worth of clothes, and at 3:00 a.m. slammed the front door so hard behind you that your teeth rattled.

Or perhaps, instead, you recognized your own weakness. As the sun set on your third D-Day in two months, you saw your wife’s innocent face and knew you were susceptible to her manipulation. Your best course of action was to get away from it, or else be drawn back down the rabbit hole. So you threw your bags in the car and remained stoic as she turned on the waterworks.

Or maybe you chose the nuclear option. You cruised the Web’s affair “survival” forums, some of which recommended exposure as the fastest way to extinguish cheating’s illicit excitement…with the only risk that your marriage may not survive the blast. Then you ensured maximum fallout by moving out yourself and children while your husband waited in the airport for his parents to land for a weeklong visit. You left a Dear John on coffee table for them to peruse upon arrival.

Whatever the reason you left, you did it. You took this painful step, and you’re wobbly-legged…but standing. With the benefit of a separate space, you can consider your next move. Congrats!


The only problem is that you were thinking like a chump, not a cheater. You thought your leaving would scare your cheater awake, and show him what he was about to lose. But your cheater — skilled in impression management — has only one thing to say in response to your taking one of the most difficult steps of your life: By moving out, you’re the one who’s ending our marriage.

How many of you heard iterations of these classics?

  • “Marriages have problems; running away doesn’t fix problems.”
  • “I’m here fighting for us. Where are you?”
  • “You left me paying our bills all by myself.”
  • “You took our children away from me, which turned them against me.”
  • “You abandoned me at a time when I was mentally and emotionally unstable.”
  • “We all have a fight-or-flight response. Guess which one is weaker.”
  • “We agreed, for better or for worse.”
  • “I thought we were strong enough we could work through this; I guess I was wrong.”

(I only heard seven of these, given my ex and I didn’t have children.)

Before you find yourself removing your fist from a fresh hole in the drywall, take a deep breath. And then begin another process of acceptance, on top of the pile you’ve undertaken so far.

If you’re like most of us, your cheater beat you to ‘most every punch. He (or she) was the first to claim that there were “problems in our marriage.” He told different versions of his betrayal to his support network before you even knew you were a chump: a docudrama about “growing apart and making a mistake” for his parents, a romance novella about “living like roommates and then discovering a new connection” for his superficially spiritual sister, and a low-budget porno of “sexless marriage and biological needs” for his bro-buddies.

Accept that he’s still one step ahead of you. He’s accusing YOU—the betrayed spouse—of giving up on the relationship because you moved out…or started talking to a lawyer…or moved half the money someplace safe…or were the first person to utter the dreaded “d-word”!

Your cheater is taking you on guilt trip, in desperate hopes that you’ll literally and figuratively return, chastened. You’re a chump, after all, so you have a propensity to take responsibility for situations beyond your control. Your cheater instinctually knows this. He’s got your number; always has. Look, cheating is a terribly selfish and destructive act, for which ending a marriage is an entirely reasonable response. So, he’s gotta do his best to deflect some (or all) of that responsibility onto you!


What can you do?

Simple. Clench your teeth, and then accept it.

Accept that your cheater has twisted your act of self-preservation into an attack on your marriage. Accept that some of your friends, and likely his family, will do the same. Accept that it sucks. This is Blame-shifting Survival 101. Take a seat and eat that sandwich. Now spell it with me. A-C-C-E-P-T. There is no other way to pass this class. The sooner you accept that you can’t control who blames you for the end of the marriage — whether he’s just trying to get you back or simply trying to save face for the outside world — the sooner you can get out of here.

Then remember that your act of self-preservation took more guts than your cheater has in his tiny pinky, that your defiant decision salvages what is left of your dignity, and that friends and family worth their salt will respect you more for leaving a cheater than for staying with one. Moving out kick-starts whatever is next (which, BTW, should be calling a lawyer, even if you still think you married a unicorn). Instead of dealing with arguments, lies, and low self-esteem inherent in living with a cheater, you can focus on the legal process, your new goals, eating (and sleeping, and exercising) enough, and figuring out how to pay all the bills that used to be paid with two incomes.

With that focus, the next time he accuses you of ending the marriage by moving out, own it! Respond, “Yes, I moved out. I’m comfortable with my decision. I am confident that it was right for me, and I won’t entertain a conversation re-examining that choice or what you claim it led to. Is there something else you want to talk about? No? Good. You’ll be served on Friday.”

Ask Chump Lady

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      • Hi chump from f, with regards to this post, my ex left my house but he’s still too much in my life, I really want to get away from all this drama. I fantasize about emigrating all the time. I need to escape even further afield!!!

        • I’m there with you! My cheater texts constantly….makes up reasons to come by…I need him out of my life after he destroyed everything. Living in the same community is too stressful. I’ve blocked him…and yet he finds a way to leave love notes with the papers, etc…It’s manipulation and I hate it. Hoping to get a final ending soon (almost 4 years of divorce crap)….and then we will see…..

          • Oh Polly cross I am sorry you are dealing with this. I am too and it makes it so much harder! I wish mine would have left with the OW!

          • I can’t stay here either. Stbx grew up here and I moved here to be with him 24 years ago. He has too many ties and people tend to believe his horseshit lies. I have to wait until February 1 before I can quit my job and hope the divorce has gotten SOMEWHERE by then. With the rate this divorce is going, I will be 80.

    • Aptly titled! Why do people “escape?” To get away from a feeling of imprisonment.

      • because we want our sanity peace time too think without our crazy adulterous husband ‘s

  • Great post!!! It really sucks when they won’t leave and you have to deal with them until divorce is final And my divorce is taking forever!!!!

    • Yeah mine is taking forever too!!!!! Even though things are semi-settled there is ALWAYS something new. Especially when kids are involved! Sucks…..
      In my case I am divorcing a cheater (yeah!) but marrying his girlfriend it seems. She has banned all communication with the father of my children and apparently has the task of communicating with me???!!! That’s what she says. The courts may not agree. And they both definitely shift blame and attack my character! What a joke!

      • Sheesh, that just adds to the shit sandwich. What POS they are. Sorry to hear that!

      • Check with your lawyer, but I believe you have no obligation to communicate with her. Your XH is the parent, not her

      • Seeking peace

        I was told by the X she said he couldn’t talk to me and didn’t want to meet his adult children. They want what’s best for them. Now after a year of living together suddenly she is reconsidering. Lol. He’s driving by my house suddenly. I will maintain no contact for life.

      • Hell to the No, SeekingPeace! Get your lawyer on that, STAT. Get it IN WRITING in the decree that all communication will be with your fucktard STBX, except in emergency. You have ZERO obligation to have anything to do with OWhore. Their hubris is unbelievable.

      • Nuh UH, Peace! Shut this down now! My X’s AP actually emailed me from X’s account to”inform” me that she will now be handling all communications regarding the kids. First of all, I ignored that bullsh!t. I didn’t validate that sociopath’s existence by responding. Second, I stopped using that email address and only communicated with my X via his work email, knowing it was the one single form of communication she couldn’t take over. It seemed like the AP had my X chained up in a basement somewhere while she tried to take over his whole life. (Turns out it was alcohol that was doing that, but that’s a topic for another blog post–I hope!)

        • Ahhhh – the alcohol. Yep – here’s to the High Life (stbx’s choice of beer).

          • It certainly strikes a chord with me regarding communication with my Ex. His FB is on top of his emails, texts and phone. She tried to be in on our paperwork regarding our settlement and I shut that shit down! Even if I speak to him on very rare occasions on the phone , it is on speaker and she hears every conversation! I do, however, recognize her writing style so I can usually tell if it’s her doing the answers to emails! Yep, the puppeteer has crawled right up his ass to control him! Apparently she did the same thing to her ex husband so she could intercept calls from decent people who wanted to ring the bell on her! Someone, I don’t know who, finally outsmarted her and her then husband divorced her dumbass in record time!

            • Why does the OW feel the need to control things? My ex came to visit his son,(1 of the 4 times in 4 years) and the OW was blowing up his phone. It was crazy! I guess she doesn’t like when my ex is around me because I may trick him into coming back! No way, not my monkey, not my circus!!

              • They want to control the Cheater cause they are jealous, insecure bitches who know they are involved with a known Cheater.

              • Amen Not Juliet. They need to control the cheater because they know firsthand what this person is capable of. The problem with their strategy is that you can’t really control other people. If he wants to cheat or leave her, he will find a way. It would be easier to just not get involved with someone you can’t trust in the first place.

      • Nuh uh uh. Doesn’t work like that.
        You tell her, simply: “I only speak to the father of our children, not you. Contact me again and I will consider it harassment.”
        There’s nothing she can do. Self righteous sluts can fuck the hell off. Plus, it could be used as leverage for child visitation: He had no interest in the children.

        • Exactly Lania! You warn her first that you consider it harrassment (document it, too!) and then if she does it agaon, YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW THROUGH AND MAKE A POLICE REPORT. Don’t threaten something if you are not going to back it up. Good luck Seeking Peace!

  • I wish I had taken this option but had no place to go, neither the strength to do it. This is what happens when you stay for two years of ‘fake reconciliation’ – your resources become depleted. The RIC really has something to answer for – encouraging chumps to stay – they can’t see the forest for the trees – they can’t see what damage staying for false reconciliation does to a spouse.

    ‘Clench your teeth and then accept it’ – are wise words for so much that happens during the ordeal of D-Days and divorce. I beat myself up every day for choosing to marry my XH and choosing him to be the father of my children. But I did do that and I have to accept it and I have to move on the best I can and make the second half of my life better than my first.

    • Free. I completely understand the feeling: “I beat myself up every day for choosing to marry my XH and choosing him to be the father of my children.” OMG, isn’t that the TRUTH! I pride myself on be an intelligent woman but my picker was SO broken. I am so mad at myself for that.

  • I needed this… I just had a horrible interaction via Facebook with my NOT SOON ENOUGH EX HUSBAND. She made up a page, friend requested my friends then posted garbage AND a fake letter saying I wrote it. My friends texted my husband asking what is up with this….to which he played innocent….and blamed me.See he keeps his hands clean while she does the dirty work. He blamed me for our daughter not wanting anything to do with him. She is 21. Yea….I tie her down and brainwash her.
    The toxic sickness of cheater cancer I exposed myself to for 20 years. I regret marrying him and bearing 2 children with him. It is my biggest regret. I wish for my kids I had picked a better man to be their father.
    CL….your work on this blog has opened the eyes of the wounded warriors of this hell we didn’t realize we were in. THANK YOU!!!!

    • Spot on I didnt truly realize the hell I was living in. I basically accepted this crappy life and spackled the crap out of it. Praise to all of you and CL. With tears in my eyes I have completed my initial divorce petition. And check me out he wanted to spend time with me this weekend. I said NO. But he is more than welcome to drop by and get all of his things I packed up in the garage:-) Yikes, I dont even know who I am anymore. The word “no” never came to me in the past!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for providing me the courage to end this maddness!! Best wishes to you all:-)

    • Freefall and Tracy, nice powerful posts. Much appreciated. Today was a tough day for me in court. Speaking of spackling, whoa, how could I do the following and please dear chumps don’t do as I did, do as I say as I want to scream this off the rooftops: Don’t sign anything in the divorce docs that does not feel right. Sit on them for days before you submit if you have to. Cheater X convinced me that he would always pay child support, always split half of the expenses so he did not submit some of his income to even out the calculator so no one really owes and take a wild guess at how that turned out? My 16 y/o lives with me full time, “I don’t want to live with dad’s girlfriend.” She gets it. It took some time but she sees how MOW ruined our family.

      So when X began never paying what I billed him for, when he arbitrarily deducted whatever the hell he wanted, when he was late, when he didn’t pay at all, I submitted a petition to modify child support. And this was last September. Almost one year out and X narc has still not submitted discovery. He keeps getting 30 days, 30 days, 30 days and out this whole thing goes. Today in court my motion for back child support based on the verbal agreement and a written statement that he in fact agreed to pay child support was denied. Denied! I can’t even say why. He used the tax deduction for our college child also so we both ended up claiming her when it was MY turn but the judge said, “I don’t really know much about tax law,” and basically ignored it. When I asked for half of medical insurance premiums, judge ignored it also because X does pay some. Guess who is calling the IRS tomorrow?

      If I had to pick the worst part of my day it was how X brings the AP to these hearings. As we are heading to the courtroom they are ahead of me and we are waiting for the doors to open and they are standing in front of me (they could probably hear me breathing it was a little tight) and he reaches down to hold her hand. Isn’t that sweet, what support she is for the sad sad sausage who has to pay child support, what a bad meanie x-wife.

      The character disordered deserve each other. Who brings their AP to court to fight the boyfriend’s payment of child support? Fucking narcissistic cheaters, that’s who. Thanks for the rant. Any words of wisdom would be great. Bad day.

      • OMG, ChumpB–you are mighty. What a POS to bring his AP to the hearing. I hope they are so distracted next hearing that they tumble into the elevator shaft.

        Where was your lawyer during all these negotiations?! How can child support be denied when at least one aspect of it is in writing? This is a lesson to all of us–get the savviest lawyer you can and don’t chump out on the financials. I hope your lawyer can rectify this injustice.

      • The whore better take notes, ChumpB, cause her cheating ass will get hers one day. I’m still amazed these skunts only think they will do it with them, not to them. Lol

        • Thanks Tempest and notjuliet. I am pro se but have a lawyer helping me pro bono behind the scenes. She was not in town. I emailed her right away and hope she can be with me next time. I just can’t blow my savings on this. But maybe that’s not wise?

          • ChumpB, My heart goes out to you! But you are mighty! You must be incredibly strong to put up with those fuckwits! And best of all, you are still standing up for your child and advocating for what is right! This asshole of an ex husband you have will face consequences someday. In the meantime keep knocking on doors of child support! Don’t give up! Keep on this fools heels and be the thorn that reminds him he has an obligation. Who knows, maybe next go around you’ll get another judge who won’t be such a wanker!

          • ChumpB-so sorry you are going thru this nonsense but glad you are getting rid of the spineless piece of garbage that needs his skank to hold his hand. If you choose not to have a lawyer it will be a ton of work but maybe worth it in the end. I have had only one good experience with an attorney (woman) but the rest were just interested in racking up hours and in the end rather useless.

      • In my state the Attorney General can mandate child support. If you report to the Attorney General the situation, maybe they can garnish his wages or at least make him prove he was paying the agreed amounts. I would re-do child support, and get everything in writing. As for IRS tax law, the person who filed first will get the deduction. As an FYI (I have a master’s in Accountancy and I have passed the CPA exam, in the process of getting my license), you can file your taxes with the last paystub of the year. The very last paycheck generally has all the info needed for taxes. If numbers are different from the W-2, you can always re-file. But make sure you are first. And if he isn’t paying child support, you make sure you get that deduction. Additionally, if you can prove to the IRS that your child was not living with him, you will get last year’s deduction and he will pay fines and penalties.

  • Holy crap! Awesome post, J.C. It’s like you’re watching my life! Lately it’s been “You were the one who ran away like a kid” and “I don’t believe in divorce.” I totally needed this today. There seems to be another booby trap at every turn throughout the leaving process.

    • To my shame, my cousin is a cheater. She slept with her husband’s longtime friend. Got caught. Fake reconciled. Got caught texting her AP for a hookup and her husband said, “You know what? I’m done.” He moved out and took the kids with him.

      Her remorse is not even 100 percent fake naugahyde. It’s that stuff they make into purses sold on the sidewalk in NYC. She tells anyone who listens that her husband is the one who “Ran away” while she wanted to fight for their family. She says, “I don’t believe in divorce” in this airy, noble, long-suffering sigh, like she’s not the one who blew up her family TWICE with her cheating.

      And every time she says it, I just want to send her that clip of Christian Bale flipping out on the Terminator set. “OHHHHHH, GOOD FOR YOU.”

      But my mom says that’s not constructive or helpful. I just turn my back and go talk to some other relative.

    • “I don’t believe in divorce” but screwing other people on the side is ok? You can’t win against that kind of logic.

      • Another classic: “You had this planned all along. You’re just working the system.”

        Right – when I married you I dreamed about the day I could move out of our house into a shitty rental so I could collect $650 from you every month in alimony. Dream come true.

        • I get less than $350 total for child support (when he feels like it), no alimony. He kept the affair so secret, I didn’t fight for anything, though there is a backstory of me knowing something was up, confronting OW, getting bashed down in real chump style causing me to swear my undying trust and not snoop anymore. To my friends, “I swear, he’s telling the truth, nothing is going on.” Geeeeez, what was wrong with me? His narc abuse was so very very heightened and escalated that last year, that I finally had enough and filed. He was for it, but I didn’t fight for anything because the abuse was so bad I needed to run. I have regrets (as noted in above post). Sorry for sharing so much today.

          I want to balance it out with something good though. So I use power tools now. I was able to buy a condo and live here raising my teen. It is so much more peaceful and free. We decided to install new flooring so we ripped out everything and did it all ourselves. It’s kind of a metaphor for my marriage: the rug got pulled out from under me so I removed all the rest, ripped out the bad, shopped for the new, installed the new, had conflicts installing the new that I solved, kept going, and now I have amazing and beautiful new floors. I guess even in a bad day I can focus on these little things to help me get through.

          • ChumpB – that is fantastic you put in new flooring all by yourself! See how amazing you are now that you are free to just be!! After all you have been through I admire your energy well spent on YOU and your needs. I cant wait until I can master a grand project myself someday 🙂 🙂

            • Thanks Freefall and I had really good friends help but did it mostly on my own. And my daughter, what a champ pulling out tile! Fun and very rewarding. I realized how like an abused dog I was when my married friends were helping because they were so polite to each other, so cooperative; i kept expecting someone to call someone an idiot, to slam down tools, to yell and have temper tantrums. None of that old X nar behavior which gave me hope.

              • LOL….That is (was) my life too! I spackled the “you are a freakin moron”comments while working on projects, because basically I thought it was normal.
                The kids and I painted recently – we had a great time! But when one of them accidentally got paint on the carpet I really felt bad…that would have been a “moron moment” from stbx. I could see the stress in their eyes. I quickly slapped the paintbrush on my face. “Ooops I had accident too!” They all laughed!

                Damn! It pisses me off I stayed with my stbx for so long. Life without all his drama and BS is going to be devine!! He’s the MORON!!

      • After a year of false reconciliation, I caught my ex-sh*tface cheating again and asked him why hadn’t he just f***ed off 12 months earlier? Why was he still refusing to leave?
        He replied, “Because I believe in the sanctity of marriage”.
        I still shake my head in bewilderment at that one.

        • Liberty: It is amazing the nonsense that comes out of their mouths. My serial cheating X (serial cheater in 2 marriages) once whined, “But I want a monogamous relationship!” Either he has some alternative-universe dictionary or doesn’t realize screwing 10-20 additional women each marriage doesn’t count as “monogamous,” even if you don’t intend to leave wifey.

        • Oh Tempest and Liberty, wow, that’s about all I can say is wow! And not to be insensitive but I kind of cracked up with: “Because I believe in the sanctity of marriage?” Really? It’s the kind of head shaking that would exhaust a dog! OMG!

          • Total WTF! Liberty, yours beleives in his own sanctimony. And Tempest, holy shit, call NASA your dbag ex has screwed his way into the eighth dimension.

            ChumpB, you are doing fine! Rip it up, and start again….good example to set for your daughter, and may the Force be with you in court. The AP will get what’s coming….


  • JC, thank you for this post. It is so important for newly-minted chumps to read this because our minds are in major F-up mode when we deal with cheating. It is truly a no-win situation. After my first D-Day, my gut told me to pack up my newborn and divorce him. I did kick out the cheater but took him back. I did the same on the second D-Day, 10 years later, and even filed for divorce, and then took him back again (I know, I know). Third D-Day was over two years ago (13 years after second D-Day) and divorced his sorry ass right away. Chumps, go with your gut. Do not listen to what the cheater tells you. Just because they’re sorry does NOT mean they have changed. Divorce them. If they truly want you back, let them earn you back. Chances are, they won’t even bother (“too hard”) or you won’t want them back. Distance and time will give you clarity and you will not want to be living in hell again with a cheater. And remember, you do not owe the cheater reconciliation…or anything else for that matter. Reclaim yourselves. There is absolutely no reason to stay with a cheater. It’s a fool’s errand.

    • Yes, the cheater had my number. I wanted to work it out. I couldn’t imagine my life without him. I loved him and forgave him. He enjoyed looking at other women when he was with me. He always said it was a guy thing.

      My preference was to throw him out and file.

      • Yes cheater had my number as well… I had numerous D-days with the same women. He was not suppose to have any contact with her anymore.
        But they found ways to meet behind my back. In the meantime I was doing the wonderful and most fabulous pick me dance for 9 months. I am grateful for my councelor who helped me put up boundaries and divorce his ass.
        All this time I was working so hard to fix my Marriage and he would character assacinate me to his family and friends. I was married for 23 years, which I thought was a great marriage and now he is with her. They deserve each other. In the mean time I have been divorced for one year now, bought a condo and going back to school:)

        • Wow33 🙂 That is wonderful news – a condo and school!! Go get your meh!! You deserve it!

    • Indeed, staying with a cheater is a fool’s errand, UniquelyMe. So is staying with someone who never makes good on their promises. The two seem to be intertwined all the time.

      I refused to see the writing on the wall for years. X could never keep a full time job for more than a year or two. The first unemployment stretch should have been a yellow flag to me, and the second a big red flag. But I was so ensconced in my life taking care of our kids (one with special needs) AND working part-time that I refused to even acknowledge the big, bright, waving furiously, red flag.

      When X did work, he always seemed to quickly become a member of the after-work drinking gang at all places. Coincidentally, that’s how we met, and that’s how he hooked up with the bimbo that he eventually left me and the kids for four years ago. What makes me different from the bimbo? Well, neither one of us were married.

      After finding out about his skank, I wondered if his tendency to repeat behavior (pick up woman from work at bars) was his M.O. And that’s why he kept losing jobs.

      Now, I don’t care. Anyone willing to risk their family’s security and well-being for the thrill of strange is not someone I’d every want to stay married to, no matter what the unknown.

      It took time to come to grips with the financial realities of going alone, and that factor kept me with him longer than I every should have stayed. It was terrifying! Still, once I took the leap, I discovered I’m more resilient and resourceful than I ever knew.

      It’s scary, but it can be done and is sooooo worth doing to get your own dignity and self-worth back in tact.

      • Fear keeps us stuck with cheaters. Once we’re free, it’s no picnic but at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel and we know we’re heading in the right direction. Staying with a cheater is one heck of a horrible roller coaster, one where we never could tell when the cheater will push us off!

  • Stupidity alert on @Huffpost Divorce today, all about affair-proofing your marriage. What a crock. Leave as soon as you can after you discover the affair, cheating asshats never change their stripes.

    • CumpedALot, there’s also an excellent article on @Huffpost Divorce, too: The One Question That Captures The Bittersweet Reality Of Divorce “I lost my husband in my divorce. I gained myself.”

  • My current life exactly! And my divorce is taking forever too! This sucks!

  • Yeah, they want to fuck their nasty sluts, then it’s your fault you don’t want to be married to a person who does that. The RIC has you kissing their ass and walking on eggshells to keep them from leaving, but in actuality you can’t blast most of them out with a blowtorch.

    • Oh, I’ve tried everything to get mine to leave, it’s probably a good thing we don’t own a blowtorch.

      • I too have been doing everything possible. I’m very honest, and tell him where I am coming from, I had him move out as I just could not control my anger when ever I just looked at him.

        It’s been 4 yrs, we live apart, but way to connected still w our lives that we haven’t been able to move on. He keeps on and on about how much I mean to him, how he has to live w this all his life and feels even convicts gets paroled why not him? oMG!!!!

        He believes bc we had a good almost 30 yr marriage, I’m to over look a 1.5 EA–> PA??

        I wish so often he wanted to stay w the ow.

    • LOL. I actually had this religious type tell me that I should “make the home as nice as possible” so he doesn’t want to leave. OMFG!!! Let’s cater to the manchild. NOT!

  • Great post for all of us!
    I lived with an angry, cheating, snarling, cheater man child for 6 months after we seperated and it was hell!

    I had no rights to the house ( it’s a rectory ) and I chose to leave.

    He rewrote history to make me look like a very very bad person.

    I ate my shit sandwich with a side order of crap salad and moved on.

    Went back to school. Lived on next to nothing and made new friends in a city where I knew no one.

    You can do this too.

    The quiet in my life without him is amazing !

    I never realized how much chaos is created by these people – every single day. It’s exhausting – and when you are free from it , you can finally breath!

    • I’m three months into separated but he won’t leave the house and you’re right you have no idea how much chaos is created by them until you can step back and see it. I can’t imagine what it will be like when he is gone. (I can’t wait!)

    • Free, I admire what you went through to get to where you are. I’m not free yet but hopefully soon I will be. I recently quit my job to go back to school so I have no income of my own. Lawyers who I’ve interviewed said said not to worry about that. How did you do it? What if Cheater doesn’t cooperate and share legally obligatory funds? So many mighty survivors on this blog – I am trying to draw strength and courage from you… but when I get close to “pulling the plug” I get scared shitless.

      • look I know my soon too be ex H 28 yrs together he ask for divorce to be with married women with 2 kids when I found her text ‘ guess what i now get 60 percent everything 60 house 401k 1900 month next 9 yers alimony ‘ he can keep is skank .. bet she complains next 9 yers LOL no money vacations awe while I’ll be living in gated community going back to school ‘ get back into church n volunteer to help others ‘ in florida can’t wait because I deserve to be happy too best luck ladies

  • My cheater finds an excuse to see me at least one hour every weekend. Last time, he showed me pictures that “platonic” OW#2 took while she was touring with us. On these pictures, we look like a happy couple, in a very pretty area.
    I think he wants me to admit that everything was fine, that we were having a spendid vacation when I freaked out, pushed him out, for NO VALID REASON but MY INSECURITIES…

    Who in the world would invite an OW#2 out of the blue to spend a 2-week vacation, after a painful year of post D-Day trust restoration, him sitting on a fence, me pick-me dancing ? Who could be oblivious to the fact that it would trigger bad memories constantly, since she’s the same nationality as non-platonic OW #1 ?

    I still fail to understand what he was thinking when he designed a tour for OW#2, convinced me to pick her up at the airport, and took care of her so well in my presence. And he looked so happy when it seemed we were getting along.
    My guts told me this was completely wrong. I followed my guts advice. I RUINED the vacation !
    My prefontal cortex is still forming doubts, what if he really wanted to travel innocently with a foreigner friend in addition to his partner ?
    Oh well, he could have talked to me about this project six months beforehand, at the time he designed the tour and OW#2 bought her plane tickets. he could have introduced us to each other. I suspect that if she had known about me, she would not have travelled at all.

    • Your “insecurities” are telling you the truth. You are not secure with this man. He is manipulating you. Go no contact and your doubts will fade. Stay strong. The pain is finite. ❤️

  • After a short false reconciliation shortly after DDAY1 I took preventative action when I was dealt with DDAY2.

    I am not sure why, perhaps the fact that my sister whom I am very close to (has raised me really, because of our Narc mother), lived halfway around the world ‘down under’, or the fact that there was a flight sale on Xmas Day 2011 and my cheating XH had walked out without warning 10 days before.

    Regardless, I booked that flight and I will admit that it was, despite how difficult divorce,migration and dealing with a [email protected] Cluster B Narc XH was, probably the better decision I made at the time.

    Is moving abroad gonna make him/her realise that they [email protected] up – NOPE
    Mine drove me to the airport (why did I allow that in my stupid exit pick me dance? urrggh) I paid for the fuel and lunch of course!!! and he hugged me before I left, knowing full well he would never ever ever EVER EVER see me again and allowed me to walk away and barely hold it together. He also rang me just before I got to the security gate and said “turn around” and there he was beaming and waving – see he still was telling me he would follow me over to Oz once he had sorted himself out etc.

    Now to everyone else my current life appears idyllic:

    After 16-18 years we had no kids – apparently I should be ecstatic, people constantly remind me I have no responsibilities – the world is my oyster !

    In reality I wasted my fertility (not through my personal choice) on a lying cheating XH who has just had a baby with his XBF’s XGF

    I live in paradise!!!!fantastic beaches- great weather- laid back lifestyle

    Yes, the weather and sun can have a great uplifting effect on your daily mood, it’s winter now and I have grown to loathe cloudy rainy days as I feel claustrophobic, but I miss coal fires, snow, and a lot of other things from my original home country but I do appreciate paradise- ‘cept it is $$$$$ expensive

    I also should have no worries now I am free, I can move on !!!!

    Yes, most definitely, but I have bills and I have to go to work everyday otherwise I can’t pay my rent, I can’t afford to be ill in a foreign country and I recently just survived a deportation close call and managed to secure another visa and job at the eleventh hour!! Not easy when you are not a resident, hopefully changing soon, I guess I am very lucky really.

    I suppose what I am trying to say is that although my instinct told me to bolt, part of me wished he was gonna follow and when that didn’t happen I found myself in a foreign land, (could have been Mars for all I care) I was broke, and my self esteem was at an all time low, I had insomnia, I became incredibly paranoid and honestly- I wouldn’t have cared if I never woke up in the morning.

    If I had stayed back in the UK I would be still doing the pick me dance ‘til I went to the grave. Moving away brings more clarity, although it may take longer than expected.

    I am now 4 years from DDay1, 5 mths officially divorced and I can only now genuinely say that moving away and listening to my gut that Xmas Day and booking that discounted plane ticket was the most productive thing I could have ever done.

    So 4 years later:

    I am officially divorced (I filed and paid of course!) and have had to sell my marital home
    I am financially ‘challenged’ and will probably never own my own home ever again but still have more money that I had as a couple
    I sleep more- nearly 6 hours a night , oh okay, maybe on a good day!!!!
    I laugh more, can finally watch a movie – definitely concentrate better
    I am nice to all the supermarket checkout staff and the coffee guy!
    I try and look after myself, getting into a routine at the gym, meditating daily (very very beneficial) and buying new clothes me stuff without feeling guilty, I deserve them!
    I can deal with healthy criticism
    I can spot red flags – mostly, but am happy to cut communication with anyone who crosses my boundaries personally/at work/ anywhere in fact!
    I have learnt to deal with and conquer my frequent anxiety attacks which generated and stayed for 3 years after DDAY- relatively stress free now
    I conquered my phobia of driving
    I am not the horrible person my XH portrayed me to be……
    I have good and bad days, but more good than bad now thankfully

    I wish I had left after the first DDAY – thankfully there was only 4 mths ‘til the final straw

    I wish I had discovered Chumplady then, instead of frickin Unicorn reconciliation sites.

    • Digbert, I was just thinking on my way home from work yesterday that once everything is done with my STBXH, I would like to move again to some place hot, I’m sick of the long Canadian winters. Right now it’s a dream because I don’t have to nickles to rub together but after the house sells, I can work on a plan to do this one day. The thought excites me, thanks for your post that made it seem possible. 🙂

      • Hey Kate50,
        I am lucky I was able to stay with my sister in a spare room for over 2 years !!! Luckily we get on- I was never a sun worshipper, being Irish I look like a lobster if I go out in the sun with/without sunscreen. Blue skies in a hot or cold climate feel me with more optimism

        For now I can watch the idyllic sunsets 5 mins from my rental apartment – mightn’t have much materialistically but I am living an authentic life and I have more peace

        Nice to have hopes n dreams 🙂

      • I packed up and left a 30 year marriage, grindingly abusive, a slow burn situation. Once the decision was made to leave, planning was just a matter of time. I had a place rented, did it online, bought a one way ticket and moved 3000 miles across the ocean. Two large suitcases which I dragged through airports, train stations, rental cars, and up a hill to my new home. Didn’t even have a kettle or saucepan that first night, just ate cold out of a can. Left all my other possessions behind and started new. Divorced by mail, consulted the mandatory legal counsel by skype. Lived on my savings until settlement received. Some of us go to great lengths to escape the gaslighting. I knew a quick cut and run was the only way I could overcome the sentimentality, especially saying goodbye to friends.

        Things have vastly improved over the past six years. Good job, new career in fact. Lots of adventures, lots of loneliness, but wouldn’t trade it for that depressing crappy marriage. And the weather here is much nicer.

        I have a new life. It is very different from my comfortable previous one, but I don’t suffer. The friends I now have are of my choosing. No outlaws to pressure me, no squabbles, no judgments, just me, my car, my home, and whatever I choose to do. My grown son told me recently he is in awe of my courage. It’s not courage, it’s just being decisive. And careful every moment.

        • Marci,

          I take my hat off to you! The job really help I’m sure. You will be my mentor!

      • I lived in a beautiful, warm, tropical climate for over 22 years and for about 12 years said I would never move back up north but eventually became obsessed with moving back to my home region and that took another 10 (bit frustrating) years to happen. I guess I’m trying to say to be very careful about making a big move without the option of being able to move back.

        • KB22,
          You are right that such a big move is only possible with enough money to live safely and relatively comfortably.
          I had a passport in the new country, and so had no problem working there, except for the cultural adjustment. And missing my home, friends and community. I’ve built a new community and have a few friends, although it will never likely be the privileged life I once had, with ex. I’m resigned to it. I’ve had a good life.

        • I can move back, I have moved from my own country (albeit a short hop across the pond) before and I haven’t planned out my latter years yet (I am 45 this year). At the moment I am resilient enough to live anywhere and make the most of it. I have a trip booked back to my home country for the first time in 5 years soon and I reckon that and my NARC mother (think Mrs Brown gone wrong) will cure me of any homesickness I may occasionally get nowadays.

    • Digbert, why “will probably never own my own home ever again” ?
      You write like a highly educated person and there are correspondence courses all over the web (I have a 50-something foreign friend who is teaching herself new marketable skills). So I wonder, why burden yourself with such limiting beliefs ?
      Fantastic beaches is a great basis, anyway. You’ll get all the rest eventually.

      • It may have something to do with the real estate prices here CFF- although renting after paying a mortgage for years is strangely liberating for now, works out cheaper too and I can case the areas I do/don’t want to live in.

    • Digbert you are amazing! My life has closely paralleled yours. My x married his cash cow coworker and they (she) bought a gigantic house on a lake. I have adult children but our family is being redefined as the kids are still reeling from shock, I too might never own a home again but…I have peace, I have a future I get to create without his chaos. It has been 4 years since D-day and I have ups and downs but I have some good friends I have made, I am practicing changing my perception of being a victim to just being a person and enjoying a simpler life that I can breathe in. I am making my own plans and having fun being in the moment. I am a work in progress and I am looking at my future with some happy anticipation, which is new for me. I am excited. Hang in there, hugs to you!

  • Everything in today’s CL post is what’s playing out in my life. He’s turned his family, some friends and our son against me for leaving him. I was trying to stay in our home living in the basement for a while and it was so toxic and it felt like walking on egg shells daily. I couldn’t do it anymore and finally found a place to move to, I packed and had a moving company come and get me the hell out of there. Now everything is in my lawyers hands to work out for me. Court date is August 25, hoping the house will be listed by court order because my cheater won’t cooperate as per usual. He even had the audacity to stop by and see my lawyer yesterday to tell her that he plans to live in our house till spring of 2016, WTF? Who does he think he is? Oh ya, I forgot, he’s an entitled asshole and will be right up to the end. SMH with disgust.

  • I think all of these points and most of the info and guidance on this site is invaluble…. But lets face it… Most of us are here because we did all the dancing, with misteps and poor choreography. I know i did. And when does it hit you? What is the pivitol moment when u stop dancing and start walking? I know i was in a dizzy fog… And nothing but nothing I read or heard was moving me to the decesion I had to make. Only when the shit started flying and I really thought I was losing my mind did my neighbor step in and rattle me. And honestly, I was just so depleted that at that point I would have handed my life over to anyone… ‘ jesus take the wheel!!!!’ Steer me in some fucking direction cause i am driving like a monkey in heat to no where. I had to shut down all emotions and focus not feel. It was the only way I could make the cut. But I did.
    My hope … And with all sincerity… My hope is the this site can be the rattling that someone needs before they drive off the rails. Its hard to be logical when there is a three ring circus in your living room and the ring master checked out. What do u grab first when the elephants are plowing thru the kitchen and there is 10 little people using yr bed as a trampoline… And the monkies have turned on the gas stove? Do you walk out and throw the lit match? How do u walk thru the madness… One step at a time… Grab what you need…ignore the circus and find the door.

      • Hit the nail on the head. I was in that circus for a good 3 yrs, only now am I beginning to make a bit of sense of my life again…

        When I sit back and reflect on how far I’ve come without even realizing, it simply blows my mind.

    • TheClip, this site was just that for me. I discovered the affair while husband was away at work. I called my mom, I called a friend and when it was 2 am and everyone had work the next day I went on line and googled. That’s when I found this site and it did rattle me. I rad for two straight hours until I passed out but when I work up, I knew there would be no pick me dance and no putting up with lies. I gave him 24 hours to tell me everything and when he refused I paid my attorney her retainer. I was able to avoid all the crap because of CL and the fine folks here at CN.

  • ChumpFromF, these cheaters are not going to give you a heads up or any warning in advance! It’s part of the sneaky agenda that they have in store for you! Don’t sit around trying to make any sense at all of their actions! Place the cheater at the curb with the garbage and go have a fabulous life! Staying in doubt and being miserable makes them happy! They don’t deserve any more of your time. Your time is best spent on people who love and respect you and cheaters don’t know the meaning of love and respect! They are bottomless sucks of never ending neediness! Let them reap what they sowed. A lonely, empty existence with nothing of worth to show for their miserable existence on this earth!

    • “Place the cheater at the curb with the garbage and go have a fabulous life!” Thank you Roberta I so needed that today.

      • ChumpB, you may not believe it now, but YOU and all of us fine chumps will have far better lives than our cheaters! Just being away from them, no matter our circumstance, is better than spending one more minute with a dysfunctional, selfish, deceitful loon! These cheaters are garbage! Human garbage! Treat them like toxic waste cause that’s just what they are!

  • Chumpffromf, Good to believe what your gut was telling you. Sounds like he was enjoying cake and either trying to minimize the previous affair or being particularly evil rubbing your face in it. A true partner would have cared enough to know how you truly felt about the plan to begin with. Its so refreshing that we don’t need to feel the need to be accommodators any more once we learn all we have here at CN.

    Concisely put JC. Pretty much covers their twisted logic.

    • But lets look at the cake they are enjoying…. It aint tiramisu…. Nope cheating fuckwitts go strait to the box of twinkies… 711 fucking twinkies.

  • My cheater never begged for the marriage but he did try to blame me for initiating the divorce, even though he was the one who said he wanted it. He was the one who dropped the bomb, he was the one who said he didn’t love me and never did in 20 years. He is the one who told me I, and I quote “sucked his soul out”, he was the one who made time with a two bit dim witted tramp for months behind my back…but the divorce is my fault? We went through agonizing months of doing exactly what is described here, at one point he said he wanted to “make things work”… so I was going to cancel the divorce, chump that I am (that i had filed), but less than one week later.. and consequently not enough time to get with my lawyer on it, he changed his tune- started acting funny again.. the “make things work” euphoria was short lived. So I never dropped the decree. I just postponed it. Because he got all flaky on me and I wasn’t sure.

    That, my friends, was the smartest move I ever made, even though later he maliciously blameshifted me for it. Blaming ME for continuing the divorce.. even though he continued to make time with the slut on the side and perusing dating sites… but I was the one who gave up on the marriage??? Keeping that divorce on the books protected me and my kids. That should be the FIRST step new Chumps.

    JC is right it’s about self preservation for them. It’s all about image management. They know what they are doing is horribly wrong and disgusting and most people will think so. I think a lot of them do these things against the images of the people they think they are. In other words, ask the average cheater/narcissist, they will probably tell you they are upstanding, moral, and full of integrity.. this is the IMAGE they want to project and they KNOW their behaviors run counter.. which is why controlling the narrative and the chump is so very critical. It’s keeping the mask securely in place.

    In my case, I got to family and friends (most) before my cheater did, although he continued his lies to them and pleaded his side, most didn’t believe him. My cheater is a conflict avoider, and so rather than FACE people who might have a bad opinion of his actions… he just avoided them. This is how he deals with problems. But he still tried to protect his image… however, he was probably a bit too late. So now he’s just created a new circle of people who don’t know him. Once the mask slips and you know who they are, it can’t go back to the way it was. They know this, which is why the discard is so complete.

    New Chumps.. when they are in self preservation mode remember you need to be as well.

    • Newchumpatl, OMG! You hit the nail on the head! I have to deal with a problem with my Ex due to unpaid taxes. He swears he paid them, but I am still getting notices! I emailed him a simple request for proof of payment. His Schmoopie decided to send me a snarky reply telling me (after weeks of asking), “WE will send you the information, because we are nice people even if you aren’t!” WTF?? Needless to say that after stonewalling me about my request and tiring BS being slung my way via email to what I thought, was my ex, I lost it! I told her to butt out of my tax issues because they are private and none of her concern! I also let the cat out of the bag that he owes tons of money and he agreed to pay the taxes in total as a part of our divorce settlement (referred to the exact pages for the nosy nitwit)! I reminded her to not get snarky with me and that “nice” people don’t sleep with married men! She’s such a piece of work! I am still livid, but then I remembered something my Mom used to say, ” if you have to say you is, then you ain’t!” I mean really, trying to convince yourself that you are not a low life, skanky, common piece of ass has to be a tough order! Ha! Ha! Ha!

      • Someone posted on the board yesterday that their EX was real mean to them.. they wanted to know “why” when he got all he wanted?? And why are the OW mean??? For a simple reason.. their lives aren’t so magical after all! Stealing someone’s H might feel good initially, but then you are stuck with a guy who is a known POS. And those things start coming out REAL soon afterwords. These OW figure out the lies the Xs tell about their X wives, and rather than blame themselves for being so STUPID and having such a PREDICTABLE outcome to their “tru wuv”, they lash out at the EX(She is an easy target after all and our XHs have them well trained to hate us). Adding to that, they will forever be known as the skank that broke up a family. Everyone knows what they are and even THEY know it. But they can’t face it so they blame others. They can put lipstick on that pig all day but it is what it is. I don’t care how unhappy you are, how mis-suited with your spouse.. cheating is not the way out and decent people know this. Decent people work on their marriages and know the grass isn’t greener. Adults take care of adult responsibilities. They put their families first. They tackle problems head on instead of burying them. They show up.

        One of the common threads reading this board and talking to friends about these cheater, mid life crisisers, whatever you want to call them.. they all have the same Peter Pan syndrome. None of them like the hard work of being an adult much. They all desperately fear getting older and “missing out”. They all feel pretty entitled to get what they want. A lot of them were hopelessly spoiled as children. Almost all of them claim to be poor sausages who were “forced” to get married or who “got married too young” or whose wives are “mean and controlling”.. when actually, it’s the opposite. They are typically controlling, and they are big babies when they can’t get their way. Most of them aren’t good with finances, jobs, or any other adult big boy/girl activities. They want to live perpetually as teenagers.. and when they have to do things like raise kids, work steady jobs, deal with a spouse in an open way on yucky things like money.. they bolt. Looking back, mine acted out for YEARS and we assumed the “parent/child” dynamic. We hung on like that a long time, maybe because I provided the right kibbles or maybe because he was just so passive aggressive he compartmentalized. Who knows. This is something I am COMMITTED to avoid in the future. I always chumpily thought it was a good dynamic.. he was more “fun” and I was more “realistic” and we complimented each other.. but I don’t want to be someone’s mama ever again. Nor do I want to have constant conflict over basic things, like money. I’d rather not raise another man child, thank you. I’d rather be alone and find me a man every now and again for the “ahem”, thing we need them for.. and to kill the occasional spider. I’d rather be alone that languish in a relationship that lacks depth, trust and true friendship. My STBX isn’t the guy I thought he was at all.

        These APs deserve what they get with these Peter Pans. 99% of them will learn why their “catches” were so dissatisfied in the first place, and honey, it ain’t the wife/husband. Ye ole Karma bus warming up and coming for you!

        • Excellent comment, newchumpatl, and so, so true. I will never understand why these whores think a lying, cheating married man is a good catch. It’s just mind boggling.

          • My cheater once uttered the words “You are lucky I don’t cheat on you”. This statement says a lot about his state of mind. That he would make an EFFORT to project that image of integrity.. that he would expect me and others to buy into it. Despite MOUNDS of evidence to the contrary.

            I finally figured out he has created his own reality and no amount of evidence or truth will ever get through to him. Not yet anyway. 1-5-10 years from now? Yeah, the 2×4 might hit.. when the grass does turn out to be more brown that green.. but right now he sticks to his story in the interest of self preservation. Wavering from it means admitting what a POS he is and he can’t ever do that.

            And I guess the whores stick to their versions of reality too.. otherwise they’d have to admit the kind of people they actually are. The kind of woman who has so little respect for herself, she’d chase after a clearly disordered, confused, and messed up lying man. I feel for them really. Their Karma is likely their day to day existences as they shallow soulless vapid shells that they are. Glad its not me.

          • ChumpAtl, your post is dead on! So we’ll put and I just want to scream, THIS, YES, ABSOLUTELY THIS!!

            • Newchumpatl! Thank you thank you so much for hitting every single chord in my soul with your wise words. Perfect descriptions, exactly my narc, love love how you pegged the OW! They get to live with that label for the duration. And you are right, everyone knows it! I will definitely be referring to your post frequently as a reminder of truth. It helps me to get to acceptance knowing all this truth. Thank you again.

        • Thank you so much for writing this, Newchumpatl. Your analysis is spot on. My cheater and I definitely had a parent/teenager dynamics, complete with his socks on the floor and underwear on the chair. I did most things and paid more than him often, because he never managed to look for a better job, he preferred to complain about everything, expecting me to solve problems. I bought into that, hence the codependency. I realize that I believe this type of guy is more “fun” and that I view myself as an old teenager too. Classic men scare me, I am afraid they would try to dominate me, force me to wear dresses and heels, that they are boring, serious, and would put me down. Time to find a good therapist, I guess. 🙂

        • OMG. My STBXH said some of that….”What if I’m missing out on true happiness?”. What the hell? I think he IS afraid of getting old and he isn’t even 40 yet. Loser. He don’t know how lucky he was. I do wonder if he was spoiled as a child. HIs mom seems to acquiesce to him when he would get irritated about an issue. He was a great soccer player when he was young and his parents took him all over the place to play. He always said his “good enough” beat everyone else’s “best”. Dang. That was a red flag wasn’t it??

        • Newchumpatl-great post! Also another reason the OW treats the wife or ex wife like crap is that they have to keep stirring the pot because borderlines and narcissists thrive on chaos and need someone to hate. This is the glue that holds the narc cheaters together. Another reason for no contact (other than self preservation) is that eventually the cheater couple turns on each other

          • KB22, I believe that’s the case with my Ex and his Schmoopie. I think now that the whole “fantasy love affair” has caved in epically they have become bored and disenchanted. The Desparate attempt to engage me in sparring is their sort of spark needed to prove to themselves they are “nice” people who just “found” each other! Some twisted storyline there, but I have no time for any of it. I made it clear in my email to them that I had met my obligation to cooperate on taxes and that we were finished , please don’t contact me anymore! Lo and behold, I check my email this morning and guess what? There was yet another message from these assholes! They must be Desparate! I just ignored them.

          • Shouting ditto! Life’s not so great when they find toe nail clippings on the floor, or get injured and laid up, or have to work, OMG, work!

        • Some narcissists actually do quite well professionally and financially. Mine certainly did. But he could not stand getting older and his Peter Pan syndrome turned malignant as he aged. He was willing to do anything to stay “in the game”; when someone 20 years younger made a play, he did not hesitate. A 24 year marriage down the drain because he could not accept the fact that he was getting older… what an ass.

    • newchumpatl this is identical to my story. The Sad Sausage was given multiple opportunities to reconcile and at one point brought the howorker-child into our home. My counselor said sometimes you have to fight for your marriage which I tried but he did NOTHING. Couldn’t even make it 2 weeks. After 35 yrs, he is cut off from his family, a sad old man, working in the most dismal office I have ever seen. My lawyer was great at protecting my future financially. I hope each of you have a great lawyer who will do the same.

      • The time to fight for one’s marriage is BEFORE someone goes banging someone else, just sayin’. After that, Hasta la Vista, baby.

    • Newchumpatl–I will take your Blameshifting, and raise you two chips.

      After the IT department reinstated old emails that I had not had access to after a server/email shift, I re-read X’s blame shifting letter to me after his affair 8 years ago and all the sexual and other demands I had to meet to win him back (I did not know he had had an affair, only that he had asked for a divorce). It is vomit-worthy (see Forums/Private:General under Mount Vesuvius for details). The cherry on top was his caveat, ““I should also add that even if you did everything here, I cannot guarantee in advance that my feelings would return. …. In that event, I would be upset at making you try without success. But doing what is below is the most constructive thing I can offer for you to consider. ”

      The rest of the letter details all of my flaws as a wife, mother, human (all of which I must fix to retain him), and no admission that he sucked as a husband and massively sucked as a father at the time. I know, shouldn’t have read his 8-year old letter, but I needed closure on that era. It is the reason why I am now nursing a glass of wine at 3 in the afternoon, to quell the hatred with the fire of a thousand suns.

      • Tempest

        This was something that took years for me to figure out. No matter what I did it was never enough and the cycle continued until I stopped fighting for the asshole despite wanting him back. I believe he enjoyed humiliating me since day one.

        It wasn’t until I could step back and have validation he was toxic before I could gather the strength to file.

        Saving the fight for the divorce is a better option.

        • Already divorced, thank goodness. Re-reading his demand letter was my attempt to bring closure to the 8-years ago episode by retracing my steps. I’m angry, but it is couched in the cognitive framework for understanding narcissists that I now have (but didn’t have back then).

          The irony is that I was prepared to let the jackass walk off into the distance 8 years ago because of his emotional abuse. A friend (& clinical psychologist) convinced me NOT to do so because it would be too damaging to the children, as her children had suffered immensely from her divorce. Worst advice I ever took. I dug my nails into my hand to reconcile with the MFer and would cry alone about doing so, but took one for the team. Had I known he had a lover 30+ years younger than him, 20 years younger than me, I could have hightailed it out of dodge then and saved myself 8 years of indignity and emotional torture (and the children would have been better off). Where’s a time machine when you need one?

          • So sorry, Tempest. Similar story and no children, sad, but thankful for that.

          • Wow Tempest. Did reading that letter help you to gain acceptance? That is where I feel like I am failing, acceptance that I need to move on. I really do think you are correct when you said “having the cognitive framework for understanding narcissists,” which is one reason why I find this site so helpful. As an outsider to your vomit-worthy letter, I would imagine it gave you further fuel, insight, and understanding of the absolute appropriateness of ending the relationship. I am in awe of what you endured by that letter and let me be blunt, what a POS he is.

      • Tempest….”blameshifting” so that’s what it is called! My STBX really needs an award for his stellar blameshifting. That stupid MFer convinced me I was the bad apple! Hell he flipped out when a passenger in another car apparently looked at me. He ranted on that I was giving some stranger, in a moving vehicle advances! WTH I couldnt even tell you what the guy looked like. My stbx threatened to drive the car off the road because he couldnt tolerate being treated this way. I chumped up and soothed his poor little self esteem. Blameshifting jackass, he had and was screwing around with any woman that would slut it out to him but was blaming or whatever me!! I feel like an idiot!

        • This EXACT THING happened to me several times!!! My Ex almost crashed our car trying to force someone else off the road because he was ‘looking at me’! The last time it happened I ACTUALLY LOST MY VOICE, I screamed at him so much! I told him that if he ever did that again, I would call the police on my cell phone RIGHT THERE and have him arrested for dangerous driving. Man, I WISH I would have just done it!

      • Hugs, Tempest.

        Boy do I get the hatred of a thousand suns. It has been quite a while since I have had to deal with cheater ex. But there were so many things that just did not make sense about his behavior during the marriage and break up. Then I found Chump Lady and began to connect the dots. Suddenly a lot of incomprehensible shit started to come clear.

        God was I naive. I had no idea of the crap he was pulling. Cheater ex followed the cluster “B” playbook faithfully. So did his rat’s nest of PDs family.

        Every time I get that light bulb of recognition , that yes indeed… is another supremely selfish narc manipulation/scam that he visited on me and his children, I am just so angry I barely know what to do with myself. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to a dead man. I do however believe in reincarnation, and karma. He will get his just deserts.

        That being said, the impotent rage takes time to die down. Those are the times I have to be extra gentle with myself, because those are the times when the pain resurfaces most.

        Like I said, I’m sending you hugs, Girlfriend. This too shall pass.

        • Thanks so much, Tessie. My pain can’t possibly compare to what you suffered, and I hope there is a hell ferocious enough that your X suffers third-degree burns for eternity.

          “Impotent rage.” Excellent term–it’s like this hard nugget inside of one, that is sometimes cold, sometimes hot, but leaves you with no options. I find the time to digest each new piece of information, or each flash of memory, decreases over time. At first, I would be felled for upwards of 2 weeks by news of yet another OW, or that he had ostentatiously tried to seduce someone in full view of our best friends. Then, grief periods dropped to 10 days, then to 7, then to 4. I expect to be over this latest revelation within 24 hours. And with each new nugget comes further detachment, which is really what I’m after.

      • A man child of the tallest order and a disordered individual at that Tempest. I also got the “do these things and maybe I’ll love you again” routine. 8 solid months of pick me dancing while he saw that whore behind my back. Then he’s an asshole to me about routine things.. I want to throw his f*cking match profile in his FACE and say how about this you two faced jerkwad.. but I can’t.. not until I get what I need from him.

        These guys/gals are MENTAL. You seriously can’t reform a cheater. I don’t believe it’s possible.

      • Tempest –

        8 years ago MFr has an affair you did not know about, gave you a letter on how to win him back and you were encouraged by a professional and friend to work on your marriage with the MFr–who wrote the play list….that son of a bitch.

        That stinking son of a bitch.

        I hope his dick falls off.

  • Thanks for the pep talk JC, and to me that’s what it was, the reminder of all the crap I have had to wade through to get to this day, and the fact that I am stronger than he ever thought. I meet with my attorney today. Yay!!!!!!

  • I’d like to add a bit to my earlier post as a warning to all chumps who are in the middle of a divorce! NEVER, EVER agree to amend your taxes for an unworthy, liar, cheater! Their behavior is just as deceitful in finances as it is in marriage, business etc. looks as if I have a long haul ahead of me even though I was divorced in March. And I foolishly allowed it! Do NOT agree to have ANYTHING jointly. The whole idea of divorce from a cheater is to get away clean!

    • Absolutely right, Roberta. My ex was audited by the IRS regularly for tax misdeeds. I had written into the settlement agreement that he would be responsible for that shit. He didn’t even tell me about the last time he was hauled in to answer for his bs (yes it was still on a joint return), and he didn’t even try to get me to pay any of it. He knew I would have sung like a canary.

      Chumps in the US should be aware that there is an innocent spouse defense to tax fraud if it relates only to activities of the guilty spouse. It’s important to be separated when the shit hits the fan.

      • Survivor,

        Could I talk to you privately about innocent spouse tax relief? I need to fix the mess that STBX made as it involves me (filed joint tax return in a complex situation at a time I was traumatized).

        • Absolutely RockStarWife. Just say how to make it happen. Are there PMs here?

          • No PM as far as I know, but you can do what I did–create a new gmail account using your code names (e.g., [email protected]) so that other people from CL can contact you after you post the code-name-email here.

            (or I’ll act as a conduit if you both email me)

      • Yes, I have applied for Innocent Spouse. And I had it written into my divorce settlement also, but my cheater turd thinks he’s special. I intend to prove to him that he is just a common turd! But Thanks for the info. It’s important information to have for all chumps!

          • Survivor, I’d love to, but I’m pretty challenged when it comes to computers so I’d have to do it while my whiz kid daughter is around. But I would like to tell you that I got my help from an H&R Block premier office and the guy who helped me was so great! It’s really pretty easy to fill out, but the IRS can take up to 6 months to make a decision and they do notify your EX that you have filed for innocent spouse. The jacktards are given a chance to appeal our application! I was shocked to hear that, but what else is new? I’m getting used to being fucked over by the system so it’s just another issue I’ll deal with IF that happens!

  • I was lucky. STBX offered to leave “if it would be easier for you.” So thoughtful. OW had apparently gone out of town so he stayed at her high rise apartment. Ug.

    Kudos to the chumps who have to suffer losing their home on top of the betrayal. You are MIGHTY.

    • CRHCHK,

      My ex and the OW wanted our home, so I had to go. Ultimately, giving it up was the right decision. The place was too expensive for me to handle alone. I didn’t want a roommate; I wanted tranquility. There were too many bad memories there for me to exorcise. And I realized in a moment of clarity that it would be better if he didn’t know where I was or have any excuse to be anywhere near me. Letting the place go was painful, but cleansing.

      I bought another smaller home for myself a while later and filled it with good memories. Then moved for a new job and bought one that was even nicer than the original one taken by the ex and OW, Along the way, I met my wonderful present husband, lost my parents, suffered a pretty serious injury and recovered, kicked cancer’s butt and recovered, and married that wonderful man who stood by me through all those tidal lows. He had a house too, from back in his chump days, and was saving it for his daughter. When the kid decided she wasn’t interested because it wasn’t good enough for her, he sold it. Then I sold mine, and we bought our dream house together two years ago. Not massive. Not flashy. But ours, through and through.

      I guess what I’m trying to say is that leaving a cheater opens your life to potential you might not have imagined you still had. Had I stayed with that POS ex to keep a home I loved, I would have had no emotional support through the trials and tribulations to come. And I would have missed out on the best times of my life so far. A little mighty goes a long way.

  • I can’t remember who said it here first but one response to the cheater blaming you for destroying the marriage is, “You chose to kill it. The divorce is just the death certificate.”

  • My cheater left me, filed for divorce without my knowledge, then blamed me for it. In fact, he blamed me for everything. He was very cruel and calculating about it. At the same time he seemed upset that I didn’t want to comfort him for the agony he was going through. He also told our youngest son that OW had nothing to do with it. It was the most crazy making time in my life. Everything I said got turned back on me, and was my fault. I finally lambasted him in an email telling him I would not accept responsibility for his decisions and to quit putting them on me. I didn’t know about no contact, but instinctively knew that I’d lose my mind if I kept trying to communicate with him. It was like talking to a brick wall.

    • Oh, “the agony he was going through” ! You mean OW dumped him ? I got that too. That’s when I felt weird because he was treating me like his second mom. There was no way I was going to consolate him for losing OW. But I didn’t want to be cruel either. So I kept my distances. But of course then he complained I was too distant. 🙁

  • Fortunately, I never had to deal with financial infidelity. The monthly deposit went into our joint account the entire time that we were separated.

  • Stay or leave can be tricky. I filed for divorce for adultery after DDay #2 when he left to move in with OW1. He then came back into the home under promises of false reconciliation, then claimed we had sex which then “condones” the adultery in our state, so divorce was dropped. He stayed home and refused to leave with multiple promises of reconciling. When I found out he was still involved with OW1 I filed again, but the collaborative-law divorce called for a one year separation. He wouldn’t leave. Kept playing with my head about reconciling. Then OW1 gave him an ultimatum and he moved in with her 1000 miles away. But kept coming back and forth to prevent the clock from ticking on the separation. Finally, I found out that there was OW2, so I refiled for divorce for adultery, and moved out so he couldn’t try to get this affair condoned. I later found out during depositions that he had at least 6 affairs during our 34 year marriage, and hid them well. Our state gave you few options. So, after I moved out of our marital home, he counter-filed against me for abandonment because he had been diagnosed with a chronic illness. Mind you he had been living with OW1 for over three years!! His DL, car registration, voters etc were all in OW1’s state. And he was cheating on OW1 with OW2. And best of all, he had great health care through me which continued after the divorce and i had also paid for disability insurance which now supports him. He had to drop the “she abandoned me” pose. Once I ACCEPTED that he was a liar, I finished the divorce and am living happily ever after.

    • Good for you Meg!! You deserve a better life. X is still living with OWhore and also has another one he’s been spotted with. Supply is everything.

  • My pick-me dance lasted for one email response from the cheater and then I know our marriage was over. It hurt so bad to KNOW it. I asked him to leave and he did. He got a hotel room not 3 miles from OW’s house. He would call everyday, every afternoon…to talk to our son but knowing that I would answer the phone. He would hear my pain and get kibbles. I quickly learned to just hand the phone to my son when his number came up on the caller ID. After that, he proceeded to try and meet with friends to tell his story to. It didn’t go as well as he wanted as many told him to get his ass back home. He was obviously hoping they’d believe his BS story that his marriage was not perfect and and, of course, sexless and he was not happy and they should support him in finding his happiness. I had already told his parents and mine, my sister, my friends, my boss at work (she is a sister chump). I did not allow him to save face or preserve his image. He still hasn’t admitted that he even had the affair even though he lives with the OW now.

    I feel for those of you here who had to or are currently dealing with a Narc who will not let go, who make your lives and those of your children miserable. I will say a prayer of peace and mightiness for all of you.

  • Excellent post JC.
    Looking back, I actually amaze myself with the courage I displayed. My 2 adult children have since both told me on several occasions how much they admire my courage. They both say that by that act, they know that they can face just about anything, because if I could do it, so can they! That living an authentic, honest life is the right way way to live and to accept anything less is not ok.
    I left my 31 year (27 married) relationship after D-day#2. We had been in reconciliation for 2 years – it was awful – bits of truthiness still filtering through ever so slowly over the months. Me trying so hard to forgive him and being accused of not letting it go (even though more truthiness kept on coming at me from various quarters). I was expected to “just forget about it okay!”, and “told to stop bringing it up!” and “you can’t and won’t forgive me” and “you’re trying to make me feel guilty”. It was all my fault. After 2 years of me trying and him refusing to admit to anymore than what he thought I knew I told him that my gut was telling me that there was something very wrong and I wanted to go back to MC together.
    Then I discovered that the entire 31 years had been a playing field for him. MC suggested he was a sex addict which infuriated him. I filed for a separation agreement which he didn’t want. I set the date to move out because I didn’t want to have to maintain our older home and bought a townhouse. I moved out and then as far as he was concerned, I didn’t exist anymore. He had a new GF and filed for divorce within 4 months so they could get engaged. The jig was up and the complete disconnect shocked me to the core. We had moved to another country together to offer our children better futures. I had no family or old friends to lean on. Finances were not good because we had moved to another country and had to leave any “wealth” behind. We arrived with a suitcase each and the maximum amount of money we were allowed to legally take out, which was next to nothing. I see now how mighty I was.
    My biggest mistake was not just accepting it all.. I couldn’t – it was unbelievable and I fought it. My advice to anyone reflects yours JC. Acceptance is the key.
    Now, 8 years later, I look back and I absolutely know how right this decision was. I had hopes that I would remarry, but at almost 58 and now living in a city with a disproportionate ratio of women to men, I am accepting that I will possibly never even go on another date. I can face myself and I know with a quite confidence that I gave my all – I was a good wife and a good mother and I have my honesty intact. I am lonely at times and am endeavoring to get out more and make friends in the beautiful city I moved to 5 years ago. Life is good. I have a good job at a large hospital, I live in a cute small apartment in a really beautiful city with lots to do, even if I do get tired of doing much of it alone now and then. I like living alone, sleeping in my bed alone is still a luxury and every day I see and appreciate this beautiful world.

    I can’t imagine what my life would have been had I stayed. The example I would have given my children who were in their late teens at the time is not even worth considering. |There is a great peace in knowing my instincts were right and that even if it took me 2 years to listen, I listened and I acted.
    It hasn’t been easy and it took me long time to come to the acceptance that I married a POS. I don’t beat myself up about it. It’s a waste of time and energy. It is what it is and it’s up to me to continue moving forward.

    • Thank you, Lynne and others, for sharing your stories. They help me stay the course (to not go back to the unlawful, personality-disordered, cheating STBX, who lives across the street, while he ‘love bombs’ me, I feel as though all of my dreams have been killed, and I am scared that I won’t find a job (near what some consider retirement age) that I don’t mind doing until I die that will adequately support the kids and me). Better to be dirt poor than live with a disordered disaster, right?

  • [Apparently, my registration to CL blog has been done, because I can’t register again (error mentioning a same email, same pseudo already exist). But I never received any email containing a password. 🙁 ]

    • I wonder what that means ChumpFromF. I wonder why my posts come in as red, while most are black. Is it because I am not logging in each time?

      • Your posts come in as red because you mentioned a web site. It’s called, apparently.
        I leave the field “Website” empty, so my pseudo is black.

        I wish CL sent me the means to see the forum.

  • What I keep trying to wrap my brain around is the discard phase. That morning was the same as usual, bringing me coffee with a smile and his usual “morning angel”. Then that evening I discover sets of private messages between him and escort girls ( which they are when they are 20 and he is 61 )…. and his reaction to my discovery and falling apart was rage and erased me all in one fell swoop. Any contact we’ve had, such as in court, HE is the one who acts pissed and won’t even make eye contact. I know it’s a blessing, but it just doesn’t make sense and I know it probably never will. Oh, and his username….Mike “Angel”.

    • He loves me not

      That switch is when the mask is off. X’s slipped a few times. This time I saw him. It’s who they are. This fact caused so much distress as I put all the pieces of the double life together. There was no way to spackle the discard. He got much worse. I wondered why the fuck is HE angry? It’s narcissistic rage. No more cake.

      • He Loves Me not,

        To add to Donna’s comment, I think that some of these cheating narcissists are also afraid that they will be exposed to the public, especially if THEY take their victims (innocent spouses) to court. (Crazy situation, isn’t it?) Your aggressive cheater sounds very much like mine. We’ve gone through almost a dozen hearings and we’re not done–even though I have begged Cheater several timesto settle out of court. It’s like a rabid pit bull attack–aggressive, bloody, and unstoppable, until everyone involved is dead (at least financially). (Thankfully, I am weaning myself out of begging mode.) I don’t know your STBX, but I suspect that he is like mine, who has Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic and Passive Aggressive Personality Disorders. (Mine also has Paranoid Personality Disorder and probably psychosis.)

        By the way, your cheater’s moniker “Angel” makes me think of “Angel of Death.” I’d like to steer clear of him and his brethren.

        Good luck!

        • Yes! The total discard is what threw me for a total loop. That is another mind-fuck for sure.

          The ex can`t even acknowledge me as the mother of his children. I plain and simply don`t exist. The 31 years we spent together is wiped out as if they didn`t happen. He turned his back on me in Vancouver last year when our daughter was in hospital with a serious issue. It was a total, deliberate snub when I saw him across the street as i was crossing the street. I merely stopped to give him an update on her condition.

          The detachment happened as soon as he realized the jig was up when I moved out. I was no longer of use to him I guess. Up until I moved out, he didn`t want the separation even though I knew he was still on POF and swinging sites. Blamed me for not being able to forgive him, but still on the sites and whatever else he was doing AND still only admitting to what he thought I knew.
          He had a new GF the week-end after I moved out and he filed for divorce within 4 months He was enraged that I retained a lawyer. Accused me of contesting the divorce – he really thought I would just let the divorce go through and not say a word. (Seriously, he expected me to just let it slide through.) He was infuriated. Then when things weren`t going so well with his new GF, he started stalling the divorce proceedings. Fired his lawyer he hired after I hired mine and in a snarky e-mail told me he expected me to fire mine – any money we were wasting on lawyers should go towards our children`s education. When I refused, he said I was `stealing`from our children. WTF…….
          He then kept on stalling the divorce….. called me twice over a few months and was really, really nice to me and asked me to stop the divorce – there was no rush for it. Yeah, who served me with the papers …… And it was all my fault because I moved out.
          It took 3 years after he filed for the divorce to finally go through. It cost me a lot more money for fees because he would ignore letters and phone calls from my lawyer. He kept on stalling and dragging the process out. He represented himself. He didn`t expect it when my lawyer brought up spousal support and the judge granted it.

          So, when I look back, 2 things held me back from moving on:
          The particular mind-fuck of the total detachment and discard. It took me a long time to get over the disbelief because I truly believed we had a really great marriage up until D-Day1. I couldn`t comprehend the behaviour he displayed. It was inconceivable that the man I thought I knew was doing this. Chronicalling this is quite enlightning. Seeing what I wrote here only makes it clearer what a narc he is. You don`t see the total picture you know because this isn`t the man you thought you knew

          Secondly, not accepting it. Now that I have accepted it, life is SO MUCH better!

          Just my thoughts and observations……………..

  • HeLovesMe – that is because it is YOUR fault you found out! OMG – NOW because you know what a shit head asshole he really is, you get HALF (if not more) of everything and he doesn’t want to give anything up! I mean shit – he had it made!! A great wife, a home, a piece of ass on the side and you had to ruin it for him… What were you thinking?
    I get the same thing. I found out about shit for brains’s little escapades and did I get an apology? Hell no! I got “We were going to get divorced anyway.” What? We were? Oh… so I guess me finding out about your little fuck phone just sped up the process. Ya me!
    My stbx asswipe wanted me to live ‘comfortably.’ Ahhhh…wasn’t that nice. Except his ‘comfortable’ didn’t include his pension, ss security and his 401K. Ahhh…that is nice of you asswipe. Now I can retire sooner than you – thanks to me seeing a lawyer before I let you convince me of what YOUR ‘comfortable’ is. Dick

    • LadyStrange,

      My malevolent, cheating STBX tried, somewhat successfully, to prevent me from reaping several of the financial benefits of being married (e.g., qualifying for a higher pay rate at ‘retirement age’ based on his ‘Social Security qualified earnings’–even though he didn’t need to pay me a dime by allowing me to receive this much needed benefit)! He also cashed out tens of thousands in stocks, violating the temporary restraining order HE requested! He also used much of the money that was supposed to go into our kids’ college savings fund to pay for his drug and prostitute habits. The kids and I will never be compensated for these losses. (I can’t imagine my conversation with the kids in a few years: Kids: ‘What happened to the money we were supposed to get for college?’ Me: ‘Sorry kids, Dad spent it on cocaine and prostitutes. You’re on your own.’ He (unsuccessfully) tried to wrest all physical custody of our kids from me by claiming that I was a horrible mother who committed heinous crimes against our whole family. His claims have negatively affected my career prospects. (He accused my colleagues of cheating with me, while he was cheating on me, and accused me of committing felonies that could affect my attractiveness to employers.) He has the ‘scorched earth’ mentality of armies that rape and pillage the lands of the innocent citizens of the invaded country.

      I am glad that you get to retire earlier than your repugnant STBX. I wish that all of us could say the same. My STBX earns a pay rate ten times higher than mine. He will probably retire while fairly young. I, on the contrary, will probably never be in a position to comfortably retire. As such, I am trying to change my attitude about work–I keep telling myself that work can be enjoyable and that my kids and I won’t be completely torn up by the severe reduction in my time with my kids, so that I don’t become completely enraged by this total lifestyle overhaul I, and others like us, did not deserve.

      • RockStarWife, you can collect his SS even if he’s married again – you should look into that.

        • Absolutely. RockStarWife–if your marriage was over 10 years, you can collect on X’s social security. Even if you remarry and then divorce (or are widowed), you are entitled to X’s social security rates. Keep a copy of your marriage certificate; that & ID should be all you need.

          • Yes, this information on SS is so important. This is why I love CN, it’s cathartic and educational! Wow, it occurs to me just how smart the chumps here at CN ARE. Oh well, our cheaters lose out on some truly talented partners!

          • My malevolent, cheating STBX filed at 9 1/2 years, I am quite sure to get out of paying me long term support and making me eligible for various other benefits. (He even commented on my standing with Social Security shortly after he filed.) The silver lining of his insistence on fighting me in court for numerous rounds was my marriage was not DISSOLVED before the 10 year mark. Thus, I qualify for Social Security benefits based on his eligible earnings. (I have discovered that a lot of attorneys, even family law attorneys, do not know this fact and thus incorrectly advise clients. Please note that laws differ from state to state.) These narc cheaters will cut off their nose to spite their face! The law that says that the spouse who has fewer earnings counted by the Social Security Administration and gets dumped by the cruel, disordered spouse before the ten year mark–and thus does not qualify for the oftentimes notably higher pay rate–is extremely unfair to chumps.

    • LadyStrange….that is SO true! He sees my finding this on his tablet as me “not trusting him and checking on him”. Well, DUH, when you’ve lived in a sexless marriage for years but constantly find his porn, dating sites, escorts sites and have pocket dialed me telling me he’s going to Wal-mart and other places but was obviously in a bar. Who caused the lack of trust? And obviously I didn’t check hard enough!

      I asked my therapist why he acts so mad when he sees me as if he could self-combust, she said, “Because you exposed him”… pun intended. Cleaning out my desk at home the other day I came across several cards for different occasions, He always signed his cards and notes, “Love…always and forever”. I have the Valentine card from this year…signed of course the same. That night when I found all the PM’s, he had been talking to this one hooker since January. For all I know, he got me the card and she got the sex. But I will know….because I’ve just hired a Forensic Detective to recover the deleted history and data. It was a very expensive move on his part to hit that delete button and then refuse to admit to anything.

      With all the cards and notes proclaiming his love for me along him always bragging about this or that that I’ve done with house or whatever, I don’t see how he could convince the court that he fell out of love with me. It’s hard pill to swallow to come to the acceptance that he never really did in the first place. No one can love someone and then betray and destroy them like that and just walk away without looking back.

      I do know now though what it means when the “mask comes off”….I’ve seen it slip many times during his bouts of rage, but he was able to successfully reattach it. It came off completely that night and it was frightening. I swear his whole face and eyes have changed….where there once seemed to show a softness and kindness in his eyes, they are just dark and evil looking now. I wonder if others see it when this happens, or is it just us?

      I’ve been erased and will move back to my home with family and friends 1,000 miles away, but he’s got his reputation to deal with here and he’ll protect it fiercely. What his major problem is going to be is that he has POA over his mother’s finances while she’s in an assisted living home, and I have proof that he has used his mother’s credit cards to pay for escort girls and all of his porn addictions. You would think that he’d curtail his activities while the divorce and discovery process are under way, but he’s on full tilt now, going down this spiral of destruction.

      Leaving a home that you’ve worked so hard on will be hard, and I’ve done a LOT of remodeling and was in the middle of another project when my world stopped spinning, but this house also holds too many memories and a lot of ghosts that I need to be free of. But….I do have ONE last decorating project that I will do before I leave. Every single room will have a large stencil, in red with the words…..Always and Forever. All three floors….every room. I’ve painted them all many times over the years,….now it’ll be his turn.

      • “What his major problem is going to be is that he has POA over his mother’s finances while she’s in an assisted living home, and I have proof that he has used his mother’s credit cards to pay for escort girls and all of his porn addictions.”

        That is one of the worst things I’ve ever read on this forum. I am so, so sorry, but good on you for hiring a forensic detective. I hope you take this motherfucker to the cleaner’s. BTW, LOVE your final decorating project. That’s got badass written all over it. “Always and forever (an asshole).”

        Hugs to you.

        • FMT…Yeah, his lying and cheating on me proved he was a POS, but using his mother’s money who has Alzheimer’s… that took it to a whole new level. There’s a real special place waiting for him in hell. She thinks he hung the moon, but she’ll never here the truth from me. She loves me and now I’ve got to go away and can no longer be her nurse, or take her to her Dr. appts., it breaks my heart and it would hers too.

          I just wish I could see his face when he walks in after I’ve left and sees my final decorating….He HATES to paint. Maybe one of his hookers will help him out…not sure how much that “service” would cost him though. 😉

  • Thank you for a wonderful post, JC!

    I used to feel hopeless and bereft but now I feel free…

  • Good post, J.C.!!!

    I consider myself lucky in some regards. HE cheated. He moved out within 30 days of telling me he was “done” with our 13-year union. HE filed for divorce, and paid for all legal fees. HE ignores our child unless it’s his weekend. HE is for the most part no contact. HE has been dating.

    Yet, when we do speak, he has the NERVE to ask me, “Why the cold shoulder (tone, attitude) towards him from me. I just laugh and tell him that I am treating him the way he has treated me- unless it’s necessary, we talk and it’s just business. HE doesn’t like it, but oh the f*** well!!!

    The people he has told about our split, I don’t even talk to so I don’t even care what he tells them…eventually, they will see him the way I have- as a lying, cheating thief.

    I feel hopeful for my future away from him, I feel relieved that this is almost over legally.

  • good post. if you don’t accept it then it will rule your life.

    i’ve got a cat that spends it entire day trying to get more food. i’ve got another cat that likes to explore, sleep, whatever and just eats when it’s time to eat. better to be the second cat, i reckon.

    • Love the analogy, Ken-doll. I have 3 dogs that, once they’ve pottied in the morning, rush back into the sunroom to find the best bed – what a competition! I’m gonna be the first dog going forward and claim my bed first. And, thank God, I get to share it with all three of these Danes nightly. (they don’t mind if I move or snore or touch toes)

      • Yes, Great post today JC (I follow you often) and, as often happens, I believe (as somebody posted earlier), their souls are being damaged in vast ways internally they don’t even understand. A 60 yr old guy, buying the muscle car, shaving his head, and heading out the door (because he was in love with an alley cat 14 yrs his jr) …well, he has sure paid for it because he is now in hiding as everybody thinks and knows he was a damn fool. But, I just found out from the private forums, thanks to many good souls who contributed, that I am indeed, a ‘Beard’. I never heard of that term before but when I asked my 70 yr old neighbor from SoCal, she definitely agreed I was a Beard.


      • Shechump, you have three great danes ? There is one waiting for a home at the shelter near here, I love it, but they have written that education of Great Danes is quite different from other dogs, so I am afraid that I would not be able to handle it. Any advice and links ? 🙂

  • I love every single thing about this post, JC. Way to go! 🙂

    I got a variation on almost all of your themes, and my ex also was fond of criticizing my communication style in times of conflict. After telling him I needed space, I’d withdraw for a spell, lest I shoot off at the mouth and then not be able to take back what got said in anger. From very sad personal experience, I knew this to be the best way *for me.* I have a very sharp tongue and over the years have lost several relationships that were important to me (friends, family, colleagues) when I spoke in the heat of the moment. Like Luz said the other day, this is a communicative hot stove I’ve learned not to touch.

    Anyway, he’d blame our conflicts on my FOO issues (and, hey, my FOO issues are in plenteous supply). Meanwhile, he’s the calm model of British military rationality. When I think of the first time I caught him messing around on the Craigslist casual encounters and rightly lost my shit, and then how he manipulated me into feeling like the whole thing was somehow MY fault because I stepped back for a few days, and how I later wound up sobbing on the phone apologizing for my poor communication? I feel rage such as I have never known. FUCKING ASSHOLE! You DARE to hold yourself up as a model of open communication, blaming me for every impasse caused by your secrecy and betrayal, and preventing me from making fair choices for me and my girls? FUCK YOU!

    Well, there’s my fist pulled from a fresh hole in the drywall. I feel better now.

    • Oh, FMT. Nobody does cold analysis like a Brit. They don’t have to be right, mind you, just convinced of the merits of their own arguments and wonderfulness. We North Americans are no match for the chilly demeanor of an English narc. (And what a relief to no longer have to deal with it, eh?)

      • You know it, Tempest. I got instructed on everything proper (hey, I guess when you’ve flown with the Queen, you’re the last word in etiquette). We’re talking everything on how to lay silverware on a plate at the end of a meal, to how to affectionately end letters or emails. Let’s not even get started on my Detroit accent. Now I see X instead of xo at the end of a text and I instinctively cringe. -This from a total Anglophile who spent 6 months in the UK as an undergrad!

        One day I’ll take Edinburgh back. And London. And every wicked cool place I went/person I met in the UK. I won’t let that fucker take that awesomeness from me.

        • Hey, I didn’t know you were from Michigan, too?! Born in Dearborn Heights, then after several moves back and forth between coasts, spent my junior high, high school, and college years in the East Lansing area.

          I just took back London & Edinburgh, and highly recommend it. Great cities; even greater cheater-free.

          • Yup, from the Motor City for sure. We’re totally broke, but dang we got good music. 🙂 I think there are quite a few of us Motown chumps, including CL and Rumblekitty if I’m not mistaken.

            Will do my damndest to get down your way in October. I *NEED* to be at this chump dinner, man

  • I come from W.Canada which has a lot of British humour to it and if it was too ‘English’, I never quite got the joke. Call me slow.
    But, I have that same reserve of ‘response’. If a problem comes up, I cannot deal with it until I get a chance to process it. I know I’ve never ever said a bad word that would have hurt my X, although – he was forceful and wanted me to say NOW, what was on my mind. Well, we learned to live it for 35 yrs. Different styles – he was an obnoxious Yank! lolololol. So, that ‘reserve English-style I had about me seemed to have prevented me from going Medieval on his ass from the first Dday. I thought I’d be like Ann Archer in Fatal Attraction and scream at the guy, if he ever cheated. (I mean, I really didn’t actually think it would ever come to that) But, once Horribils thing happened, I sat there quietly on a chair and said. ‘Oh really. Oh, I see. Oh, OK.”
    And, the next 4 months I processed it thoroughly and decided he wasn’t worth another stick of my time.
    I guess I was calm and got one last trip to Hawaii in on his expense before I kicked his soulless, lying, cheating, piece of flame-retardant debris, who I KNOW, wanted to move his ‘mistress’ into my home while he tried to shove me out of it. I can’t believe his gall to this day and did it ever backfire on him. He’s suddenly got serious health issues.

    I’ve followed C/L, C/N since Dday Three and I’m right here where I should be. And, well, he’s living in a trailer in a trailer park and I don’t think they’re together. Nor do I care.
    Thanks Chump Nation!

  • Just wanted to post this video in case it helps anyone who is feeling afraid. You can be brave and move forward even when it looks like you only have bad choices. I hope it helps. 🙂
    Watch “Joyce Meyer God Opens Doors with Faith” on YouTube

  • “Before you find yourself removing your fist from a fresh hole in the drywall, take a deep breath.”

    At first I read that as “remove your fish…” and I thought that was really an excellent idea. Knock a small hole in the drywall where it is unlikely to be noticed, fill it with fish, do a quick patch up job, then leave. Let your ex find the source of the stench while you begin your new life.

    • LOL Cat….that is hilarious! I had actually read somewhere about the night the wife left and had a nice steak and shrimp candlelit dinner just for herself, only the fresh shrimp she bought, she put all the raw shrimp tails inside the curtain rods. She would drive by on occasion and notice the carpet cleaners, etc to remove the stench for the now home of the cheater and his schmoopie, but the day she drove by and saw the moving van in the driveway with the door open….and noticed the curtain rods all packed away in the back made her smile big time. I do love shrimp too! 😉

  • I can’t say how much I needed to read this. I did just leave. There is nothing I can do that will bring my marriage back from the dead.

    Every day I stayed stole a piece of my soul.

    I finally screwed up the courage not just to leave, but to pull out a healthy sum from our joint account so he couldn’t try to hold me hostage by cutting off the money I may need for lawyers to fight for what is rightfully mine.

    I made so many excuses for his behavior over the years. I was so bamboozled into thinking I was his one and only, rest of his life, true love, meant to be despite his previous cheating past. The One that would change his ways. Had my suspicions over the years, but he so vehemently denied wrongdoing and gaslighted me into submission that I swallowed my fears, rather than face emotional abuse for voicing them. Spackle spackle spackle. Until I fell apart.

    Depression and booze nearly killed me, but in pulling myself out of it, realizing I deserve better, that the pain inside came from his psychological torture, not faulty wiring, I found evidence of what is an EA likely on the brink of turning PA.

    I was not The One after all.

    But I will be The One who left him, not the one left behind once he lands his next victim.

    Even if he has screwed around before and now I think he probably has, I never had proof. Now I don’t just suspect, I KNOW if it hasn’t happened yet, it will.

    Step one in reclaiming my dignity is not dancing. My self-respect over the years has been shredded, but I have enough left not to wait around for the humiliation to be complete.

    But I know I face a shitstorm of epic gaslighting when I am forced to interact with him in the proceedings, in moving everything out of the house once I have a permanent place to stay. I need to steel myself for that. I need to at least be able to fake Meh in his presence until I finally am. Not going to be easy. But this is the beginning of an independent autonomous life he almost convinced me I was too broken and inept to handle.

    Fuck that noise.

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