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Dear Chump Lady, Why do I keep handing out chances?

chancesDear Chump Lady,

If ever there was an award for the biggest, most thick headed chump, I probably would win the crown. I am an idiot chump. I’ve been holding on to a man who consistently lies, cheats and emotionally abuses without much remorse. I’m gripped on to this train wreck relationship like I’ve somehow found myself perched on the wing of an airplane zooming through the sky at Mach 10 speed. I’m holding on that tightly. And it’s ridiculous. And I know it. And I’ve got no clue what I’m doing. Let me try to explain….

I found out over a year ago that the first year of our relationship he was seeing another woman the entire time. She had no clue I existed and up until D-day I didn’t know about her either. And his charade would have continued had he not left his email account open on my computer at my home. And of course, it wasn’t until I had to supply him with her name, where she was from, and direct quotes such as “you’re such an amazing lover, I love how everything feels with you” ripped directly from the emails themselves that he came clean. (Or as clean as liars come anyway.)

He made ME tell him everything I knew before he would stop calling me irrational and crazy… Gas lighting at its finest. I should have run then. He said he had stopped seeing her two weeks prior to my finding his emails. His family KNEW of his double life and not one fucking family member thought to tell the single mom he was dating and leading to believe they had a future together, “Hey!! He’s not faithful! Maybe you shouldn’t have impressionable young boys around a man like this!” No one said a word… And when I asked his mother why she would turn a blind eye to that type of thing, I was answered with a “I just don’t know why he’s so unsettled. I’m sorry.”

He swore he wouldn’t do anything like that again. And in my haze of pain caused by stumbling upon reality, I believed him. I’m telling you, that pain you feel when you first find out is so acute and so blazing hot, you believe and do accept just about anything to make it go away. I stated before I was an idiot… I’ve got so many more reasons that prove it.

Things were okay (not ever great by any means) for the next few months, but because infidelity rips the blinders off of fairytales, I was watching his every move like a hawk. I became my own version of Magnum P.I. And it wasn’t pretty. I googled his name and found him on dating websites complete with updated pictures of himself that he had sent me a week prior and I complimented how handsome he looked in the photo. I was literally giving him advice on which photos would bait the most chicks, I just didn’t know it. So then it was time to confront again… (Why am I doing this again?) I’m an idiot…. Do you see the theme here? He swears he never met any of these women in person, and he would shut down the site… I should have run then.

Fast forward another couple months, and I’m still playing Magnum P.I. While trying to hold a full-time job, a part-time job, and raise two boys as a single mom… I’m exhausted and just want things to be easy… Well, my cheater had different plans for me I guess. He was once again on dating websites, this time Christian mingle.com and even though that hurt like hell to find out, after a bottle of wine and a few thousand tears I was able to see the hilarious irony. And also plucked up the courage to email the women he had been talking with to inform them of his penchant for being a douchebag. “I’m sorry to inform you angelwing2351, imakeeper216 is NOT a knight in shining armor. A carrier of God knows how many STDs at this point, yes…but a man to be trusted and raise a good Christian family with? No.” with every message I sent to woman after woman I kept hoping that maybe THIS time I would see the light. I did not. I should have run then.

There are many other specific instances I could tell you about, but I’m sure by now you’re getting the point… He consistently goes missing for hours at a time, and then scolds me for questioning his whereabouts. He tells me he’s staying with his parents for a night, and because I don’t believe him, I jump in my car at 3:30am like some crazed love vigilante and look for his car at his parents’ house, which of course isn’t there. He chides me for being reluctant to move in with him, saying that my hesitation is what drives him to cheat. He says my reluctance to have a child with him makes him feel unwanted and unloved. I mean, the universe is SCREAMING to me, “Exactly how stupid can you be?” I hear it. Really, I do.

So here is where it gets messy… In case all of the above hasn’t made you smack your forehead in exasperation at least 15 times already… I’m still with him. I have read your book. I know what I should be doing. What on earth is wrong with me? Why do I keep handing out chances like I’m one of those people in Vegas passing out sleazy call girl cards to every person and their grandma who walks by? Why is detangling myself from this guy so hard? We break up and then I cave. I am the embodiment of insanity. And I know it. Which is maybe the most insane part of it all. Do you hear from other people like me? Or am I a special kind of stupid? Any advice would be appreciated.

Warmly,
The Idiot Queen

PS. Did I mention, we aren’t married? That little nugget only adds to my level of dumb.

PSS. He lives with his parents, and me part-time, when he’s not working nights.

Dear Queen,

Do I hear from other people like you? Darling, the blog odometer just flipped 7 million. We call ourselves “Chump Nation” here. Hell yes chumps are legion! I’m afraid you have some stiff competition vying for the Idiot Crown. So stop feeling stupid and start acting mighty.

I’m just going to cut to the chase — you need to get out of your head. Stop beating yourself up. Stop trying to figure him out. Stop listening to his blameshifting crap. ACT. It’s not enough to know what you need to do, you need to DO IT.

But! But! First I need to figure everything out and examine my motivations on why I’m being this way! And why he’s this way! I need to measure and carefully weigh every excuse, every episode of cheating, I must review the evidence!

No you don’t. I could devote an entire column to untangling you. (I have. It’s here.) Fact is, you’re smoking the hopium pipe and you need to quit. You don’t want to quit. That’s what your actions say.

I tell people all the time to pay attention to cheater’s actions and pay no attention to their words. Well, the same is true with chumps. This guy has shown you a bazillion times who he is, and you CHOOSE to STAY. You have to own that choice. You’re there because you want to be there. Even though you know it is a self-destructive choice.

You either like what kind of person that makes you — a chump — or you don’t.

I sense you don’t like it (i.e., “I’m an idiot”), but you don’t not like it enough to do something about it (i.e., leave him).

Your feelings will change when YOU change. He’s not going to change. He’s going to keep being the predictable, cheating, lying, gas-lighting asshole that he is.

Chumps often get it backwards, we think — oh, when I arrive at a consensus that He Sucks, I will leave. (More research! More hopium!), but it works the other way — when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes. The clouds part. The spell breaks. You feel a hell of a lot better. So start acting in your own best interest.

Acting is instinctual. When exposed to danger, the brain pumps adrenaline to fight or flee. Read that again — FIGHT or FLEE. You’re not hitting him upside the head, and you’re not running the hell away from him. Instead you are waging a battle on yourself. You’re internalizing this shit. You’ve muffled the warning sirens.

You’re not fighting or fleeing — you want Mr. Danger to cuddle you and tell you everything is going to be all right. Yes, that is insane. You could get some therapy as to why that dynamic might be familiar to you (I’ll just try really hard to make scary people love me!) but I suggest you just run away right now and figure out the FOO crap later.

While trying to hold a full-time job, a part-time job, and raise two boys as a single mom… I’m exhausted and just want things to be easy…

In my opinion, this right here is what’s driving you. This is what fuels your hopium — you’re an exhausted single parent holding it all down and you think that partnership will make things easier.

This one really tugs at my heartstrings, because I’ve been there, Queen. I’ve been that lonely single mom. I know exactly how exhausting and hard that shit is. I know the social opprobrium and the pity. I know what it’s like to press your face against the glass of other people’s seemingly perfect, partnered, intact family lives. I know what it’s like to go to parent teacher conferences alone. I know what it’s like to be around smug mommy playgroup cliques. I know what it’s like to send your child on school father/son camping trips and have him have to buddy up with other kid’s dads.

I know exactly how alone being a working single mom feels. And no one in your life is telling you you’re mighty. They’re acting like you’re a bit embarrassing, a bit of a fuck up. And you know what would cure it? You know what would be really awesome? A PARTNER! Legitimacy! Someone to empty the dishwasher! Someone to curl up in bed with after a long, hard day! Another adult to help raise those kids! And an adult to be an adult around and talk about something that isn’t Power Rangers.

And you got a TASTE of that. Of coupledom and happy ever after. Of lifting the burden of aloneness. And it was sweet! It was a very beautiful dream and you want the lie back. And if you can’t have the lie, you’re going to have to go back to the Pit of Alone and the Quagmire of Doing It All By Myself. And you tell yourself terrible self-defeating things that you’ll never have another relationship, and this shit is too hard, and he’s not All Bad, and really you had some Good Times…

… And there you are. Stuck.

I don’t fault the partner dream, Queen, but you can’t let it rule you. I’m partnered now, and it is a LOT easier. Night and day, really. But chasing that dream of partnership, being vulnerable and wobbly on my single self-worth made me catnip to a sociopath. It’s made YOU catnip to a serial cheater wingnut too. And that shit is a MILLION TIMES HARDER than being a single mom. A bazillion googolplex times harder.

Wake up! You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor. And you’re never going to have a love worthy of you if you stay with him.

Please do not model this shit to your sons. Do not let them grow up thinking cheating is natural and right, and we should just hand out chances. Do you want them to be chumps or cheaters? Do you want them to muffle their warning sirens some day?

Queen, you are ENOUGH. You’ve got a wonderful turn of phrase and you aren’t stupid. Please know your worth. But more than knowing your self worth, please act on it. Leave the cheater — gain the life. We’ll hold your hand through this. You are mighty.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Biggest shock I got after tossing him out was realizing how much I had already been doing all alone. He hadn’t been to a parent-teacher conference in years, and he NEVER went on a school trip.
    You can do this…and probably have been doing so much more than you know already.

    • You got that right, I thought I would be a huge transition doing everything myself but it turned out I had been doing everything by myself for the past 6 months to a year anyways. Still way behind on cleaning and laundry lol but if I would stop building new furniture for myself to replace the shit I never wanted in the first place I would probably be more on top of the houswork

    • Me too…..my stbx NEVER helped me. He’s super Dad now to his girlfriends sons…never misses a football practice. Home by 430 every day. She got what I needed….or so I thought. I’d rather do it alone and be single…than do it alone and be married to a cheater.

        • Yes, Tempest, it’s definitely an act. Cheater ignored our beautiful daughter but was obsessed with “helping ” her with her juvenile delinquent brat. It’s all for show, so they can display how Wonderful they are to the world. Just an act.

        • I don’t usually place bets, but this one is a slam dunk Tempest. The mask will slid off sooner or later. I read something recently that a disordered (Cluster B) person usually can hold the mask in place for about three months before cracks start to appear (however minute). My XH held onto his much longer than that. I suspect the longer such a disordered person can keep the mask on, the farther up they are on the personality disorder spectrum. Is that accurate?

          • The disordered hone their skills, for certain. That allows them to keep the mask in place longer and longer, and to become more subtle in their techniques. Imagine the power you have over others if you have no conscience! The possibilities! Like a cat playing with a mouse just before it devours the poor thing.

            I thought that by calling my X on his nonsense, I had helped make him a better person over time (and everyone else thought so, too). Nope. He simply got more suave, more covertly manipulative, better at relating to people on a surface level. In other words, I made him better at seduction, and he simply took his pathology deeper underground.

          • My STBX is BPD if he is anything, and since he communicates with Schmoopie via text for the most part, he’s able to keep the mask on longer. Still, it’s slipping. While I think Schmoopie is NPD, she does get pissed at how he treats her, but then they get together again. I suppose the fights are their way of doing foreplay.

      • Yes my ex too is doing everything for her and her kids.
        Drawing pictures with her daughter, never ever did he do that with our kids. Never sat and read books or played on the floor with them. But he can do all that for her children.

        And the hard part now is my youngest who is 16 wants to move in with dad. We only been divorced a year and as a mamma it is breaking my heart:(
        I just don’t get it… She knows what her dad and the other women did. She will be exposed to her and her kids and my daughter is ok with it:((((

        • Heartbreaking to have your daughter wanting to do this! But narc parents are often extremely lax and indulgent, so it can be attractive to teens …

          Do you think it might help to talk to her about the manipulations narcs use, and about watching people’s behavior, not just their words? She may be able to see her dad more clearly.

          And if she wants to move there, it’s worth talking about what she is looking for by doing that. If it’s to get dad’s approval and attention, a move might be an eye opener for her ….

          So sad that we can’t count on their other parent to provide for our kids’ emotional needs.

        • Wow33–that is heartbreaking; I’m sorry. A few other chumps have had their children ask to live with the other parent (and it’s usually because the other parent supplies few boundaries, or serves as Disney dad/mom). They may be able to help you with tips on how to handle this.

          In the meantime, be your loving, supportive self, and *keep those boundaries & expectations* for dear daughter. Teens want that, even if they rebel against rules for a stretch. She’ll come back to you as the stable parent.

          • Thank you Tempest!!
            I try very hard to be the stable parent and getting better not to talk smack about her dad and girlfriend. He manipulated me covertly for 23 years and most days I did not get it. it’s easy for him to do it on a 16 year old.
            I am praying very hard for her to see the truth…

            • She just wants her dad. The one she imagines. If she goes, I promise, reality sets in real quick. She will see the unvarnished truth.

            • The whole kid thing is tough. Mine love their dad and some of them (my boys) probably prefer his company. As they have reached adulthood, though, they definitely have come to recognize his shortcomings. They are well aware of his selfishness and choose to tolerate it. Sometimes they will call him on it, but for the most part, they work around it. It hurts me to see the emotional sacrifices they make; It is what they perceive they have to do to maintain a relationship with their dad. For the most part, I try to stay far away from the fray except when it involves my teenaged daughter. With her, I make sure she knows I have her back.

        • I don’t get it either. He slept with the babysitter who I let stay with us while she was going through a rough time. Now he (49) is shacking up with her (22) and my 16yr is living with them. Why she would rather be with his disturbed girlfriend who is 5.5 years older than her rather than be with her mom and her sister is beyond me.
          I would cry myself to sleep over this over the past 6 months but my therapist has told me to focus on my other daughter (13) who is mostly with me because she is disgusted by what he did to me and our family. My 16yr old is totally estranged from me now because he and his wuv have convinced her that I have alienated her sister from her (even though the older one will only see her sister at his place so it’s a decision she made to not visit her sister at my place). She has banned me from coming to school events (the stbx brings the GF there and I don’t want to see them either so I guess it’s okay) and she is going on college visits with them and she isn’t even talking to me about them. I hear them from him or from friends who read about it on Facebook. I don’t think I did anything to deserve this and I think about all the things I’ve done for her and with her and now it means nothing. All I can do is let her make her choices and hope that someday we’ll have a relationship again.

          • Kfl–you did NOTHING to deserve that poor treatment. One possibility is that she is her selfish, self-centered father’s selfish, self-centered daughter. We don’t need to eat disrespect from our children any more than we need to shite sandwiches from our Xs.

            The other is that she is going to the place where she has the fewest limits, will eventually see the light, and come back around. Your therapist is right–reinforce the loyal daughter with boundaries and wait it out with the prodigal one. Hugs!

          • Kfl, my story with my only child isn’t great, either. She has been very manipulative since she has been so empowered by her father who has worked diligently to alienate me from her and my own chumpiness (pick me pick me). Still trying to untangle it all. The best thing I can think to do is get healthier and have a loving heart. Good luck to you. Please keep sharing your story.

      • it just doesnt make logic to me how a man can bail and abandon his own flesh and blood children but help raise and support someone elses kids. i am all about helping other peoples children. i was fostering for a little while before my world got all crazy, but i could never do it by neglecting my own children. i could never raise someone’s else children if mine were not being taking care of, safe and secure and healthy. i could never give love to another child, unless i was certain my own kids were loved. by taking care of my own kids, i am able to give to other children. i guess if falls along the line of i cant buy shoes for myself without making sure my children have shoes first. if you know what i mean.

        Diablo has bailed and abandoned and ignored us for over a year now. he has not tried once to call about the boys, to ask if they are alright or if they need anything, he is not paying child support, not coming to see them, not spending time with them. basically, it is like we do not exist for him. he threw away his wife and kids so that he could be with, take care of and support some other man’s wife and kids.

        his oompa loompa homewrecker is more lenient and care free then i am. i also thought that mentioning and pointing out his mistakes that it would make him a better person, i also called him out on his shit. and i honestly thought we were doing good. i KNEW i was doing the majority of the work with the kids, house, yard, bills, life in general but i was ok with that. but now this home wrecker is getting the best of him. oh, i have no doubt in my mind that he is the same way he was with me. i have no doubt that he is letting her do the majority of the work with her kids, house, yard, bills, etc. it is not that i think he is being a better dad to her kids, or that he is magically the romantic, loving, caring, helpful man to her that i wanted him to be with me.

        nope. i know that he is not. he is the same. he is going to work, coming home tired, not any fun at bars, immature, unhappy, uncommunicative alcoholic that he was with me. but he is going to work, and giving her his paycheck like he used to do with me so that she could “take care of everything” i have no doubt in my mind that she is wasting his paycheck on stupid shit for herself and her kids. as long as she keeps beer in the refrigerator and lets him drink as much as he wants when he wants, he will keep doing the same thing day in and day out. of course she doesnt think to write a check for his children, to make sure his child support is paid. even thou she told him how much she loves his boys, she really doesnt care for them or their well being. her oldest 2 live with her, i do not think he is doing very much with her kids, or with her either.

        but it sucks that he is working for them, instead of his own family. that whatever time he does spend, it is with them and not his own kids. that he is doing for them what he should be doing for his own wife and kids.

        it is very very sad. i dont understand it at all. too many men walk away from their own family. leaving a trail of damaged souls behind them and they just walk off to do the same thing with someone else. is it really so hard to try to work for your wife and kids? to fix what is messed up? i did not think so but apparently Diablo did. he thought it would be easier to walk off instead of fix what was broken in our marriage. how pathetic…..how sad for my kids.

          • i am trying to come to terms with that. my boys are doing good now.

            Diablo actually wasnt so much of an asshole with us, he was selfish but mostly to me not the boys. my boys went from having a daddy at home and who was involved in their lives one day to having no daddy at all and some stranger telling them that daddy was a good man who loved them and misses them but mommy didnt call him. sigh.

            it is more than sad. it is completely horrible and uncalled for. men need to step up and act like men. be the fathers and daddies the children need. but i guess it is easier to walk away then to fight for your kids, your marriage. at least in my case, diablo is super weak and i know he would rather move away and cry about missing his kids then to actually have to any kind of effort into doing something about it. he lets the women in his life do everything, take care of everything. if his oompa loompa were to tell him he needed to call his children then he would but since she doesnt give a fuck she will never tell him that. diablo is more then just a little child that needs to be told how to do thing, what to do. diablo is just a little sad sausage. the only thing he knows how to do is work, he is a hard worker. he might get fired but he finds something else quickly. i think he has to work to feel good about himself. it is the only thing he does well.

            oh well, his choice not to see his kids. we will be fine

        • Mrs. Vain, I feel so very saddened reading your story. I too have so much difficulty wrapping my head around this stuff. What the hell? He has not made contact with you or kids in over one year? Who does that? I know the disordered, the narcs, the sickos, but still what??? And your poor boys. What a loss they will feel (no matter what an asshole ex is) there’s still pain in that loss, especially for children. I am so sorry and sending you lots of empathy tonight.

          • Thanks ChumpB. it really is sad. sometimes i struggle with the sadness and pointlessness of the whole thing. i just cant understand how a man can say he wants a family, he wants children, who was very active in his childrens lives can just walk away and act like those children dont exist.

            no contact at all. no phone call asking how the boys are or if they are ok, or if they are even breathing. no child support. no card or gifts for their october birthdays. (of course he did last year in the worst way possible so i guess it is better that he didnt do that this year), no christmas gifts last year, not that the boys care so much about gifts but they really want to spend time with their dad, to see him. of course when i was scheduling visitations that was nothing but a trainwreck too. with his home wrecker demanding to be at every visit, and she wouldnt let Diablo talk or answer the boys. she would psychically throw herself on his body and in between him and his sons.

            so who does that? what kind of woman doesnt let a man talk to his own kids? what kind of person puts their body in between a man and his kids? what kind of evil cant share a few hours of Diablos time and attention with the children she swears up and down that she loves and cares for like her own. (well, at least she told the truth about that one because she ignores her own children, she bailed and abandoned her own children)

            and most importantly what kind of man lets a woman do that?

            i dont know the answers. i wish i did. i wish i didnt think about it so much or try to figure it out. but it hurts my boys not to see their dad. i am currently struggling with contacting him to visit even thou it is a big drama feast, with his girl yelling and acting a fool and him letting her, they both demanding not to visit the boys at my house and neither of them can get it threw their heads that i dont trust them to take the boys off. both of them putting me down, calling me names, making up shit i supposedly did or didnt do (like both of them saying i didnt let him see his boys last (2014) fathers day when we not only saw him, but the boys made cards, had gifts, we made dinner and a cake for him) disrespecting me. so i put up with that shit for my boys only to have diablo make empty promises, tell them he is going to do that or buy them that or take them there. comes bringing gifts so that the boys think he is so wonderful. and spends most of the time on his cell phone answering his insecure oompa loompa questions.

            the littlest one is still hurting but the older one is doing really well. the littlest one is the one asking if i can call his dad so he can talk to him. to see if he can come over for a visit. i am not sure what to do so i am waiting to see if the child asks again. i keep telling myself not to poke the sleeping bear and to just let it be. but then i see the pain in my babys face and i will cave in.

            i will never understand how he could do this to his kids. to me. is it really worth all the pain they caused? this hood rat he is with is nothing, she is not better then me, i personally do not think she is capable of truely and honestly loving him. i mean if she walked out on her own kids does he think she will love him forever? i just dont get it. it all seems so useless. purposeless. but then i guess it is a good thing i will never understand this kind of crazy.

              • thank you. i have respect for each and every one here. i sometimes struggle with the how, why and what. but i am 20 months out and feeling so much better. i still cant believe it, cant believe he walked out on his kids, cant believe that he is treating his boys like this, cant believe he is that weak and spineless and would rather NOT see his boys then act like a man.

                what a loser (which is ironically what he has been drunkingly crying about for the last 4 years, i just wasnt listening. so focused on making him “feel” better about himself, poor little sad sausage)

                i still cant believe the pain and the sadness and the pointlessness to it all. but there is nothing i can do about it. i cant make him be a decent dad. so it is out of my control. i only eat a selective shit sandwiches now and only for my youngest sons sake. you know kind of like when your kid makes you a peanut butter and pickle sandwich on moldy bread. they are so proud they did something for you that you just cant not take at least one bite and smile for them.

                time really is the cure. as much as i hated to hear that at first. 20 months later and the sky is getting clearer everyday.

                hugs to you and chump nation.

    • Yes indeed! Me 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 or wherever we are on the list.
      I did so much by myself and didn’t realize it.
      When CL says “You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor.” it’s all true.
      In fact I find things easier now that my mental energy isn’t sapped by his presence and neediness and walking on eggshells.

      • AOOK, thank you for the reminder of being grateful not to be “…sapped by his presence and neediness and walking on eggshells.” Very well stated.

        • Isn’t it interesting how much energy they stole from us and we didn’t even realize it? I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia several years ago. Weirdly enough I have not had a flare up of it in this most stressful time of my life. It can not be a coincidence that the fibromyalgia disappeared after I kicked my stbxh out of the house.

    • Yep, I found out the same thing. I had already been doing all the work. Stbx was still with us when he was over on a nightly basis parenting ow’ sons while ignoring his own. It really makes me boil to think about it. The reason I never pointed it out? Saying anything to him was likely to provoke a huge explosion from him.

    • Very true, Carry On. Of course, my ex now acts “involved” with things like parent-teacher conferences since he’s with the Owife, and they have to prove that they have the perfect marriage and blended family. Perhaps if he’d put that kind of effort into our relationship and children, we both would have been happier… but, nah. It’s all a facade. He’s desperate to avoid the truth of who he is, what he’s done, and the sham of a marriage that he has now, so he hides behind the Perfect Father image that he’s been trying to craft for himself. Strip away the Disney parenting that he does EOW and whenever there’s a public gathering like open house, and he’s the same ridiculous ninny who is chasing his own selfish sense of happiness, which is more important to him than everything and everyone else. I was single parenting a long time ago; he has always been pretty useless when it comes to our kids.

      • CarryOn et al, Asshat is like this, too. He is almost never around but bc he suddenly thinks he’s making a Herculean effort, like for a few weeks, at being a better father, he came to a teacher conference and actually spoke. And basically told the lies he believes in peabrain that make him seem awesome. Oh yes he spends all his free time helping Little Eld do homework and learn how to ride a bike. WTF?! I almost blurted out at the table that one night of homework help does not mean he wins parent of the year. Telling the school will do nothing to tarnish his Dr Sparkly Asshat image but it will make ME feel a LOT better.

      • MovingOn, I hear ya! And agree about the facade. I know it’s a facade. I think too that the effort that went into destroying our family versus repairing whatever he perceived was wrong (but would never have a direct conversation about) was/is such a waste.

    • Same here. It really wasn’t all that much of a change and if anything, a lot less work with him not being around. The only thing I miss is having an adult around but even that is not that big of a deal to me these days.

  • Great stuff. I think you hit the nail on the head with this one. Its that dream of partnership that holds us to cheaters. I just read this interesting article about a woman in prison. She became a victim of one of those Nigerian Yahoo boys that scam people. They scammed her for everything and then got her to join in their scams and the article said its women who are wanting romance and partnerships that are the easiest to con. We are catnip to their sociopaths.

  • Ditto! CN is here for you and we have all had those feelings. Everything is hard and scary right now, but you can do this. You just took the first step but you don’t need validation to do what you know is right. We are all in your corner.

  • I lost a massive chunk of my life hanging onto a man who made it abundantly clear that he did not value me and would treat me just as shitty as he could get away with.

    I was afraid to go for all the reasons you are afraid but CL is right…
    “Chumps often get it backwards, we think — oh, when I arrive at a consensus that He Sucks, I will leave. (More research! More hopium!), but it works the other way — when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes. The clouds part. The spell breaks. You feel a hell of a lot better.”

    I felt so much better after I was out of the tyranny and weight of his blame and gas lighting. I can see it clearly now and I am amazed I was ever that blinded to it all.

    • Oh god, Unicornomore, THIS! ‘I lost a massive chunk of my life hanging onto a man who made it abundantly clear that he did not value me and would treat me just as shitty as he could get away with.’

      The saddest was seeing, post-separation, that he also did not value his kids, and would treat them as shitty as he could get away with, too.

      We’re all mostly NC these days, which unfortunately is actually better for the kids, too. Blergh!

  • Don’t forget that if you keep him and have a kid that his parents become part of your life as well. Do you really want in-laws that view cheating as simply being “unsettled” and who care so little about your well-being to say nothing up front about it when known? When we marry, we marry into whole families like it or not.

    There’s hope on the other side. Mrs. DM was a single mom before we got married. We are very happily married. However, you do not get to the better place, though, by devaluing your own worth or settling for contempt.

    Perhaps, write out the reasons you are leaving/ending it on a card to bolster your strength as reminders. Sometimes we need to lay it out in front of us for the reality to sink in to our hearts.

    • DM is right, sometimes we need to see it for it to sink in.
      I found it very helpful to write down everything I knew for sure and when I saw it and read it there was quite an impact.

    • Queen, you say that you break up and then cave in again, so another “writing it down” thing you can do is to put reminders of his behavior in place of his name at all the possible points of contact. Change his name in your phone to You Exposed Me To Chlamidiya. Set up your email so that everything from him automatically diverts to a folder called Cheated With 14 Women (or whatever the number is). Remind yourself to trust that he sucks.

  • I understand dreams of partnership, but this is a nightmare. Sometimes I think holding onto something that is clearly not working and never going to work distracts us from the things that seem more difficult to face.

    • DM and Dr Chump are right. I held a white knuckle grip on a dead marriage for years. My new H remained lonely and isolated for years after a bad D. We had convinced ourselves that “better” didn’t exist. We were married at 50 yrs old and are really happy. Partnering isn’t the litmus test of success though…healthy living is the goal of the mighty and that may mean doing it alone and finding contentment.

  • >He’s not going to change. He’s going to keep being the predictable, cheating, lying, gas-lighting asshole that he is.

    Also be aware that he’s likely to get WORSE! So long as you tolerate his behavior or play ostrich to it, the easier it is for him to escalate.

    • Think that this is rock bottom and things can’t get worse? Hang on! There’s never a bottom to this shit.

      • You’re so right Chet!

        When you think you’ve seen bottom, that’s when the parade of transsexual hookers starts!

        • Sad in Seattle,

          That very same parade marched into my marriage too!!! Of course, just as you stated, this tranvestite prostitute parade showed up out of nowhere soon after I was convinced it couldn’t possibly get worse!

      • Oh yes, this is so true! For Cheaters who are seeking thrills, to offset the life they find so ‘boring’, they keep escalating things. I couldn’t believe how crazy the cheating behavior became! He was a 32-yrs-married guy, openly partying with the local Floozy. Expecting me to stay trapped, while he spent the night in her house, across the street, and came home at 6! It’s like an addict who has to keep popping higher doses to feel the high(he loved drugs, too).
        I love my life that’s supposedly boring! Peacefulness is sweet!

  • “Chumps often get it backwards, we think — oh, when I arrive at a consensus that He Sucks, I will leave. (More research! More hopium!), but it works the other way — when you LEAVE, and go no contact, then your thinking changes.”

    This is so true but so hard in this age where we’re led around by our brains, looking for the right answers, the right reasons, trying to Figure It All Out first, etc. As a person who suffers from major analysis paralysis, I’m a poster child for the mistaken idea that reason + rationality + consensus = action. Wrong! You’re not an Idiot Queen, but you’re looking for your energy in the wrong place – you need the strong Queen energy that comes from the gut. Gut energy will propel you into action, which will then clarify your thinking. Reminds me a saying I really like: “You don’t think yourself into a new way of living, you live yourself into a new way of thinking.”

  • Thank GOD you’re not married to him and have no children with him. Go no contact and open yourself up to a future with a true partner who isn’t going to get his jollies messing with your emotions.

  • I’m going to assume there’s a huge amount of codependency going on here. I think it’s a good sign the OP came here instead of allowing herself to be persuaded into reconciling with this low-life – and that’s the ‘advice’ she would have gotten had she gone to the reconciliation boards of infidelity sites. Turn a blind eye and drink as much Kool-Aid as you possibly can no matter HOW much you’re getting screwed over. Yup, that’s their motto.

    So good for you OP, coming to a site that deals in REALITY.

    Hopefully, you’ll get the final push you so desperately NEED to finally dump this loser once and for all.

  • CL’s advice to act now and think later is spot on. It wasn’t until I was away for a few months that the clouds began to part and I could see clearly. You just need to go no contact today. Erase his phone number and block it. Block his email. Avoid him like a disease. And be very thankful that you don’t have a child with him! You are so mighty already and you just aren’t giving yourself credit for all the good you do. You’re a single mom raising a child on your own. Be proud of that. You don’t need someone to help you. And he wouldn’t help. I mean look, he lives at home with his parents. He’s a child in an adult’s body. Do you want another child or a partner? I’m sure you’ve been on your own before. You will make it. Work on yourself and get comfortable being you. Love you. Once you love yourself and loose the mindset you have to be with someone to be happy, then you will be healthy enough to find a partner. Someone who compliments you, not someone who sucks the life out of you. I’m sure you are exhausted. He is draining you emotionally weather you realize it or not. You don’t need that crap. You are mighty and you can dump him. Just take one step. Just do one thing today. Quit saying I can’t and just do it. When you start doubting yourself, come here. This community WILL have you back. Be strong!

  • Idiot Queen… 12 billion people on the planet… Odds are u will bump into someone else. Please remember your boys are watching. Is this how you want them to believe women are treated? Be a role model for your boys. Kick the leech out. Rip the bandaid off. Take out the trash. You have noooooo legal to this leech. He wont change. Peroid.
    Or keep slamming your fingers in the door. One of two things will happen… You will become oblivious to the pain… Or the pain will get you to pull yr hand out of the jam. You decide.

    • Frankly, if the choice were only (a) living with a cheater who devalues you at every turn, lies to you, and does little to help with life’s everyday chores, vs. (b) never meeting anyone ever again, I’m taking (b). But I say this with the clarity of No Contact.

      Idiot Queen–the choice isn’t between the fucktard you’re currently seeing and some King Arthur out there in the world, right now the choice is between, as TheClip says, to keep slamming your fingers in the door or peace…blissful peace. Know what happens to animals kept in a constant stage of vigilance, sympathetic nervous system ablaze all the time? They die, or they get sick and die. Choose life instead and kick the jackass to the curb. Block his calls, don’t answer emails, and put any of his remaining clothes in a box outside your garage for him to pick up.

        • Yes Queen, along with CL, please listen to all of these seasoned women above – TheClip, Tempest, and Calamity Jane – plus Divorce Minister, Datdamwuf, Irish, COMWNG, Rumblekitty, Portia, Roberta, Nord and so many more (not enough room to list all).

          They are wonderful examples of Chumps that are now free, and graciously sharing their stories and wisdom to help fellow newly-Chumped folks to the promised land of Meh via the (not so) underground railroad.

          You are truly mighty, and we at CN all know that going NC at first can be it’s own little walk through hell. However, it’s liberating, and after you get past the hopium withdrawl, you will not only see him as the human Napalm bomb he truly is (which I believe you’re in the process of doing now), but you will feel it clear to your innermost core. When you get to that point, you may feel sorrow, but I will wager that you will also feel relief, and eventually you will arrive at peace.

          • “TheClip, Tempest, and Calamity Jane – plus Divorce Minister, Datdamwuf, Irish, COMWNG, Rumblekitty, Portia, Roberta, Nord and so many more (not enough room to list all).” My heroes that I look to for wisdom, encouragement, help, humor, insight, knowledge, and bad-assness.”

  • “Wake up! You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor. And you’re never going to have a love worthy of you if you stay with him.Wake up! You don’t have a partner. You have an anchor. And you’re never going to have a love worthy of you if you stay with him.”

    ^^^THIS^^^ That is it in a nutshell!! They are NEVER really invested, they just PRETEND to be….sometimes for years, until it becomes too much work and you’ve run out of kibbles. Then they troll for replacements, while you are fighting to hold it together they are covertly sabotaging everything. Once they find a new one they can move on to….they will….and they won’t give it a second thought. They will kick you or step right over you on their way out while your writhing in the floor in emotional agony…..while sneering at you and blaming you for it. They feel ZERO remorse!!

    ALWAYS remember these four words…..Trust that they SUCK!!!

  • Queen, if you move in and breed with this guy, you would be an idiot. Please don’t do that. Please oh please . . .

    • Second that. And guess who would turn his back, and not pay one dime for the child? Mr.- I’m So Big and Bad I Live With My Mom, as we learned from yesterday’s discussion!

  • Dear Queen,

    I wasn’t married to my cheating ex either. We were together nearly 13 years when I discovered he’d been fucking a work colleague for nearly a year behind my back. I drop kicked that cheating muther fucker to the kerb the day I discovered this.

    Has it been easy? Hell no!! But l’ll tell you this, a year on I know for a fact it was the best decision I made. No contact, no pick me dance, no kibbles nada.

    Since we split I’ve spent that time focussing on me. Being kind to myself, eating and sleeping as well as possible, spending time getting to know myself again, reaching out for support from family and friends when I’ve needed it.

    Today I feel like a reinvigorated 43 year old woman that has closed a chapter on my life and opened a new one. That feeling is priceless.

    The pain you feel is real and hurts like a muther fucker, but keeping the focus on you and how mighty you are you will get through the shit storm.

    Stay right here and know that CL and CN have your back. I found reading as many archive posts and comments that were relevant to my situation helped tremendously. Your Tuesday will come and what a sweet Tuesday that will be. Big hugs. X

  • Nothing will fill up the hole that is inside this guy. Moving in with him wont make him feel loved enough, having a kid with him wont make him feel loved enough, doing everything in the world wont make him feel loved enough. Even the kibbles of all the women he suckers on Christian dating sites wont make him fell loved enough. There isnt enough love in the world to make him stop. So stop thinking that he can act like a decent man if only he gets enough love. He cant, and he wont. You dont control him. You cant love him into being a real person. So the inly thing you can do is decide – do you value the drama of being magnum PI, love police, and getting in your relationship-mobile at three in the morning to stake out Super-Cheater’s lair? Or do you value having someone in your children’s life that can be a partner to you and a role model to them?
    I think I didn’t leave for a long time because some part of me really enjoyed the intensity of a dysfunctional relationship. The way you focus everything on him, and what he is doing, so you don’t have to think about yourself. How you feel like you are living the plot of an exciting novel, rather than the humdrum life of working and raising kids. Cheaters like kibbles, but chumps like kibbles too. They are just a different flavor.

    • What? I’m in a Dawson’s Creek like drama? Excellent. It’s so true. I definitely can have an addiction to a push pull relationship. No one is immune. That’s why people are so fiery at the beginning of relationships. But…. Just think of post breakup. Jen, post…well, any assortment of men on Dawson’s- she cast off those norms and put her head on straight. You a fan of Buffy? How sexy was Cordelia after her breakup with Xander when she had her head held high and went back to school? Badass. How about hannah from pretty little liars when Caleb ran off with a ghost? She was fierce. Hell- watch easy a- she wasn’t cheated on, but she took her power back. I just think you can change the optics of your own situation to make it work to feed you some awesome. No money? Spend 10 bucks on some fabric dye and make some of your best fitting clothes look new and dark and buy a vibrant lipstick. Walk out of your house head high and feeling sexy, and let yourself revel in you choosing you. That’s drama.

    • “There isnt enough love in the world to make him stop. So stop thinking that he can act like a decent man if only he gets enough love. He cant, and he wont. You dont control him. You cant love him into being a real person.”

      Be right back, going to cry over the sheer spot-on-ness of this statement, and its relevance in my story.

      • MD,

        Wow! Very well said and guilty as charged. Between the fear of leaving and distractions of staying it is easy to get used to a life of playing the role of victim, of not having to take true responsibility for one’s life.

        The trauma is real and the pain is real and the other person did create the untennable circumstances, but choosing to accept it with our actions even if we didn’t verbally accept it is on us.

  • There’s a lot which you are pushing away- and obviously that needs understanding later – the “why can’t I leave him” (I don’t know. Why can’t you?) why does his family put up with it (um… Why do you?) You’re the one in the driver seat, and you’re still here. Maybe mommy dearest thinks she’s found a fellow ‘get cheated on doormat’ because that’s what their family does… What matters, is that they don’t matter. You matter. And if you don’t- because right now it sounds like you might argue that fact- your kids matter. And you don’t want them to be cheating shitheads. So a guy that throws a ball with them every once in awhile but also gives you the clap is totally NOT ENOUGH. He doesn’t matter. For at least them. Definitely you too, but you won’t believe us yet.

  • If you can bring yourself to cut contact, and stop listening to anything he says, stop believing anything he has promised, STOP DRINKING THE KOOL-AID!, you will open yourself up to healing.

    You will believe this is the hardest part. It isn’t. The hardest part comes later, when you start wondering why you acted the way you did. You know you are not stupid. You know you are capable and independent. Why did you do what you did? When you start truly examining your belief system and values — questioning everything, EVERYTHING, you have been taught or observed from early childhood, you will start deciding who you really are, and what you really believe. You will not act the way you have been taught to act in the past. You will not believe all the negative messages you have accepted without question. You will start believing you are important, not only to your children, but to yourself, and you will not let someone else’s needs be more important than your own. People who have used and abused you for years will not like the new you, and will criticize you. Don’t listen to them, either.

    It is like the message the airlines give about oxygen. If the oxygen bags drop and you are traveling with a child, put on your mask first and then help the child with his mask. It is not selfish — it is smart. If you pass out you are of no use to anyone, the child needs your skills to survive to adulthood. What message are you sending your children now when they see you making everything in the world more important than yourself. You are saying, it is ok if I am worthless. It is not ok. Show them you have value, believe in yourself. They will figure out that they have value, too. It is the best gift a parent can give their child. It is the best gift you will ever give to yourself.

    • Perfect advice, Portia. I was raised by a woman who put herself and her needs last and I grew up to do the same. I thought that’s what good mothers and wives do. Unfortunately the resentment of always fostering everyone else’s dreams builds up and eventually explodes. These types of patterns get handed down in families, and I believe are influenced by the community and times we grew up in. I KNOW I went into marriage at 21 expecting to have an equal partnership, but never really had one modeled for me. Neither did my ex.

  • This is the best advice. It’s what I went to therapy for for over a year. Some of us act based on our emotions, and things “feeling right.” We try to integrate everything we we experience into a big picture and feel good about our ability to predict outcomes and make choices that minimize pain. This is never going to feel right. Not unless you wait for stuff to get way worse. Some choices in life really stretch and challenge us. You can recover from choosing the wrong job because you didn’t follow logic, and it “felt right.” It’s harder to recover from letting someone abuse you because it didn’t feel right to leave. What I learned about myself, is that sometimes it takes a good long time for my heart to catch up with my head. They’re both good at telling me what I need to know, in there own way. But sometimes you have to follow your head, whether you heart is ready or not.

  • First question, if he changed tomorrow would you ever wholeheartedly trust him again?
    Second question, are you proud of the relationship you have with him enough to boast about it to your friends and family?

    If you answered no to both of those questions, answer this…
    Third question, if you’re exhausted what can you cut out of your life to free you up more?

    Being single is hard, very hard. However, it is rewarding. Raising your children with a good example of how an adult acts in this world…priceless. Working two jobs to show your children that you will provide for them…priceless. Laying your head every night on your pillow, exhausted but no drama…priceless.

    Be mighty!!!!

  • Chump Queen,

    Follow CL’s and CN’s advice, I believe what is wrong with you is that somehow you have programmed your mind to be hooked to his potential. If only he would do this, it could work, if only he could… Knowledge is power, I hope you will learn as much as possible so you can deprogram your mind and put you and your kids first.

    It was so helpful for me to learn through CN as much as I could about Cluster Bs. Through CL’s resource pages, I came across several books that saves me lots of time and a bundle of money during my divorce negotiations:
    “Why does he do that?” by Luncy Bancroft
    “Women Who Love Psychopaths: Inside the Relationships of inevitable Harm With Psychopaths, Sociopaths & Narcissists” by Sandra Brown
    “The Betrayal Bond: Breaking Free of Exploitive Relationships” by Patrick Carnes

    You can find their blogs and online free resources if you are tight on money. The more you learn about Cluster Bs, the more you can distance yourself, and the more your righteous anger will propel you to do the right thing for yourself and your kids.

    And I agree with Rumblekitty, whatever you do, please do not breed with him, please, please, please…

    • I was just thinking about “potential,” and how it relates here. Queen is exhausted, by her own admission. Currently exhausted. Now. With a-hole cheater in her life. He’s clearly not helping with that. But here’s where the “potential” comes in. He’ll ease the exhaustion/stress/drama when ____. It just doesn’t happen. We eat-up their empty promises and buy their potential. He lives with his parents. He cheats like his life depends on it. He will be gone the minute something shinier comes along. Don’t integrate him into your life with a marriage or kid. You can make a clean break. Don’t bank on his words or potential. Only the realities and his actions. Staying put will cement this as the model of a normal, healthy relationship for your sons to emulate. Do you want them to define normal relationship as what you and cheater model for them? You have to be strong, and end this asap. Good luck. There’s a whole lot of us who have been there and are cheering you on. Trust us. The other side is a lot less exhausting!

  • Queen, this is going to sound harsh, but please know that I have the best intentions.

    There is no way in hell that you are spending all this time and emotional energy spying on your partner, pursuing him through the streets at all hours of the night, and otherwise being consumed by this situation while at the same time being physically, mentally and emotionally available to your children to the extent that they need. It’s simply not possible, and I know that, because I had a parent in your exact situation. I remember how distracted my parent was all the time, how the world circled around the cheating partner, and how my parent’s mood fluctuated based on the state of the relationship. Your sons might be fine young men, but trust me, they notice this insane behavior and as great as a mother as you might be, you’re still not being the parent you should be.

    You’re staying in this situation because you’re addicted to drama. I know this, because I was a Drama Queen, too. As miserable as this situation makes you, you’re getting a heady rush of adrenaline when you get into Magnum PI mode and then catch him. And of course, after he’s been caught, there’s the excitement of a fight and the thrilling makeup sex (I.e. “hysterical bonding”).

    If you’re not going to get out of this relationship for yourself, do it for the sake of your boys. Find other outlets for thrill-seeking, such as roller coasters, adventure vacations, or hell, use your talent for research and tracking to open your own private investigation service. Find constructive, positive uses for your energies that don’t take a toll on your kids.

    • During my attempts to make a life happen with a cheating alcoholic, at the peak of my Nancy Drew phase, I was introduced to a term for the adrenaline high I experienced when I intercepted a new email or figured out something new about the cheater: “excited misery”. I had become addicted to the crises he created. It was a huge time and energy suck.

  • Queen, I’ve worn those shoes.

    They looked so pretty when I first put them on. They made me walk a little bouncier, stand a little taller. They screamed to the world that I was Somebody Worth Loving. More than “just a single mom”. I loved them, desperately.

    Funny thing about those shoes, though. They wore out, but I just couldn’t accept it. After the first year they were still pretty, but the uneven wear on the heels made me walk slightly off-balance. I adjusted my stride and kept wearing them. After ten years, my steps had become unstable, and my feet had deformed to fit the shape of those shoes. If they didn’t fit quite so well any more, it must have meant that I just didn’t know how to care for them properly. They were MY shoes, made to carry me down MY path.I had paid a lot for them, and it just didn’t seem right to throw them away. Although they had become scuffed and misshapen, I kept polishing and wearing them anyway.

    After twenty years of wearing only those shoes, I made a devastating discovery. When I wasn’t wearing them, other women did. Oh, I knew for years that those shoes appealed to other women, but I never thought those others would be able to reach into my closet and take my shoes to wear for a night or a year, leaving footprints that made it impossible for the shoes to conform to my feet. I finally understood why sometimes I would look for my shoes but couldn’t find them, and why I would get unexplained funguses from time to time. Sadly, I realized that my devotion to what were community shoes had altered my once strong gait to the point of permanence. Worst of all, I realized that I had been unavailable for my children too many times because I was busy nursing the latest pain that wearing those shoes had caused me.

    Clean your closet out, Queen! You have a holy path to walk guiding children who will only grow up once. Yes, it’s hard if you have to walk alone, but it’s only made harder when you’re hobbled by a pair of shoes that are better off left in the trashcan.

  • I found this trick. I imagine a theater where Cinderella is facing the Prince Charming. Their dialogue and movements are what I had with my cheater. How does it look ? Ridiculous. It’s not at all something a Prince Charming would say and do. Well, my next boyfriend had better speak and act in a way that would be consistent with the stage, or he will remain in the dating pool.

    • Oh, and Queen, I was 15 years with my boyfriend. We do not have children. We were not married at any point. We owned the same house, but it was paid when D-Day hit me. There isn’t much left of a relationship that has this level of commitment when the guy choses to cheat. Yet, I stayed one more year, and the next shit sandwich was even bigger.

  • Queen, I think we can all relate to that fear of the unknown. After I discovered his cheating, everything I once believed was shattered. I now know, thanks to CL and CN that him walking out and discarding me was a blessing, even though it hurt like hell. I didn’t want him back, but I wanted him to show some remorse, regret, shame, and to have him beg for me to take him back just so I could be the one to discard him. Of course none of it ever happened and I know now that it never will. But I’ve come to accept that, because a narc/sociopath simply can’t, and if they do, it isn’t real. It’s just more of their manipulation games.

    I wish I had found this site much sooner because it would have helped me to understand the emotional roller coaster and how to get off the ride and seek the land of meh. I’m not proud of a lot of my reactions due to the pure burning rage I was left with and wish I could go back and undo them, but that’s also now the past and water under the bridge. The hardest thing I struggled with was no contact. When someone simply walks out of your life after 14 yrs and then simply erases you from their life, along with an entire family, there was SO much I needed to say. I realize now that all I did when I fired off those angry texts was give him kibbles and provided him with insight as to what some of the evidence I was going to use against him later.

    I then started marking my calendar each day I went no contact, and oh what a difference it’s made! No kibbles for him….and no regrets afterwards for me. As CL has said, the fog really does begin to lift when you go no contact and stop checking on them. Give them back to themselves.

    Besides this site being my home away from home, I’ve read many of the recommended books and the one I’m reading now “Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotional Abuse” by Jackson MacKenzie is amazing. One of the quotes, “This journey is about you, and it always has been. Once you discover this, you are ready to fly free. You can free your spirit with the very same imagination you once used to imprison it. With this knowledge, you take full responsibility for the person you’re about to become.”

    Give him back to himself, Queen. He doesn’t deserve you, and you deserve to fly free.

    • “As CL has said, the fog really does begin to lift when you go no contact and stop checking on them. Give them back to themselves.”

      Great advice! I will admit that trying to figure out my husband and control his actions became an addiction for me. Going no contact is like breaking a bad drug habit, one of the strongest ones ever. Facing who you are without the thing you’re addicted to is scarier than hell, especially when you don’t even know who that person is any more. Life is so much better once you face and stare down that particular dragon, though. It feels so much better to be living an authentic life.

  • Dear Queen,

    If you want to know how he is thinking put this in your pipe and smoke it:

    He wants to be with other women as strongly as you want to be with him.

    There. That is how he thinks.

    He doesn’t end it the same way you don’t end it.

    You are giving all the attention that belongs to your boys to him, the same way he puts all the attention that belongs to his mate to other women.

    Get out. Save your children. Save yourself. You are just as selfish staying with him as he is being a player.

    I am sorry I am so harsh, but I really believe you need a good slap on the face to wake up. I wish someone had done this to me.

    • Good points here. My ex – in-laws are always asking me, “Why aren’t you dating? You should be dating!” They say this to make themselves feel better that they have a family member who’s a piece of shit father, moving 2000 miles away from his kids to pick his affair partner over them. I tell them straight up, “Not that my personal life is any of your business, but (Cheater) didn’t choose our kids. He moved 2000 miles away to be with the (Whore). If I don’t choose my kids, who will??”

      We only have a limited time with our kids, before they’re adults with their own lives. They deserve to be the #1 choice from someone in their lives. Pick your kids, not the Cheater.

    • I am with you Calamity Jane. I wish I had this site years ago. I would have moved quicker had I had a swift slap to my brain that this site provides. There is so much garbage out there culturally, on the internet, passed around in families that generally reeks of wreckonciliation, you must have done something wrong, you provoked him, the marriage was in trouble already….makes me boil.

  • My counselor put it all in a nutshell for me. The key isn’t figuring out what makes him do what he does, it’s figuring out why you STAY. Take the focus off him and put it on yourself. Get into counseling if you’re not. Fight for your emotional health, if not for your own sake, for your boys.

  • Dear Queen, to CL’s sage advice I will be blunt — Time to PUT ON YOUR BIG GIRL PANTS and choose – yes or no. Yes – continue on with this person. No – move on.

    Listen, I get it. You are conflicted. You can’t figure out why the connection feels so right — and yet he is doing all of these things.

    My BFF gave me some very good advice a few years ago: this is what DATING is. You get to know each other. You find out if you are a good fit. You find out if he is good for you. You find out if you can make a life together. Yes, you may get your heart broken.

    It sucks but you found out that he is not a good fit. He is not good for you.

    Time to practice some ‘Tough Love’ on yourself.

    • …wanted to add….YOU have a committed partnership with your guy, so you don’t think you are in the dating phase.

      However, HE believes you are dating because: “we are not married, so it is not wrong to look around”. Look at his behavior. He just says whatever he thinks you want to hear – because you’ve got some goodies that he likes – for now. However, he will never be on the same page as you – no matter what you do.

      Get a glass of wine and rent the movie “He’s just not that in to you” – if you need more perspective.

  • I have not had time to read all the comments, but I just want to say that the BIGGEST mistake you could make is to move in with him. It’s tempting, I know, to move in so you can “keep and eye on him”, but please, please don’t! It will get you further tangled up in his insanity, it will expose him even more to your children, and he will not stop cheating. He will only learn better and more creative ways to cover his tracks. Run. Run fast and hard and don’t you dare look back. Ever.

    Much love and prayers to you, Queen. Live up to that title.

  • Dear Queen,

    You’ve named what’s going on with you, which is a huge step. It’s something that cannot be unseen. Soon, I’ll bet you will begin to believe that a good person does not deserve a life spent monitoring a cheater. And then, you may be ready to act on that belief.

    One of the most helpful posts I read here was from 3/19/14 (I think titled “But He’s a Such a Nice Guy”). In that post, CL talked about getting unstuck in a way that really resonated with me: “So how does the lawyer/diplomat handle it? “You don’t have to hate him. Work out who he is later. What’s evident is that his self-destructiveness is hurting you, you have zero control over him, and you need to save yourself. Get out now.””

    My father said the same thing, telling me I could always remarry him if he ever started behaving like a decent human being….that approach gave me a way to summon the bravery I needed to take the steps to get myself out of the chaotic, confusing, mean life that comes with loving a cheater.

    It helped me to lessen the magnitude of making what felt like a permanent decision, which for me at the time was a bridge too far. I could tell myself that cutting off contact with him was not forever, just for now. It helped to take the approach of one day at a time.

    Now, I am so glad he’s gone. He never has figured out how to do the decent thing.

    • I thought the same thing. “I can always remarry him.” Now, he’s engaged to a girl he met three months ago. He doesn’t know I know that. He hasn’t told our children, just like he didn’t tell them she was moving in just six weeks after they met. (We’ve been officially divorced for a year, separated for two. He’s introduced a whopping 12 women to our children in those two years. One was introduced within days of him moving out of our home. Like, wow.)

      I will never remarry him. He is not a person I want to spend time with or around. He will never change. People don’t typically change…not in any fundamental way, at least.

    • I like your perspective Doop. This way of thinking squashes the “what-ifs” that chumps tend to be plagued with.

      • I could manage the thought of doing something “for now”…the “forever” part was too big to absorb at the time.

      • Here are a few what-ifs we can live with; a new Chump Credo:

        -What-if I were to live an honest life and not permit people who wedge a machete into my back to stay in my life?

        -What-if I were to devote my time and energy to people or animals who can actually be reformed and who appreciate me (cue ad for Big Brothers/Big Sister program)

        -What-if I were to value myself enough to realize that I am worth being cherished, not criticized?

        -What-if I could skip through my house, singing my favorite song, instead of walking on eggshells?

        -feel free to add to this, CN

  • You’ve tied yourself to an anchor! He’ll drag you under if you let him, and he won’t lose a minute of sleep over it. You’re giving him time and mental space that belongs to you and your children. I went through Dday 4 years ago. I’ve been through the cycle of rationalizing, forgiveness, detective mode, and confrontation. I originally thought I should stay for my children, but later realized I need to LEAVE for my children. I knew I didn’t want to model an unhealthy relationship for them. Now that MY anchor is out of the house, I’m getting some positive feedback from family; I never realized the extent to which I’m a role model for my nieces and nephews as well.

    Finding out your entire marriage/relationship was a hoax is devastating beyond measure! It levels you, but it also forces you to define who you are, and to act with more intention rather than out of some subliminal fear.

  • Queen, what if a best girlfriend/sister/brother/mother, etc told you what you told us, what might you say? I bet it might mirror what others and I would tell you. Not married, no kids with POS; it’s time to get the fuck out of this situation. Really, just tell yourself “that’s it”, believe and ACT ON IT! Yep, it is tough, but you will look back with pride and satisfaction that you did the best for yourself and child. You are so much stronger than you realize.

    You don’t see how extremely lucky you are; try what I went through with a cheating wife of nearly 24 years, hell bent on my destruction, and a child involved… Please, please, treat yourself like a queen, do what is best for yourself and child and get mad over how you are being treated. Righteous anger has a power that is incredible to move you forward, and get on with the no contact. Very best wishes to you, and powerful hope sent to start your journey.

  • “Maybe you shouldn’t have impressionable young boys around a man like this!”

    This is your answer. Leave. Don’t look back. Don’t beat yourself up. Just leave.

  • I’m not sure if this will help, but after two decades (yes DECADES) of dealing with the same behavior, which did escalate with time, the thing that got me to “wise up” (aka “see reality for what it is”) was the realization that I kept saying to myself: “Who would do something like this to someone they love?” I realized that if I have to even ask myself the question, then I already knew that his behavior was sub-human–and no matter how “faulty” I might be, I deserved at least minimum respect as his life partner and mother of his children.

    As I heal (and this will take years, I suspect), I hold tightly to my threshold of “If I have to ask myself how he/she could do this if they love me, then they don’t deserve me.” And I apply it to everyone close to me (blood relations included).

    And, as an aside … There is relief to be had in embracing the truth of your situation. So much pain and self-recrimination you can finally start to let go of.

    I wish you all the best.

    • Jess’s Mom–I remember your story, and am glad you are breaking free from the abuse and lying. You’re mighty!

    • Jess’s Mom I really love that question: “Who would do something like this to someone they love?” I think that’s what finally propelled me to file. Thanks for putting perfect words to it.

  • I thought a simple thing one night which changed my way of thinking (not entirely, and I had relapses, but it was the catalyst). I was out at 2 in the morning, driving the streets, looking to see if she was staying over at his new place, and I thought, “If I were in an accident at 2 in the morning, if my car died, if I was killed by a drunk driver, would it be worth it?” I thought, “What can I do about it if she is at his place?”, and then “Wouldn’t I rather be home in bed, with a cup of tea and a good book?” And even more, “I can’t afford the gas to get to work, let alone drive around at night. Go home, Champ!!!”

    I didn’t have to tell myself that he wasn’t worth it, which at the time would have gone against my wanting to still love him and help him. Instead it was a rational, practical approach. It was scary and lonely out there at night; it would be safer at home. When I got home, my lonely place without him seemed more welcoming and warm. I did make tea, and I did go to bed with a good book. I’ve only driven past his place once in the last 4 months, it proved nothing, it wasted gas, and it made me feel like crap.

    So I’d try to think of that, if you can … What if all this stress gave you a breakdown? What if it killed you? Would it be worth it? Wouldn’t you rather be home, snuggled with your kids?

    • I did the same thing. (With the jerk I mentioned in my other post). I was snooping, I was stalking, it was sick. And I kept finding stuff, and I still kept doing it.

      At some point, you have to decide that peace is much more valuable than looking for more evidence to rip your heart out. I choose peace.

      • Rumblekitty and Champ you are both so very right. My work is right by ex and APtard’s apartment and I do look over there most days. You are my witnesses, I vow to take action against my action and instead focus on my Taylor Swift CD’s and enjoy my time to work. What a better choice, right?

  • Amputations going hurt. When D-Day happened to me, I knew what I had to do. But all the good memories kept me hanging on. It wasn’t until months later that I realized no matter what good qualities my ex had, I wasn’t safe with her. But despite all the pain and confusion I filed for divorce. I felt like Aron Ralston, who amputated his own arm to get out of the canyon. (Aron is much braver that I. His ordeal was probably worse) Man it sucked. But for the sake of my mental well-being I had to do it. And now I’m glad I did because if I can take that I can take anything. No more abusive relationships for me!

  • Get. Out. Now.

    That’s the first step. The rest will fall into place. It will be hard but have faith and lean on us. You will get through it and be better for it.

  • I don’t know where I found this quote, but it came at just the right time to push me into action.

    I hope it helps others get away from those unworthy of their love:

    “Someone who is worthy of your love will never put you in a situation where you feel you must sacrifice your dignity, your integrity, or your self-worth to be with them.”

  • Queen, I haven’t read all the reply’s, so don’t know if this is has been said already. I have a feeling this guy knows just what to say to you, to keep you dreaming. You said he led you to believe you had a future together, so he knows that’s the door to your heart. If he keeps swaying you with talk of being a family with him, think about this- his version will be VERY different from yours! He sees himself ‘playing’ behind your back, in fact, that’s what he’s been training you for! So, maybe he does want to legally attach himself to you, then, the games can begin! You will be Magnum PI forever, so sad. And, now that I think about it, don’t be surprised if he tries to woo you with a ring, or something like that, when you try to dump him, he is aware of your desire for that. It’s all just a trap.
    I hope you can evict him from your life, really soon, or how about today? And go NC, because even though his lovey talk sounds so trite, that stuff can change your mind because you want to believe (don’t even listen!).
    Use your clever brain to get away from this part-time man, you’re obviously intelligent, you can do it!

  • I don’t mean to be mean, Queen, but the Cheater is just using you so he can tell his buddies, “I live with my girlfriend” and not the humiliating, “I live with my Mom”. That’s one of the hardest messages for us Chumps to internalize – THEY ARE USERS. You are probably an awesome person, but your only worth to these fraudsters is things like: your home, your money, your time, your cooking skills, etc.

    Users are dangerous to your children. If nothing else, get rid of him before he escalates and can hurt one of your kids.

  • The heart scars deep, time will not heal the wounds but time passing will make it easier. For almost thirty years I loved a man who I thought loved me but no he can’t love anyone he has no clue. People like this are soulless and the soon to be wife will find this out to. Bitch. My divorce is in the process and they are planning a wedding. How do I find out Facebook. Fucking Facebook. We have history we have kids. I thought I knew him I didn’t and don’t. Couldn’t even respect me enough to tell me the truth. Fucking Facebook!!! My account taken down, threw rest of his shit in the yard the puppies having a field day with clothes, books and records. They play keep away with everything. A man who is proud of ruining women sexually cause he so good. And proud he leaves a trail of broken hearts including mine. No soul just a black hole where his heart should be. I’ve gone no contact email only. Keeps emailing me wants to talk and be friends! Ha! I hope he and the new whore wife have the life they deserve. Run girl RUN!!!!

    • By the way girl, gave my cheater four chances, makes me the biggest fool of all. He is a five year old in a mans body. No soul!

      • Kar Marie,

        I hear you. I’m so sorry. 30 years and you hear it on facebook? Bastard. You are right – no soul. I hope it haunts him on his deathbed.

        You deserve so much better. I send you hugs and wishes for peace and strength xxx

              • I have lady strange, no Facebook no instagram , no twitter no nothing, took down, canceled all social media. Threw everyone out of my life who gives me grief including my own family members. Blocked him on my phone. Only way he can communicate is email. My kids talk to him rarely but they clam up about me. He tries to force them to tell but they won’t and he gets mad. Last email from me to him. Stop bugging the kids you fired me remember? Asshole! You destroyed our relationship and now you are trying to destroy their relationship with me! Haven’t done enough damage you buttwipe?! Email til divorce is over then he gets nothing! What the hell is he thinking? Wants us to be best friends and hang out. The man really is crazy!

  • Dear Queen,

    Glad you contacted CL! You’ll get the finest advice and ideas from CN.

    I will attempt to answer your questions about ‘the insanity’ and ‘WHY?’ you keep going back for more. It has nothing to do with intelligence/idiocy, will power or desire.

    You, as a result of the conditioning of domestic abuse, have the same process going on in your central and peripheral nervous system as an addict. It is an electrochemical and anatomic aberration so powerful as to be able to cripple the strongest of individuals. No ‘determination’ can subdue this tsunami of chemicals and cellular dysfunction. It is a physiological catastrophe. Hence, you speak of insanity, idiocy and entanglement. YES!

    The process is too extensive to properly address briefly, but just so you appreciate your conundrum with more compassion, consider the impact of prohormones, hormones, neurotransmitters, neurons, neural pathways, cellular physiology and receptor sites on each cell all performing in ways that support the insanity. Then the individual cells reproduce with the NEW dysfunctional structure and cellular memories.

    Make it tough much??? Gotta withdraw the ‘drug’ responsible (No Contact) and get help (LOTS of it). Please be compassionate towards yourself, as you would if one of your children was up vs what you are dealing with. Many blessings.

    • Arghhhhh. Hope I didn’t come across as an arrogant consultant!
      Just wanted to explain that our physiology rules.
      I have been there, done it all and felt immense humiliation.

      • Question: Why is he doing these thing?
        Answer: Because you are are letting him.

        there might be a million “reasons” or a zillion “excuses” but the main answer is because you keep letting him do this to you. would you be so accommodating if he was punching you in the face? would you be as accepting if he kept breaking your bones over and over? a broken arm when he twisted it, a broken leg when he threw you down the stairs, a broken cheek when he slapped you? would you be running back to him if he brutally raped and sodomized you? would you be talking to his mother, asking for advise if he pulled a knife on you? what if he pulled a knife on your children?

        verbal abuse and cheating is the same thing as psychical abuse only the scars are on the inside. is this what you want your children to learn. or worse do you want to have your children abused also?

        the question why is this happening and how can he do this really do not matter. the answer is always the same because you are letting him. he goes missing for hours because you let him. oh sure you get mad, you might yell at him, but in the end you are allowing him to do this. he gets on dating sites because you let him, because by finding out and yelling at him was all you did. you did not kick him to the curb, you did not tell him if he wants other women to get out of your life. so you showed him yet again, that you will allow him to do this. he cheats and lies and leaves his email open so you can see it (honestly NOBODY is that stupid) and you let him. his mom did not tell you anything because you already know that “Maybe you shouldn’t have impressionable young boys around a man like this!”

        you are spending time emailing strangers and driving around at night when you should be doing stuff for your boys. you are giving your love to a man who doesnt want it and by doing so you are taking love away from your children.

        stop letting him hurt you.

  • Queen, wanted to add that my own idiocy rivals anyone’s because I kept making the same mistake (picking the narc – some cheated some didn’t) in one relationship after another. That also fits the definition of insanity. I’m trying to learn more and grow so I can do better. But it’s humiliating being here now. Bet you feel some of that, too. We all have – and still do sometimes.

    You are not alone in your idiocy/insanity/hopium. You are not alone in your dream of partnership. You are not alone in not having the tools to deal with a cheater or narc. You are not alone in your rage.

    And know that you are not alone in your hope.

    Please keep coming back and explore the crap out of this site and the forum and when you think you’ve absorbed it all – go back and read it again.

    Personally, I have had several aha moments here that have moved me off stuck incrementally. These moments are saving my life. Let it save yours, too

    • NoMoreNarcs (love the name!) said: “But it’s humiliating being here now.”

      I agree, there is some humiliation in the aftermath (“it didn’t work,” “I’m alone again,” etc.). But for Queen and others still “stuck,” I think it is important to note that in the aftermath there is also positive counterbalance of regaining one’s dignity.

      Why do need to regain our dignity? Because of the tremendous humiliation (and resulting pain) the asshat imposed upon us almost every day (or actually every day) with doubt, confusion, lies on top of lies, words that contradict behavior, devaluation, and sometimes very public embarrassment–there’s nothing quite like knowing the people around you knew that you were being used like a doormat but not informing you of the fact.

      The humiliation in the aftermath is nothing close to the humiliation of “during.”

  • Um, CL, could you take a break from writing things that pertain exactly to my situation and point out all my exact thinking errors & self-defeating behaviors? It makes it really hard to keep up the hopium haze, denial dance, etc… Yours truly, Heather-Who-Is-Not-Ready-For-Reality. P.S. Grudging thanks. Seriously, making myself read CL every day is probably the smartest move I’ve made since d-day.

  • “The Horse is dead. Dismount.”

    Idiot Queen, you know what you need to do…you knew when you wrote to the Chumplady….The sooner you break it off with this cheater, the sooner you have the opportunity to meet someone worthy of the awesomeness that is you. You might not ever meet someone that is worthy, but being single trumps being coupled with a cheating liar, every time.

    I held on to my cheaterpants for way too long… children and finances held me there. Then he died.

    You are not tied to this ball and chain…let go and get on with your life.

  • Queen, this is who he is. He will never change. And even if he did, could you ever believe it wholeheartedly?

    His idea of what love is involves being a cheater. That’s how he wants to live his life. He does not want or comprehend the beauty of a profound connection with another human being. He would rather be ‘Jack the Lad’ – it makes him feel like he’s got big balls, and THAT is the only thing important to him. You stick around while he fucks as much strange as he likes and he’s happy – cos that’s what he thinks the meaning of life is. He’s not interested in ‘Derby and Jones’ love. He’s not interested in loyalty and self-sacrifice and love so deep it would be there as a testament to his worth on his deathbed. No, he just wants the world to think he’s got a big penis and balls combo – that’ll do him – that’s all he needs to make him feel worthy.

    Queen, you’ll never be more than a chump to this guy – the foil to his prowess at deception and deceit. If you have to feel anything for him, feel pity – he hasn’t got the maturity or wisdom or intelligence to experience true, real love. No matter whatever he does, however much strange he gets to fuck (hey, do any of us really, really respect Hugh Hefner and his playboy mansion)? – he’s worthless. His values are fucked.

    Stay with this guy and you will suffer outrage after outrage. You really will. Eventually, one of his strange will be deemed sparklier than you and he’ll be gone and you’ll be hurt by how many shit sandwiches you choked down – and it won’t matter one bit to him – in fact, he’ll use your forebearance against you – you can bet it won’t be appreciated, and it will hurt you bad.

    2 years since NC (divorce last month) – honestly, I still feel hurt and angry about how I was abused, but it feels unreal that I was ever emotionally involved with ‘The Great I Am’ – I don’t feel connected to him at all – when I look back now, I wonder what the hell I was doing with him – he really wasn’t ‘all that’ and certainly didn’t deserve my ‘good regard’ reflecting back at him (sure, he was a great actor and a terrific ‘politician’ – full of promises and sincerity) but he too thought love was a Hugh Heffner fantasy and decided that was the life he wanted.

    I wish you so much strength and self-belief Queen, in a way, I wish I’d have been in your position (not living with him, not enmeshed financially) when I unmasked my particular shark. It is hard to acknowledge the beautiful dream is dead. But Queen, unless your dream looks like a lifetime of insecurity, heartache and betrayal, you have to call this one dead. Get angry, get indignant, get out.

    • At least Hugh Hefner has the wherewithal to be honest about his relationships. He is into open relationships. The women know upfront and can make their choices based on the facts. Those of us here weren’t so lucky.

      Near the end, I told my asshat “If you would have just told me upfront that you wanted to be married to a person who was completely faithful while you ran around and got your jollies off with whomever, wherever, and whenever, I would have been able to CHOOSE based on the facts. Instead you lied. You falsified my reality. You led me to believe I was marrying someone as committed as I was. My decisions were all based on your f***ing lies.” And, of course, he wouldn’t be upfront because most women (including myself) would never stick around for such a debasing situation.

      Side note: I think I found great nicknames for soon-to-be ex’s whores … “whomever, wherever, and whenever.” 🙂

      • Totally with you Jess’s Mom! I have no beef whatsoever with people who choose to have open relationships, so long as everyone knows the rules of the game, I wholeheartedly accept that lifestyle. Whatsmore, I do believe people can feel real, true, profound love in open relationships. The impression I have of Hugh Heffner and people of this ilk is that it’s NOT about love. It’s NOT deeper than a masturbatory experience with what may as well be a blow up doll with cybernetic programming. I’m totally, totally in agreement – had I known the rules I’d have had the option to choose whether to partake or not.

        ‘whomever, wherever, whenever’ – yep – the values of yours, mine and Queen’s ‘beloved’ partners. Sad, pathetic wankers ( because that’s all love means to them) the lot of them.

    • Perfectly said Jayne They have no soul. Just dick and balls. The one thing asswipe is proud to make claim to. Rest of him empty shell. On his deathbed hey I broke lots of hearts but I was a hell of a lover…best they ever had I’ve ruined so many women. All of them including me need to piss on his grave. Bastard.

  • This guy is giving you nothing but nightmares and an ulcer. Time to be awesome and get the fuck away from him.

    Hell, I’ve done the same thing. Eons ago, I was in a “relationship” with a total piece of crap. Granted he didn’t start out that way. In the beginning, he was lovely and fun and oh the sex! I fell head over heels for this man. Then I’d say about 5 months later, his turd started to show. And rather than get away from him, I became obsessed with trying to get the man back that I originally met. Head, meet brick wall, over and over again. I think I wasted almost 2 years doing that before I decided I was tired of my head hurting.

    Now today, I’m post cheating ex-husband (boy I sure can pick ’em), I’m dating a pretty wonderful guy that I hope doesn’t do a Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde on me. I actually stressed quite a bit about this, but finally came to this conclusion: If he turns into a jerk, I’ll survive. I survived the ex-husband, I survived the piece of crap from years ago, I’ve survived all kinds of stuff. You’re getting stuck because on some level, you think you can’t do any better, and then if you breakup with this guy, you’ll be heartbroken forever! You won’t. I promise.

    You know you deserve better. But you can’t stick with the same person expecting he’ll morph into a better guy. He’s won’t. Don’t get stuck worrying about how you’ll be feel once you end it. Nobody on the planet is that special. He’s not worth feeling bad over.

    Oh and the investigating stuff? Stop. You don’t need to see anymore. You’ve probably already got 1000 reasons to leave, one more won’t make a difference

    Fly be FREE!!!

  • I’m someone else who wasn’t married to the cheater but I waited over 20 years and had to buy him out of our house. I don’t know what the rules are like where you are but do you really want the Idiot King in a position to make a claim on your house, pensions or for spousal support?

    It’s only been 2-11 months for me (depending on how you look at it) and is awesome on the other side. Dating (which is all your BF is doing with you) is way more fun when there is actually hope that the other person might actually love you one day. Or sometimes they are really, really handsome so even if it goes nowhere that is super fun.

  • Queen–

    I’m sorry, but Chump Lady is right. At some level, you want this kind of relationship. Or at some level, you think he’ll change, in which case you want to be with the Changed Man. Make a list of why you should leave, and why you should stay. Look at it and then imagine yourself listen to a friend say the same things you are saying. How would you advise that person?

    To leave him, you need to leave him. It’s that simple. You’re not married. You have no joint assets. There is no custody to sort out.

    So why don’t you?

    Well, you have to stop playing Nancy Drew, for one. I’m not being dismissive or saying that it’s not natural to do the cyber-stalking. Heck, I’ve done it. But once you stop, you realize that you’ve now got a big hole in your routine. You’re going to have to fill it with something.

    Right now, you have a lot of drama and action in your life. Once you ditch your cheater, you will have neither. You might want to see if the thing that’s keeping you stuck is the fear that your life will be empty.

    It won’t be.

    In the short term, you’ll need therapy. You can’t live that long with the crazy, you can’t live that long doing the crazy stalker stuff–and not have a little crazy wear off. Work on that!

    Then take back your life.

    You will Trust that He Sucks only after you get out from under his thumb.

  • I continue to learn about the power of fear. especially the fear of being alone. maybe we become our best mighty chump self when we do the hardest thing while scared?

    I remember still running from the lion of loneliness even after I left my cheater and gained my life. it wasn’t until i invited that terrifying lion into my new cozy alone space that he became tame. how? i simply let myself spend time alone and i observed the reality that i am ok. this brought peace and freedom like never before. sure there was also lots of crying, writing, self care and praying in that lonely time. not surprising, my lion of loneliness reminds me a lot of Aslan..

    i think CL’s observation that the vulnerability of loneliness can make us catnip for sociopaths and narcissists is true. and while partnering up with a good partner is a good thing, learning how to be alone is also essential. every relationship will end either by cheating, choice or death. so it is important to know how to be alone. and be well with that.

    i am not afraid to be alone now. i would not have known this until: a) i was alone, and; b) i faced loneliness sober and honestly.

        • xoxo to you jane.

          i think the fear of being alone is at least one of the median reasons we humans stay in bad relationships..

      • Chumpette – I second Jayne – beautiful and profound observations.

        Fear is at the core of so much. It takes courage to face fear. And courage is not a given in life. I smile as I think about the lovable cowardly lion in the wizard of oz!

        I really love your image of the lion of loneliness and the power of befriending oneself, and taming the fears.

        That’s a keeper!

  • Queen

    You are here with full knowledge you are with a serial chesting abusive narcissist who justifys his repeated infidelity on your lack of understanding his needs?
    You just provided CN with a new one we can add to the cheater playbook. So,he says he wouldn’t cheat if you moved in with him and had a child? Thank goodness your here and know you are attracted to the king of idiots. For whatever reason you have tolerated his abuse for so long you are not the idiot or a queen. The only royal treatment you are receiving is a royal shit sandwich served on a tarnished platter. You have to want better for both you and your children. What are your needs? The disordered are experts at control and power over highlighting our inadequacies and vulnerabilities. Your at a crossroad and you have a nation of support. You can save yourself, go no contact, and live better. It’s hard work, with a great outcome. You gain an authentic life and model strength for your children. The choice to live an unfulfilled life of hardship with a fucktard is much lonelier and your needs will never be met. Get a therapist, go no contact, and face the pain. It works. You can do this!

  • Queen, do it for yourself, even more, do it for your sons. The last thing they need in their lives is a lying sneaking sociopathic sexual freak dating (of god forbid living with or married to) their mom. Whatever you know he’s done is just the tip of the iceberg, you have no idea how disordered he may truly be and that is frightening. You don’t want yourself and you certainly don’t want your sons around that, you have no idea what that freak is capable of. None of it can be healthy in a house with little (or even not so little) kids. Ask me how I know.

    (((HUGS)))

  • I, too, gave the cheater ex chances – two over a period of over 20 years. The scorpion and the frog from Aesop’s Fables pretty much mirrors the story of the chump who gives the cheater a chance or chances.

    The Scorpion and the Frog

    A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
    scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
    frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion
    says, “Because if I do, I will die too.”

    The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
    the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
    paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
    but has just enough time to gasp “Why?”

    Replies the scorpion: “Its my nature…”

    Queen, people are who they are. Don’t hang on to the idea of who you want your cheater to be. Take him exactly for who he shows you he is. He’s a scorpion. Don’t argue. Instead, get out and run.

  • “Please do not model this shit to your sons. Do not let them grow up thinking cheating is natural and right, and we should just hand out chances.”

    a-fucking-men.

  • Dear CL and Chump Nation,

    Thank you for your heartfelt and spot on reply. I’m quite overwhelmed by how you and so many others have known exactly what to say. And you are so right about the single mom part. It’s the very first time someone ever articulated that to me first without my having to come right out and say it. It doesn’t make it a justifiable reason to stay, I get that, but it is an amazingly freeing feeling just to know that it’s understood. I’m so grateful. I’m not sure what to say to all of the kindness everyone is showing… It’s been a long time since I’ve felt like anything I say matters. I’m trying to find words for what’s going on in my head to comment on my post… Really all I have right now are tears… Thank you again…
    Chump Lady; You have a gift for helping people and while you hear that a lot probably, I feel like it’s necessary to state again.

    7 million strong… I wish that number was way smaller, and I wish I weren’t part of it, but now I have a starting point. One that’s very needed. Chump nation, your insight is astounding. Thank you.

    PS… “The horse is dead….. Dismount” resonates like you wouldn’t believe. And on a side note; I’m TOTALLY using that quote the next time my teenager asks repeatedly for a new video game.

    PSS… (((Hugs)))

    Warmly,
    The idiot Queen

    • Hey, “Queen,” glad you’re here! Thanks for posting. Now RUN AWAY from that guy and don’t look back! And please give us progress reports. We’re here to help! 🙂

  • CL’s got the right advice.

    Except for one final spying weakness three weeks before I filed, I stopped spying on my wife relatively early in her affair. THAT, in and of itself, made a huge difference. It took the focus off of *confirming* that my wife sucked, and instead took that fact as a given.

    Look, if you regularly feel that you to spy on your spouse, then you’ve just confirmed that your spouse sucks. ACTUALLY spying will do no more to confirm that.

    And after I left, and after I filed, each day I got progressively more “right” in the head. It took me another 6 months to stop blaming my wife’s affair on other aspects of our relationship. But I couldn’t have reached that point while still with her. With all of that manipulation and story-shifting? No way. I needed a clear space to think, and that’s what leaving and filing gave me.

    IQ, move on. He’s not worth the time it took you to write your letter.

  • Kick his lying cheating ass out of your life! 1. You’re better off alone than with that shit. 2. You will find someone genuine out there eventually. Don’t do what so many (including myself) have done and keep craving the veneer of a relationship you don’t have. Like me it looks like you’re the only one breathing life into the dead cat that is your relationship with him. Throw it over the fence and move on.

    You won’t realise how right your decision is till you get rid of him. I kept smoking the hopium point right up to the end sure that she would see the error of her ways, admit to the lies in therapy etc. Nope! Even when I told her to get out (relationship on the line) she wouldn’t change her story or admit to my latest discovery of her contact with the AP. She’ll never change and neither will he. Don’t keep waiting for it to happen – you’ll be so much better off.

    Try not beat yourself up too much. We’ve all done it and sometimes I still do a bit. Give it time, forgive yourself for not always acting in your own best interests and move forward! Things will only get better.

  • “Nothing can come of nothing.” -Shakespeare

    This means that if you do nothing to extract yourself from this toxic sludge of a relationship, you will get nothing that you desire. Do nothing, get nothing. Do something, get something. Love yourself first, and someone worthwhile will love you, too.

    You are not handing out chances, you are buying yourself time. Time’s up. GO.

  • Queen, this one is a no-brainer. Lord Humongous said it best.

    humungous
    The ONLY reason I’ve up with to justify you staying is that your story makes me feel better about my own shit sandwich, and since that’s a god-awful reason for anything, I’m going to echo the other eight billion comments above telling you – BEGGING you – to get out and walk away.

  • The simple reason we keep giving them more chances is that the affair evidence rarely just pops up as indisputable information.
    My cheater #2 was carrying on with a work colleague who was so physically repulsive that I would never have believed it, until someone just told me what was going on.

    I recall all sorts of red flags that I had observed (working overtime with no increase in paycheque; showering before speaking to me when arriving home; washing the bedsheets when I was away; blonde hairs on my pillow; items of clothing missing; frequent mention of ‘hated’ colleague). In total, and in retrospect, I could ask how dumb was I?

    It wasn’t until I was clued in by his colleague that I started joining the dots and seeing the truth. Until then, I was wishing those red flags were just annoying quirks which individually didn’t warrant dismissal. That slow burning treachery, though, informed my anger at the end, and I embarked on some well planned exit delights for him/them.

    Really, a chump has to get a fair degree of hate on for the cheater to be effective in ending it. Problem is, so many of us are programmed to be nice people, not the tough arsehole persona which works so well.

    I do love chuckling to myself about some of the nasty little payback I visited on cheater at the end.

  • Ah, the fake profile maneuver. I did that. Got stupid x to fall for it hook, line and sinker. Very satisfying in some ways but it was DDay 1 and I didn’t know how to leverage it properly. I let our MC talk me into revealing it. MC hoped the shock value would help him reach x. Nope. X stormed out a couple sessions later never to return.

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