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Why Is It So Hard to Remember They Suck?

suckToday’s guest post is by Tempest (who has a PhD in psychology)

Why is it so hard to remember that they suck? What makes hapless chumps so prone to pity and compassion, even after our spouse has attempted every position in the Kama Sutra with our best friend from college?

We are all at varying stages in the process — suffering the first pangs of horror and panic attacks after learning of the ultimate betrayal, followed by the slow, but still sharp pain of realization of how badly we were deceived by the one person we trusted most with our hearts. And the RAGE that seems as if it might consume us from within, but which finally propels us to take the steps necessary to disengage from our marriage or union and look ever so slightly into the future at what life will be like post-divorce. A sigh of relief — the divorce is final, settlement is settled, no-contact is in place (as well as it can be if we are co-parenting with the cheater), the anger subsides, and then….we start to miss them, to edit the past and remember the good times with the person we thought they were.

What’s up with that? Month after month, our cheaters got carpal-tunnel system from texting their APs, sneaked away from family events to bang the babysitter or the next door neighbor or a graduate student or a co-worker, bought the APs fancy dinners or gifts that we never saw the likes of. And we MISS them? Get nostalgic for the happy times? Huh?!

It’s normal. In fact, we’re programmed to do so. Just like the hand evolved slowly but surely from flippers over millennia, the mind evolved to cope with thoughts and decision-making in an efficient way. Not necessarily an accurate way. Our minds are pre-ordained to remember some things better than others, to lose those pesky details in favor of sweeping generalizations, to let our emotions seep into memories and decisions. During our marriages, we were subject to the confirmation bias — combing the evidence for any event to channel Sally Fields and believe, as we gaze upon our sex-addled spouse, “You love me! You really love me!!” Evidence that our beloved is having group sex with the entire Chippendale troupe or Dallas Cowboys Cheerleading squad is ignored because he/she “You love me, you really love me!”

The confirmation bias gets a heavy dose of enabling from cognitive schemata. Schemata (or schema in the singular) are cognitive frameworks or scaffolding we use to organize information, to help fill in missing pieces, to infer what might happen next. For example, in a classic study*, people read passages about commonplace events, like going to the doctor’s office. People remembered more details about events consistent with a schema (e.g., nurse taking one’s blood pressure) than events that were inconsistent, and mentally filled in missing details (e.g., they misremembered that the passage had mentioned having one’s temperature taken). How does this apply to chumps? Most of us have a schema that people are generally good. We filter our attention to recall times where our cheater actually showed some compassion (he drove me to have my wisdom teeth out!) or generosity (she bought me golf balls for Christmas!!). And we conveniently forget the acts inconsistent with our schema for “goodness” — he criticized me for the dinner I made while still drugged up after wisdom tooth extraction; she sold my golf clubs at the garage sale to pay for her Brazilian.

After cheaterpants is out of the picture, retrospective memory exacerbates this tendency. The loser is no longer there to remind us of the quotidian rudenesses we suffered under her or him; we gaze at family vacation photos and are taken back to the wonderful day on the beach, with cheater building sandcastles with the children. Her taking a topless selfie to sext to the AP on that same vacation, or him sending pix of his junk encased in seaweed, is confined to the dustbin of verboten memories.

We also use reasoning biases when we make category decisions, or inferences about what another person is likely to do. One of these is the representativeness heuristic — a tendency to assume an item is in a category by comparing it to a prototype event. For example, imagine you see a small animal out in your yard and try to feed it a nut—the animal is light brown and stands on its back legs; looks like a squirrel, eh? But upon closer examination, someone has taken a skunk, died its fur and taught it to stand upright to resemble a squirrel. Who can blame you for thinking it eats nuts? Not your fault if you get sprayed and have to bathe in tomato juice. Take the faux remorse of our betrayers after D-day. In the movies, among 7-year olds caught eating cookies before dinner and threatened with punishment, weeping and wailing and saying “I’m sorry” correlates with true remorse. In romantic comedies, after an argument and breakup, one partner begs forgiveness and promises undying love, and….happily ever after. SURELY, someone who weeps and wails, who eats pillows, and threatens to not live another day unless we forgive, is truly, wuly sorry! We take the behavioral evidence of cheaters seeking wreckonciliation—actions & words that are representative of shame and regret—and see that as ACTUAL penitence. But painting a skunk brown and teaching it to stand on its back legs, does not make it a squirrel (yup, cheater metaphor).  Don’t be tricked into the “happily ever after.” Cheaters are great at the trompe l’oeil; but when you try to walk into that inviting scene of a Tuscany countryside, what you actually run into is cold, hard plaster.

Can we overcome these memory and reasoning biases? Yes, with pencils. Those evil emails, the lascivious texts between cheater and AP, the ILYBINILWY pronouncements, the “I cheated because you turned me down for sex when I was feeling vulnerable” blame-shifting—write it all down. Print out the texts, the emails, the pornographic selfies taken in the bathroom mirror. Keep them in a handy file to read, and re-read, until you accomplish a schema shift. It’s sad, but we need to realize that all people are not good, that even those we trusted with our hearts will trample them if it gets in the way of their next orgasm. We will need reminders, sometimes even after meh, that things were not as they seemed. That while faux remorse resembles real remorse, it is missing essential characteristics, and those features make it analogous to viewing a two-dimensional cartoon character as a live human. After infidelity, what we all need is a cognitive revolution.

What did you do to help remember the awfulness of your cheater, and help propel you to the finish line?

by Tempest


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  • I kept a detailed journal. And when I doubted my judgement, I read them again, many, many times.
    It was amazing how much I forgot in between readings. But there it was in black and white.

    • Great writing and good advice, Tempest. I was fortunate, I had some really egregious instances of abuse or really off the wall triggering that I often referred to when I had my doubts about who was the disordered on in our relationship. No contact is really helpful, too, as continued contact gives them the chance to try to convince you that it was all you.
      In reading and talking to people that have been in relationships with the personality disordered, I have found a very common thing occurs: the non disordered person is left wondering if it was really himself or herself that had the personality disorder.
      This is due to long term brainwashing and isolation by the abuser. The abuser will use any piece of information that you have confided that may support this theory.
      For example, I had disclosed to my XW that my dad was very verbally abusive before he stopped drinking and that I never wanted to be like him in that regard. So, when I told my XW she was an asshole, after she verbally blasted me right after I returned from visiting him on his death bed ( I forgot to take out the garbage. Might have had other things on my mind, like seeing my dad weighing about 70lbs.), I was now an abuser.
      But, it really helped me to do a couple things to stop thinking that it was all me. First, as I mentioned and other have, as well, there were some really egregious things, things that no non abuser would ever do ( like waking me to describe the body of one of her partners.)
      Second, I tried to look at how other folks viewed me, based on my relationships with them. No one in my family thought of me poorly and I got along with all of them. No co-workers or colleagues seemed to dislike me and I was well thought at work. No friends thought poorly of me and I had never just hurt anyone as my XWs , often did.
      Folks coming out a relationship with a PD should take a look at how others feel about them.

      • Arnold, that is good advice and something I’ve relied on heavily. I’ve even logged in my journal both how others view me, as well as their specific feelings bout my marriage post-DD. For me, I’m fortunate that those feelings reaffirm. (I know not everyone is that fortunate).

        I’ve also kept a detailed log of egregious behaviors that I reread often.

      • Wonderful advice Arnold.
        I was in terrible self doubt, and still am sometimes, until I started reconnecting with all those old friends who I was isolated from. Their comparison and ability to forgive my departure from their lives was amazing but what truly touched me was all the wonderful things they said to me about how I was a good person and a true friend to them so they would always be there for me. They reminded me who I really was and who I want to become again.

          • So needed to hear this. I have started to wonder if it was me who was the controlling one, lately my behaviour has been like that but I realise its not healthy and brought about entirely by his continued lying, managing down my expectations or as Arnold says- brainwashing. I think no contact is the next step but I’m finding that so difficult as I choose the good side too. Just as this post points out

          • Thanks. so many of us have been through this and dealing with very similar doubts about ourselves. It is an overriding theme when coming out of a relationship with one of these types. They are master manipulators. They have had a lifetime of practicing their art.
            I bet most of us had never heard of these disorders and did not know what hit us. One minute, they adore you. After entanglement, the mask comes off. Confusing as hell. Makes you wonder what you did to cause it, despite the fact that you have never affected others this way.
            One of the even more confusing concepts is the fact that these folks do not act like this , much, except behind closed doors. So, even when you start looking at your friendships and you see that you have never treated any of them poorly, you wonder ” Yeah, but if I am a NPD or other PD, perhaps I never mistreated these folks because I was never in an intimate relationship with them. Just friends Maybe, behind closed doors, I really do act like a NPD.”
            It is all so confusing. But, notice how, in time, after being away from them, all the fleas you picked up go away.
            Sure, you were going to react and be angry( not abusive) when you are , consistently belittled and treated like shit.
            I was fortunate in both my marriages that members of my XWS’ families came to me and told me that my XWs had always been like this and that they could not believe what they observed in how they treated me.They had specific examples of similar behaviors toward others and instances of bizarre , disordered behavior that had gone on long before I even know my XWs.
            Not too many people are this fortunate: that the families come to you with this info and support.

            • It seems as though a lot of these cheaters have severe cases of personality disorder (sometimes several personality disorders!) and like to project their disorders or mental illness onto their spouses. My STBX even went as far as contacting members of my family (several of whom, including me, work in the mental health profession) to get them to diagnose me with a personality disorder or two and virtually institutionalize and incarcerate me. (Or maybe he thought that if he told enough people that I was crazy and criminal somebody would believe him, although I am neither crazy nor criminal, and put me away or at least take our children from me. Fortunately, I have not yet been incarcerated, institutionalized, nor deprived of contact with our children.)

              Another psychological concept that I wanted to add to Tempest’s list, which I think is on target, is the concept of reinforcement schedule. Reinforcement can be constant (predictable as it is provided in constant amounts at equal intervals) or variable (you never know when you will receive positive rewards, or negative punishments). Many experiments have lent support to the hypothesis that variable reinforcement much more strongly supports habit formation than does constant reinforcement. I believe that a lot of the cheaters described here practice variable reinforcement. Thus, many of us never know when ‘our’ cheaters will be kind or cruel to us and we are sucked into sticking around until the next positive reward (a tangible gift, a compliment, a smile, a promise, generally unfulfilled) materializes, or even we imagine materializes.

              When I start getting sucked back into looking at my marriage through rose-colored glasses, I look at my legal binders for my nearly dozen hearings to date and my checkbook. Reality hits like a race care in the Indy 500.

              • Variable reinforcement. You hit the nail on the head! That’s part of the terrible confusion of trying to decide when to leave.

              • Yes, that’s why so many of us stayed long past when it was adaptive to do so. Behaviors under variable reinforcement schedules are the hardest to extinguish. Few of these gals/guys were universally horrible; they threw out just enough emotional pellets to keep us trying.

      • My alienated teenager does this to me a lot. She knows I’m just figuring out that starting with my Dad, every major relationship has been with a narc. So when she rages, she tries to convince me that I’m the narc – not them. I must have asked three people today if they think I’m a narc (even a little bit).

        So far – the answer is no, but you don’t think I’m one, do you?

      • “Folks coming out a relationship with a PD should take a look at how others feel about them.”
        Everyone loves my narc. Everyone. He is super sparkly and I am told over and over again what a great guy he is. I am somewhat introverted and it takes awhile to get to know me. I can’t stand the idea of everybody thinking this is my fault.

        • Carmella, ditto the lovable cheater here. I am slightly introverted but now that I am getting on in years I am more or less middle of the road. We KNOW the truth. It sucks that seemingly nobody else does. I might have to ask my lawyer to reconsider the whole adultery is a felony thing. A friend of mine joked that he would never be able to hide that from our little town. Even just the item in the newspaper if I sued him. So immature yet so appealing.

        • Some subset of Everyone, even some of those who say nice things, probably do wonder if your narc has some issues, or if your narc takes advantage of you, etc. Not saying he isn’t good at fooling people, but I bet he doesn’t fool everyone.

          • Never thought about it that way Buddy, but I suppose that’s true. Actually his parents have been commenting on how he’s been shirking his responsibilities lately. It’s hard to see through my own spackle.

            • Carmella, look at his other relationships. A person who latched onto me like a leech had all the hallmarks of BPD, NPD and HPD. Man, could she sparkle. Everybody who just knows her superficially thinks she is the most charming person they have ever met, but, one by one people who get personally involved with her eventually move on. She is exhausting.

              • And this is my biggest fear, that I am a narc. He is super sparkly. Everyone says he is awesome. He has a large group of friends that he has had for 25+ years. I have always struggled to make and keep friends, since I was a little girl. I have a few friends that I have held on to throughout the years, but only one friend proactively calls me. I am always the one to contact and make plans with every other friend. I think that I am liked by my colleagues, we laugh and have a good time together, but I am never the one to get invited to parties aside from the ones that everyone is invited too. I am not invited to any special get togethers of just a few people.

                I don’t get along with my family either. My mother is a raging narc as are many of my siblings. The sister I love the most, the one I was closest to growing up, regularly goes through the narc cycle with me. She pulls me in and showers me with love and attention, then she starts cutting me down, and finally she ignores me completely. She has gone years with completely ignoring me and then starts it all up again. My counselor say a that my mother is a narc and that I am being healthy by distancing myself from most of my family.

                I have terrible self esteem and always have. I figured out at some point that I could get good grades, so I became confident in my academic abilities, but I have had periods of severe social anxiety and the rest of the time is moderate social anxiety. All my life I have just wanted a safe place to land, someone who I could trust completely who would have my back, someone who would happily claim me and love me, instead of always having to scramble for little scraps of love and attention.

                So to look at me versus ex, he has long term family and friends who think he is awesome and stood by him in all of this. I have very few family and friends. He is well liked, I am not. To an outsider you would say I was the narc.

              • HeHid:
                Who have you manipulated today? lied to? put on a sparkly demeanor to trick them about your motives? used pity to get what you want?

                I thought so–none of the above; you are not a narc. And I’ve read enough about your X to know that he IS. That’s the most irritating thing about covert narcissists–they can fool a lot of people some of the time because of their charm and Oscar-winning performances as real people. But eventually some people will start to see through them, and their habits typically mean they will put their foot in a pile eventually, in a way that affects their outward success.

                If you want to make more friends, I suspect you would have no trouble doing so, based on your engaging posts on CL. A few close friends can be better than a pack of less-close friends.

              • I suppose being used and abused by a narc sort of puts us in a state where we “indulge” in our relationship, but I think it is important to not confuse co-dependency and playing the role of the victim with narcissism.

            • Hehid, do they live with him? Do they spend hours, days, weeks with him? You may have social anxiety but I’ll guess he made it much worse by the hot/cold thing they are so good at. Don’t compare yourself to him. I had a psychologist tell me that one or two deep friendships are what most of us have. The rest of them are “friends of the road”. As long as we are traveling together ie. “Mommy time”we are friends, but it might end when the kids get older. I feel very blessed to have the handful that I do. The rest I have good memories of but we have moved on.
              The leech I wrote about always has a new best friend. It never lasts. Your ex’s family is going to make place for him. That is what they do. You need to make your own “family” and drop the narcs out of your life. You owe them nothing.

              • Thank you tempest, you are so right. I have always been a little jealous of people who can manipulate because I have zero skill at it. I am so straight forward that I just can’t figure out how to play the game. Perhaps this is part of my struggling to make friends. I will say that with therapy I have been working on my self esteem and standing up for myself. It seems to be helping with the anxiety and making casual friends. If only we chumps all lived in a big commune 😉

                Let go, my therapist has said the same thing. She said if you find one good friend every decade or two then you are doing well. I have been lucky to keep one college friend, one wife of our couples friends, and my sister in law. These else are the three true friends I have. The rest are situational, either work friends or mom friends. And you are so right that he made it worse. Once he moved out and I started getting therapy (from the best therapist I have ever had) I started making huge strides in my self esteem and ability to make friends. It’s crazy how covert narcs can cut you down so very subtly. It has to be so much easier to see with the narcs that are less controlled in their emotions, not easier to escape from I would imagine, but at least easier to see that they are doing it when they are flat out calling you horrible names and screaming at you.

              • I am sure you have read books on this but I will emphasize it. If you feel a knot in your stomach, walk on eggshells, feel low grade anger, feel anxious, feel teary you are being played. There is a book, GAMES PEOPLE PLAY that is nothing about childhood games. It is about how people manipulate us so that they never have to have intamcy with us. I am not talking about sex. I am talking about the person who can never be truly engaged in you, your life or your kids. They will set up a game(usually unconscious) that you respond to and you never win. Off the top of my head I can remember one where the person spills things on your furniture then apologizes. You begin to notice that every time you are around this person something of yours is damaged. They always say they are sorry. In order not to appear petty you always say, “Oh, that’s ok” it isn’t ok. This person is out to get you to keep you at arms length. Another person will tell you they have a problem they need help with. You as the innocent party give suggestions. Each one is shot down as not working. You could sit there for eternity and never solve the problem. The other person does not want it solved. It keeps you focused on the problem and not the person with the problem. Being played is the hallmark of the victim of a narc. There training began in childhood and they have the equivalency of a PhD. You are never going to win. You are too emtionally and mentally healthy. They HAVE to make you look crazy otherwise you will expect maturity. In th meantime you are barely making it just trying to keep up with the manipulation going on in your life. Get the hell away from these people. You will find your sanity and look at your ex with clear eyes. They suck! I don’t care how much thay sparkle!

          • HeHid, your post describes me perfectly. Except for the narc mother, that’s just how I am. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with us, I just think we learn early on that trusting, loving, and forming strong bonds gets us hurt. I too have had a few close friends throughout my life, but mostly it’s casual friends, acquaintances, coworkers. I’m always gliding along the surface, never really exposing too much because I guess I feel I’m not good enough. Maybe I’m attracted to these narcs because they sparkle so and make me feel worthy. Until they don’t.

            • I’m curious Carmella, did something happen in your early years to make you distrustful of people?

              I know for me it was super volatile narc mom. One minute we would be laughing and joking and the next she would be raging at me. I learned to think a million steps ahead in every interaction I had which made socializing overwhelming and inauthentic. It’s hard to just be you when your mind is thinking of every possible way someone could react to what you are saying or doing.

              • Yep, I totally relate to the million steps ahead thing. My mom was super volatile too. Not a narc I don’t think, just trying to survive being married to my dad who was an alcoholic serial cheater who abused her. So she was really controlling, impossible to please and often screaming. Plus I was the outcast at school, so school was bad, home was tough, couldn’t trust my dad or rely on my mom. You sort of learn to survive in your own way and rely on yourself. It makes you a really good observer of others. Too bad my spidy sense failed me when I needed it most.

        • Thank you Tempest for your wonderful research/explanation of why the good memories often trump the hell, so many of us have been through. After the Triple Decker discovery day (20+ woman, dinners, gifts, affair sex sites, hotels, on and on and on!) I made a spreadsheet of all his misgivings. Every person, event and every physically abusive moment and emotionally abusive moment. I was fired up, served him divorce papers and was ready to end this crap once and for all. Buuuut I was not practicing “no contact”! Ugh- yep he constantly reminded me of the good stuff about our relationship and I became obsessed with forgiveness books. Ahhhh stupid ass nice memories, stalled me out from kicking him out of my life!

          The insanity of it all “ah isn’t that sweet he is playing board games with the kids, just like the good old days”. WTH was wrong with me – duh the last time he played board games with the family, it was on a table he had served dinner to one of his many girl friends!!!

          I want to scream! Because yes, the good stuff from the past and present has actually been debilitating. My mind needed some serious retraining.

          Tempest, a month ago you reminded me to make that list of misgivings again. The list is longer than it has ever been! I read it every morning and amazingly my boo-hoo crybaby feelings in the morning have dissipated. (Granted I get a little fired up, actually pissed, but hey what ever propels me forward!!)

          Additionally, removing triggers has been enormously beneficial! If a mug or a blanket or a picture gives me the slightest anxiety, it’s out of here.

          I am mindful not to throw away things my children may want someday – but if it triggers good or bad memories it goes into a box in the garage!

          Best advice ever Tempest – thanks for reminding me to REMEMBER what crazy crap I have put up with!!

          AND go no contact as much as possible! !!! (Thanks chumptitude – your amazing wisdom on how essential no contact is, has allowed this chump to actually sleep through the night:-)

          • Freefall–I’m glad the idea for the list helped! Sadness incapacitates us; anger propels us.

            I need to follow your lead on getting rid of sentimental things (though I am at a stage of trusting that he sucks that has removed the sentimentality from most things).

            • This is fascinating to me. I have struggled on and off with slipping into fear and having difficulty trusting that my stbx sucks, and part of that is due to my natural inclination to overlook negative aspects (not because I’m sunny so much as because I’m willing to sit in denial to avoid scary change).

              About two years ago, right about when I first found CL and CN, I told my usually terrific therapist that I wanted to make a list of reasons my stbx sucks, so I could refer to it when sentimentailty/ fear/ inertia started to creep in. She shut the idea down immediately, with a long explanation about why it doesn’t make sense to focus on the negative, sit in the pain, etc. She suggested that I ‘flip it around’ and make a list of what would be better without him instead. Since then, I’ve often of that as her only real misstep in the few years I’ve been seeing her… I’m not a therapist so don’t have the background to assess her guidance meaningfully, but I know in my heart that a simple list of even just my stbx’s top ten betrayals would have prevented many, many steps backward emotionally. It would have been the emotional equivalent of a rubber band on the wrist– just a tool to snap out of unnecessary emotional engagement. And I disagree with the thought that it just “keeps us focused on the pain.” Instead it’s a factual reminder of reality. Meanwhile, the other approach– about the positives of life without my stbx– was noble but ultimately just too theoretical to resonate with me in the same way.

              • Another Rebecca: Not all therapists will be right about all issues. They typically have their eyes on the long game (getting you to peace, acceptance, and a new life), and may not allow clients enough time to go through the requisite early stages (deep pain, grief, rage, anger, hatred). In my view, this hurts the therapeutic process. Lists of the specific ways in which your cheater sucks are necessary until that viewpoint becomes automatic for you.

                I’ve had debates with my therapist about desire to know more information and details. His view was that extra information about X’s affairs and sexual proclivities would only come back to haunt me; my view is that I need/ed that information for closure and to fully move on & compartmentalize my marriage. He has finally accepted that, and simply advocates that *some* day, I throw out the notes, emails from X and lists of X’s failings. I may do that when I’m ready, but it will probably take longer than my therapist would advocate.

                I’ve also challenged some friends’ and a hot-line therapist’s assertions that (a) hate is really the opposite of love, and (b) anger is just a cover for pain. Neither one is supported by emotions research, and both misconceptions stem from outdated Freudian theory (that what you see is just a mask for underlying trauma). [I’m pretty sure the hot line therapist thought I was the worst caller ever!]

                Therapy should not be one-size-fits-all; we have individual preferences, proclivities, differences in what we need from therapy. Don’t be afraid to speak up when you disagree, or therapy is not meeting your needs (you’re the expert of YOU, you don’t need training in psychology to know what feels right or therapeutic).

              • I think that just as recovering drug addicts and alcoholics become drug counselors and AA sponsors, there should be former chump therapists. ‘Cause unless someone’s been there, they really don’t get it.
                Time to hang out your shingle Tempest.

              • AnotherRebecca…I bounced around trying to find a therapist to assist me with the pain of betrayal. I heard alot about letting go and finding forgiveness. One had me write down all the things I resented, and then week by week work on letting each one of them go. (Ok if I had written down ALL my resentments it would take two years to get through all of them – seriously 100’s of dates 1000’s of dollars and too many to count BS false apologies from that POCrap).

                Anyway -Ironically, it was the marriage counselor that woke me up. My husband refused to go, so therapy turned to focusing on just me. The therapist referred to a book, I cant remember the title, something Burried Feelings Never Die. But the point was burying the pain was what I had done for years. Swept the crap under the rug and falsely accepted STBXs gifts and promises that his behaviour would never happen again. You should know I have lived over three decades on hopiam! And my STBX always came to me with “you are the only person that knows me” “I love you so much” blah, blah, blah! So I, too, over the years have focused on gratefulness and compassion. Ok it was wrong!!! I made lists of things to be grateful for. You know, he came to bed, he made plans for a picnic, he put gas in the car, heck he put the dishes in the dishwasher. Ok, the idea of a grateful journal is truly positive. But it can also be self-brainwashing!! I did that, brainwashed myself and my STBX ate it up. I mean come on, if I found enough little positive things he did, that ought to clear up trolling singles webites, or phone sex. Right? It wasnt that serious, be grateful he wasn’t really screwing other woman or taking them to nice restaurants. That wasnt my husband? Right? Well it took me yeeeears to uncover the truth -and all those gut feelings I had were true. That POC had been screwing around for years.

                Back to my point on burried feelings. Stuffing all those painful feelings and stuffing all those gut feelings I had went some where. They went deep into my being, like a poison. The therepist pointed out that this process of stuffing all the crap from my marriage could lead to heart disease, high blood pressure, sleeplessness, etc. Ha, no way not me I am Super Chump.

                Well, I go back for chemo in two weeks for a cancer that should have never come back!! I have developed high blood pressure – in one year and sleep? I didn’t know what that was until I joined the Chump Nation! Sure as we age health issues happen. But when I told my medical doctor a little bit of what I have been dealing with she stopped running the additional test on my excruciating back pain. And we talked about the pain in my brain that was shutting my otherwise extremely healthy body down!!

                I would never advovate for anyone to hold onto the past and by doing so live a miserable life. But living a life of denying resolve to your pain is, in my opinion just as bad. Kudos to those couples that resolve infidelity or abuse issues – seems unbelievable to me.

                (Note: I keep a grateful journal, but it includes nothing regarding the STBX! And I keep that long list of reasons why I am getting a divorce very close to me so I stay strong and focused. The day the divorce is final I plan on burning that list and releasing all the negative. Its actually something I look very forward to. That will be the right time to let go of the pain!!)

                Keep me strong Chump Nation, I truly depend on all of you daily to keep moving forward. I am so grateful to dialogue with such an amazing group of people! ! Best wishes:-)

        • Wow!!! Did I need this blog now or what! I thought it was me, and only me!

          I thought I was being a horrible person bc I couldn’t forgive, ((in the way h thinks forgiveness is)) and remember all the wonderful things he has done for the past 30 yrs as well all the things he’s is still trying to do for me to understand, “his mistake,” of 1.5 yr affair!

          Yup, he knows he messed up big time, and probably wouldn’t cheat on me again, but he’s the biggest narc I’ve ever seen since our separation, & I never really noticed before!

          Hes always telling me I’m only remembering the negative things ((affair, & the bad, bad shit I went thur)) that I should think positive and look towards good things together that we can fight this together!

          When I look at him, all I see is affair, and he makes me feel bad w his comments as, “is that all I am to you now?”

          His resentment is slowly stewing, at the same time his eyes fill w tears & words as, “I’ll never stop loving u, do I bring you unhappiness? Are you ever glad to see me?” WTF???

          I need to wear that rubber band on my wrist whenever I’m around him.

          This all has been such a head trip as well as a broken heart trip and every other kind of trip one can imagine…

    • I have a box of emails, receipts and notes that I sift through as needed. I began creating it after Dday. Piecing together the reality of my 30 year marriage was devastating, but also helped me to feel more in control. Whenever I found myself entertaining thoughts of reconciliation I’d pull the box out, and just as Tempest has stated, constantly challenging my confirmation bias eventually led to a schema shift. It’s a bit of a relief to have the concept validated, because there were times that I wondered if I was a little sick, or masochistic.

      Four years later, I’m finally in the process of divorce. I had considered burning the box, but I think I’ll keep it, at least until the ink is dry on my divorce papers.

      • I haven’t questioned my decision to leave my marriage much, because there literally is a front page article in the local newspaper describing what the cops saw when they approached the car (where my X and his AP were discussing their deep religious faith-not). Guess I was one of the “lucky” ones. Believe me, there is nothing like having a reporter show up at your office for a comment about your husband’s infidelity to keep the betrayal fresh your mind. Do I miss the days before my marriage imploded? Absolutely, but what happened to me was the emotional equivalent of a death. Although I once had a relatively good marriage, it died the day I was publicly humiliated by my X’s actions. All the nostalgia in the world will never change the fact that X had no difficulty in throwing it all away in exchange for a BJ, with some ego stroking thrown in on the side.

        Having said that, I do feel sorry that X’s life is such a shit show, now. He is old and sick and alone…and completely aware of the fact that he has no one to blame but himself for his circumstances. Do my feelings incline me to take him back? Hell to the no. As I have said here before, there is no way I will ever trust him again. A marriage without trust is like an expensive car without gas. It may look good, but it just won’t run. I am completely comfortable with my compassion for my X and for my decision to leave him. Rose colored glasses suit me fine, just as long as the barbed wire fence stays in place.

        • “A marriage without trust is like an expensive car without gas. It may look good, but it just won’t run.”

          Slow clap for one of the best analogies I’ve ever seen.

      • Itsajourney..I just saw your post I hope you get to burn that box of crap soon. When you hear about an unusual amount of smoke in North America you will know I am buring the hell out of my list and the hell out of my life!! Stay mighty!! You deserve it:-) 🙂

  • Hi Tempest,

    Question for you: What if when you look back at all the emails, texts, memories…that you’re the one who could have been better? In my case, my husband who cheated was always there with kind words. Not actions, but words. I on the other hand, feeling his shadiness on some cellular level but not recognizing it, was not always good with words. I once called him a dummy in front of his friends. I could be really hardcore in my questioning of him and where we were going with our future. I was not easy but I was honest. He was easy and dishonest. How do you reconcile being left when you can’t peg the bad on him and see it more in yourself? My husband didnt bang a cheerleading squad. He fell in love with someone else and over 4 months lived a deceptive double life. He was a prince until he was a monster. I know that sounds iffy but it’s why I self blame. What a mind f%ck.

    • Your honesty is refreshing Samaritan. Even though it sounds like you “Were not exactly a walk in the Park” to live with ; there is still not one justifiable excuse for him to cheat on you. He could have called you out on your behavior and told you things had to change, he could have asked for counselling, he could have divorced you but he chose to chest… That is on him.
      If it’s any consolation, I was the ‘perfect “STEPFORD like WIFE” ‘ I loved my ex, was mostly always kind & was always respectful of him in addition to having a very well paying job and using it all on our family. I was attractive ..none of it stopped him from being a serial cheat. I’ve since realized it had nothing to do with me.

      • You’re right. There is no excuse. And the times I was tough usually came down to one thing. I was not a priority. I moved countries for this man and was very lonely. I asked him to come home from work (he is self employed) at 7pm rather than 8pm constantly. I asked over 5 years. Not once did he compromise or make sacrifices that were in lieu with what it means to be together. And this made me angry and I blamed him. He also, by the way, began his affair when we began to look at moving back home. Falling in and out of love seemed to be in accordance with his own needs and lifestyle. I look back in the light of harsh self blame and it’s hard to see the forest through the trees. I feel its tragic. Because if he ever did voice a concern with me or have a sit down, I think it could have literally been an hour on a counsellor’s couch. But he threw it all away. And very quickly. He says he feels guilt. But no remorse. How do you move on from this?

        • The coulda, shoulda, woulda’s are what kept me stuck for a very long time. I too think that my ex felt that I was overly demanding and required too much of him. I felt that he basically dumped everything in my lap and let me do the heavy lifting. He often would tell me “I haven’t changed at all since we met, you have”. Which is actually quite true. 25 years of marriage, raising 2 children, working, keeping a home, helping with parents does make a person change and I grew resentful of his lack of maturity. The more resentful I grew, the more distant he became. He never stopped doing the things I asked (hanging at the bars after golf 4 nights a week, drinking and driving, being an uninvolved father, not helping around the house, etc). I asked for 20 years if he would please go to counseling with me. The answer was always no. It was a very lonely marriage.

          But he chose to serve up another tray of shit sandwiches with a side of “whore du jour” when he decided to have an affair. He chose to walk away from the marriage. He chose to move out of state. He chose to abandon his children. I never would have done that. Now I realize I coulda, shoulda, woulda”s divorced him a long time ago.

          • I can REALLY relate to this. I too always felt like I carried more than the usual burden but ironically at DD he turned it around on me and said I was “too needy” and that “I never did anything for him”. That was the worst insult of all of them. NEVER DID ANYTHING? Like you, I work a job, I take care of two kids, I do the family stuff, handle all the household administration. He used to come home, give the baby a bath (his one chore) then retreat to the basement for the evening. They he complained I wasn’t there for HIM? What??? I was here every night.. wiping noses and asses, making your dinner, washing your clothes. I wasn’t out whopping it up. But I didn’t initiate sex enough or give enough blow jobs. That’s what it came down to. But it never ever occurred to him to help me more, lighten my load, and maybe sit down and watch TV or a movie with me instead of going to the basement. Yet the whole thing is my fault.

            Emotionally immature is the right description.

            • newchump, I was also incredulous at the “you never did anything for me” my ex said on DD. I basically gave up everything I wanted to support his dream, and he left me isolated on a farm for weeks on end. It never made sense to me that he wanted so much property but was never there to take care of it. When he said “you never did anything for me,” I remember thinking, “then I give up, because I couldn’t have done any more.”

              Anyway, I was definitely a victim of confirmation bias. Also fantasy bonding. Whenever I would feel sad or neglected I’d remember good times in our relationship and hang on to those in the hopes they’d come back. Now I wonder why I stayed so long, but at the time I clung to him like a drug. I was so afraid he was going to leave. Now I realize that after the kind of childhood I had, I needed someone who was available for me, not someone whose first love was his own ambition.

            • newchumpatl, giving more head likely wouldn’t have worked anyhow. It didn’t in my case.

              Before we had our first child, I read this book called “Baby-proof your marriage” which advised wives to give lots of sex/blow jobs/etc. throughout, because it tends to be what many husbands really need to feel loved. So I did that. Even just a few days after giving birth, I was back at the BJs (even though I was exhausted from caring for the baby). But it didn’t matter. He cheated anyhow.

            • Add me to the list here folks.
              The one thing I really look forward to in my divorce is him getting out of my house.
              Number two is him having to learn how to do everything I have done for years, work full time, raise kids, make breakfast, make sure they make lunch, know what everyone likes to eat, doesn’t like to eat, get the house cleaned and taken care of, field trip permission slips, school supplies, the stuff of life that needs to get done that he has never had to do.

              • AllOutOfKibble, if your cheater is like mine then he’ll just call from time to time telling you what YOU need to do! Mine just pulled this on me regarding taxes that he agreed to past, but obviously he and his “rich Schmoopie” have been unable to accomplish! It was laughable as he told me that he paid them. What he did not know was I had already contacted the IRS and I guess he didn’t realize that writing a check for insufficient funds does NOT in anyway satisfy the governments criteria for “payment”! Then he proceeds to command me to “handle the problem” and it’s all my fault! I asked him if while we were married and I took care of taxes, did we EVER have a problem? His answer: No! Then I reminded him that we were no longer married thanks to his infidelity and I then directed him to the page numbers of our divorce decree which specifically states that taxes and payment are HIS bailiwick! Then I told him to “kiss my ass” and hung up! Problem solved!

              • AllOutOfKibble, I hear you! Mine started his affair the summer after our youngest graduated from high school. I don’t know if the timing had anything to do with it, but he was able to benefit from me taking care of ALL the school stuff and then took a hike. In fact, I never felt he gave me credit for being the “family secretary.” He acted like he did everything and I did nothing. To his credit, he *did* do a lot and was never lazy, but a lot that I did was behind the scenes, stuff he didn’t even know existed. And yet, he constantly ask me to do things for him. I never, ever asked him to help me. That was my perception. His perception is probably different. But he’s an idiot and I’m not.

            • Newchumptatl, beware the double bind: ‘you don’t initiate enough’ whilst rejecting/’not noticing’ initiating. I learned to initiate veeeeeery subtly so that retreat wasn’t humiliating (yes, it ‘wasn’t noticed’ a lot)

            • staying strong, newchumpatl and lyn — all 3 of you just told my story.

              “my ex felt that I was overly demanding and required too much of him. I felt that he basically dumped everything in my lap and let me do the heavy lifting” ….. the boyman i married actually told me several times that i ask too much from him or i want to much from him. when basically the only thing i was asking was for him to put the wife and kids FIRST over the drinking, fair weather friends, and family and foolish material things he HAD to buy. he wanted me to take care of everything and he had a free ride to do as little as possible. which worked for him for over 12 years. but after my daughters death i needed someone to pick up the slack and take care of me, which he did for all of 9 months then i was expected to “get over it already” so things could go back to “normal” of him doing as little of the work as possible.

              “Like you, I work a job, I take care of two kids, I do the family stuff, handle all the household administration. He used to come home, give the baby a bath (his one chore) then retreat to the basement for the evening. They he complained I wasn’t there for HIM? What??? I was here every night.. wiping noses and asses, making your dinner, washing your clothes. I wasn’t out whopping it up. But I didn’t initiate sex enough or give enough blow jobs.”……..the exhole said i didnt “treat him right” because you know doing everything, while he did nothing but work. plus him not even giving me money for bills or food, not coming home, spending all night out drinking was me not treating him right. all the times i tried to talk to him, to find out what i was doing wrong, and what he needed me to do….well it boiled down to having sex with him, of course he made me feel so desired, so wanted, so loved that i had no problem initiating sex with him …NOT. but since i wasnt having sex with him (and he did not think he needed to do anything to fix that) then it meant i didnt love him, i was tired of him and made him feel like our marriage was over. WTF? what about all the other shit i was doing? fucking idiot. i do so much, i stayed with him so long, i forgave him many times, i put up with so much, i continued to try and then he told me i got boring…..yep, my depression over my daughters death was “boring”

              so like Lyn said “I remember thinking, “then I give up, because I couldn’t have done any more.” and that is what i keep telling myself.

              i do have a journal. ironically i started it because Diablo kept telling me i never listen to him, and he “already told me that” so i started writing all this stuff down to make sure i wouldnt miss anything he told me, you know so i could fix it and make my marriage work… all those times i called him hoping that we could work it out only to be belittled and blamed and have everything i said twisted. (of course his wonderful neighborhood hood rat was there to help him understand all this) the hateful and cruel things he said that left me breathless and in so much pain. and only to find out that nope he did not tell me and i really did listen to him. he wanted out so bad that he listened and believed some slut he knew for 3 months over the wife who loved him for 14.5 years.

              i dont need to read it anymore. i know that he sucks. and the longer he stays away from my boys….the more i hate him.

        • Samaritan – similar situation here. I was, at times, a jerk to my stbxw. But she cheated. She took the equivalent path of attacking someone with a lead pipe after an argument. That’s nuclear escalation, there’s no excuse for it

          My advice: if you’ve got aspects about yourself that you’re not happy with, work on them ***for you***. That’s how you move on; by becoming your most awesome self.

        • Samaritan: None of us are perfect. If marriage required perfection, we might as well just toss the concept in the dustbin now. It sounds to me as if your X was fairly controlling in family decisions, his willingness to spend time with you, support for your endeavors. Calling him a dummy is pretty mild retribution for feeling like a third-class citizen in your marriage; resentments were bound to build up over time.

          Honest exit. If someone is unhappy in their marriage, work at it or get out. People who can’t leave until they have a replacement lined up have a character flaw (or multiple flaws).

          If you caught yesterday’s post, you might remember that I got a “You suck, here’s how to reform” letter from my X 8 years ago. He had just ended an intense affair (that I didn’t know about) and wanted ME to reform. It was a mean, nasty, remorse-less letter, and he obviously thought that my imperfections were WORSE than his transgressions. Yes, cheaters really do think like that. WE don’t have to; don’t beat yourself up at giving him paper cuts when he lopped off your limb.

          • One thing to remember in dealing with a disordered spouse is the concept of “picking up fleas”. After a time, the abuse in whatever form it takes ( actively hostile, passively demeaning, condescension, derision , silent treatments vs the more obvious raging etc0 any normal person starts to act out of character. The longer one is with these folks the worse it can become and you start firing back.
            You kick a nice dog often enough and it will bite you.

            • So true. Then, the disordered add insult to injury by pointing to your biting them as justification for their affairs and disenchantment with you.

              Staying with a cluster B jackass is a lose-lose situation. The house has all the cards. Just run, and don’t try to convince them of your viewpoint before you leave. It’s an impossible task, will only hurt you. I have TONS of such examples from my X, but I think I’ll just put them in the novel (revenge being a dish best tasted cold, and perhaps with a royalty).

              • oh yes, Tempest! while you are helping educate Chump Nation, by all means cash in on it! Write that novel! Change the hegemonic cheater friendly narrative!

                and THANK YOU for your guest posts. You are mighty, Dr. Tempest 🙂

              • Thanks, Chumpette–we are all mighty!! The collective wisdom and sassiness in CN is astounding.

          • Samaritan: How do you move on from a husband who exits your marriage without remorse – slowly. My ex-husband married his affair partner 16 years ago. I caught him, he was pissed off, he left 4 months after D-Day, and re-married within one year. He never looked back. They remain married to this day.

            When the two of us were married, I also begged and begged him to try come home early from work to spend time with me. No, can’t do, too busy, too many demands on his time, absolutely impossible, don’t even think about asking such a VIP to make time for the little stay-at-home mother. However, interestingly, it was quite possible to get away early, many times in the week, to carry on a torrid affair with the nifty work colleague. That he could well do. When I accused him of his double standard, he just said vaguely, “the paradigm had shifted”. WTF?

            He also never communicated that he was unhappy in the marriage. Not once, not a peep. When caught out on the affair, he simply said “our marriage had gone flat”. Essentially, the marriage ended on those two statements. That’s all I had to work with. He refused to talk.

            In all the 16 years we co-parented, he never once expressed any remorse about the demise of our marriage. He has also never expressed remorse to the kids. Nope, he made the best decision for everyone involved, because he’s far too clever to make a mistake. His mantra: “I thought I made a mistake once, but I was wrong”.

            Back to you Samaritan. If your guy is like my guy, there’s no hope. It’s a slow recovery because you’ve been frozen out – certainly in the marriage, and probably going forward. There’s no information to work with – you’re out of the loop. Here’s my advice: freeze him out, like he’s frozen you out. No histrionics, no temper tantrums – keep things cool, level-headed and business-like. Mirror him. He will hate it.

            • Yes, tflan386, I can totally relate to your term about being frozen out. Over time, I have learnt to freeze him out and that has been my best defense against myself – l have freed myself of the constant wondering and questioning of what I could have done so that this wouldn’t have happened.
              Also realizing that I could only control myself and not his behaviour helped me in my decision to leave.

          • “…he obviously thought that my imperfections were WORSE than his transgressions.”

            Yes. I wasn’t the perfect wife, but there wasn’t anything that I did that could possibly equate with his Ashley Madison cheating. However, he didn’t see it that way– he has always behaved as though he were perfectly justified in his actions, especially since he married the AP. There’s no arguing with that disordered train of thought. I just walked away knowing that I was leaving behind someone who was terribly messed up, and it was not my job to fix him, and I was not responsible for his actions.

        • Samaritan – something you said struck me – ” I feel its tragic. Because if he ever did voice a concern with me or have a sit down, I think it could have literally been an hour on a counsellor’s couch. But he threw it all away.”

          I used to think something like this all the time. “Why won’t she just TRY?!?” It seemed to me that if my ex would have just made an effort, just been honest about her feelings and really tried to work on our marriage, it would have all worked out. I finally realized this was the unicorn talking. I struggled with this for a long time but now know that she didn’t try because she didn’t want to. It couldn’t have happened like that at all. It was my desire, my fantasy.

          • Ding!
            Thanks TwinsDad I have struggled with this exact thing and you’re right that’s the unicorn talking. He never went to counseling the times I asked because he didn’t want to go. He didn’t want to change. He didn’t care.

            • The disordered avoid counseling like the plague. Think they want someone with some expertise assessing them? Fuck no. One of the reasons I believe that the stats on the prevalence of PDs are so much lower than reality is that almost none of these folks are ever diagnosed. They will not be assessed.
              There are way more than 2-4% with a PD among us, way more.

              • I completely agree; the rates of full-blown Cluster B folks are under-diagnosed. If you include those with high numbers of NPD, Borderline, Sociopath traits (but who are too high-functioning to warrant full-blown diagnoses), 15-25% or more would not surprise me.

              • I imagine that, many people who have personality disorders, as Arnold said, do NOT want to participate in therapy (individual or couple’s). Mine STBX, however, was eager to ‘participate’ in therapy as it gave him a chance to tell psychotherapists what was wrong with me and try to get me ‘officially’ diagnosed with personality disorders and mental illnesses. He still claims that I have Borderline and Histrionic Personality Disorders. I don’t think that he started mentioning these terms until I mentioned them one day while talking about my workday (I worked in the psych department at a university).

              • My X refused to go to counseling with me. Said it doesn’t work. Then bingo…after I found out about the affair, he went to counseling by himself, That was a kick in the pants. And in counseling, he conveniently discovered that he was completely justified because he was vulnerable and didn’t love me anymore. He discovered that he owed no explanation to our adult children and was told to say “it’s between me and your mom.” The children are not stupid. They know there was another person involved and that SHE was more of a reason than *I* was that our family was in the toilet. He went to counseling every few weeks for about a month and a half until I guess he felt he no longer needed it. Awesome happiness for him. I’m still in counseling to this day, almost a year later. Our daughter is in counseling, and our son is struggling with his feelings because it hurts too much to talk about it.

              • about NPDs or BPDs not wanting therapy.

                if they find one they can trick, as they did their trusting spouse or partner, the therapist becomes a new source of patient, understanding kibble supply. also can be used as a shield or mask to outside world.

              • My monster went to counselling and I intercepted text messages between his male gay psychologist and him blatantly flirting and referring to me as the ‘ ‘volcano’ histrionic wife. He ended up fucking that psych as well. I had no energy or fight left in me to report this to the relevant association… He always wins and I come off looking like a scorned bitter woman loser… He is now ‘president’ of under 19’s football club and guess what? His favourite is young male flesh. Football club were made aware and warned by another enraged affair partner but they chose to elevate him to president….so go figure I give up !!!!

          • That is the bottom line TwinsDad.. people do what they want to do. My STBX always did.. when I think back. He wasn’t good at personal sacrifice, even though his lame narrative is that he “gave and gave and gave” to me and got nothing in return. The further I get away from him the more insane I am seeing that really is. If anything is was the opposite. I was in no way perfect but I carried a large load for him and for this family. And he never appreciated. Further, he always got what he wanted.. whether it was good for us or not. He once changed jobs (voluntarily) right when I was about to give birth to our last child. It was VERY stressful, the insurance considerations, etc. He did this so he could go work for OW. At the time, I didn’t see it for what it was, but now I wonder. He was so hot to go work for her, even though the hours/commute/money wasn’t necessarily better and it put his supposed “beloved” wife through a lot of hardship. He did it because that’s what he wanted.

            These folks are at their core, selfish.

            • OMG, that is pretty disgusting. Yes, I would say that’s more than a little selfish!

            • Newchumpatl,

              Mine tells anyone who will listen (even my family of origin) that he ‘gave, and gave, and gave,’ (poor martyr), so it’s unfair for him to pay me alimony (even for a few years. just to avoid homelessness), forget the fact that he has dissipated the family assets on cocaine, services of prostitutes, and trips for him and the occasional ‘lucky’ f-buddy to an exotic locale.

              • ahhhh yes…..the “I did everything/so much but she is never happy” routine. the boy i married is a master at that. at one point he had my oldest daughter against me, and my #2 child STILL argues that it was my fault because dad did the best he could but i was never happy….

                total mind boggling. the longer i am away from him, the more i see how fucked up and twisted he was. i was the one who gave and gave, who forgave and who gave in, who carried most if not all of the load so he could do what he wanted. and yet, i was the one who got boring, didnt treat him right and didnt appreciate him…. wtf

                now he is telling anyone who will listen (mostly himself, i think) that he worked 6 JOBS for me. so i can have this house and everything in it (that i mostly bought with my money) 6 JOBS!!! of course when i asked him “you had 6 jobs at once? really?” he started stuttering and saying some kind of bullshit like “when you count all the things i was doing, working on cars, side jobs” stutter stutter stutter….. right, whatever you need to tell yourself dude.

                i am so much better off without that kind of mind fuck.

        • Samaritan, I think a few have said this in various ways, but know that narcs are highly skilled at crazy making while they sit calm and cool watching you dig your own grave. They know how to turn you into the crazy person for everyone to shake their heads and say “yes, we can see why you did it, you spouse was crazy indeed”

          They have spent years studying you and know just what to do to get under your skin.

          My ex did subtle things like driving very slowly when we were late to get somewhere or waiting until we were running on fumes to gas up the truck when we were in the middle of no where, towing a camping trailer, with our babies in the backseat. He loved to set up anxiety producing situations just to throw me off kilter.

          I would venture a guess that the time you said your ex was a dummy he had in fact set up the dynamic for you to say it in front of his friends. You just fell into his trap. The fact that you remember it even now speaks volumes to how out of character it is for you. If you regularly cut him down you wouldn’t remember having said it at all.

          • That’s one reason the RIC doesn’t like for the affair to be “exposed” and neither do the cheaters. It’s much easier to make you look unbalanced, crazy, overly emotional, etc. when it’s a secret and you get no support. It was great to finally expose it all. It’s not me, he’s a whore, and then people get it.

      • samaritan,

        You are not accountable for his behavior. You cannot make a person cheat. Cheating is a narcissistic act. It is a act of being entitled. Cheating is also a choice. We all have free will. Sadly he doesn’t care about you and your marriage. Your husband made a decision to screw another woman. It is not a mistake is is a choice.

        If he was upset with whatever remarks and/or actions you done to him what he should have done is have a private chat with you. During that chat he should have explained to you how your actions/words hurt him and you then in return tell him you are sorry and not do it again. That is creating healthy boundaries in any type of relationship.

        What is he is doing is pulling one of the most old fashion blame games on you. He is using your weakness against you. Then he is keeping you in a fog and also gas lightening with his kind words and blame shifting his behavior to what you said to him. What you are describing is typical NPD behavior.

        I don’t care if his screwed the entire “cheerleader squad” he broke your marriage vows. He has placed your health at risk for STD’s, and HIV/AIDS and now he is screwing with your mental health at the same time. All of that is abuse. Simple as that.

        I know it is hard for you to see because he is being so sweet with his kind words. Stop falling for that bullshit. My ex did the same. Your huband’s has slipped off and it will slip off again. I am reading loads of spackling on your end. We all have done that, including myself. Trust that he sucks. I know it is hard to see but trust us that he sucks. He isn’t a unicorn. Unicorns sadly are not real. He is not real.

        Trust his action and don’t trust his words. Actions (Cheating and his blame shifting and falling in love with another woman) speak louder than words.

        Leave a cheater, gain a life!

        • *Your husband’s mask has slipped off and it will slip off again. sorry correction.

        • Thanks Beth and Tempest. You’re both right and your words are super helpful
          And if I’m honest, 3 years onto our relationship he did have an STD. I was so naive that my instant reaction was that I gave it to him. I was tested and all clear. Did he cheat and that’s why this happened? Maybe. Probably. The more worrying concern looking back is he saw something, went to a doctor, got a result, went back to doctor and had it taken care of….and then sat me down a week later and explained it. With any partner i have, I would have told them as soon as i suspected something. I would have probably been anxious about it. Does this make me a martyr and perfect, no. But it shows controlling behaviour that went exponential when he was having his affair. He has also left every woman he has been with. But me…he JUST married me! I was in the heat of planning our life together. He constantly managed me, our life, and never compromised. And then completely abandoned me, moved in with her a month later. I’m now longer wondering when he’ll admit he made a mistake. I’m wondering what it is about me, that up until a month ago, I would have taken him back.

          I also want to mention. It took me 6 months of texting him nonstop until I went no contact. I was terrified of the silence and facing it. Two months ago, he started wanting to see me. We went to lunch and then he came to mine for dinner. He gave me an ultimatum: 2 months of silence or he would send me a lawyers letter. Three days later, i sent him a loving text that turned into a nightmare fight that turned into him saying I was harassing him. And now there is silence and I’m working up the nerve to petition soon. I did all the things CL says not to do. I just wanted to fight for it so bad. I really loved the life i created with him (I’m aware that part of that life was a lie) but ultimately, it’s gone.

          • Samaritan,
            I wasn’t always the kindest with my words when speaking to my ex. In fact, I once told him that I hated him. Five years later he was using it as an excuse for cheating. Your behavior did NOT make him cheat on you. If he was so unhappy he could have addressed the issues with you but he CHOSE not to. That’s on him and always will be. He’s the cheater with the poor character.

            • They don’t want to leave; they want to have their cake and eat it, too, while concocting reasons why WE are the problem. I offered mine a divorce almost every year for the past decade because of his criticism, cold treatment, etc. He would promise the sun, moon, and stars to get me to stay, only for me to find out he had been serially cheating for at least the last 8 years of the marriage. Once I no longer believed his “sun, moon, & stars” routine, he would threaten that oldest daughter couldn’t attend a prestigious out-of-state university if I divorced him (even though I’m pretty sure he was in another affair at the time).

              They need a cloak of legitimacy–a chump–while they conduct a tawdry lifestyle on Craigslist or with coworkers.

    • I felt this way for a while, too, until I realized two things: 1) there was significant escalation over time and a build up of being ignored before I got to the point where I wasn’t being so nice; and 2) my cheater was passive aggressive and unable to express anger, so he provoked me into expressing the anger that he felt. His calm and seemingly caring demeanor belied a manipulative objective of framing me as the angry, hostile one, even though his repeated stonewalling, ignoring my repeated requests to have my needs met, and withdrawal stocked the powder keg that eventually exploded after years of this treatment. Don’t buy it. Passive aggressive types do that on purpose, but it’s s facade and no-win situation for you.

      • Same here, Free Vixen. X is a master manipulator.

        Funny though; when my powder keg finally blew up, I went back to school to better my chances of a steady job that would support our family when X was unemployed. He on the other hand, started building a lifeboat with a skank at his temp job so he had the option of moving from our family right into a new one without missing a home-cooked meal or a mortgage payment (skanky pays all the bills).

      • Classic example of ” picking up fleas” Free Vixen. That is exactly how it works.

      • Same here. Decades after the first affair, ten years after the second, I began to see, and years of living with a passive aggressive sent me into a tailspin. All I ever wanted was to be loved. I did the proverbial pick me dance, ate the crumbs, but wasn’t his wife in any deep sense of the word.

        Funny thing, PA’s get away with looking wounded and we look like we should be locked up. Poor sausage….

        Yes, I still take on the guilt for my issues but I’m working on meh. My son recently told me that he is 110% sure I did the right thing. I try to hold on to the wisdom of others who see clearly when my vision gets foggy.

        It’s so hard, but never ever give up!

      • Yes, *this* times 23+ years. Thanks so much for the concise explanation. I’ve never been comfortable describing my ex as a narc, but he was pathologically passive aggressive. I’m making a sign for my bathroom mirror of your comment.

        • So was mine. He did outrageous things, but covertly. Always the picture of moderation on the outside tho.

      • OMG perfect description Vixen! I became an angry, resentful person who wasn’t very nice as a result. Incredible how my demeanour and anxiety have changed now …

        • Same here. I spent years spackling, blaming myself for his snooty Sneetches-on-the-Beaches silent treatment, dragging him to counseling, trying to join him in his many hobbies, begging for at least one “date night” a month, any crumbs would have kept me going. But I got nothing. So I stopped walking on eggshells and started calling him out on his behavior. Yes, there were a couple of angry outbursts along the way, but for the most part (thanks to advice here and elsewhere on narcs) I remained calm, unruffled, and matter-of-fact.

          Then all of a sudden I was a crazy, “raging” bitch who was the meanest person he’d ever met and abusive to boot. All said to me, or rather yelled at me, with actual rage and a string of insults and F-bombs. As Tempest said, there is no winning with the disordered–no matter how factual and calm you are with them, you’ll be met with rage, denial, and projection.

      • Oh lord, me too. Your comment summed it up for me Vixen. Only now that I’m away from the poisonous shitbag do I realise just how much he affected my personality. Weirdly I more or less stayed the same around him bending over backwards to try to please him (of course I never could) but became much less patient and tolerant of anybody else around me. Not just people I knew but even strangers, so not my natural personality. I’m so embarrassed about this now and actually incredulous that anybody could have such an effect on me, and for so very long. Just like looking after a toddler, your fuse gets incredibly short with everyone else because you’ve just got nothing left. Ugh, so glad to be away from that ridiculous no win merry-go-round.

        • I think we also learn to adapt or die. You wait for them to change and when they don’t, you do. How many times can you offer up your heart only to be rejected? How long can you try and try and get no response? Eventually you build a protective wall, but over time the resentment creeps in. You become a little passive-aggressive because you’re so weary from conflict and the direct approach doesn’t work anyway. Emotionally abuse anyone long enough and they’re going to bite back.

          • @Carmella1722, exactly my sentiments, well said! 31 yrs with a cheater, liar and all that goes with PD. Im FINALLY taking care of me but Im too am “weary of the conflict” that aaccompanies the divorce process (I filed). NC works for a long while and then the need to have communication about something almost always ends in me biting back. He (the abuser) requires nothing from anyone, Me (the victim) requires my family, friends etc to hear me, understand, HELP. But as we all know, nobody wil touch us with a ten foot pole. Its a lonely journey to the land of MEH. Half way there.

            Personally, I am grateful for CL and other sites I have found that allow me to vent and gain knowledge and understanding. Thank You Temptest for the great letter. GRATEFUL!

  • I’ve got an awful memory, something for which I’ve been immensely grateful this year, as I’ve removed all signs of him from my life, and talk only through email and texting. It’s only been 7 months, but it feels like he is really a memory of a time gone past, which I have a very dim recollection of. Awesome.

    • Me too JJ. Unfortunately, it used to help me remember the good stuff and not the bad during my marriage, but now, that I have gone no contact as much as possible (we have two kids) and whenever he tries to hoover or I find a picture or stuff that reminds me of a good memory, I immediately remember how that good memory was there because of all the work I did to make it, everything from the planning to the pictures. And then I remember how he ALWAYS did something to try to ruin the good time: so if it was a vacation he would try to have a fight before, during and after or would criticize the way I packed, or planned, etc, He would pout for his birthday and wanted a week long celebration, while he always forgot my birthdays and got upset if I didn´t remind him of all of the birthdays of his side of the family. And now I just add the question mark of how many of those “good” memories he was actually there, was he sexting? was he thinking about his AP? was he wishing that he could get out of the marriage all those times? So, that does it for me and then the memory is gone very quickly but I keep the parts that I enjoyed or that my kids were happy and give all the credit to myself….I am lucky that everytime I see him in person, he reminds me of how much he sucks…

      • Chumpednomore–YES! My X ruined every single significant event, and every vacation except 1, with his moods and snarky comments, and criticism and cold treatment. He even ruined our wedding night by getting so drunk he had to vomit into a waste basket by the side of the bed to consummate the marriage. That was a real turn-on, let me tell you.

        Then, the only vacation he didn’t ruin (our last major one together), it was because I had warned him ahead of time not to be a jerk or I’d never go on vacation with him again. Turns out, that was the vacation he was all nervous and on the computer because he had been turned into the sexual harassment officer at the university for his affair with a graduate student years prior. [at the time of the vacation, I knew nothing about the sexual harassment charge or the affair, only that he was behaving in an anxious way]. Poor little sausage was so scared and in need of my support, he couldn’t misbehave to me.

        • Ruined vacations . . . man can I relate to that one. He’d either golf all day, leaving me behind with small children, or when he did deign to grace us with his presence he’d act as if it was such a chore. Instead of joining in on various activities, he would walk behind us with his hands held behind his back and his head down to gesture his impatience and judgment about whatever “silly” thing he was being dragged to. When he went on his infidelity diet and makeover, he stopped eating with us at restaurants (vacations were the only times he would even go to one with me) because he preferred his superior diet of rabbit food and loves nothing more than to sit in silent judgment.

          Funny, Tempest, I had the same experience–the last vacation I agreed to go on with him I laid down rules and boundaries that he was afraid to cross, and his sulking no longer had its intended effect. He was a sad sausage the whole time but we all ignored him and had a great vacation together.

        • Sar

          A disappointment? I’m hoping your not still with this creep. X was also into porn. Many of these porn addicts despise women and are blatantly into degradation of women. X got creepier with age checking out very young girls.

          • What is it with these guys ruining every single vacation. Dr. Demento would have a roaring rage at the beginning of every trip. It got to the point that me and the kids didn’t travel with him on planes. He would go by himself and we would meet up with him. It worked. My therapist said it was be cause he didn’t have much executive function. I just this think it was an issue of control. New situation…MUST. EXERT.CONTROL Asshole… that is one of many deal breakers… moody controling traveller… adios amoeba.

        • My Ex also said hurtful things on days that were significant to me ir before doing things that were important to me. I always thought it was bad timing of a fight, but maybe something in him (perhaps unconscious) wanted to take away some of my joy? Ugh.

    • Amen to that Patsy!

      I think of the texts I saw between ex and OWhore about how he loves her and should have told her to her face and how much his cock hurt after fucking her, and I think I am free of this disordered crazy. Life is so much better when you no longer have a POS cheating asshole in it.

      • “how much his c@!!$@ hurt after fu@@$$g her”
        HAAAA ha ha ha ! Noooooooo …

        • Wow, your ex sure has a way with words!

          If I have any warm fuzzy thoughts about my ex, I replay the conversation I had with one of my best friends from college (a GYN). “I need to be tested.” and the pure shock on her face. Puts things in perspective real quick!

          • A regular Prince Charming. No wonder OWhore couldn’t resist?!!

            I’m am thankful 10 months on I no longer have nostalgic moments when I reminisce about my ex. I’ve spent that time focussing on me, healing, loving, caring for and appreciating myself, knowing I’m worth every ounce of blood, sweat and tears I’ve put into it.

            I saw ex about a month ago while I was on the bus going home from work. It was the first time I’d seen him since we’d split and he’d moved out. What shocked me the most was I felt nothing. I expected my stomach to churn of something, an overwhelming feeling of sadness, uneasiness, some emotion. Nada. He might was well have been another random stranger on the street. That was my Tuesday and what a wonderful day that was.

        • For real ChumpFromF. If that isn’t disordered crazy I don’t know what is?!!! Hence why I never did the pick me dance. My brain did a WTF, REALLY, WTF, NO WAY, WTF, HOW COULD HE, WTF, BUB-BYE!!

  • I’m not at the finish line yet, but mine was simply a compulsive liar and I remember that he never really cared about me at all – I keep remembering that – it helps put things into perspective. Great post! Thanks.

  • Based on the recommendations here for “It’s Just a F***ing Date”, I read the book. The author stated that women tend to believe in a man’s potential instead of believing who they really are. To me, it was a major AHA moment because that was me in a nutshell during my toxic marriage. No matter how many times cheater ex showed me who is really is (he wins gold for the “Trust That He Sucks” award), I kept on believing he didn’t suck My love and belief that he could be a better man were bogus. I can’t change ANYONE. Nowadays, when people show me who they are, I believe them. No sense in arguing since that’s a lost cause. Best I spend my time doing something else, like sort out the stray buttons in my drawer.

    Thank you for another great post, Tempest.

    • I did that big time. I was convinced that there was a decent kind reasonable man hiding inside my H waiting to reach his full potential, but he was mean to me and acted like I was a very low priority. I prayed that he could find the capacity to be kind. The face that he found his happy place with OW nearly killed me.

  • I did keep journals about the cheaters as password-protected files on my laptop. There is nothing that could incriminate anyone in them, but they are important to review periodically. It is amazing how much detail we forget. Although I know my decisions to divorce were based on good judgment at the time, it is sometimes helpfully reinforcing to read the detail…strangely enough, about how evil the OW can be.

    I have asked my sons to delete those files (they are filed under please-delete-upon-death) and they also know that the files contain the journals about their father. The only thing anyone would gain from reading them is sadness.

    My own father left an unprotected laptop when he died, and my son and I deleted all his files once we had settled the estate. However, some of his strange journal musings were things I wished I had not viewed. This is why it helps to name the files.

  • as chumps we always believe in the best of all people. I still live with my STBX and I get the text messages I LOVE YOU but all I need to do is remember that I read those same messages to the OW ( she dumped him) it is hard to have been married so long and not have good memories but certainly with the help from my therapist ( and Tracy and this column) I can look at them without the rose colored glasses

    • Cheaters are unoriginal. Ex sent his OW the exact same messages he sent to me on a daily basis, gross. Saddam called her “hon” same as he did me. After reading them I realized he hadn’t called me by my actual name in at least 5 years.

      • Mine called me by my first name last week for the first time in years too. It sounded weird and I realized that’s going to be what he calls me from now on. I will embrace the hell out of it.

  • It’s interesting…I was doing a good job of trusting that he sucked until Mr. Wonderful got married again. After that, I began to wonder if he really sucked as much as I thought. Maybe he was like that because of something about me. Maybe he doesn’t really suck. What if he and the new wife (not the one he left us for) are having a beautiful new life together?

    But then, through a series of very weird events, I learned that he was having STD testing.

    There must be trouble in paradise.

    • Looks like new wifey got a bite of a rotten apple.

      I just found out mine has a new victim. Frankly, all I feel for her is pity. Though X’s hookups were not all nice people, he does tend to choose warm, compassionate people for long-term relationships. There is not a snowball’s chance in hell any nice woman will be happy with him.

  • To help remember the awfulness of my cheater, and help propel myself to the finish line, I wrote a mere chronology of facts, that runs over five years.
    No feelings, no remarks, no gory details, just a very simple list with dates and events.
    The lawyer read it, and handed it back to me saying: “you definitely have to leave this guy”. And it was sincere, because the consultation was free, as it turns out I don’t need a lawyer.

    • Just be sure that representing yourself doesn’t put you at a disadvantage. I filed pro se, then got a lawyer. Had I not, I might have been tempted to accept X’s “generous” offer, where the cash payout was 1/4 of what my lawyer calculated I should get.

      • Before I met with my lawyer, I used the calculators on the State website for child support. The numbers came out much lower than what my lawyer was coming up with. He is also telling me I can get a LOT more spousal support than I had figured on. The measly retainer will pay for itself after a few months (when I finally get to that point)!

      • Thanks, but no worries: conditions are simply that I have to buy half of the house, at the price estimated by the real estate agency where we bought the house 13 years ago. Each of us paid half of it. This is why a lawyer is not necessary; there is nothing to discuss. My lawyer will come into the picture only if he refuses to sell.

        • You should get an independent assessment on the house, just to make sure the price is right, same as you’d do if you were buying/selling with anyone else.

  • Another great guest post! Wonder if Chump Lady and Tempest could adopt me? I am house trained. Well sometimes I am getting older and I have some issues. ha!

    Oh I know full well everything the ex did. It was a nightmare. There is not enough computer memory to hold everything that asshole did.

    Just to name a few from gambling pay checks away and I didn’t have enough money to cover the rent and the other bills, drinking and drug use, getting fired from jobs, getting kicked out of his Dad’s house, being in credit card debt, being unemployed for a very long time, all the lies about bills and just daily things he would do or not do, getting into loads of car wrecks with his poor driving, the cheating, the gas lightening, his damn ass family and their issues with everyone and everything, to his ED issues, other health issues all now I know is related to his NPD, the nights I would worry that he would be not home and use the excuse he was working but he was banging some whore, and the list goes and on and one.

    The first D-day I did try to heal the marriage but at the end of the day I couldn’t do it. There was nothing to work with. I slowly learn that he was an empty shell of human flesh. Then guess what happen? Another D-day. I had several. This thing I was married to is a true NPD. Over the years I found out more and more things. I don’t have any good feeling or memories with this loser. I saw the devil right in the eyes of this guy. I was married to the devil himself. There is nothing good at all I can recall with him. I am so happy that he is out of my life. He is a sick ass monster.

    • On the toll that it all placed on me with PSTD, and placing my health at risk, what he did to me financially also, the bullshit he told others about me and blaming me for the marriage breaking up.

      • sorry I have no clue what I my phone was trying to say about “on the toll”. I need a new phone. ha!

  • I do think it is easier to wipe out the “bad” memories, at least after a while. My father died 25 years ago, after a five year battle with cancer. In the beginning, all my memories were of him being sick. After a few years, those were replaced with “good” memories, and it’s like the bad stuff didn’t happen.

  • This was torture for me, but I searched on line and found a x-rated video of an escort in a hotel room with a so called client giving a BJ for 5 minutes (5 mins is LONG BTW and made me ill). That’s what my soon X did to me a week before D-Day that I learned about from his assistant manager while they were out of town on a business trip. I called the assistant manager to just ask about the suspected affair with a ho-worker I had found evidence about in emails and phone bills. So this news was on top of the 4 year affair I learned about and got some confirmation from the AM. It kind of turned my “mind movie” into a reality by doing this which I needed.
    Btw, my X admitted to the hooker and he said he couldn’t get it up and it was the worst 5 minutes of his life and he paid her only because he was too nice. That was his explanation along with, “that is not who I am”. I just think about this and I have no problem with knowing that he SUCKS!!!!!

    • Geez, Kate50 that is really terrible. There are some things like that with the ex that is very difficult for me to share. I can fully understand it never leaves your mind.

      • That was hard for me to share here because of what I did, looked for a video, but I needed a reality check because he kept minimizing that it was the worst 5 minutes of his life. It made it real for me to know exactly what he was in the end.

        • Oh Kate50, I can fully understand your feelings about sharing it here. The good thing about this site that so many of us have to deal with such pain also. I saw some really nasty things about the ex also. It takes a lot of courage to type what you do. You are mighty. There is no words to describe how sorry I am that you had to deal with such abuse. All these PD are just sick. Hugs to you.

    • Regarding hookers, I think you have to pay based on the activity, not the results. Not his “niceness”, he probably would have got his ass kicked.

      • NJ, the assistant manager said that when he saw him the next morning, he was exhausted and couldn’t hardly function. I think the hooker stayed for the night and the entire story I got was all lies. What’s even worse is he texted me the next afternoon say he missed me and loved me and that he was so tired from the buyer show he was at along with a bunch of hearts! I still have that text. POS!

        • That is so mess up. I am puzzled about the reason for making the video and then keeping it. Why keep it if what he told you was true? I just cannot think like these sickos. These people are really messed up in the head.

      • Not Juliet, I wish his ass got kicked or the hooker was an undercover cop and had him arrested to be honest.

    • Kate50–I’m sorry; the mental tapes we play of our then-H or -W having sex with someone else are bad enough; real tapes are more powerful and harder to get rid of. I did the same thing as you–after D-day, I looked up porn pictures for the first time in my life to get up-close-and-personal images of intercourse. I think it was my version of aversion conditioning–if I could look at those images, what my now-X did to his grad-whore (and numerous women) would become less trauma-ridden. I don’t know if looking at that filth was the cause, but my horrible panic attacks did decrease in intensity after that.

      I’m furious with my X for so many things, but the fact that his behavior led me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have done, is on the list.

      • I’m glad I’m not alone in how I went crazy trying to figure things out, I just hated who I became after I found out what he was doing, glad I left so my life can return to normal and even better than before!!! Thanks Tempest.

      • “I’m furious with my X for so many things, but the fact that his behavior led me to do things I wouldn’t otherwise have done, is on the list.”
        This Tempest. Especially during the pick me phase. Trying to compete I guess. Trying to win the approval of the person who so painfully rejected me. I had to forgive myself for all that.

  • My first husband died 16 years ago. He was a bad alcoholic and very abusive. It’s unbelievable now, but I never think about him at all. If I do remember anything about him, I don’t have any emotions associated with it, it’s like i am watching a movie of things that happened to someone else. It’s very strange.

    • That’s exactly how it feels for me, and it is indeed a strange feeling. No good memories, no bad memories, just nothing.

  • During my M, I was so traumatized by his behavior, I would forget the worst parts of it (like a bad car wreck)…I once called a friend who I had dumped on after thenH had done something especially heinous to ask her what it is that he did to me because I forgot. I spackled over any and all of his meanness.

    BUT…. A month after he died I found photos of OW in his office, 3 months after he died I realized that like was calmer and happier without his meanness, 13 months after he died I learned he had lied (during the “coming clean” conversation) about the main OW, and 2.5 yrs after he died I learned he was a serial cheater.

    I have crossed the abyss…when he comes to mind now, my first thought is “cheating, lying, selfish asshole”

    and he was one to cover his tracks, he never ever wrote anything mean …he only spoke his cruelty (because according to him, spoken words have no power or weight …they just disappeared into thin air) but I wrote him letters in response to his horrific spoken words and I have a pile of them…next to his hotel receipts and a single love letter to OW I found. Some people may think its petty and unforgiving to keep this shit, but I need it, I need to remember he sucked.

  • Keeping a list is definitely helpful. I don’t refer to it much anymore but I keep a list on my cell phone where it’s very handy to read whenever I head down the nostalgia road.

    I also used to tell myself to “trust that he sucks” for the whole 20 minute ride to work for about 6 months after our divorce.

    I don’t get nastalgic for my old life anymore and I’d like to think those two things helped.

  • Maybe it’s natural to wipe out some of the bad memories but when you had very little to work with it’s hard to remember actual good times. Reflecting back on the marriage most of the memories of me being a single mom while he worked away from home. When he was home he ignored the kids, constantly went out to meet people (networking), and criticized all of us.
    Now I realized the twenty some years are my life with my children and the occasional visit from the him. All I was for him was a facade for his worklife, and a housekeeper, ATM and nanny for his homelife. Sometimes I miss little things like having somebody to talk with or joke with about things pertinent to people in our age group.
    I saved his Ashley Madison chatgroup stuff and copies of credit card statements showing his cheater spending just so I would never forget he truly was an asshole to me. He dumped me once our youngest turned 18 and told all his friends how awful his marriage had been. Forgot to tell them his marriage was so awful he had to serial cheat to have his needs met but never once thought about owning up to his horrible life and divorcing the sexually inadequate but financially supportive woman; also forgot to tell his best friend he was boinking the friend’s wife for two years before she divorced him.

  • My husband’s girlfriend sent a text message saying I am just jealous that I didn’t know how to suck her man’s …….. well…. considering her man is still my husband, I posted that on everything. Infact I found a T shirt at Good will that had green lips on it and said” I got good lipservice”….that text got attached and gifted wrapped for him at Christmas. My daughter says she misses Dad….but she says I mean the old Dad not the person he is now. I explain to her….they are one in the same.
    He has his whore living in my house…he won’t settle…he is fighting me for China cabinets. His whore called my work and asked for me….I work at an attorneys office. Caller ID….it is all games and manipulation. I texted her and asked her to help get me divorced so she can have him….we don’t want him.
    I have been diagnosed with PTSD… with good reason….this man filed a PFA to have me evicted out of my home to move his whore in. It worked. So for 3 years I have had to watch my life become a Tsunami. He had me jailed…he came to my house…stole from me…came to my church….came to my 2 house…broke in….but the PFA protected him…not me.
    I regurgitate that drama to remind me that it is ALL HIM….and God removed me for a reason. Had I stayed….I would have killed myself from the crazy he put on me for years. People see it now. They see the slow methodical abuse. He is good….he is charming. He is poison. If he was on fire….I wouldn’t even piss on him to put the flames out. That “forgive him ” stuff…. sorry not happening. Jesus will just have to understand.

    • Wow, Tracey! Your experience has touched me. Keep being a badass mother for your daughter. She will appreciate how much you love and care for her wellbeing and your own. You are so much better without that POS cheater in your life. Hang in there and keep strong. You and your daughter are worth so much more.

    • Tracy, you are not alone. Saddam attacked me and got me arrested for abuse. It is all kinds of fucked up. I dream of him dying on a regular basis. One day soon I hope to wake up and hear a voicemail from his mother telling me he is in fact dead. I would go to his funeral just to make sure it was true.

      • reoccurring thoughts/wishes of dying ex’s… Yep. I often think how I might handle my ex whores death concerning my daughter, should it happen. Of course I won’t attend any funeral, etc, but I wonder how it will effect her when I appear completely ambivalent, unmoved, and actually in my heart of hearts glad.

        My ex-POS bitch did everything in her power to destroy me, using her own daughter as a weapon, and completely does not deserve to have this beautiful, kind, HONEST person in her life. I do wish she were dead, for there are some things done in life to others, that IMO require you to not continue breathing. What I and many others went through because of my ex, to levels so far from what I ever thought possible, allow me to believable as I and we do. Pangs of missing my divorced, disordered ex; nope… I am so grateful for every second I have now, and although I do hate my ex, it’s a cold hate. Fuck cheaters.

    • Tracy–I’m so sorry. Document, document, document for the sake of settlement, and to get harassment charges brought against her. You have no cause to forgive him (or her). Forgiveness is advocated by people who have not lived through what you have lived through.

    • Forgiveness is a luxury I don’t yet have, and I’ve learned to live with that. It might happen one day and it might not. Don’t let anyone pressure you about that Tracy.

      • If I ever find myself forgiving X, I will slap myself. He’s still lying about his serial cheating. Coupled with the emotional abuse I sustained, he doesn’t deserve forgiveness.

        There’s a difference between forgiveness & moving on with a better life. I am moving on; I don’t have to forgive the f*cker.

        • I’m in the same place Tempest, he still lies and denies things I’ve found out, right now it feels like hell needs to freeze over before I can forgive him.

        • Forgiveness is only available if there is remorse. And even though my X has expressed his remorse to me, I will never forgive him for the hell he put me through. Yes, it may seem strange that I feel sorry for him but I don’t forgive him, but I think I feel the way I do because I have emotionally divorced myself from him. Watching his life fall apart has been like watching a building burn to the ground, something I wouldn’t wish for anyone, but something that doesn’t impact me in any way.

      • Forgiveness? I’m celebrating the fact he’s getting surgery which entails months of painful rehab and won’t have income for a year.

        It’s bad enough these assholes can manipulate the system, quit their jobs, hide money, degrade their spouse, abandon their children, threaten, stalk, and cheat. That’s a heap of fucking entitlement right there. They aren’t entitled to forgiveness.

  • I have a picture of him and his then-mistress kissing passionately at a formal party. They look very dolled-up and happy and glamorous. It was taken the day after D-day, when he had last seen me crumpled into a sobbing heap on the floor. I got it because it was posted on his FB feed for all to see, and though I had him unfriended and blocked by that point, it showed up on our daughter’s feed.

    It’s a good reminder of who he really is. He did not feel even a hint of remorse about cheating on me; he practically stepped over my crumpled body on his way to adultery prom night.

    Whenever he’s turning up the sad sausage routine, I look at that picture. He didn’t show me one whit of sympathy or compassion in my moment of need, and he’ll get the same from me.

    • I like to remember that when I had pneumonia, I encouraged my husband to go to a work-related party because I knew he really wanted to. I thought I was being so kind and understanding in letting him go. Later, I found out he danced with coworker OW all night. Things like this happened quite often, but I was so good at stuffing my feelings. It wasn’t until after we separated and I started telling my girlfriends about things he did, that they assured me they would have been upset too.

      Throughout our marriage I kept thinking I was just overly suspicious and insecure. It didn’t really occur to me that there are men who don’t make you feel this way. I think it was the mixture of what seemed like caring on his part, with the reality of his actions that confused me. I’ve told friends many times that if I’d ever walked in on him with someone else that would have been the end. It would have been clear cut. But when everything is just shadows and suspicions? You start to convince yourself it’s your imagination.

      • There were times in my marriage too Lyn that I would have questions – but it was always just shadows. He would stonewall when I voiced my suspicions. He would simply refuse to talk about it after denying it outright. Over time I managed to convince myself that it was my imagination and that it was me that was insecure and suspicious. I also started spackling big-time once we moved to another country to offer our children a more secure future. The ex consistently denied and stonewalled, at the same time appearing to be so committed to our little family, so that when those shadowy, vague suspicions reared up, it was easy to just accept it was me and not my intuition telling me something was not right or adding up.

      • I agree dollparts, I felt that pain that feels like a fist in my stomach come back like it did when I found out what mine did. I don’t know how they can do this and live with the pain it causes us. 🙁

      • Ty for the sympathy. My life is much better now. His mistress dumped him less than 6 weeks later and wrote a hilariously fatuous, narcissistic blog post about dumping him. Our divorce was finalized 9.5 months ago. He has tried numerous times since then to seduce me, but I want nothing to do with him.

        I am finishing my master’s degree, building my career, dating regularly, enjoying my children and NOT living paycheck to paycheck anymore. I never bother trying to learn how either of them is doing, especially her. I’m probably not 100% “meh” yet, but 95% of the time, I really don’t care. And CN helps me heal through that last 5%.

    • In their troubled minds, after screwing some hungry obsessive OW, they conclude that with us, they did not get the praise and worship they deserved. Although they never expressed dissatisfaction verbally to us, they consider that we knew they were dissatisfied, yet continued behaving as usual, because we are cruel, you see, not because we are overloaded with the work they don’t do on top of life’s many challenges.
      Building lies upon lies, since we willfully ignored their needs, they are only taking a revenge when they cheat. They are the good guys who have been mistreated, who made justice happen. We can’t be sincere when we cry, these are crocodile tears, an attempt to manipulate them further into staying with us mean creatures.

      Their narrative is crazy, totally untrue, but it enables them to go with the other person without self loathing.

      • This is Asshat except he did periodically express dissatisfaction. It would often be way out of line and I would left standing there wondering where he came up with those issues in the first place. They were just excuses to justify his behaviour. I questioned him and I just reinforced his perception of me as the evil, nagging, frigid wife.

  • I keep the box of naked women pictures (them on him) he left for me to know what a great prize he was and what a loser I am – reminds me of what a loser he actually is

  • works wonders. Made a list of why she left/made me unhappy. Just reading it changed my miss her feeling to GTFO out feeling.

  • Wow. What an appropriate post. I have been pursuing reconciliation for six months (Dday Jan 20 – found husband had been having serious emotional and physical affair with assistant 28 to his 55 for 2-3 years – Basically, he stole from our family and gave her his time, efforts money, etc and told us he was working late – made me feel like a paranoid controlling shrew when I raised suspicions at end of 2014). There have been barely any joint sessions because MC is working with CH as he is having trouble going no contact with AP. He is “worried” about her, as she has “abandonment” issues. Apparently, ruining my life and our kids lives does not matter..

    But yesterday I found this when cleaning up after vacation…..a list he had put together to help him “decide”….

    From his list……
    PROS (for AP vs our family)
    New Family
    More Compatible
    Like her liberal-ness and feisty-ness (Note from Tired Chump: she is sort of smart/ sort of slutty/ always idolized him and is very sexually adventurous from what he’s told me. )

    CONS (against AP)
    My children will hate me for a while / Relationship will never be the same
    Lose Tired Chump as a friend
    Lose 1/2 money and house
    I will be 75 when kids are 18 (i guess these are kids he’s planning with AP? he did get her pregnant and have abortion, which was when i realized we were way way way over my bottom line)
    I will be old with a much younger person
    Have to get a new set of friends
    My relatives will think I made a huge mistake

    Wow. My value after 32 is nearly non-existant.
    I guess I should really remember that he sucks and call a lawyer today.
    So sorry for my kids…..

    • Call the lawyer 5 minutes ago. If he has to make a.list….then you make one….of bank accounts ….investments…. 401K….appraisal of the house…. get your financial list in order. Do not tell him. Get all records of balance in bank accounts and get a credit report today. Find out WHERE your money had been going. Then….. give him your list.
      Marriage is about love….Divorce is about money. And you will need money.
      I work for my new divorce attorney. Trust and believe when you go to take his money. …he will become evil. Cake…they want all the cake.

    • OMG Tired Chump! That is very sad. Congrats of contacting the lawyer. Get all the proof you can and keep it in a safe place and bring it to you attorney. Get the bank accounts sorted also. Don’t let this guy know what you are doing.

      Oh yes btw I had the same mess with the ex also.

      Wising you the best of luck! Never trust a cheater they will fail you all of the time.

    • TiredChump

      What strikes me the most about this list is his entitlement and blatant arrogance. So fir two to three years he’s been screwing around and now Mr Cake Eater believes he is still holding all the cards? No wonder your tired. I’ve been there and never realized my emotional needs were never met in my marriage until I threw him out.

      For years I never wanted to face the pain and divorce the lying cheat. Instead I LIVED the pain year after year as X never stooped. Facing the pain was the most difficult thing I have ever exoeriences. But it’s OVER now after a year. Tired Chump you don’t want the daily double for life and neither do your children. It sounds like you’ve had enough and are going to take your power back by filing. Good plan.

    • Copy EVERY financial document you can get your hands on, then call the lawyer. Today. Your kids are grown; there is NO reason to stay except inertia. Fuck his list. Let him make a new list–objects he wants to take from the house.

      • In early July, the 7th to be exact, I found he was at her house and I kicked him out for a few days. One of my kids didn’t even ask where he was – as he has been so focused on his company and working crazy hours / traveling for much of our lives. My actions shocked him as I had been so controlled / calm since finding out. (it helped to know that i was not crazy and my suspicions were justified) I think the kick out was after “the list.” He literally envisioned his future – and said it was the first time he had ever considered suicide. It scared the shit out of me and I called the MC, who sent him to another counselor who deemed he did not have depression, just needed to untangle his fucked up life. I let him back and have been thinking about lining up ducks since, but I am just emerging from denial and still wishing this wasn’t my life.

        • TiredChump, keep on being strong. You don’t need his abuse. And that is good a professional said he isn’t depressed. Don’t believe his sad sausage suicide story. Asshat gives me that shit every few months when he is in a petulant rage. The longer i have to live with him the more often I dream he just does it. It disgusts me that this is how i think about the father of my child but it is what it is. And he is an ass.

          • Tired Chump – mine pulled the suicide card – “I just wanna go shoot my head off”, when we talked about sexual problems. And, then, once I caught him cheating. That scared me for years just to bring up anything sexual that I needed. Talk about manipulation technique! I since learned here that the next time he pulls that crap, I’m calling 911 on his ass and getting him admitted. (not that he’s my problem anymore – 1 yr divorced)

    • Wow, TiredChump…finding Cheater´s list is gold…not only is it a major sign for you to finally get a divorce, but it will help you in the divorce proceedings and it also has told his future so clearly..the Pros will fade quickly but his Cons will be his life! He is such an asshole that he is telling you that he perfectly knows what he is doing and how he is hurting the people closest to him but that all of that may be worth the Pros of a younger, sexier OW!

    • TiredChump,

      Do not feel sorry for your kids. You are giving them a gift:

      * You are showing them how not to be a door mat for a disordered individual.

      * You are showing them courage in the face of uncertainty.

      * You are showing them the importance of self love.

      * You are giving them knowledge for future reference should they find themselves in similar circumstances.

      * You are showing them that the future, without a cheater, is promising.

      So not feel sorry for your kids. They will are going to be in a better environment with a healthier mother.

      • Exactly, CalamityJ. Our children look to us for guidance and strength. My 19 year old daughter, in particular, seemed to look at me with newfound respect after I ditched X’s sorry ass. She asks me for advice more than she used to. Kids, even adult kids, need to look up to someone with admiration. They can’t do that to the cheater, so we have to be what they need.

        • I can second that.
          My kids have both told me that they admire my courage and respect me for leaving my marriage when I did. They witnessed how much I struggled after I left and that I survived it all. They have both told me that now, when faced with a difficulty, they think that if Mom could go through what she did and come out of it, then so can I. No matter what it is that they’re facing.
          It is indeed a far better, healthier example.

  • Tempest you are brilliant.

    What I do is just what you suggested, I pull up screen shots of the jerk’s profile, which he lies throughout including calling himself “divorced”. We aren’t yet.

    I go back and look at the log of calls to the first slut. I remember the “date” we had where I caught him texting her while he was out with ME! I read my diary where I outline the whole sordid story. Where I match up strange phone numbers to events. Where things start to come clear. Where his lies are all there for me to remember.

    I think about all the duplicity, the deception, the blatant lies. I think about the fact that he isn’t the same guy anymore.. that guy is dead. He’s been replaced with this jerk that I have to coparent with, but beyond that, I have no responsibility for at all. The only real feeling I have for him now is rage, which still isn’t meh. I am sad and lonely but only because I am missing what I “thought” he was, not what he really is.

    It helps, but being cheated on is trauma. I have said if he had put a bullet in my head, it wouldn’t have hurt as much. This is the WORST thing you can do to someone besides the bullet. What they steal is your life. All of your memories, the things you thought you were as a couple, the life you thought you were building.. it was all a lie.

    But I tell myself if not for this union I wouldn’t have my two sons and the truth is, to go back again, I would marry him all over just to have those boys. They are worth this trauma, they are worth the pain. If I had never met crapweasel, they wouldn’t be here. I might have married someone else and had other kids, but not THESE and I adore my kids.

    • New Chumpatl
      I love how much you love your boys! It comes through loud and clear in every post.
      I feel the same way about my three – they are smart, funny, loyal, thoughtful, loving and industrious. I am so sorry they will be caught up in something they did nothing to deserve.
      I have stayed with CH and tried to reconcile for the sake of our family, but as you can see form my post above, I fear that my ability to parent is being compromised by the insanity of my situation.
      Oldest son just graduated college and started Manhattan job, daughter entering Junior year of college, and youngest son (already hurt by dad’s detachment and mood swings) entering senior year high school and facing the stress associated with applying to top tier colleges
      Its a tough balancing act – but I think it is worth thinking about what is best for the kids, as well as yourself.
      Glad you worked hard to make it work for your family – you can always feel proud that you took the high road. I am trying to feel the same as I plan next steps

      • I finally had to come to grips with the reality that going through this terrible shitty thing and eating these shit sandwiches is still better than living with a liar. My XH, like yours probably, lied so much I don’t even know who he is anymore. He’s not the person I thought he was. When they say the mask slips, they aren’t kidding.. that’s exactly what it is. I tried to reconcile too. I think a lot of us do and even though it was hell, I’m glad I did it because I don’t have guilt. I did everything I could.

        Good luck to you TC. Given that “comparison” list of you and AP.. I’d say you deserve a WHOLE LOT better. Let him go off and try to be “compatible” with a child and see how that works a few years out. It’s destined to fail but you can’t tell them and you don’t want him anyway!!!

        Let him chase pixie dust while you build an authentic life.

        • I doubt the old guy will seriously have to worry about “being old with a young person” cause I doubt it will last long enough f for that to happen. And if it does, who would really care anyway?

    • Newchumpatl–Eloquently put!! I completely agree; my X’s burying a machete in my back would have been preferable to cheating on me. And whenever I find myself ruing the day I met him, I look at my two wonderful daughters and realize I would walk through the fire of that marriage again to have them.

      But…(and this is for you, TiredChump), I wish I had left the day after my second daughter was born. My kids would have been psychologically better to have a single, overwhelmed parent than one overwhelmed + one emotionally abusive parent. Fearing the loss of kibbles with a second baby in the house, my X did something so atrocious the day after my youngest daughter’s birth that I saw the mask slip entirely. Part of me hated him ever since that day, and never felt safe. I should have left then.

      • I think that my second child’s birth also affected my STBX. Kibbles ran down really low because he was a hard baby and sick a lot (in daycare because I always worked!). So we literally didn’t sleep for 2 years, or I didn’t. We were also considerably older that go around which affected our energy levels.

        I did the majority of the getting up in the middle of the night, just about all the doctor visits, all the routine care.. plus I worked a job and took care of a older child. All the school paperwork, all the shopping, cooking, laundry, shuffling of kids from here to there.

        I actually think the dalliances with the whore started soon after he was born. I never was comfortable with her, spidey sense heightened, but I pushed that down. Didn’t want to be the “jealous” wife. Turns out I was right. Instincts are usually right. I was busy taking care of a baby and didn’t have enough time to dispense sex kibbles at the rate STBX wanted. Of course, he never took the initiative to help out more.. thinking because he worked the full time job and mine was 30 hours vs 40 hours, I should do all the housework too. He never seemed to have time for me. When I would call him during the day to see how he was.. he was always too busy to answer… would text me back “on a call”. He wouldn’t meet me for lunch, despite his office being really close to my home office. Later, when I found the cell phone records, it detailed MANY calls to the whore throughout the day. So he had plenty of time to devote to her, but not to me.

        Yet I was still supposed to be providing stellar kibbles. It comes down to entitlement. She can have him.

        • Mine also totally checked out after the birth of our last child. He went back to work the very next day even though he is self-employed and could easily have afforded to take a few weeks off. But the kibbles at work were much tastier. He also invited me to a party that a colleague of his was throwing, less than a week after our son was born. I went, thinking that it was a post-baby shower for us. Silly chump! It was a welcome party for his cute new “intern,” the first of many beards he’s had over the years to distract me from his life on the down-low.

          Ok, so that’s a forgotten memory for the list!

        • Warning: graphic (if you don’t like medical details). My second daughter was fairly big (8 lbs. 9 oz.), and I had a decent-size episiotomy, with stitches, and was told not to go up & down steps for 2 weeks. Not only did X harangue me into coming home a day early from the hospital (he was sick of taking care of the 5-year old), but as soon as I got home, he was cold & grumpy and started his complaints that the toys had not been picked up in the basement from before my delivery. I had promised to do that when we built the basement and add-on, had not kept my word…blah blah blah. We were in the midst of a major snowstorm at that time, the basement was around 60 degrees and no one was going to go down there. Pure power play–Hannibal Lecher kept criticizing and being contemptuous until I gathered up the 1-day old baby, and headed into the cold basement, sobbing from the pit of my stomach, to clean up toys that clearly could have waited to be picked up.

          That was my first episode of true hatred for him. Enter the unmitigated thought that he at all. I wish my hormones had not been in flux after giving birth so that I could have either (a) left him that very week, or (b) buried him in said basement and claimed postpartum psychosis.

          • I find option b more attractive, as it would have taken one more heinous, sadistic, Cluster B sub-human out of society. I’m so happy you’re rid of that POS.

          • Wow. What a horrible experience! ((hugs)) Proving yet again that not only are these guys abusive assholes; it’s all about power and control, no matter what the issue is. Even toys in a basement that nobody’s using at the moment!


            This reminded me of something I’d totally forgotten about, and it was the first time I’d ever seen “the mask” slip. He came to pick me up for the weekend one Friday night (this is before I moved in with him), and back in those days, I had my girls during the week, while my ex had them on the weekend. Anyway, my younger daughter, who was about 8 then, got a bit clingy when I was getting ready to leave, so I stayed a bit longer to comfort her. My ex (not ex-h, who’s not a narc) started getting openly “shirty” (this is my new favourite word), and I felt really uncomfortable and also quite stressed. Once my ex-h arrived to pick up the girls, and ex and I were in the car on our way to his house, he let me have it. Really critical shit about how I was letting my girls manipulate me (!!!) and that I needed to be firmer with them. The whole time he was lecturing me, he was driving kind of aggressively, and I was getting teary-eyed and feeling like a total failure of a parent (never mind the fact that he was not exactly “Father of the Year,” and he pretty much had no clue what the f he was talking about). Anyway, we stopped to get something to eat and I tried to smooth things over, as I’d never seen him like that. It was just such a dramatic departure from his usual calm and rational demeanor. Here is where things get interesting: when we came out of the restaurant, traffic was really backed up since there’d been some accident (which we didn’t find out until later). Ex was trying to turn left onto a busy street, but the cars in front of us were moving at a glacial pace. The guy directly in front of us could have moved up quite a bit more, but I guess he was just playing it safe. Anyway, much to my total shock, ex (who was still in a mood) threw the car into park in the middle of the intersection, flung the door open and marched up to the car in front of us and started banging on his window. Now, my ex is a big guy–6’2″ and built like a tank–very physically intimidating. The poor guy in the car ahead of us rolled down his window, and my ex just ripped him a new one, while wildly gesticulating about the whole SIX FEET OF SPACE between that driver and the car in front of him. And then ex marched back to our car, got back in, while the guy in front crept forward those 6 measly feet. And I was just sitting in the passenger’s seat going, “Holy.fuck.”

            Typing this out now, I can feel my heart start racing and my blood pressure going through the roof. How could I have forgotten this? In retrospect, I see this as a very carefully orchestrated performance. It was my ex showing me what would happen to me if I didn’t fall in line. Even though he didn’t go after me physically, the implied threat was there after that. And, at almost a foot shorter than my ex, there was no way I was gonna push my luck.


            • I am so sorry, FMT–I had a very similar experience with my STBX during false wreckonciliation. He reluctantly decided to comply with MC’s recommendation that we have a “get away” overnight together, the second one in over 20 years of marriage at that point. Of course I ended up making the reservations for the hotel and dinner in a nearby city, as well as the child-care arrangements, which should have been yet another clue.

              STBX hates driving in cities and was getting impatient with traffic. We were discussing mundane details about the trip while he was trying to make a right turn as the last few pedestrians were running to cross the street. I have no recollection of what I said to set him off, but before I knew it he had gunned the engine and aimed for the last straggler who was crossing the street. He came so close to hitting her that when she put her arm out to stop him, her hand actually hit the hood of our car.

              Of course he then tried to blame me for nearly killing the poor woman in his petulant fit of road rage and we ended up having a huge fight that pretty much ruined our stupid get-away. It was one of the first times I stood up to him, refused to accept the blame, and left the hotel we were staying at to eat dinner by myself. Time for crumbs! He called me non-stop until I finally picked up and begged me to tell him where I was. When I did, chump that I am, he arrived bearing one of the only pieces of jewelry he’d ever bought me that actually reflected my taste. It is now at the local consignment shop awaiting resale.

              • Not that this will compare to your stories, but the X had a fit at the Verizon store while I was upgrading HIS phone – yeah, I turned him onto technology. You know, those contracts can take awhile and he came in out of the car and threw a fit at me – what was taking me so long?!!! And, stormed out – customers everywhere – and drove away. The sales rep said – what’s with all the anger in these old guys anyway? Asshole was getting angrier everyday over so many little things. A tissue in the toilet . .

              • Wow, OtherKat. That’s awful! Good on you for consigning your jewelry. I haven’t worn mine since I left, but I haven’t gotten rid of it, either. I would just feel awful inflicting bad mojo on some unsuspecting woman!

                Here’s something funny: a few months before I moved out, I went to a counseling session, and the counselor (an amazing woman who saved my hide and later my daughter’s hide) wouldn’t even begin our session until I’d taken off the bracelet he’d given me and which I always wore in those days. She said the energy was negative. I never wore it again.

              • FMT your therapist was exactly right. Ridding yourself of negative energy objects is so liberating!! It is amazing how cleaning out material things from the past, clears the mind:-) 🙂 Have a wonderful day!!

              • SarBear well I am not glad you were robbed (I hope the electronics were the exs). But yes, it was a sign. I had a similar weird act with my stbx’s wedding band.What really goes on in their heads?? So strange?? I am happy you are free from him 🙂 Best wishes.

              • You rock, Malbec! I TOLD X I burned all our photos from the past 35 yrs. He didn’t say a word. Well, heck, he left them behind without a look back.
                What kind of person wouldn’t protest that?
                Nev-va mind..

          • This is why I love this site Tempest. To have that moment of true hatred when your in the most vulnerable if states carrying a newborn down the stairs when you should have been pampered is beyond painful. What a pitiful excuse of a man he is.

            And to the outside world they smile as if they are human. And there are those other stories of the next day and the next. These are the types of abuse often hidden by victims who suffer in silence as my mother did. She never found her way out. There is a way out regardless of age or resources

            Never suffer in silence. We have a nation of Mighty Chumps like Tempest to lead the way. There’s always a way out.

          • It’s stories like yours that make me think my X wasn’t so bad after all. Yeah, he was a jerk with a huge ego, but my X would never have done such a thing. I don’t think anyone with even a remote sense of human decency would; it makes me angry for you that you were treated like that!

            • Yet cheating in itself IS abuse. Cheaers pretty much follow the same script. The manipulation, blaming, gaslighting, lying, and isolating, and intimidation are all abusive behaviors.
              I convinced myself many times that he wasn’t that bad yet I could put a check mark next to everyone of the above.

    • newchumpatl, This is exactly how I feel! “But I tell myself if not for this union I wouldn’t have my two sons and the truth is, to go back again, I would marry him all over just to have those boys. They are worth this trauma, they are worth the pain. If I had never met crapweasel, they wouldn’t be here. I might have married someone else and had other kids, but not THESE and I adore my kids.” Would be nothing without my kids.

    • newchumpatl, you say what I can’t concentrate hard enough to spit out these days. Recently, someone asked if I would take it all back. Of course not! My precious son is worth everything. Still doesn’t mean any of this is okay.

      And while I have a looong memory, I am short on hard evidence. I do know that last summer, he was texting Florence from my parents’ condo and yelling at me every time we were ‘alone’. He feigned illness, threw a tantrum, changed his plane ticket (to come home to work for a week while my son and I stayed to visit friends and family) and left early. The day before my birthday. He spent my birthday with Florence. I don’t have proof and i don’t need it. Meanwhile, on my birthday, we were burying (uh, actually cremating) one of my aunt’s whose kids lived with me for a short time while i was in high school. I couldn’t go into the service bc it was open casket so i sat in the lovely waiting area and watched my son play quietly. I had to carry him on the procession through the cemetery bc he was sleepy and my RA shoulders were in pain for days afterwards. He kept asking why everyone was crammed into the crematorium and I could barely speak to make up an answer. Asshat was probably getting his rocks off with the same woman who is now stalking me. He got too sick to fly back and drive across the country with us so i drove 2,500 miles alone with my then 6 y.o.. On the way, he asked me to stop and get Florence a present for helping him when he got sick. He holds it against me, though he denies it, that i was not here to help him.

      He wonders why I have so much hatred for him.

      • Totally screwed up. Recently, I remembered that asshat bought the whore a “basket” after she had a minor surgery. This was like 2 years ago, maybe 3 years!! A long time. But it popped into my head the other day. My little one was just a baby. I didn’t know he bought the basket but he must have sent it from both of us because she sent me a thank you text!!!!! I actually still had the text!

        Now thinking back there were all these little signs. The sad/scary thing was the whore was a friend of mine.. she and I did Yoga classes together, she’d been in my home, around my kids. She came to see my last child in the hospital when he was born!!! HELD him!!! When I think of that it makes me want to vomit. As recently as October she was inviting me to do workouts with her (this was at the height of her daily interactions with my husband) and in December i met her for breakfast for a business thing. Come to think of it, she was REALLY nervous during that meeting and looked really disheveled. I wonder if she thought I was going to confront her. After I discovered her daily calls to my husband in February, I went back and looked up that date we had breakfast and they talked RIGHT after we left the restaurant. That would be a hell of a coincidence for “casual friends”.

        Sickos both of them. They deserve each other.. although I think she may have dumped him. Good riddance to bad rubbish. These people are trash!

        • The only time I ever saw Florence was about a year ago when I took my son to see my PCP, bc his pediatrician was booked. She was filling in for the regular nurse and did not introduce herself. Her name tag was facing the wall. She was nice but I thought she seemed flustered and distracted. When Asshat got home, he asked about the appointment and I described the nurse. He already knew it was her. She is a nurse who no longer worked in his clinic. Why would they have reason to speak? I almost asked but he started droning on about something and I walked off. I am disgusted she touched my kid and I am disgusted that he puts his mouth near us because I KNOW where it’s been.

          Earlier, I was putting some clean laundry in his House Elf den and was hunting for his missing old cell phone. Found a printed email for a referral for a counselor from a year ago. So he had been screwing Florence for months (of course I’m not sure since he doesn’t remember) or at least was in love with for about 8 months at that point and then he decides he is depressed? He had been acting as though he had had to seek professional help for months and that i didn’t care but at the point he told me, he couldn’t have gone to more than a handful of appointments. Where I very much doubt he admitted to fucking someone who isn’t married. They commit a felony (or is it multiple? Maybe only a misdemeanor since he can’t really get it up) and I get to sit here and protect my child from her impending craziness and this shitstorm. Yeah, I’d say that sounds fair.

          Ever since the word got out Tom Brady destroyed his cell phone before being questioned I am curious as to why he didn’t send it back and he doesn’t have an excuse bc I thought they charge you if you don’t return an old phone if you upgrade. I don’t need to do anything conscious to remember he is an ass bc he lives here and I have to see/smell/hear him every day.

  • Beginning on D-Day which was a complete surprise to me, I kept a detailed journal of everything he said to me and everything I discovered about his secret life. Re-reading it helps me, still – two years out – when I get wistful about the 16 years we were together, when I miss my gardening partner, my kayaking partner, my companion who I thought would be with me forever, who I thought respected me and my children and valued our life and our home enough to fight for us even after D-Day.

    Reading this post this morning, I had a revelation: whether it’s cognitive dissonance, stockholm syndrome or whatever, I am still conditioned in the exact same way that I was when I was with him during all his years of verbal and sexual abuse. In other words, when not actively being raged at, or otherwise abused, I felt that things were calm and peaceful, ergo, “good.” My brain erases the bad memories because they are too painful, and then I ‘miss’ the fake existence.

    Retraining the brain is so crucial to building new neural pathways.. new responses, new thoughts and feelings. Reading the journal can be a quick jolt to me, to remind me, yes he sucks. This guy had no respect for me, thought it was acceptable to lie to me for years, to fuck other women, have EA’s too, have secret phone calls to god knows who, and finally, to treat me like an insignificant nuisance when I was no longer of use to him other than to extract more money from in the settlement over our house.

  • I came across some journals that I had kept during our 16 years of living together and was horrified to see that he was treating me like shit from way back when….. I’m keeping those close to refer to anytime I am tempted to think that ‘it wasn’t so bad’. The number of times I begged for us to go to counseling and he said no; my repeated attempted to get him to talk to me and explain why he didn’t want to be intimate with me – no response; his bad temper unexplained. Looking back these things now become clear.

    Wonderful post Tempest. Thank you.

  • Tempest
    I recall the very public way I discovered I was an unwitting OW and the aftermath and where I am today.
    We’re at a conference with other colleagues and that morning; he is super attentive, invites me to spend a weekend with him museum hunting in the urban metastasis down the mountain. As he leaves, he doesn’t realize I am right behind him when he gives his room key to the front desk dude and says to save it for a woman who used to work with us. I am shocked; this guy who recently was on line, always talking about being alone after his divorce, always touching, always near, eagerly showing me his new house plans, asking my opinion, talking about the future etc. All a lie. Throughout that day, I am sandwiched between him and other colleagues, fighting tears, folks know something is very wrong. That evening, while I am waiting for someone else, here they come walking up the street. I turn away and the person with whom I am dining with shows up right then. They talk and unknowing other Chump decides we all four should dine together. I say no, turn and briskly walk away. Remind myself of all of this. A year or so later, I see her in the coffeehouse and she looks drawn and 10 years older and I am comforting her. Ironic. I remember this whenever I see him. Throughout that next year, the stories come out; cheating repeatedly while he was married, often with students/staff. Another female colleague and friend chose financial ruin rather than stay and now hates men; turns out she was another Conquest. See her often and pay attention.
    Still, four years after that day, in some ways I miss him: seeing him makes me incredibly sad, yearning, and lonely. I truly want someone with his looks, intellect but with kindness, integrity, and good character and get frog upon frog. There is a part of me that screams “this isn’t fair!!” Why does someone who is in no way a good person get everything he wants while those of us not users get nothing but frustration though we do everything possible to change things. Logically I understand its because users trod over everything/everyone in their path and the decent do not.
    I understand this is mainly a problem with my isolation and inability to find someone both suitable and available coupled with an environment wherw others tell me to “settle” for someone totally unsuitable/unattractive or resign myself to permanent aloneness. I do wish folk would actually experience what it means to feel totally alone, with no living family even, very isolated for most of the year before making such statements.
    In five years when this farce is over, I can honestly say I did everything I could to fix the situation. Read everything I can on narcs, understoid why I got there, met others, see red flags, then bail post haste and select only folk that I never need see again when things go south. Have had the house valued repeatedly, looked for other jobs, sought out transfer; nothing is working. Teaching myself woodworking, increased my farm, train hard, hard, hard, slowly paying off debts incurred during my dads final illness and funeral. I also see that I need to ensure a future for myself and that while the actions of a truly rotten person helped to destroy four years of my life, they shouldn’t be allowed to destroy my future as well. Should I walk away from the mortgage, responsibilities and job, and I came very close to doing so last week, I will be both poor and financially irresponsible. Who wants you then? Someone similarly poor and financially irresponsible.

    • Copper, it hurts to read about how much you are struggling! And I know how hard it can be to decide where to keep pushing, when to cut and run. But you will get to a better place, I’m sure, because people can see that you’re a good person, and hard-working one. And you so deserve a great partner in your life, one who reaches the same standards you do!

      • Copper, I am so sorry you are struggling ……. trust me, it gets better. Sending you hugs.

      • Karen and Lynne
        Thanks for your good words. I understand that there is a light at the end of the tunnel but also that I have a long, hard, slog ahead of me and it may well culminate in my being totally alone for good, given my age and that I am hardly “standard fare”. I had a good marriage, to a man I really respected and loved AND good community as well so often it makes me as almost enraged that such is not possible here or may not be possible ever again. Folk here are in a very different place and there isnt a damned thing I can do about that. Can only learn from my hurt, see red flags, stay detached, bail ASAP when needed. Above all, even when married, my financial/economic well being, even my ability to have a roof over my head, depends on no one but myself. I read yoyr stories and pay close attention. Lather, rinse, repeat. Colleagues and others understand I am a hard worker, do a lt for community but resent my increased detachment both in the workplace and socially (we colleagues tend to socialize with one another as there are few outside peers), not knowing I am trying to keep as much NC as possible the only way I can. Those that know why I wound up here far from home are kind of uncomfortable with my story probably because it calls stuff they believed in; mining culture, the role of and impacts on science, into serious question. It’s easier for them to think I am here because I was some sort of lazy failure and it’s really hard to be in a place where you cannot speak your truth, either about Narcboy or why I was even here in the first place and just have to put up with the disapproval. Its a multifaceted issue where the cheating is one facet. The cheater also causes other workplace problems because his lack of integrity and follow through also has extended into the workplace and he’s skated free for years. Classic Narc entitlement.
        Dunno where y’all live, understand most are recent divorcees, but I am interested if those of you who live in the West, are getting back “out there”, see a lot of instances of being approached by attached/married men. It seems to be a damned epidemic in my state where you get a lot of folk from outside, local dudes like Narcboy having a hidden woman from outside, married locals asking you out then treating you like you’re at fault when they suddenly recall they’re married. This never happened in the North where cheating has serious repercussions. I hardly dress/act like a slut, yet am highly outgoing/social/confident/conversational, but not flirty. Weird.

  • “Nice”?? Mine always “acts” nice. He “acts” like a lot of things. They do that to keep you trusting them, slight of hand like a magician…the skunk disguised as a squirrel. They act nice so that people don’t look deeper, “he’s nice”… he’s such a “nice” guy. Sure he is…maybe to you because it’s all superficial….

    He is so “nice” that he cheats, abandons his family (twice, as in 2 families), spends his money on himself and avoids child support when possible, spends the minimum visitation with his kids, breaks the law, screws people over financially and is also a pathological liar. Yeah….real nice.

    I have the only reminder I’ll ever need that he is a piece of disordered crap…our beautiful son that he abandoned and neglects. The sight of X-hole turns my stomach now.

    I’m not a “nice” person, I am a good person. He is toxic and sooner or later he will self-destruct. Waiting for the karma bus.

    • THIS!

      I always try to remind myself – theres a difference between being a “nice” person and a “kind” person. Nice is an attitude – kindness is a virtue. You can be a sparkling piece of shit with a “nice” demeanor OR you can be a genuinely kind human being who might have mood swings or a touch of sassiness or WHATEVER it is that Mr. Piece of Shit thinks is so reprehensible.

    • NCStevie, THIS! Had to see an email from my Ex’s email address, but the OWhore wrote it. It was in reference to giving me proof of payment of his taxes that he swears he paid, but the IRS tells me he didn’t. After a week of trying to obtain this info, I get this snarky shit from little ms. Sparkles, “We will forward you the information because WE are nice people, even if YOU aren’t.” Seriously?? First off, who is WE? I am talking about taxes my Ex and I amended while we were married and going through a divorce as part of our settlement agreement! What part does she have in this?? I didn’t bother to dignify her shitty statement with a response! I also will not explain to the dimwit the difference between “nice” and “good”. Her poor melon head may explode and all those peanuts and marbles inside would make an awful mess!

  • Great post Tempest.

    I kept a journal sporadically after my now-X started amping up his mistreatment of me, just after the birth of our son. At that point, I had already been married 18 years and had helped raise my X’s kids. But now, generally speaking, I could do nothing right all of a sudden (several months later, I caught him in an emotional affair, but blew it off after he excused the emails away).

    I kept the journal for several years, then gave up. I gave up because I resigned myself to the fact that I could not get out of my situation. I had a young son and a very elderly mother. We lived with my mom and she depended on us (mainly me) for a lot. No other blood relatives (other than 2nd cousins +) on my side to assist.

    After a particularly difficult morning with my now-X, I called a woman’s shelter and they said I needed to pack 2 days worth of clothes, hide them, and then I had to disappear – totally. I knew that was not possible with my mother. So I stuffed everything down and began about a 6-7 year subsequent journey into slowly having my soul killed by my X, and by me, who couldn’t see the forest through the fucking trees.

    A few things came together in 2013, and I decided that I had better do something. I still was spackling though. A friend and I got into a tiff, and they told me in no uncertain terms that I had to stop making excuses for him (my X). I decided to sit down with a note pad and write down everything I could remember that he did to me (mainly with words and manipulation). I then uncovered my journal from years ago and read that. It was then I realized things were NEVER going to get better – that the bad in him was just as ever-present as the good, and always would be.

    The following day I made an appointment with a marriage/divorce counselor recommended by another friend. After spilling my guts to him, toward the end of the appointment, I asked if he’d like to see my journal. He said it was not necessary. He then asked me what I wanted to do about all of this. I told him that I thought I wanted to divorce my husband. He replied, “I believe you are making a healthy choice”. And the process began. It took almost 2 years from that day – and a crushing amount of money – but we are free and SO much better off.

    I don’t miss him – and haven’t missed him for one minute since I kicked him out.

  • The day he dragged me down a hallway , pinned me up against a wall and started slamming my arms into the plaster screaming he was going to kill me. If this makes sense… I was more afraid of the transformation than actually being hurt by him. I didnt doubt that he would kill me. That fear paled to the fear or realization that I was dealing with someone I didnt recognize. That was the mind fuck. I knew then, like I know now that he is a very sick and dangerous person.

    • Yes, when I could see him calculating whether or not he could get away with killing me. He decided he could not, that galvanized me to action. I was more afraid he’d get me thrown in jail than of dying because I’d lived with his crazy for so long.

  • Another fantastic post Tempest.

    I’m definitely struggling with trusting he sucks. Or rather, trusting that he always sucked. It’s still hard for me to believe he didn’t change because of me. I trust he sucked during devaluation. But I still feel like he didn’t suck before. The one that prayed in the hospital chapel while I was in surgery. Where did he go?

    He was one of the ones that used things with some truth to them to blame me. Used my weaknesses against me at the most vulnerable time in my life as I struggled with caregiver burnout. I don’t want to bore everyone but here’s an example. He bought tickets for us to a Seadogs doubleheader in Portland, Maine. At least a two hour drive each way, two games, and my Dad was home alone. I started to have a panic attack as it was past eleven pm and we weren’t home yet. I was accused of being miserable and not appreciating him taking me out. This happened over and over in different scenarios. He resented my caregiving. Maybe I should have put my Dad in a home. These things cause self blame.

    He also tried to just lay down the law instead of discussing things. If I didn’t do what he wanted I had to be punished. The ultimate punishment was transferring his “love” or the OW and walking on me.

    I really don’t know if I’ll ever really be happy again. I don’t mean to wallow or be woe is me. It’s been rough the last two months as my Dad is failing.

    • Hugs, Lina. You’re allowed to be down. Both of my parents died slow, painful deaths, and it was torture trying to be there for them AND play the happy homemaker role I was supposed to play at home for X.

      You will be happy again. And you will know that you did everything under the sun to make your father’s life comfortable when he needed you most. There’s no baseball doubleheader that compares to that.

        • Oh and he also took money from my Dad. Steak dinners, etc. If he’d take us out he’d let my Dad pay out of his SS.

  • Best.cartoon.ever.

    (small point–one edit should have led to “someone has taken a skunk, DYED its fur”)

  • I don’t go down memory lane anymore. Those brief happy moments could never make me want him back.

    I even deleted every email from him over the divorce period, knowing that keeping that venom where I could poke at it when vulnerable was dangerous to my health.

  • Do cheaters ever change though? As I was doing my humiliating pick me dance my ex claimed that he was going to “put his all” into this new relationship he was going to have with the OW. He was going to treat her so well to “redeem himself” from treating me badly.

    It really bothers me and disgusts me.

    I am having THE hardest time trusting that he sucks – trusting that he always has and always will…

    • Doll parts, that is some of the most jacked up logic I’ve ever heard. What a loon he is.

    • Dollparts–that story alone, that he was going to redeem himself for his poor treatment of you by giving his all to OW, is proof that he SUCKS in a major way. Comb your memory for other suck-ish behavior and write it down. Eventually the facts will convince you.

    • dollpants, I have a friend whose ex told her the same thing. Since he’d treated her so badly he was trying to be a “good person” for the AP. Super weird logic. Or maybe not. Do people who rob a bank and get caught try to turn their lives around? Sometimes. But that’s usually after spending some time in jail to think about it. LOL. They don’t immediately get to move their account to another bank like nothing happened.

    • I wouldn’t bet money on it. In fact, I bet a week’s pay in a year or so that relationship will be in the toilet.

      • Dollparts, try googling “narcissist’s next woman” or something along those lines to read up on the predictable patterns they use with the next partner after they have devalued and discarded you. The articles I found really helped me to stop wondering what new OW has that I don’t and trust that not only does he suck, but he will eventually suck for her too. And that there will probably be another victim around the corner if the current lovebombing he’s engaging in doesn’t do the trick.

    • Any new relationship will be a foundation built on lies because if they told the truth about their past relationship with us, their new partner would be paranoid as fuck and it would cause lots of problems. So that’s why it will never work out, LIES!!!!!

      • Kate50 – damn straight. My STBX lied to all his affair partners. It was a shocking moment for many of them when I called every single one of them and said “Hi, this is @@@ wife, so how was your date?” Most of the woman immediately baled. But the shocking part for me was the woman that continued to contact him. I cant say I am angry just shocked there are such shallow deviant people out there in the world. Oh ya thats right the stbx told so many of them that I was mentally ill and he was sorry he didn’t tell them he was married, he was trapped. LOL um who is/was trapped??
        I asked him how he ever expected to have a real relationship with anyone if it was built on lies. He said – “I never thought about that” No crap his marriage was built on lies. So freaking weird!! Thanks CN I feel so normal knowing I am not the only one that has lived the chump life.

  • I recorded his last several phone calls. I listened to them many times leading up to my Protective Order hearing. “I will destroy you” was the least of it. Yes, Saddam said that when I refused to cancel the PO.

  • I simply ask myself “Can you find one item in this house he pick out and bought you for your birthday?”

    Pretty sure anyone on this website can guess the answer to that one.

    If it gets bad I can always pull up the pic of him and AP at the lingerie/sex tour store.
    Let’s hope that I can continue to trust that he sucks it doesn’t come to that.

  • I trust that he sucks. I don’t mourn the relationshit. Even what seemed like good times were actually times when he wasn’t home. I didn’t have to walk on eggshells. Not to mention, he was often out at the bar with his friends or grooming his next AP. So all those memories of the marriage are gone.

    But I DO miss the life I wanted. I miss it terribly. The house, the great job, the idea of an intact family, the circle of mom-friends I had made. That all went away with the divorce and the move. And I’m still not over it. My hope is that I can rebuild it, but I’m having a hard time re acclimating. I keep plugging along, though.

    • I miss doing things together as a family. My kids have moved away and are now married. I don’t see them often, and almost never at the same time. My ex, on the other hand, can afford to fly them out for family vacations. That hurts like crazy, but I’m even getting better about that. Everything has changed and it appears that being single is my lot in life. I’m adjusting. I’ve been able to reconnect with other family members I was too busy to see when I was raising kids. Still, I miss our nuclear family a lot. It’s hard to see my girlfriends getting together with their families on holidays when I’m usually alone with my elderly parents. I miss the liveliness of my kids and the way they made me laugh. Most of the time it feels like I’ll never get over it. Like I have this deep black whole in my gut that will never be filled. I often feel lost, especially when I wake up in the middle of the night. It’s getting better, though. I don’t know if that’s a symptom of PTSD, or dissociation, or what. Maybe Tempest would know.

      • Lyn: Psychologists now recognize infidelity as a source of PTSD. You’ve suffered a trauma; it will take time and self-care (and therapy) to get over. I don’t remember how far out you are from D-day or divorce, but even after the worst of the panic attacks and flashbacks are over, symptoms may pop up again. I found a useful webpage that details the symptoms; if it’s after 6 months since D-day, and symptoms are still acute, see a therapist who specializes in trauma treatment. Hugs to you!

        While everyone experiences PTSD differently, there are three main types of symptoms:

        Re-experiencing the traumatic event
        Avoiding reminders of the trauma
        Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

        Symptoms of PTSD: Re-experiencing the traumatic event

        Intrusive, upsetting memories of the event
        Flashbacks (acting or feeling like the event is happening again)
        Nightmares (either of the event or of other frightening things)
        Feelings of intense distress when reminded of the trauma
        Intense physical reactions to reminders of the event (e.g. pounding heart, rapid breathing, nausea, muscle tension, sweating)

        Symptoms of PTSD: Avoidance and numbing

        Avoiding activities, places, thoughts, or feelings that remind you of the trauma
        Inability to remember important aspects of the trauma
        Loss of interest in activities and life in general
        Feeling detached from others and emotionally numb
        Sense of a limited future (you don’t expect to live a normal life span, get married, have a career)

        Symptoms of PTSD: Increased anxiety and emotional arousal

        Difficulty falling or staying asleep
        Irritability or outbursts of anger
        Difficulty concentrating
        Hypervigilance (on constant “red alert”)
        Feeling jumpy and easily startled

        • Thanks so much Tempest! I definitely recognize signs of PTSD, but they are getting better. I had almost all of the ones in the first category you posted early on, but looks like the only ones left are in the “Avoidance and numbing” section. Sometimes I feel like I try to avoid so many places and reminders that it’s exhausting. For instance, my husband is flying the kids out for a big vacation over labor day weekend. The way I’m dealing with this is to travel to visit a dear friend from college. I try not to think about the rest of my family having a good time together making memories without me. Ugh. I’m avoiding Facebook and anyplace that pictures might pop up. It’s worse if I see pictures because I’m very visual. Sometimes it wears me out trying to think of all the potential reminders I might run into so I can avoid them.

          • Oops, Freudian slip. I meant my “ex,” not my “husband.” Anyway, it’s been 3 years since D-day for me. We were together 36 years, married 31.

            • I hear you Lyn. I have been diagnosed with PTSD. Over 2 1/2 years and I still avoid almost everywhere we went together. My world has shrunk to almost nothing. After 23 years there’s not many places that we didn’t go together. I’ve tried reclaiming a couple but there’s no joy in them for me at all.

              • OMG!!! Light bulb moment.
                I went to counselling on and off over the last 8 years. I remember 1 counselor briefly mentioning PTSD, but I never received therapy for it. From these posts it’s obvious even to me that in the beginning I had the symptoms of the first category. I definitely had symptoms of the 2nd category for a long, long time which probably explains why I stayed `stuck`for so long.
                Thank you for highlighting this. I will check this site out. Thank you Tempest, Lyn and Lina. I`m dumbfounded that I didn`t realize this obvious fact before. OMG.

              • OMG – light bulb moment!!
                I went to counselling up until a year or so ago with several counselors over the years.. I remember 1 counselor mentioning PTSD, but I never received therapy for it. I absolutely recognize the first 2 categories – the first category in the beginning, and with the 2nd category there are still lingering symptoms. No wonder I stayed `stuck`for so long.
                OMG. How can it be that I only recognize it now – Thank you Tempest for posting this, and to Lyn and Lina for verbalizing it for me. Especially when you say how your word has shrunk to almost nothing Lina. I`m just pulling myself out of that. Really trying hard to reduce the sense of isolation I feel and trying to meet people and do things to increase the size of my world. I avoided Facebook and making contact with people I knew from before we moved to another country. It`s almost like I was invisible and didn`t really exist. I was going through the motions of living day to day numb and joyless.
                I have come a long way in the past year and the symptoms you describe are less severe now, but it`s like Àha, so that explains a lot! Wow, just wow……
                Just writing this and admitting this is hard…..

              • Lina, I know you have PTSD and depression, so I wouldn’t want to suggest anything to make that worse. However, see if you can re-claim one place this month. Pick somewhere with mild memories (e.g., a coffee shop you went to sporadically, but not a coffee house where he proposed or that has significant memories). On a day you’re feeling strong, take a friend, and head into the coffee house. Don’t stay long–order takeout, and couple it with something you love (have that brownie!), or something funny (read a joke book as you drink your coffee outside). Do that a few times in a week, staying a bit longer each time (and always having something *positive* with the experience). Keep going to the same place until good memories have overwritten the tainted memories of the place.

                It’s a combination of (a) starting small, (b) counter-conditioning [associate something positive–chocolate brownies–with the place, and (c) flooding [continuing to expose yourself to the place until the old associations are gone; just don’t keep up the flooding if your stress worsens, or take longer breaks in between visits]. If you lived in Austin, I’d come with you (and if you try to reclaim a place, let me know if it works!)

              • Thank you Tempest. X

                I will give it a try and let you know how it goes.

                I wish you could come with me. I really appreciate just the thought.

                This sounds woe is me again, but I don’t have any friends right now. I work from home and with the caregiving making from is hard. Tried to connect with an old friend a couple of weeks ago but that didn’t go well because she was stressed about not being able to to find her car key. Whatever. She never got back to me.

                I think I can try it on my own.

                Thank you again for taking the time to help me.

              • Lina, I also read that your brain can sort of be “fooled” into altering a memory and changing its meaning. I’ve read they use this technique with PTSD patients. For example, I was traumatized by the last words my ex said as he was looking out door. Hi back was to me, and he said “When I look into my future, you’re not in it.” He then left and shut the door. It was a horrible thing to say and the scene replayed over and over in my mind, tormenting me for months on end. Then I read that I could “alter” the scene, so I pictured my grandmothers standing on either side of me as he said that. In the updated scene my fun-loving grandmother said “We will always love you,” as he opened the door. My strong grandmother who raised 6 kids alone said, “You will survive.” After replaying the revised scene in my head like this a few times the memory stopped tormenting me.

  • Seriously, all I did was refuse to talk to him for several weeks until I got my head straight. Then I called him and told him to never come back.

    Also, there was a pretty hot guy I met on a boat somewhere along the line who reminded me I was still alive. I know, not the recommended course of action but after 20 years of feeling like a slouch… well.

      • Indeed. The SI conglomerate and in general the “recovery community” might actually be wrong on this. In one short week I felt myself come back to life and I suspect it happens more often than is told. To my mind, many of us spent years or decades pandering to spouses who dismissed us and took us for granted, never realizing that we ourselves were the prize.

        I realize that I had much less to lose in kicking the bastard out than many people on these forums. We had no kids together (I had my own grown sons, he had none) and I was the one who supported us. Yet, I did spend almost 20 years believing I loved him, and believing he loved me.

        Perhaps also, it’s that I cheated on my first husband. I’m open about that and open to be judged. It was decades ago, I was young, had crappy parental examples, blah blah blah. But I learned first-hand what it felt like to rip someone’s heart out and that I could never again be that person. I thought my 2nd ex and I were on the same page about that but apparently not.

        I’m almost 9 years past the experience that led me to meet Tracy (CL) in person, and several other wonderful people who have walked this path. We all deal with the struggle as best we can. I don’t think about it much these days, but I can say one thing from my experience on both sides of the coin: when trust is gone, love is gone. The only sane direction is forward.

        For the record, I am 59 and happily single now.

  • Great post Tempest.

    I don’t miss my EX at all. Nothing. Nadda.

    For me, a random memory will pop up, followed by an ‘aha’ moment. Then my brain tells me that ‘Yes, that was terrible. Yes, he sucks. Yes, your gut was right and you were not crazy. I guess that is what happens when you’ve spackled and they have gaslighted you.

    Like the time I hosted a big 40th birthday party for my EX at a bar with a ton of friends. He was displeased because it wasn’t as big as some other person’s party. It sure looked like he was having fun. After arriving home, he got a call from the ‘boys’ to go to an after hours bar. I later realized that the call was from the 25 year old OW#2 for him to get laid. Oh yes, and he drove drunk to get there.

    It’s not overtly abusive – but the pattern is the same. It is subtle. It is practiced. It is refined.

    Me: ask what was that all about? Him: not grateful, blame me (it was my fault that the party wasn’t big enough), deflection #1 (i am upset at turning 40), deflection #2 (I feel terrible I drank too much), deflection #3 (It was my birthday and I wasn’t doing anything bad (like screwing the OW)), and accept responsibility/show remorse for the least bad thing (ya, I shouldn’t have driven drunk). Also, it is clear that he chose to screw the OW. It didn’t ‘just happen’ like he said it did months later.

    Newbies, always trust your ‘gut’.

  • Great post, Tempest.

    I just have to walk or drive by a massage parlor. I get refreshed daily on what an asshole Woody was.

  • Great post Tempest.
    What I really like about this post is that it gives a practical activity one can do when faced with so much pain, I so wish that I had CL and CN when I was going through my firestorm.
    I kept a journal, but I was unable to chronicle it factually. My journal was filled with pain, rages, disbelief. I was so emotionally distraught and was unable to be factual. My advice to any chump facing this is to absolutely keep a journal of some sort, but keeping it factual and chronicalling (is there such a word?) the events as mentioned is important.
    I took my journals out a while ago and had to wade through my painful rantings in order to make a list of events that had occurred and that I had forgotten about – seeing them in black and white really helped me heal because I was stuck for a very long time. I couldn’t believe how quickly he moved on without a backward glance and my brain could not correlate this stranger and the man I thought I was with for 31 years – the loving husband and father, the good family man. My shock at his complete and utter indifference to me, our family life and moving on with his new life – essentially showing me who he really was – and me only capable of remembering the person he wanted me to see. I would really forget that he was a serial cheater, or it could have been cognitive dissonance – my brain couldn’t accept it because it was so terribly painful. I missed our seemingly happy marriage.
    I appreciate how you are addressing this aspect of trying to come to terms with moving past being chumped Tempest,
    Time does help, but that is the last thing you want to hear when you’re in it – raw, shell-shocked and devastated. For a while he did steal my memories, but I have since reclaimed them. There are still times when I find myself thinking WTF happened?, but it really does get easier to get out of that thought pattern.

    I too wonder, as Copper wrote – at the unfairness of it. I am currently also fighting off isolation and am trying to become more active in a city I moved to 5 years ago. I couldn’t live in the same town as my ex and let go there.. Leaving my friends and support system behind was the price I had to pay to move to new, fresh surroundings. Moving helped me tremendously, now it’s up to me to just keep on plugging away at forging new friendships and a sense of community. I have made some strides in the last few weeks in that aspect, I just have to keep at it.
    Hugs to you all.

    • Aww, thanks for summing that up Calamity Jane. The courage displayed by Chumpnation in just getting up in the morning after our lives blow up and then plugging away to reach Meh is not always recognized.

  • “him sending pix of his junk encased in seaweed”
    So he sent his John Thomas out for a spa treatment?
    Doesn’t he know that seaweed wraps makes you all soft and supple?
    Just a hunch, but that may not be the effect he’s going for.
    Sigh! I guess he’ll have to find out……the “hard” way.

    Thank you Tempest for starting my Monday morning with such an image, and a good laugh. You see, my ex was/is, if not the King of sordid selfies, at least the Crown Prince.

    After the first D-day (which happened when he left his ipad in my car while he was at work. When I got back into the car from a therapy appointment, the ipad was making a funny noise. I opened it to see that he was sexting the OW from his iphone – which was synced with his ipad.)

    After his and the OW’s award-nominated performance at remorse, I believe he deserved another chance (Chumpy me).

    However, I was still wary. You see, my Father was a Cop and Detective – worked Homicide before he retired (he passed three months before my first D-day).
    I am my Father’s Daughter. The classic FBI motto: “If there’s doubt, there is no doubt”, kept haunting me.

    With the ex continuing to keep his iphone on him like it was an extra appendage, in my gut I knew it wasn’t over.

    Yesterday, I mentioned my college education. It was the late 80’s and I decided to back to school and get my diploma. I was working full-time, and I felt fortunate that the coursework I needed to take was also offered at night. (I wish they had on-line classes back then, it would have been a lot easier.)

    I happily graduated with a 3.5 in June of 1990. My major? Information Technology. Yep, computers.

    My ex would plug in his iphone to synch to the computer at night, After his CraigsList caper, when he left for work, I opened up the back up file – where all those naughty photos and information was stored. Almost 100 photos of various women – and their body parts (“I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. DeMille”.) , along with so many photos of his, well, there was a whole “junk” yard of them.

    The day I left, I plugged in the largest flash drive available, and downloaded the entire file while I was packing boxes. I felt that, if he wanted to play hardball, I had the irrefutable evidence (because he also liked to take photos of them in bed together, as a souvenir). That, along with a briefcase of hard copy emails he was sending to his amore(s), is all I need to tuck into when I’m feeling nostalgic. Come to think of it, I don’t remember the last time I looked at that stuff. In fact, since my recent move, I would have to hunt around to find it.

    Is Meh just around the corner?!

    • Holy torpedoes, Batman. Your X is a vile, worthless lump of carbon. Taking pix of his hookups with him in bed as souvenirs, kind of like serial killers keep locks of hair from their victims. And “I’m ready for my closeup, Mr. DeMille.” ???? Guess he like the film buffs (pun intended). I wish I’d had your computer skills after D-day; I could have thrown Hannibal Lecher out of the house a lot sooner with evidence of his emails and highly-likely adult profiles on sites. As it was, I divorced him with only evidence of a single affair from 8 years ago; news of his additional extracurriculars was provided by friends after the fact.

      • Yes Tempest, he’s a pathological predator to the core. However, no one would believe it with his Eagle Scout persona. His closest male friend of 20+ years swore to me (and completely believes) that my now-ex was completely celibate between his last marriage ending and being married to me (a seven-year gap). That’s how effective he is at keeping his mask on. His first marriage lasted 28 years, until she had a “mysterious” breakdown, and is now in the mental health system, living at a group home in a mental health care company that, get this, he got hired on as a Maintenance Supervisor. I couldn’t make this stuff up, no matter how hard I tried. If I was near the end of my tether after being married to that deviant for only 17 months, I can’t imagine what it was like to be his wife for 28 years! (I never met her, and, from what he and other people have mentioned, she sounds like she might be Bi-Polar. I feel so terrible that he took advantage of her fragile mental state, and no one will believe her story, because she’s “unstable”.)

        Tempest, and others of Chump Nation, there’s something that is still haunting me. Among the photos I mined from his computer, there are ones that were clearly taken without the women’s knowledge or consent, including ones that he was (and I’m sure still is) secretly taking of women at his workplace. Some are of the entire person, some are just of specific body parts. He’s a predator and is stalking these women. The Crusader Chump in me wants to expose him (an acquaintance, who’s in Law Enforcement, has encouraged me to do so, and provided the name/phone number of a Police Detective in my ex’s area that she knows). I have done almost every job in the newspaper business (including photography), and know about the “public domain” thing. But I’ve got the goods – and can perhaps provide some vindication for his former wife (and hopefully have him forever listed as an offender). However, I’m still dealing with my PTSD (which I’m starting treatment for), and I’m not ready to take something like that on without triggering. I welcome your thoughts on this.

        • Ugh. Your X is a sexual predator, and thus probably dangerous (Irish–if you’re online, we need your help here).

          Boudica–you need to heal yourself first. Find out what the statute of limitations are on having taken such photos. But then you need to talk to an expert; I was all set to tell you to turn in your X as soon as you were psychologically able, but he could turn violent. Unless you have the means to protect yourself (surveillance system, Rottweiler, protection order), it may be best to find out what his likely consequences are, and how soon they would be enforced. People who stalk others should not be taken lightly; it is often a precursor to escalation of sociopathic behavior.

        • BR, yours is one of the hardest stories I’ve read on here (and there are so many hard stories). You are truly valiant.

          I do think this sick fuck needs to be shut down NOW. As Tempest says, it is very much like a serial killer keeping trophies, and the thing is, does anyone know what he is doing with his stash? Anyone who would secretly take pictures of co-workers could very well be selling them or posting them online. I say you take this to the police and at the same time find out what your options are for getting an order of protection.

          Major hugs to you.

          • Thank you Tempest and FMT for your wise feedback. FMT, he secretly used photos of me – sent to total strangers to pimp out on Craigslist for a “group situation”, so I believe he’s capable of pretty much anything as long as he thinks he won’t get caught. I’m meeting with my new Counselor tomorrow afternoon. She not only treats folks with PTSD, but, as I believe I mentioned before, she worked in domestic violence, and worked in the court system for a couple of years – with the perpetrators. Perhaps she will give me a risk assessment. I’ll let you know what I find out. I want to be safe. However, (and Tempest, you may be able to give me accurate information on this), I was told by my Cop acquaintance, deviants like my X tend to get worse as they get older (he’s 58 now). They will “ramp up” their game, and start to exhibit predatory behavior to more vulnerable and possibly younger women (sometimes much younger, according to her). I want him in a place or situation where he won’t be a danger. Hugs to you both!

            • Boudica–Yes, these guys tend to ramp up their game. After all, what gave them the fix the first time (secret snapshots) is no longer novel, so they need a more exciting fix, which may be younger women or something else horrible. However, talk to your cop friend about protecting yourself if it will be evident that law enforcement got his secret stash of photos from you. Perhaps a ‘sting’ operation could be concocted for police to obtain the photos to make sure they are not directly tied to you.

              Your X’s behavior is sexual predatory; Irish’s X had never shown any violence at all. She talked to Dr. Minwalla who diagnosed her X as a sexual predator and said he would turn dangerous. Sure enough, as soon as she made a move to leave the marriage, he attacked both Irish and her son. Do not underestimate what they are capable of doing.

              • Greetings Tempest (and/or anyone else that can help me strategize). I want to be fair and lalalala think my stbx will see my goodwill in the child support/alimony arrangement. But as your post suggests “DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE WHAT THEY ARE CAPABLE OF”. So with that in mind – here is my situation. I am filing pro se:

                1. Does anyone know of a case (any state) that upholds Obama-care guidance? My children are under my medical insurance until they are 26. (He has terrible insurance – I have to use mine!) The children are either in college or are college bound. So when child support drops off at 18 – I am screwed!! My house size and expenses are not changing when they turn 18. I want at the very least a stipulation that medical coverage is 50/50 until they are 26 or out of college.

                2. Next strategy regarding alimony. Petition for both child support and alimony together. When he blows up on me (he will he thinks he deserves everything and bread crumbs for the rest of us!) anyhow, I counter negotiate that I would concede to alimony beginning the day child support terminates.

                NOTE: Alimony calculated without child support is 3 times more…so a delay on alimony is actually financially beneficial. I am so confused!!!

                Not sure if this all makes sense. I am stressed, pissed and OMG want this over!

                Thanks for any suggestions.

              • Freefall:
                If your children are currently under 18/not yet graduated high school, the health insurance provision can probably be put into the divorce decree itself. If they are over 18, you may need an Agreement Incident to Divorce (AID). For example, I used an AID to legalize the amount of tuition and support my X would give my 19-year old daughter throughout the next 3.5 years of college. It is considered a separate document, but is signed by the judge (if approved) at time of divorce, so you’ll want it already prepared as part of the settlement.

                I also found this link that may help:

              • Tempest:-) Thank you, thank you, thank you!! I am making a second pot of coffee now and wrapping up this effing paperwork up!! Thanks for all your support ! You’re the best!!

    • Wow. What a loser. I agree with Tempest, Vile is the word. What I don’t understand in all this is who are these women who like to look at pictures of guys’ junk??? I mean, it just seems really weird to me. Nasty. Be glad his disordered ass is out of your life.

  • Nope, the only thing memories of cheater ex dredges up is repulsion. Stomach turning repulsion. Even more since I have been reading and posting here on CL.

    Lord, I was so clueless for such a long time. He was undermining me in so many ways long before I took my kids and left.

    Even if cheater ex hadn’t murdered our son to get back at me, I still would have found him repulsive on every level. He was a human spider. Ick.

    • Tessie, I don’t know how you have gone on after losing your son in such terrible circumstances. My heart breaks for you and your dear son and family. Such a terribly sad story, one which was repeated here in Australia a few years back. Some people are just born evil and they walk amongst us unfortunately. My love to you,

      • I should add that here in Australia over the years we have had many cases of both mothers and fathers murdering their children to get back at their spouses or ex spouses. It is not an uncommon issue but it is a very hard thing to understand.

    • Tessie, thank you for continuously modeling what resilience and bravery looks like. Reading your story and learning from your incredible efforts to build a better life after such tragedy, I find strength and the motivation to keep forging on to Meh.

  • There were so many lists I made to propel me forward once I filed. As many chumps know the decision to forfeit your place in the pick me dance is a big step as we are so conditioned to take responsibility for their actions.
    I made a list of all the women’s names I knew he slept with, the ones he asked out, and the ones I suspected he screwed based on evidence he explained away. There were 17 I knew of and 18 if I count the one he was calling after he moved in with her. Last time I checked he was still calling # 18 and had been seen with her recently.

    I made a list of all his limited interests and compared them to my own.

    I listed his lack of character traits that defined him from the beginning.

    I made a list of all the things I did that mattered while he was leading a double life.

    I looked at his checking account information and charted all the money he spent on her that coincided with phone records.

    There were two things which kept me on track once I filed. We know they derail when supply is lost. The first was I finally saw him with his mask off. He couldn’t look me in the eye. He has never looked the same to me since. He can no longer hide his self described dark side, the evil. This is why it was easy fir him to discard without a word or afterthought. I saw him. He couldn’t hide.

    The second and most profound awakening occurred when I approached the two of them sitting together with their backs to me. As she turned around I saw and heard the most vile disturbing thing he referred to as a “Dream Girl”. I’ve described her before so I won’t go into detail. I saw his true equal sitting next to him. Luckily the STD was treatable. I was done from that moment on.

    It doesn’t matter if the AP is beautiful, has money, or is a contortionist. If they knowingly cheat with a married man or woman they are a better match than an honest loyal spouse.

    Evidence is sometimes not enough to propell us forward. It took an amazing therapist to tell me bluntly what I was married to for 36 years, 41 total. Now there’s the fuckkng list from hell.
    Serial cheater
    Porn addict
    Drug abuser

    My views on cheating include:
    Once is enough
    Reconcilliation benefits the cheater only
    Divorce is the answer regardless of circumstances.

    Cheating is ABUSE. Divorce is the consequence. They don’t change.

    My new lists are much healthier and involve my future, now that I actually have one. Meh is coming.

  • I have photos of the huge pile of clothes he kept by the side of the bed, the heaps of rubbish down the side of the house, the next door neighbour’s garage that he took over with his crap without asking permission. All I asked for my 50th birthday was that he tidied his desk in our shared office so that I could invite my clients to the office without shame. And he gave me a small box of chocolates and a cheap plate instead.

    I have pictures of two of my children’s graduations from Oxford university, both of which he didn’t want to bother to come to.

  • Fantastic and interesting post. The behavioral science part is interesting. We do have some sort of survival instinct that makes us remember the positives, or reframe shitty things things as such.

    For me, and it sounds like most of you, there is sort of an inertia working against rage. Rage simply takes energy. It did serve me well to kick my ex-wife out of the house and to get the divorce process going, but I am three years out from discovering the affair, and the meh mixed with the tincture of time has me forgetting the suckiness. Losing the rage does not mean I forgive.

    This is not all bad, forgetting is good. But, my ex is the sparkly narcissist type, and I am involved in things that she is in our small community and I see her a couple of times a week. She is also not a full sociopath, and after I drew some lines with her, she has been generous and cooperative co-parent of our kids.

    I am a peacemaker and think positively, so I am glad for her good points, but her flaws remain and I do “forget” the absolute shit core of her soul at times. I am on the fence with this. If I obsessed about this suckiness it would not be good, I have no control over her and I have better stuff to do as I live a great life. On the other hand, it sometimes allows my boundary-lacking narcissist ex to push her self serving friendliness at times and I have to re-draw the boundaries with that piece of work. Yikes.

    I did delete forever the collected emails I hacked from her account that lead me to finally verify the affair after the gas lighting. It probably would have been good to reread them annually on the anniversary of my discovery to recalibrate my attitude.

    • I think you’re right Chumpion. I certainly won’t forget my husband’s behaviour because I was confronted with his over 5 years of lying so dramatically by his OW number 2 (of 3 I now know of). But I have 4 children with him and I can’t live my life feeling the rage and anger that his terrible treatment of us deserves. A fellow chump friend of mine said that she only achieved peace when she made the decision in her own mind to forgive her ex-husband. She relinquished the hate and went on to make a happy life with someone new. So if I choose to forgive in the future that will be one thing I will only do for me. That doesn’t mean that he will become part of my life again.

      • leli, there has been a lot of talk about foregiveness lately. I know it is different for all of us. Despite always being the one who is accused of being mean and having a bad temper, I have barely raised my voice since D-Day. I even told Asshat in the first few days that I refused to be consumed with anger bc it was not worth my energy AND mainly bc our very perceptive 7 y.o. would know something was amiss. I reminded Asshat that i am our son’s primary caretaker and I could not afford to let him see me shaking with rage. Asshat missed the point completely and went on to say one of the many reasons I am horrible is bc i never found a regular babysitter after we moved here 2+ years ago. Sigh.

        • I should be clear, no forgiveness here. Peacefulness and at my best I don’t need to hand out my precious forgiveness for nothing. Even to start considering that would take some sort of remorse from my ex. Meh is the zen level of solo letting go because you need to move on, forgiveness in my book actually requires remorse from the person who did the damage.

          • I agree. I wouldn’t be able to begin to forgive if he can’t even acknowledge that what he did was wrong. Beyond just saying ‘sorry’. He refuses to acknowledge that it was more than just a little mistake that just happened. He refuses to accept that there are going to be VERY big consequences to his actions.

  • Whenever I waver, I listen to a recording I made with my cell phone of STBX screaming at me and the children. His voice is high and his words are vicious, flowing out in a torrent of narcissistic rage. There is not a trace of the man I married 27 years ago. That recording became Exhibit A in the Protective Order.

  • For me……I am constantly reminded of my exHusbands fuckedupness. Every single time I am forced to have some sort of contact with him, he manages to display his shitty behavior and I am once again reminded that he sucks. I can count on this much from him ALWAYS.

    Recently, my oldest daughter reached a wonderful milestone and I was throwing her a celebration party in my home. She wanted to invite him if I was ok with it. It was important to her. I sent him a text message with the details. He NEVER responded. One day prior to the party my daughter called him and asked him if he would be there. He told her yes. But yet he never let me know. Can’t figure out why. Then he showed up and talked badly about me to one of MY friends!!!!! I was just furious that he would do that after I extended the invitation, I made him feel comfortable in my home and I NEVER DID ONE THING WRONG to warrant this! And I am just in shock that he really thought my friend would actually stick up for him and then not tell me about the conversation. I had to laugh! What a jerk!

  • Weirdly, the more that time passes the more I can only remember the bad things: the lies, the unbelievable disrespect, the disgust at what I discovered. Basically, when I do think about things, the first thing that goes through my head is, ‘How in hell did I marry such an asshole?’ And then I get on with my life. He’s a tosspot, I’m not, life is pretty ok.

    • Hee hee. I am with you, Nord! It is all part of my coldhearted demeanor that he apparently overlooked when he fell in love with me. Whatever. Being forced to live with him for six months after D-Day and another six months until I file is trying my patience. I am beginning to wonder if the Goodyear blimp can fly up in the thin mountain air so I can share his awesomeness with the whole town ;O

      • Many here are talking about “if they had told you of the problems before cheating…..”

        He did tell me of the problems but the were all issues of control. IE; I had refused to stop talking to an ex that I had a short relationship with 7 years before meeting him”. I never met him privately, we talked about work and small talk, he was my union rep. I dressed like a slut, I was too friendly, I didn’t answer the phone on time or I allowed my phone to die at times, or I left my phone home by accident at times.

        • That is all I can remember too… and the fear… good times were when I was working like crazy, monitoring his moods, keeping everything just so… so that it would derail and he would rage. Fuck him and CFMily too.

        • So basically you weren’t going to have a discussion – he was going to tell you what you needed to do in order to ‘keep him in line’. Fuck that noise.

      • Yeah, I think my ex’s anger is a result of his shock at discovering that I no longer worship at the Shrine of His Disordered Ass.

    • This has been my experience as well, Nord. I don’t feel at all nostalgic; all I feel is stunned that I ever could have thought he was “the one”–and relieved to be away from him. Never again.

  • Oddly enough, reading and learning about narcissistic personality disorder, cluster b, psychopathy helped me to not only connect the dots in terms of my cheating ex’s psychology and behavior, but I found it comforting to realize that he never loved me, he’s incapable of love and relationships. He is an actor and a master manipulator. Reminding myself of this has helped my to move forward, and given me a much needed boost of self esteem (especially in the days/weeks/months right after D-Day): I made the relationship work for 6 years, I’m the one with communication skills, empathy, and integrity. All the feelings of loneliness, inferiority, doubt, and frustration, that I had felt on occasion about his behavior and commitment, and suppressed throughout our relationship, were validated once I realized how disordered he truly is.

    • I can totally relate! I have a strong feeling that my ex is a true narcissist, and when I think about that, it’s actually kind of comforting knowing that he’s messed up to the point of being incapable of true love or real relationships!

      But then I wonder, how do I really know? It’s not like I’m a doctor. Sometimes I doubt myself. As they say, all cheating is narcissistic, but not all cheaters are really narcissists. How did you really know/accept for sure that your EX was one of the disordered?

      • dollparts, when I read your comment it made me think of something I posted on the ‘Is the Mid-Life Crisis Real?’ post which was…

        ‘….I discovered his cheating 4 months after my dad died. I drop kicked the POS cheating muther fucker to the kerb the very same day I confronted him. Has it been hard? Hell yes!!! But worth every ounce of respect I have for myself.

        I’m the youngest of 7 and won’t begin to go into the raft of shit my family has experienced over the years. No matter what personal hell was going on in my life I have never, and would never cheat. I respect myself too much and know I’m worth so much more than being anyone’s side fuck. It’s who I am.

        When you accept your ex does not share the same character as you you no longer feel the need to try to explain their fucked up disordered behaviour. Instead you focus on you. You devote your time and energy on healing self. You live life to the full. You spend time with people who TRULY love and care about you. Leave the POS ex mid life crisis waste of human existence where they belong – in the gutter!!!’

        • Deloris, AMEN! THIS! We all have spent enough emotional time on deceitful people. Whether they set out to deceive us to begin with or it “just happened” is of little consequence! THEY are the ones who chose to whore around, not us! And it’s NOT, I repeat, it’s NOT got a damn thing to do with us and everything to do with a lowlife who respects nothing but his penis or in a female, her vagina! That is and always will be their kryptonite! It will be their downfall one day. Do I give a damn now? Hell no! I got along without him before and I will definitely get along even better without him now. I don’t need some sneaky POS doing something that will pop up in my face later and destroy everything we have. I’m sure about my integrity and honesty and I don’t need to police a cheater!

          • Roberta, that’s what I’m talking about!!! We survived fine before we met them and we’ll survive even better without them in our lives.

      • DollParts

        I was surprised when my therapist said he was a narcissidt, sociopath, and toxic. He’s a covert narcissist. These types rarely think they have a problem. When I did research on narcissistic relationshios it fit him exactly. I pretty much lived the three phases if the narcissistic relationship repeatedly over my entire marriage. They pick a particular “type” of spouse Tempest posted about the other day. It all fit. The only way I was able to see it clearly was to detox through no contact and set clear boundaries.

  • My cheater made it easy for me.

    In March 2014, after being together for 19 years (married for 14), I looked at his sent text messages and stumbled onto a screen name I’d never heard before.

    About 5 google clicks later, my world collapsed. My loving, devoted husband was a big time player on a prostitution site. He’d been a member of this site for at least 5 years and wrote over 4,000 posts describing in disgusting detail all about his “dates” with “providers” in “the hobby” (translated for you non-Johns to mean he was describing all his sessions with whores in the prostitution world)

    There were plenty of posts that clearly showed exactly who he was. Photos taken in our backyard, links to videos of his band, etc. But still, he tried to gaslight, and tell me that when he was bored, he would write bull$hit on this site. He never actually fucked any whores.

    Talk about mindfuck.

    For over a year, even while I was TRYING to R with him (was never going to happen) I read these posts. They were gut wrenching. The details. Written in his language… using phrases he often used, using the misspellings he always used. Talking about ME (calling me always his “S.O.”, not his wife.

    I have since divorced the evil piece of shit lying, cheating, whore fucking narcissist and moved all the way to the other side of the country. I had vowed to myself that once I moved, I would never again look at that, or any, website he posted on…. and I haven’t.

    But I can still remember the exact words he wrote. Whole paragraphs about how much he loved his “S.O.”, how pretty and sexy and awesome I was, but “I just like to fuck other girls”

    Or posts about the kind of whores he likes, or posts about how much he enjoyed the trips to XXX or XXX that we went on together, or posts about what kind of lube he liked to use for anal. I found emails where he told certain whores that he could barely walk the next day. One email exchange was with a whore he was going to see on the way to drive to him mom’s for christmas, but had to cancel with her because “unfortunately, plans have changed and my S.O. will be driving with me”. I remember pretty much everything he said and bragged about in his secret, stomach churning world word for word. If there was a pill I could take to wipe them from my memory, I would.

    That said. I miss my husband. The one I THOUGHT I had. The person I loved and trusted most in the world. I miss his laugh, his smell, his presence in my life. But that guy does’t exist. I guess he never did….. but how do I erase my 19 years of loving him out of my car crash of a heart, while simoutaniously trying to forget WHY I need to erase it?

    The total mindfuckery of it all is why it’s so hard to remember that he sucks.

    • Givetimetime, you can’t erase it, acceptance of your experiences is needed. I highly recommend you try EMDR therapy so you can process the good and the bad memories and make peace with your past. Jedi hugs!

  • There are times when I do imagine that everything that has gone wrong in my marriage is my fault. My ex husband was so covert that catching him out at anything was and still is very difficult. He is highly regarded even though he now lives with a 23 year old prostitute and he is 63. The number of people who just shrug their shoulders and stop the conversation leaves me bereft and I do wonder if he really sucked at all and if it was all of my fault because I am starting to wonder how he can get away with so much and have so many people turn on me as if I was the one who misappropriate funds from his bank job, screwed prostitutes and had to be tested and in turn I had to be tested and many other things that he did that I would never dream of doing and particularly never do to him because I couldn’t hurt him even at times when I wanted to retaliate I held fire. However, I am now at the point where I no longer miss him or the person I thought he was because I know the truth and nothing can change the truth. It can be hidden but never changed !!

    • Maree–Ted Bundy remained charming to the end. Most clinicians miss the initial signs of the disordered, why wouldn’t ordinary people. What your X did at the end alone is sufficient to wonder about his normalcy; do not take this on yourself!!

      • Tempest, can I say to you that there was always and I mean always something about my ex husband that I could not put my finger on because he acted so ‘normal’. I think his preference for such young sex may be that something. I could write a book like most chumps but it won’t change the outcome of our union. However, you would be amazed at how many people have accepted his current situation without batting an eyelid and that includes our 2 adult kids. I feel like I am the strange one and I know I am very normal, although my son and daughter will tell you otherwise!!

    • Maree, my ex is also highly regarded in the community. A very accomplished professor. But like you, I know the truth. I have it in his own writing hidden away in a lock box. It comforts me to know what he was really thinking, because it’s just plain wrong to “plant seeds” and plot to break up your coworker AP’s marriage (she was also his former grad student). It’s not cool to ingratiate yourself with her children and have them calling you Uncle when you’re planning to cut their dad out of the picture. It’s just sick.

  • I know it’s immature, but I love, love, love how easy it is to get these disordered freaks to throw their affair partner under the bus. I’m really proud of the fact that I NEVER told the ex I would “fight for him,” coexist with the whore, compete, etc.

    I wasn’t interested in her, I’d met her and knew she was a loser, but I just couldn’t resist getting him to talk smack about her. I don’t know what he said about me, but she would shit if she knew the crap he said about her. She was crazy, a drunk, a pillhead, an ex prostitute, demon possessed, etc. I lost the texts when my phone died but I just really think it’s funny. Which goes to show you, their only real loyalty is to themselves. Yeah, whores, they really luuuv you.

  • i can relate Carmella1722- mine is a charmer too. It has taken time but i think people see the real me and him now…narcs can’t keep the sparkly going without help, and you will find you are much more fun and extroverted without him, at least it worked for me.

  • Another brilliant post, Tempest. I think this is one of the best things I’ve ever read on here, and if I were a psychology student, I would feel privileged to be in your class.

    Thank you for all you contribute here!

  • Thank you for this. Every time I talk to him I still get weak in the knees. He called the other day to get together to sign divorce papers while I was looking over my beloved mom now in a nursing home. I was crying while talking to him. He left us in 2013 to be with his shmoopie only to ignore his two sons and my mom who did cry when she found out about his affair.

    • Hugs Carmen.

      I’ve seen my 91 year old Dad cry over what my ex did and that is when I get angry. Talk about heartbreak. He has Alzheimer’s and still thinks ex is going to come back someday. Ex never said goodbye to him, nothing. He couldn’t face him.

      My heart goes out to you.

      • Thank you so much Lina. My mom was still living with us when my husband left us. My poor mom, she was heart broken and lost her interest in everything that was dear to her. She does still cry and worries about my future. God, who does that, up and leaves his family and moves in with this woman I call a bar skank. Geese, it’s been almost two years now and I still cannot understand the why.

        • Carmen, i am right there with you. the MOW who the exhole left me for is nothing but a bar skank (i love that word) he hasnt seen his kids but once in the last year and that was because i felt sorry for him and he and his hood rat made it such a train wreck that i will NEVER attempt it again. so my husband (now ex) left me for another mans wife. she bailed on her own marriage (i am sure she has a very good story) and her own kids. and THIS is the kind of woman he thinks will “treat him good” or at least better then i did.

          it has been a year and half (kicked him out jan 1 2014, divorce mar 20 2014) and i STILL do not understand why or the how. we are absolutely no contact (he started it)., i continue to remind myself DO NOT POKE THE SLEEPING BEAR!!! no child support, no visistations, no calls, no gifts for christmas, nothing at all from him. we have been completely removed and replaced by his bar skank. i have stories of her skanky actions. haha good luck diablo. i also took one look at her and saw she was a loser and very evil. only to have it confirm when she called me on his phone (with him sitting right next to her) to tell me off. what kind of woman calls her boyfriends wife? and what kind of man lets her?

          i dont care anymore about the why or how. but to i tell myself what kind of man up and leaves his family and moves in with this woman i call a bar skank……is not the kind of man i want to stay with or love.

          we are better off without that shit. yes, it hurts. but better off.

    • My dad was also upset. Said he felt like my ex was his son (only girls in our family). My ex never said anything to my dad, just disappeared, so my dad said he was going to divorce my ex too. It was tough at a family event because my dad wouldn’t even acknowledge my ex. I know that got to him since he’d envisioned everyone being a happy family even after what he’d done. Anyway, Lina, I’m so sorry for your dad. It’s really tough to have to deal with a betrayal and divorce on top of taking care of elderly parents. Mine seemed to fall apart after my ex left and were both in and out of the hospital multiple times after we divorced. It made me furious to be left alone to deal with that.

  • I just remind myself that my ex has NO CONTACT WHATSOEVER with our three children (S26, D22, S15), and does not even ask me or anyone else how they are doing, what they are doing, or if they are even healthy and happy or not. He has not asked for a photograph of any of them in the 3 1/2 years since D-Day. He has not laid eyes on the youngest son, who is now almost 16, in ALL OF THOSE YEARS. He did not attend ONE of the dozens and dozens of lacrosse games the youngest son had a few miles from ex’s new home after ex abandoned us (and despite my chumpily sending ex the schedule for over a year after D-Day and asking him to show up). After that point, I dropped ex off Power School and did not send him any further updates, and he NEVER ASKED ME FOR ANY. Ex has not attended the two oldest childrens’ college and law school graduations that have occurred since D-Day. He has not spent any little part of one holiday with any of our children since D-Day.

    Ex also refused my offer via e-mail last year to assist him and schmoopie if he wanted to work to re-establish a relationship with our children (she used to be a “family friend, and had a relationship with him for over 15 years before D-Day…along with her best friend….so I was a true chump to make that offer…..barf). But no worries, he shrugged his shoulders and did not care to do so.

    Whenever I question myself, or wish I could have some contact with him, I remember all of this– I review it point for painful point, I slap myself upside the head with it until my eyes open wide, and I make sure that I experience the immense bewilderment and astonishment of him abandoning even his own children.

    And then I again wholeheartedly Trust. That. He. Sucks.

      • As hard as this is, Kelly I think it is a blessing in disguise. These disordered, clusterb-fuckers are like a ball of toxicity. Everything they touch carries that taint. They don’t just gaslight you, they gaslight everyone. Their mindfuckery is not just for you alone, their mindfuckery radiates out of them like a smell. You and me to a certain extent are subscribing to the myth that every child needs their father. I am coming to the conclusion that every child needs people in their lives who are solid citizens. Who value them. By trying to have them have a relationship wiht his royal dickishness, you are teaching them not to value a person’s actions as a true reflection of who they are. In essence when they do this, we teach them to spackle. I would rather my kids see their father’s lack of interest for what it is, than come up with some fake bs, in an effort to meet some cultural expectation. Let the people in their lives be rock solid in name and action and if that is not their biological sperm component. So be it.

        • Thanks FMT and Ringing, at least I know he truly truly sucks. And I also realize how much better we have it than having to deal with his disordered self for the rest of our days like most of the survivors in Chump Nation ?

    • My Ex moved for good to Florida to live with the sparkly Schmoopie. He cut his siblings off and his kids. We heard nothing about him until his idiot FB called my daughter and son a few weeks ago to tell us he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. There was some interaction between him and two out of our four kids when he told them he was going to see a surgeon and would call them after the appointment! They are still waiting to hear from him! He NEVER called anyone! First I heard from his dumbass was last week over the unpaid tax issue! He NEVER calls his kids, grandkids or siblings to wish them Happy Birthday….NOTHING! True POS! He can go to Hell for all I care, but my heart goes out to the kids, etc.

      • Roberta

        Is he sick? Does he really have pancreatic cancer? Or do you think he was lying about that? I wouldn’t put it past them. Would you?

        Pancreatic Cancer is pretty horrific and even if operable, the surgery is a real b*tch to recover from.

        • Alice, he supposedly had surgery on the 31st of July and it seemed odd to me that he sounded pretty “well” when he was screaming at me on the phone! I am suspicious of ANYTHING that comes out of cheater and whores mouths! I think it was a ploy for God knows what reason. I’ll never know for sure, but I don’t give a damn either! If that sounds harsh I don’t care! He abandoned me when I was being operated on for lung cancer and operated on just a couple weeks later to save what was left of my lung because I got MRSA! I was half dead when I got back to the hospital! He knew, but no one heard from him at all! If he dropped dead tomorrow I would be relieved!

          • Roberta

            I think he is likely lying to everyone. Research the surgery for Pancreatic Cancer, which is usually a huge deal. I think your kids need to know that it is likely a lie.

            What a loser.

            • Notsurewhat2do, for sure. My adult kids and I have had our discussions about his claim of pancreatic cancer and his surgery. My sister is a nurse who works in oncology and we have also discussed the possibility that this is some sort of scam by these two losers. We certainly haven’t figured the angle yet! We are very, very suspicious of this claim. I just cannot for the life of me figure out why they would pull something like this!