Stay in Touch

Check out CL's Book

Living with Uncertainty After Infidelity

gambleI remember once upon a time when my life was going to Hell, a friend wrote me a cheer up email and ended it with a quote from Bob Dylan — “I embrace the chaos.”

I laughed. When you’re in a free fall, you’re going to go splat on the pavement whether you “embrace” it or not. Really, when life is shit, it feels more like chaos is trying to embrace YOU than the other way around. But I loved the quote. The lunacy and the hubris of it — Hey Chaos! I not only accept you — I EMBRACE you! Bring it on!

There is a real peace that comes from understanding that you can’t control everything. As we say a lot here at Chump Lady — you only get to control you. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t even very good at that.

I’m a big believer in acceptance. Manage what you can, let go of the rest, and the wisdom to know the difference. So, I get rather puzzled when people criticize this site for being “black and white” or intolerant of “uncertainty.

Sure, I believe there are some moral absolutes, I’ll cop to that. But I’m neither tolerant or intolerant of uncertainty. You may as well say I’m intolerant of gravity. Chaos is a force of nature. To live is to be uncertain — unless you’re Donald Trump or that Long Island psychic.

Chaos has an element of creativity as well (which is probably what Dylan meant). From the mess comes reinvention, recreation. I believe my life is a testament to that.

So to make living with “uncertainty” some sort of virtue, and to speak of it in New Age terms (to be Zenner than thou?) strikes me as weird. No, it strikes me as spackle. I think the argument goes something like this:

My spouse cheated on me. I can’t know for certain if he will ever cheat on me again. So I accept that uncertainty. You angry, bitter folks over there — you think you have this figured out. That by leaving a cheater, you’re CERTAIN it will never happen again. You’re certain it’s wrong. You’re certain you know what to do if you’re cheated on. And you’re certain you can prevent it from happening again.

(To which, I wonder — hey, if we’re so certain about everything, why are we so “angry”? I mean, we control all outcomes, what is there to be pissed about?)

It seems nutty to me — I can’t be certain if he’ll cheat on me again, so I accept all uncertainty.

I’ve discussed these mental gymnastics before — to reconcile you have to live with the knowledge that the person you’re intimate with has betrayed you. That’s the shit sandwich and there is no avoiding it. So you tell yourself, okay, well I can’t control everything. Any number of things might happen if I reconcile — life is uncertainty! Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty!

Let me tell you, Unicorns, there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty in divorce and single parenthood. We embrace the chaos over here.

The difference is we have a choice — not to live without uncertainty — but to live without a cheater. THAT cheater. The one who cheated on us — not some abstract cheater in our futures. Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

The point is, we have confidence in our self-knowledge — what we did that was chumpy, what was spackle, and what was bad luck. We have faith in ourselves. We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives. We understand chaos and we’re not looking to manufacture it or invite people into our lives who embrace the fuckupedness.

We have deal breakers. We refuse to live amorphously without them. (Maybe I have a boundary, maybe I don’t… it’s a work in progress… it’s “uncertain.”)

We understand that we don’t control everything or anyone. We only control ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fucktard” and spinning the wheel. Yes, life is risk, but we manage risk. We weigh our investments. It’s okay to walk away from the casino. Sure, sometimes you pull the slots and hit Unicorns. But usually the house wins.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Well fuck me, guess I’m just not Phil Jackson enough. What I embrace is the certainty that the shit sandwhiches we have had forced upon us weren’t made from our choice. Fear, anger, and paranoia are the horrible side dishes that have been served along with it, and I for one am not just going to “ZEN” out my feelings because what I am going through makes other people uncomfortable.

    • Well fuck me too! I’m no Lana, Letha, Stephanie, Tracy, Kristen, Heidi, Sherry etc. etc.
      I’m so raw after 20 years of a 32 year marriage.
      I want this megalomaniac sociopath narcissistic fuck pig out of my life!
      This whore of a husband actually insisted I forgive his transgressions or the marriage was over.
      I said, “Buh bye!”
      Now due to his being unemployed, I’m stuck living with the POS until he’s re-employed.
      Although I am sure all of us posting here took her valves with the assumptions we would stay married until death do us part. Although I think those of us that were raised in a broken family have a tendency to stick around and take whatever shit sandwich we get fed in order to have that family we had always longed for the child. Guilty!

      Now disabled and unable to do the slave/master relationship, I’m useless.
      I’m scared to death of my future, and only a little afraid to admit it as so many posting here seem to have their act together.
      I don’t.

      Even though I want this Tic-turd out of my life indefinitely. This isn’t what I planned for,and I just don’t have a strategy yet. Frankly, I don’t know how to even start.
      Any advice, especially from long term relationship persons would be grateful.
      I’m home bound, stuck 23 1/2 hrs a day in bed, at the mercy of my iPad. Help!
      Sorry to be a Debbie-Downer at the time of this post…I just can’t seem to get a solid grip.

  • The quote a friend sent that helped me right after D-day was, “If Britney Spears can live through 2007, you can get through today.”

    • Tempest I have to tell u i like reading ur no b.s comments that r all the while introspective and inspiring! I also enjoyed today’s post because I know allllllll too well the angst associated with wondering if he will cheat again! It has caused me such sorrow, however, I can say today that
      I m no longer spellbound. I lovvvvved him so much and it took 5 long long years of high and lows riddled in anxiety. I now see him as remorseless…as long as he could feel like a playboy. He’s all hurt that I don’t care anymore but I can’t love him anymore, he has taken care of that by shattering our love. I m now way stronger and not blinded by my feelings!!!! :)))

      • P.s letting go is what it’s all about, it’s liberating. I don’t have to play sherlock Holmes anymore I don’t care if he’s at the stripclub picking up, or flirting with the obese gas attendant…I actually find it funny how low will he go? All I have to say to the next lucky candidate is: Enjoy…the steaming shit sandwiches!!

        • For me I don’t have to deal with someone with a short fuse anymore or temper tantrums for no good reason at all. Plus I’m not disrespected on a regular basis.

          • Waiting for that freedom although now that I’m plotting and duck lining I have kept things extraordinarily copacetic…

          • “For me I don’t have to deal with someone with a short fuse anymore or temper tantrums for no good reason at all.”

            Boy Howdy…deadhusbands tantrums were legendary….his equilibrium was very fragile. I easily and happily adjusted to the lack of abusive anger and about 18 mos after he died, I got my ass handed to me when his best friends wife went off on me one day. I had forgotten what an abusive tirade felt like…first I decided to never speak to that shrew again ever then I thanked God that I was free of this sort of abuse.

      • Yeah, Fbi! As hard as it is to break free from someone you had a connection with and devoted your life to for many years, the lack of anxiety is worth it. You can’t feel well when you’re attached to someone slowly sucking out your emotional energy. Congrats!

    • Haha! I love it! … and what a disaster that was. I’m on my way out of the dark days; 4 more months until my divorce is final. When I was in my deepest depression I couldn’t imagine things being any better, but then I found the courage to ask him to leave, and low and behold, things became exponentially more clear. Britney is looking pretty hot now, and I can too!

  • I used to think that those that could reconcile were strong individuals that could put the past behind them and move on. Then I would snap out of it and think, “Are these people for real? How do you put that behind you?? The ONE thing your spouse was not supposed to do, they did it, and they thought they were going to get away with it.” Mine did. I actually found the break up letter that exposed the affair. Screw that. I’m strong. I’m mighty. It would have been easy to stay in the life I had than to go this path. And what a much sweeter path it’s been. Tough, but sweet.

    • Sayno – I had a friend whose husband (my stbx’s ‘best friend’ go figure) cheated on her (more than once). She was telling me about it and I rememberin thinking “How can you live with that?” They did divorce not too long afterward, thank god. It was a nasty divorce – similar to the one I am dealing with. Those ‘best friends’ are certainly the same kniving assholes. Her and I are still friends – in fact, I just looked her x up in the public records and saw he’s got a warrant out for his arrest. I let her know immediately! She contacted the child support office and also let them know. 🙂 These jerks who think they can cheat and knive their way through life – guess what – you met the wrong women! She fought back and he, who was once a very smart, professional guy, is in hiding. He can’t keep a job, he latches on to women for support – just a plain L-O-S-E-R. Revenge is sweet – especially when you have a ‘helper.’ 🙂 I only hope to see my stbx going down the same road to hell.

    • The saddest and hardest thing for me was finding the emails Ex had written to a prior OW. Up to that point I had believed his version that he had just met OW and been swept off his feet. Finding that other email was the death knell of my feelings for him as I realized he had cheated five years before. Like you said, sad, tough… bittersweet but ultimately liberating to see the truth exposed.

      • The length of our wreckoncilliation was a testament to my desperation and cheaters ability to lie much much better than I had any clue he could. We limped along for 7 years.

        The reasons for my desperation actually changed during that time but I was still desperate. My circumstances were, however, changing and I think I was headed to a place of greater clarity and strength. I doubt our marriage would have survived another 2 years if he had lived.

        Life was hard staying and it would have been a different hard leaving but I hate that (on earth at least) he did fully get away with it. I wish I could have looked him in the face and tell him I knew.

        Yesterday, I spoke to his sister and told her…I had no idea why I decided to tell her but she told me that she had just dumped her long term BF when she caught him cheating. I congratulated her on the dumping.

      • “The saddest and hardest thing for me was finding the emails Ex had written to a prior OW. Up to that point I had believed his version that he had just met OW and been swept off his feet.”

        Yes, this. He had claimed the same thing on a business trip and that they had an intense emotional relationship but that it never turned physical…he held fast to this story until he died.

        The proof I found in my house indicated a well planned trip with him/them nowhere near where near where he claimed and he knew what his plans were weeks ahead. There was something to hide in that crazy mess of lies and we all know what it was. My love for him died there in that pile of paper 11 months after he died.

  • The only people who poo-poo around are the disordered word salad types who will spin everything to suit themselves. Of course we are intolerant of uncertainty. To be otherwise is to be spinning your wheels waiting for the hammer to drop at any time – a real time sword of Damocles. Fuck that – its not worth the stress.
    Its far better to devote your time and effort to actual life-enriching activities, not being relationship police.

    You’ve got far less bullshit to worry about, if you stop providing the kibbles. Best way to piss off a narc is to completely ignore them and not play their games. And you don’t even have to lift a finger.

    • This. It took me way too long to reach this conclusion, but I did. I know without a doubt I would never try to or reconcile with my stbx. I don’t want to be the relationship police any longer. It’s stressful and doesn’t serve any purpose but to make life miserable for me. And ignoring them is the best way to treat them. My stbx still tries a text from time to time. Screw her!

      • But they don’t care about your fun. They only care that they aren’t being given the shiny sparkly kibble. Remember, its all about them! 😛

    • I agree Lania and lostntx. I lived with that real time sword of Damocles for years, rising through the ranks to become the Chief Detective of All Chumpdom. What a sad, small, lonely hell that was, trying to fool myself that I could ever be in control or ever feel safe.

      I was lucky in that I had one brilliant moment of clarity when every fear, doubt and worry about the future fell away. I knew that nothing could be worse than staying with him.

      And it was true. It’s amazing how much easier it is to handle the rest of life’s challenges when you take off the cement shoes.

    • Word, Lania!!! It has driven The Evil One cray-cray that I did not, nor will I text/call/message/email him unless it has something to do with our daughter- my sister’s motto: “Silence is the BEST answer!!!”

      The Evil One moved out May 1st, and it was mind-numbing at first, it was wretched, not going to lie…but having gone through this before with my first marriage, I knew that that would be a process that I would have to work through no matter what and that I. WOULD. BE. OK. …the last couple months have been so much easier- I am F-R-E-E… I took back MY control of MYSELF, and our daughter- I am in control of myself, which is scary sometimes to be honest, because for a long time, I was under his control, but I resented him and loved him at the same time…it was to the point with him that it was just easier to go along with his rants, whines, demands rather than stand up for myself and take a stand for myself and what I wanted and needed…

      no longer do I care, “What will the Evil One say…? I need to check with The Evil One…” other than every other weekend, he stays clear of me, which sucks for our daughter, but I am a much happier, calmer, saner mommy for her than I was when he was here…I can’t explain it, he was such an albatross for me, and now he’s gone, I can breathe again… I can stay up all night watching TV, I can watch what I want, I can play candy Crush and Pet Rescue (which was one of the biggest reasons he left- because i didn’t pay enough attention to him because I was busy de-compressing at night playing Candy Crush/Pet Rescue) all night long if I want.

      I have lost weight, I have friends that I can talk to on the phone for hours if I want without having him give me dirty looks, have to be interrupted with his bullshit comments, etc.

      Meanwhile, The Evil One STILL has medical/health issues, had to be put on Ambien to help him sleep, because he can’t sleep ( guilty conscience is BITCH to sleep with), he hasn’t been able to get his weight off, is running around with a 26-year-old (he’s 37), drives around in his SHIT-erado that he has customized rather than give me child support (don’t worry, his paychecks just started getting garnished- I got my first child support check last Friday!!!!) …. he has leeched onto HER family, HER friends, hangs out with HER kids, etc.

  • This was awesome, CL. Thank you, I needed that!

    Yes, uncertain boundaries. Bingo. That’s the biggest uncertainty – and chaos – that they are embracing.

  • Best lesson I have learned is I can’t control anything outside of myself. In my marriage I had so many balls up in the air…juggling them all so everyone else’s life turned out great….they wanted for nothing. When the husband exposed himself as the liar, manipulator, cheat he was….. I saw then and there all the ways I spackled the shit out of that man. I was the Martha Stewart of Shit Spackle.

    I owned that. That was my fault. That was my doing. I took responsibility for things I never should have. Control….I didn’t see it as control…or controlling. I have learned differently.

    I’ve let the mask fall off our image. People are scared to see the truth they believed the shit spackle too.

    Life is better living transparent and without having to be on the cover of Shit Spackle Magazine….

    • Yes! I was living in the same lie of a marriage as you. When I tell our story now – it’s less of a romance and more of a compilation of fables and shit spackle. Looking back, I put a pretty mask over our life so that it didn’t appear that I had made such a horrible choice in a partner and it wouldn’t reflect poorly on me. It’s often made me feel like the disordered one – but really, that’s all the gaslighting doing it’s work.

      You said it, Tracy. Although it’s very scary at first, living life transparently is far easier than spending energy on spackling the shit out of everything.

  • Right now I am struggling with the “devil you know” concept. I know what I am dealing with and what to expect and even know what buttons to push to get what I want out of him. But I don’t think that’s going to work forever. I just can’t decide if the uncertainty of the future is worth letting go of this chaos. Totally digging the casino analogy. He is like a slot machine that I have sunk every last bit of earnings into..not wanting to walk away and let someone reap the benefits of hitting the jackpot. But in reality, you are correct-the house always wins. Uncertainty is what really gets to me. Deep down I know what I have to do, but it doesn’t make it any easier. I will say this site has helped me more than IC did. This is one strong group. Hope to join your ranks, but it is a slow journey. Thanks for making this whole forced journey easier to bear. Yall are awesome.

    • Nolagirl–you have been on this site almost as long as me, our stories with cheaters are similar. From everything you have written the past year, I know you are a smart, strong woman. Own it. You can do this.

      • Thank you Tempest. I truly realize this and I am past the sad and sappy phase. It’s more of a holding pattern. I live my life as I wish and try to avoid contact with him. It’s like being on stage every day and pretending which is taxing. I don’t even know how to explain it….I am also fearful of his reaction because he truly does not ever imagine I would leave. I stayed away from commenting for a while and tried to save my marriage and give it 100 percent. But he has shown me who he is. And that glimmer of a kind,.caring and loving person is either pretend, or so deep down that it doesn’t even matter. @Alloutofkibble It is more of a pure financial decision which led me to stick around. I have a post nup signed and the more time I put in, the more financially advantageous this is to me and to my children. I know this sounds silly, but I am accustomed to a lifestyle..he is also currently renovating our dream home which I would own. I sometimes feel like walking away is probably best because I have to look at what this is truly costing me. Is my soul worth a price? Total narcissistic bullshit of him thinking I am for sale. But have proven I am. I know this may not make sense to anyone…most days it doesn’t make sense to me. I really have to pull it together. Because this half life isn’t working. I guess you are never too old for a new beginning.

        • Nolagirl, I’m so sorry to hear you’re living life in limbo. That is one of the hardest places to be. I know I held on forever hoping things would change, that he’d wake up, but it never happened. Now that I’ve been out of our relationship for 4 years I know two things – 1. You can’t work things out with a person who won’t really talk to you, 2. Once the trust is gone, it’s gone. Anyway, I understand where you are and hope you will make peace with your decision. Even though I live on less and my life is more precarious in one way, it feels so much better to be living an authentic life for myself and not pick-me dancing for someone else.

        • Nolagirl, I lived on a stage for years too; I was too proud to let anyone know what was actually going on in my marriage. The acting is an exhausting, sure, and steady soul-death. The shame that comes with that denial of self is paralyzing.

          I spent a lot of time blaming myself for being stuck for so long and for not getting out sooner, but I’ve come to acknowledge it as part of the journey I had to take. My feeling is that it happened, I can’t go back and change it, so I either make peace with it or…what? It sounds like you know your eventual destination. Just remember that everyone gets there on their own timeline. Please don’t beat yourself up because you’re not there yet.

          You’re right about never being too old for a new beginning. I remember reading something somewhere (and I’m probably getting all the details wrong), about a 40 year old going back to school for his degree. Someone questioned why he’d do that at his age, and he replied, “I’m going to be 43 anyway, and I’d like to be 43 with the degree.” The point is, all of us get older if we’re lucky, and we all have the chance to figure out what that life is going to look like. I’m confident that you’re going to know what to do when it’s the right time.

        • Nola-I have lived your life for years and I can tell you from experience that it does not get better unless you want to continue to also wear many masks-the happy wife/family, the marriage police, greatest actress, pick me dancer, and on & on. Trust me, your cheater will be all to happy to let you live in the Twilight Zone of Limbo while nothing in his world really changes. It is like playing a game you will never win. It starts by you trying to hide your feelings & acting like things are fine while he hides his cheating antics even more underground and it escalates from there. Indifference is not happiness. Your cheater views it as acceptance in their sick little world because you didn’t leave/haven’t left. Remember material things are just things…..if some particular material thing is that important to you it can always be purchased again at a later date. Getting stuck on thinking some other women will hit the proverbial jackpot you think you have been building is another futile exercise on getting stuck in the Skein. Please don’t waste your time. He isn’t going to be different for someone else-this is who he is. I know the fear of change is paralyzing-I have felt it, all of CN has felt it. Use the time to line up your ducks and make a move when ready. It took me a long time because I had no job and no way to support me & my son when DDay hit. It took a year for me to finally get a good job and a place to live. The house is being sold & divorce in process. Yes, I still get sad sometimes however; I now understand I never really knew the man I married……he never really existed. He just needed some girl/any girl to fill in the spot of wife to make him appear like a respectable family man while he carried on with his massage parlor, Craigslist, escort, iPorn addictions in secret. I was wife #2. I’m sure he will just learn to hide his addictions even more for next soon-to-be x-wife #3 since he can’t be alone. My supposed soul mate turned out to be a man with a black hole where his soul should have been!

        • Current Chump,
          Im still in it (married to a cheater) like Nola girl. Im staying for all the typical reasons. Your post really stood out to me. You talk about wearing many masks the happy wife, police detective, indifferent partner etc. (Its ironic how we gained so many jobs after dday. Ugg! )This is what I have been struggling with. I feel like staying is betraying myself and beliefs but not taking action out of fear feels better in some respects because of the unknown. The only person winning is the cheater. They continue to cheat and i continue to keep his secrets. WHAT MADE YOU FINALLY LEAVE THE CHEATER? WHAT CLICKED OR WHAT HELPED YOU TO BREAK THE CYCLE?

          • A second d-day.

            And the terminal illness of a close friend.

            I realized none of us are guaranteed a tomorrow & i didn”t want to live that way anymore.

            I wanted my life back & that’s when i let him go.

            Good luck on this hard jo urney.

          • What made me finally throw him out and file was the fact that I had no idea who he was until I did. Once I saw him I knew I had to save myself. You pay a price for staying, they rob you of your life energy and take your soul. Ther is no dollar figure worth this. I functioned in the chaos. I never slept peacefully. If I had found CL I would have known better. I had no support for years. The cycle repeats until YOU decide it’s enough. Bathing in shit was no longer the life I chose.

          • A completely false reconciliation, watching him moon over and moan whore juice. But what made me file was comments he made about his own children who he has ignored for over two years and ignoring his only sister. They did nothing to warrant that. But he is angry and resentful towards both his kids. They are not ” perfect” like whore juices daughters are. Mind you these are my step children I raised them as my own and love them as my own since they were one and six. They really are my children but to rant and rave they are not perfect and couldn’t live up to his expectations!!! But his whores family is perfect and she’s the perfect mother!!! What the fuck was I? The nanny?! I will take what he said to my grave . the kids already got his number and one day as swipe will speak his mind like he always does with whore juice nodding in agreement, cause you know he is god! The kids will hear this from his own lips and know what he really is. Surethey made errors in jujudgment I did, asswipe did but at 58 he thinks he and whore juices family is perfect and holds it against his own kids calls our family dysfunctional!!!! Mother fucker! How dare he! His the most fucked up of all! I would never hold mistakes or errors against my kids. Never!!!! He will shoot his big alpha male mouth off to them one day and he will lose them both! That’s what finally made me file. Whore juice her daughters, her grand babies way better and perfect compared to his own dysfunctional family. Fuck him!

          • He showed no real remorse, and no way in hell was I going to live through a second D-day.

          • Snowflake14,


            What made me finally leave cheater:

            -the realization that the person I loved the most in the world didn’t love or respect me
            -the absolute disbelief in how easily he lied and deceived me every day for at least a year
            -the soul-wrenching moment when I discovered he was still seeing her after “reconciliation”
            -the righteous anger that I didn’t deserve this
            -the belief that there is a better life without the cheater

            It was not easy. I was a walking zombie for many months. I am a year out and it has gotten easier. But there is a part of my soul that is broken and will never be healed. I can’t change what happened, but I won’t let it define me.

            Best wishes to you.

            • This really struck a chord in me. I had the exact realizations but after five years of him cheating on and off with the same woman. He left and came home three times in five years. He just never stopped lying til the very end when I caught him yet again with a secret cell phone to communicate with her. When I confronted him he left and moved with her to Florida. That was five months ago and we are getting divorced after a 35 year marriage. He is paying no money and now appears to hate me. He isn’t talking to me at all. Ignores my texts (which I stopped) and said terrible lies to his lawyer about me. I was so stupid. I wasted five years. Even more. He had been really mean and distant for years. He clearlydidn’t love me anymore but I was too busy trying to fix things to see it. None of our friends are talking to him. Neither is our son. He gave up his entire life for this woman. And now I get the silent treatment and no money. He was sick a lot and I took care of him. I guess when I was no longer of any use the mask came off. Now that I know who he really is I am invisible to him.

          • Snowflake-Just the fact that I caught cheater asshat at the asian hooker palace should have been reason enough for me to leave him but no, the pain of betrayal and the fear of the unknown at the start was crippling-I had no financial means to leave and take care of my very young son. I was stuck and it was hell. I had a therapist but finding this site helped me more than the therapist ever did! I did everything CN had advised me to-saw multiple lawyers, started tucking money away, got a storage & moved important things out of the house on the sly, I found a job & a place to live, and I sold my expensive handbags & jewelry to pay for the divorce atty. I began to feel less fearful with every step and began to look forward to starting a new life with my son. During that time, I began to uncover all kinds of other “secrets” STBX had-a secret phone, hidden iphone apps, Craigslist/escort hookups, massage parlor hookers, porn usage/addiction-he seems to have a thing for barely legal and/or asian girls. It was awful. I got an education in the underworld of flesh trade hell that I never wanted to know anything about. I spent time trying to unlock his phone, secret apps & considered hiring a PI or putting a tracking device in his car but at the end of the day I got tired of being the marriage police. Truth of the matter is he showed me who he was & was continuing to be and it was never going to change. He was never truly remorseful or transparent. He will always be a liar & a cheat. He will always be the husband who would rather pay for sex with barely legal girls or hide out & whack off the young girl porn or webcams on his iPhone instead of having a loving, intimate relationship with his wife. My son & I were just props to make him look good to the outside world while the reality was I was sad, lonely, and a single parent. In order to want better for my son, I had to want better for me. I didn’t want my son to grow up thinking his dad was a great role model and that our crappy marriage was the way it was supposed to be. I didn’t see myself growing old with STBX-I didn’t trust him, and knew I would never be able to depend on him if something bad ever happened to me. Every time I drove somewhere and saw one of those “massage” or foot massage places, I would wonder if he had been there or was thinking about it and here in SoCal-these sleazy joints are EVERYWHERE!

            Snowflake-In the end I realized I didn’t want to give up on me! STBX had killed my love for him & I couldn’t spend the rest of my life faking EVERYTHING just to say I was married and had a family. I was married but a single parent-I did everything & there was no physical relationship so what did I really need him for? I was dying a slow death every day I stayed. Who and what STBX is and what he does has nothing to do with me. I started conquering my fears one by one and realized losing him was nothing to be afraid of but something to be happy about. I love that I don’t have to listen to yelling, walk on eggshells, get rejected, criticized for everything, disrespected, etc. I can be the type of person and mom I want to be. I am not the dumb, unattractive woman that no one would ever want (according to STBX) I am smart, funny, a good mom, and still get attention from the opposite sex-Although my only focus is my son, me, and my mom.

            Snowflake-you are the only person who can say when you have had enough and then you will have the strength to leave. It happens faster for some people than it does for others……Your tuesday on the way to meh will come. Have faith in yourself.

            BIG GIANT HUGS!

        • Nola girl,
          You talk about a half life. Exactly how I feel. Im done crying! I l know my spouse is a liar and cheater. I do think he continues to cheat. I dont hold out hope for change. Yet im here. I too am in a holding stage. My friend said im a deer in the headlights. Unfortunately, i think its acceptance. Not good 🙁

          • Nolagirl and Snowflake14–You need anger to propel yourself forward. Many of us are afraid of anger, as it is often associated with destruction. Anger is a strong emotion, and many of us are taught to avoid feeling deeply.

            However, anger is more like fire. Fire is a tool. It can cleanse as well as consume. Use righteous anger on behalf of yourself and your children to line up your ducks and file for divorce.

            Once you leave your cheater, then you release the hold they have over you. You are no longer angry because they no longer occupy your emotional real estate. If you find you’re still thinking of dumping gasoline into their front yard, then that’s another thing altogether. That’s not anger; it’s obsession.

            Line up the pros and cons of staying with your cheater. Look at the list closely, and make your decision.

            • The fire in me has gone out. The sadness too. How do i get the anger back or will I?

              • Same here.. I have numbed myself to the entire thing. This is not who I am..I am a smart,.savvy and tough beotch. And yet I put up with not being completely happy. The worst part is that I know I deserve better and yet I stay. I don’t think I love him, and yet I stay. I see through his bullshit and yet I stay. He knows something has shifted so that gives me the power back. Is it sick that I stay for that? This sucks!!!

              • Write down two columns–one a list of all your good traits (every last one), the other a list of all the manipulations and lies you’ve suffered from the cheater. Read it everyday. The anger will come….

              • Snowflake and Nola, the fact that you’re on this site tells me that you’ve already made your decision. Even if most of the time you feel you’re on the fence, you know deep down what you should do. Otherwise you would be on the RIC path. I’m where you are now. I have made my decision, but I’m stuck until I get my life in order. For a long time I beat myself up for not leaving right away, exposing the affair, etc. But now I’m glad I didn’t act impulsively. If this had happened 10 years ago, I would have walked right out the door. But now I find myself drowning in debt (long story), out of the workforce for about 8 years, and isolated from family and friends as well as battling depression and health issues. I am tackling these obstacles bit by bit. I have a 6 month plan and am focused on the future. It hurts like hell to be living with him and some days I think the stress will kill me, but I will not walk away with my life in shambles. I am building a solid foundation for the future.
                My advice is to make a plan and implement it step by step, and keep coming here for strength and reinforcement. Hugs and peace.

              • Nolagirl’s comment brought this memory: when my ex noticed that “something had shifted” he turned attention back to me when that was the last thing I wanted. It was better if he didn’t wake up to me lining up ducks. It was mighty tough to act like I thought he was still in control to put him back at ease and off his radar again.

            • Anger can also help you to feel MUCH stronger than you might feel you are.
              They did you wrong – now show them through actions just how righteously pissed off you are!

          • Acceptance ? Or inertia? Because acceptance would imply that you endorse this treatment of your body and soul? Acceptance means you welcome or embrace these actions. When you accept = you take/ receive. It is not a passive action.
            12 billion people on the planet. Odds are u will bump into someone who treats you with the dignity you deserve.

        • Nola… Is he aware that you know he’s no unicorn? If so..or have you considered that he is using the reno to keep himself in your life? Because it sounds to me like he has figured out how to keep getting cake from you, while making you think you are pushing buttons…

          • I liken him to a dumb animal. He sees I have shifted, so now he is trying to hang on to me. I don’t think he realizes the full extent of how far gone I am. He has been an upstanding husband and doing everything I wished he would do. It’s all bullshit. But he suddenly is fearful of losing me. Good point though,.although I have studied this man child for 20 years and think I can outwit him.

            • I’m with Donna. I’m 13 years in and my decision is based on equity. He is also being a good little boy on the outside- but still an escort ho. One- if I’m not allowed to bang outside the marriage neither is he. (There’s the anger. I miss sex too much to be passive about it) Two- he is putting my sexual health at risk by dicking around. Some STDs are still transmitted through or around condoms. So again- I don’t have equity because I don’t get to screen these bags of disease he fondles. ew. I make more, I do more, and I get less. Where the hell is MY cake??? If you don’t have your job and living stuff set up, those are goals. Do those things, it will make you feel mighty and that will fill you with anger that he underestimated and undermined and undernourished you. emptying your soul out so you can pretend it’s always been vacuous isn’t acceptance. It’s emotional suicide. You deserve better.

    • Nolagirl, I’m not trying to push any buttons here and I don’t know your situation but I think it needs to be asked. What exactly is the jackpot? What are the benefits? I get the sunk costs. After 20 years with Narkles the Clown believe me, I really do, but the personal costs to you also need to be considered.

    • Nolagirl, thank you for sharing so honestly. I can see my former self in your comments. I did feel that I had sunk every “last bit of earnings” into him. Add “every last bit of energy, emotion, strength, finances, time…” You get the picture. And what I feared most was that if I divorced him, someone else would “reap the benefits of hitting the jackpot” as you stated. However, after reading this site and learning and discovering that they will not change, cannot change, and there is no long-term benefit to anyone who gets them, I now truly believe my life is worth something far greater. My time, energy, emotion, and life are mine, and will be shared with my family and friends, not the life-sucking cheater/liar/emotional cripple. I followed CL’s and CN’s advice (while scared spitless), and came out the other side stronger, more happy, more peaceful, more truthful. Every day I feel energy and joy returning. I am so grateful I was referred to this site. I couldn’t have navigated the divorce without the support I found here. Keep coming and reading, Nolagirl. The truth will set you free.

      As a side bonus, none of what I truly feared has come to pass. I am not financially destitute, people did not turn on me and support him (even his relatives support me), our grown children support me 100% and now that I don’t spend all my time trying to fix/support/help/endure a lost cause, I am meeting lots of positive new people and starting new hobbies and activities. Hang in there, Nolagirl.

    • Nolagirl- I was exactly where you are now 5 years ago. My gut feeling was to leave but I didn’t want some bitch stepping into the life that I worked hard to help create. And win the so called “jackpot”

      During the three years I hung on I was uncertain and paranoid he would cheat again but I was comfortable in the life I knew for 27 years so I kept myself stuck. I know exactly how you feel and I get it.

      I can tell you there is no jackpot by staying. Only pain, fear and loathing. You’re on CL’s site so that’s a great first step. We’re all here for you to let you know it’s not as scary as you think on the other side.

      Also- the devil you know is the actual devil. It’s not better to dance with him either. Its better to kick him in the nuts, then kick him to the curb. There are far better dance partners out there and you can’t find any of them while tethered to a cheater.

      • “… the devil you know is the actual devil.”

        That is so funny! Thanks for the laugh.

      • Cheaterssucks,
        you expressed fearing that someone else might hit the jackpot. Ie. Your comfortable life. What got you unstuck? I know you did but how? I think there are many spouses out there who have stayed, want out, dont know why they are sacrificing themselves, but do anyways. I am this person!

        • As I said above, anger.

          Once you get angry enough, you’ll want to make the break. Once you get angry enough, you will take action.

          Want a comfortable life? Then get the training you need to make that life for yourself. I know that I decided I wanted a divorce, but couldn’t afford one. Anger propelled me to look and find a new job that allowed me to pay down my debts while saving up my retainer fee.

          The divorce will be final by November at the latest. I feel good about having filed, even though there were a couple of days I longed for the life of our shared dreams.

          Now I long for a life where I can forge my own dreams.

        • I was this person too, snowflake. What I learned was he never respected me and each time it was worst than the last. They up the anti and the stakes become so high. My therapist said I would die if I stayed. He stripped my sense of self. We lose when we stay. They suck every last ounce of your goodness and leave you in the end in the most degrading way. Facing the pain is what it takes. I did it. It was the best thing I did. They are toxic to the core. Believe this!!!

        • Snowflake14-

          What got me unstuck? Being able to imagine that there was a better life for me out there if I would just leave the cheater. I had to imagine it first but slowly I started taking action without telling him.

          I already had a good job so that wasn’t a major concern. I started looking at apartments and figuring out a budget. I went to visit a few places so it would feel more real. I made a budget using only my salary. The more I did things like that, the easier it was to start imagining a life without him. The more I imagined not having to cater to the whim of a whiny cheater, the better that whole picture started to look.

          The first step is the hardest one but every step thereafter gets easier and easier. I promise!

        • Nolagirl + Snowflake14 – Great advice from CN members I hope you will take.

          I forge on with the motto that KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!

          In cheaterssuck’s case, through the knowledge of what she needed $$-wise, she started being able to move past the fear of change and envision her life w/o the cheater.

          Go through CL posts and look for comments about Cluster B’s, Comments by many CN members, including Beth, Tempest, Dat, and Roberta have been extremely helpful to give me the knowledge I needed to realize that my marriage was dead AND to cure me of the notion that any woman would get the ‘Jackpot’ while being in a relationship with my STBX. I trust that he suck, and he will suck with anyone he partners with. Because he is unable to form healthy relationships with others.

          One of the links that Beth published through her comments was about this very topic –

          It took many times replying this as well as re-reading chapters of books for me to trust that my STBX truly suck. In addition to CL’s masterpiece of an advice book (can’t wait for the next version!), three books that were so super helpful to me included:
          Lundy Brancroft’s “Why does he do that?”
          Margalis Fjelstad’s “Stop caretaking the borderline or narcissist”
          Patrick Carnes’ “The Betrayal Bond”

          For several months, I was too angry to even get anything from Wendy Behary’s “Disarming the Narcissist”, but I am more receptive to its insights now. As both of you mentioned that you were numb, it might be a good resource for you to learn about stories.

          I hope that learning about why the most entitled cheaters can’t form healthy bonds might help you shift your own relationship dynamics and achieve a higher quality of life whether or not you choose to leave your cheater.

          I wish you both the very best as you forge on to Meh!

      • Sunk cost because you don’t want some bitch waltzing in and claiming your hard earned rewards – this is why you get a lawyer for divorce who will fight for whats right for you, and some more.

        The look on the bitch’s face when she realises she isn’t going to get that shiny house and lots of money for free is WELL worth the price paid. D

      • I put up with a lot of neglect and emotional abuse over the years. The cheating was my deal breaker. Still, I had a not-at-all-meh pity party yesterday when my kid told me that dad is going on yet another vacation this week, to yet another warm, sunny destination I’ve always hoped to visit.

        He blew up our family, fucked up our kids, left us financially screwed and is now having the time of his life. While I’m deciding between groceries and gasoline to get to work, he’s taking yet another vacation from his third year of unemployment. He can afford trips with his bimbo, but hasn’t paid full child support since we divorced two years ago because he’s unemployed and his inheritance money was divorce-proof.

        Then I remembered, I’d rather be poor and stressed out then within 500 miles of that freak of nature. Good riddance. Here’s to a week when I don’t have to wonder if he’ll show for his visitation.

        But seriously, what kind of dipshit deliberately leaves New England during the most beautiful month going?!

    • Nolagirl,

      I am sending you BIG HUGS.

      Someone on this site once pointed out how you should not confuse sunk costs with an investment. Sunk costs are really not going to ever net you a real return. A slot machine is only a slot machine. It can only do what it is programmed to do. It is programmed to always take in more than it pays out. If It pays out at all, it pays out just enough to keep you from getting up and taking the money you’re throwing into it to an investment banker to put into a fund which will actually net you a real return.

      And that jackpot you’re thinking someone else is going to get? Yeah, that “jackpot” will be just enough to draw in the next sucker. Slot machines do what slot machines do. Cheaters do what cheaters do.

      My advice Nolagirl? Get up from the slot machine, collect your free drink for playing and head for the exit.

      • Nolagirl, I think everyone here has felt the same way at some point. I just knew that Skank Woman would reap the rewards of Cheaterpants and somehow he would be the guy that I always wanted. Haha. She’s the one eating the steaming shit sandwiches now. It’s been YEARS since they ran off and now she refuses to marry him. She gets to watch his passed out bald spot now and watch him turn into the stupidest drunk in the world after four beers. She has no idea about his financial infidelity (to me) hahaha. She’s a flipping fool. Yeah, she ‘won.’ She won someone else’s husband.Someone else’s cheating lying husband. That’s who these people ‘win.’ She has NO idea that after all these years he still feels some kind of undeniable loyalty to me. She didn’t win jack shit and that’s my little secret.

    • Wow Nola Girl. I am currently in the same place. I cannot allow someone else to reap all of my hard work. Totally get it. But slot machine is the perfect analogy. You never win when you gamble and that’s exactly what this is.

      • Once you trust they suck–really and truly trust they suck–you don’t see the AP as someone reaping your hard work. Rather you realize that the best person has won–YOU!

        The AP gets to marry someone who cheats when the going gets rough. The Cheater gets to marry someone who doesn’t see married people as off-limits.

        You? You’re free to live an authentic life, with the possibility of finding a true life partner. 🙂

        • I found a true life partner and guess what? I didn’t screw someone else’s husband to do it or blow up anyone’s life. That makes me about a million times better than the Skank Woman.

      • The idea that someone is swooping in and grabbing the man you have invested all your chumminess into is a farce.

        The truth is that HE was actively looking for a fuck buddy and found one. The evil you know is HIM. By blaming the vagina he gets a free pass (no consequences). They get sneaker until you get that feeling again.

        A cheater is not the prize. YOU ARE!

      • Ok, guys, my X just moved into a million dollar mansion overlooking the water, straight out of an Architectural Digest magazine. He’s there with his new woman, has already taken her to Europe and stayed in the best hotels.

        Do I regret divorcing him because I could have lived in that house? HELL NO. What do I feel for her (she was not an OW that I know of)? Pity, pure pity. He will suck the life out of her like he tried to out of me, and he will serially cheat on her as he has on two wives already.

        Sucker couldn’t make me regret the divorce if he bought the Taj Mahal. Nothing, and I repeat nothing, is worth living a dishonest life with a cheater who doesn’t care about you (because he/she can’t).

              • My X is internationally renowned in his field, and has gotten counteroffers from other universities, which has allowed his salary to increase pretty dramatically. To keep him out of trouble (ha ha, didn’t work), I encouraged him to get a hobby years ago and he chose trading in the stock market & has been very successful. Thus his wealth is in inverse proportion to his character.

  • Twenty eight years with that fucktard and the only thing I always felt was uncertain. Then Dday with all the knowledge that he was so “in love” with his racquetball partner that he was going to fuck us all over financially as well (you know there’s nothing like a Cheater in love). Fuck that noise. I want to know what it is like to love someone who always has your back, who can reciprocate, even when life is busy hurling curveballs your way. Cheaters can’t do LIFE challenges without fucking over those closest to them. For twenty years I waited for my ex to figure out how great he had it. Beautiful family, beautiful wife, beautiful home. Thing is every chance he got he chose chaos. Fuck that.

    • Drew, your post rings so true to me – the only thing I always felt was uncertain. 28 years for me, too! I hope we both find someone who can reciprocate. Very early in the process for me.

  • I don’t wholly disagree with either this post or the linked post to which it responds. In a lot of ways, there’s no one size fits all solution to issues stemming from human interactions.

    I’ve no doubt that there are unicorn cheaters out there, because I’ve met a small handful of them. They are people who by years of demonstrative effort have convinced me that they have changed their thought processes around entitlement. They act differently, and are able to compare how they deal with issues now vs how they did when then cheated.

    I’ve also no doubt that those people are exceedingly rare. I’ve no doubt that my cheating, lying, irresponsible stbxw isn’t among them.

    For me, my stbxw decided to take agency away from me, whether intentionally or not doesn’t matter to me. She put me in harm’s way in many aspects, and in ways that include impacts on my daughter. Again, I don’t give a damn about the intention. Bottom line is those things happened, and I don’t care if they were planned, or if she was too oblivious or too stupid to see the consequences… doesn’t matter to me. I just want her gone as much as reasonably possible from my life; that’s what works for me.

    That stbxw is the devil that I know, and living with her like that was indeed hell, so I’m not subscribing to potentially false hope. That’s what works for me.

    Speaking more generally, I am in CL’s camp regarding reconciliation: tell the cheater you are done, line up your legal ducks, and let them drive the reconciliation bus. I have a favorite saying, applicable to many aspects of my life: “it’s all about the recovery.” When you wrong someone, what do you do about it? The cheater wronged you, so what are they doing about it? Accepting your hurt and doing whatever it takes to recommit and change themselves, realizing that they cannot work on marriage issues until the marriage pact itself that they broke becomes reestablished? Or – like most cheaters – shifting blame, lying, and generally acting like an a-hole? If the latter, who wants to live with that?!??

    So… I say, if you want to take a bet, be my guest. Just make sure it looks more like a solid investment based on substantiated data, and not like a wild roulette wheel shot in the dark. The data – in this case, your cheater’s actions during and after affair exposure – will tell what you need to know to make that distinction. Just make sure that you’re eyes are wide open!

    • You wrote: “When you wrong someone, what do you do about it? The cheater wronged you, so what are they doing about it?”

      Well, see that’s the sticky wicket. When exposed cheaters (and the RIC) try to minimize or completely eliminate fault. The chump wasn’t Meeting Their Needs. We All Make Mistakes. You’re Not Perfect Either.

      It’s false equivalencies and blameshifting. And the problem is, if you aren’t clear-eyed about it (ahem, “black and white thinking” that cheating is wrong), then you’ll take that blame. You’ll examine “your part” in compelling another person to do a Bad Thing. (But of course, only the Thing is bad, never the partner.)

      So yes, actions are so important — because actions reveal how we REALLY feel. Someone who works hard to show their sorry, and acts in humility FEELS those things.

      Pulling teeth? They don’t feel sorry. And their actions show it.

      • Yes of course he is sorry. Sorry he got caught. The EA/PA of last year is like Voldemort, or “he whose name we shall not mention” Poor Mr. Nola gets mad if I happen to bring it up to him and acts like a pouty child. Fuck that noise.

        • I have a pouty man-child too. Complete with arms crossed over chest and lower lip stuck out. While he spits out his defensive lies and BS. In a permanent frown with his 65 yr old wrinkles. Looks just like my 5 yr old grandchild. Love to see CL do a cartoon of this.

        • “They don’t feel sorry. And their actions show it.”

          This deserves a post to itself. The hardest part of this whole ordeal has been Asshole X’s complete insistence that he is the victim. I am a hate-filled bitch and the children are unloving ingrates. Everything that happened is my fault and he is either Job or lately, Jesus (!), hated by the world.

          His absolute refusal to take a shred of responsibility for the destruction of his family denies us the acceptance we need to move toward any sort of healing.

          • Eve, cheaters in a nut shell— “absolute refusal to take responsibility.” I imagine my POS ex still thinks life “just happens” and he says I need to own my own mistakes in our marriage’s breakdown. Well, none of it led me to jumping into bed with my racquetball partner. I never betrayed my marriage vows or my financial obligations to the children we have together either.

          • Eve–you will NEVER get acknowledgement that he is in the wrong. EVER. Mine won’t even accept responsibility in order to win back his youngest daughter, who is NC.

            If you make your healing dependent on the fucktard’s actions, (a) you continue to give him power, and (b) you never get to heal.

            The alternative to needing him to admit responsibility is to not give a tinker’s dam what he says or does. He’s a colossal loser. He’s screwed up his own life, and tried to screw up your life and that of your child. Don’t let him. Don’t care what he says, thinks, or feels. Roll your eyes at his inane accusations and blameshifting rants. It’s what they do.

            • Tempest,
              Such wise words. My head understands but my emotions, not so much.

              The divorce decree was signed 5 weeks ago today. Since then he has moved into an apartment around the corner from us, hired a moving company to get his stuff and sent the downgrade to supervise! It was awful. She was awful. And he’s followed it up by sending sad sausage emails to our 19-year old daughter who is NC. And tracking down our older son at college for more sad sausage-ness, in person!

              You’re right – he is a colossal loser. He threw away me, the children, our home and our life. It’s hard enough to deal with the end of our 27-year marriage but to have him cast me as the heartless bitch and himself as the aggrieved victim makes me so upset.

              I will redouble my efforts not to care because I don’t want to give him any more power over my life. Commencing with the rolling of the eyes right now!

              • Eve,
                Our situations sound similar. 23 years married. 25 together. Two college-aged children. Daughter who is NC with him. Son who keeps in his feelings bottled up. Your sentence, “he threw away me, the children, our home and our life” pretty much sums it up. He continues to tell those who will listen that he was not happy, as if not being happy gave him license to do what he did to us. I own what I own in not nurturing the marriage also, at the very least for the sake of our amazing kids who deserved so much more. But I have to remember…I didn’t lie and I was faithful to that which we built together. Where I am stuck is hoping that he doesn’t find happiness with her. It’s a year now, and he’s still with her. Our divorce isn’t final yet. I have no idea where she’s at with hers. They are not yet living together, I don’t think, but I fear the day it happens. Sometimes I feel like my happiness depends on his unhappiness. And that only hurts ME. Like you, I need to redouble my efforts not to care. It will take time.

      • CL – exactly. I am going through it right now. I agree that is the case with the vast majority (probably 99%) of cheaters; no remorse, no accepting of blame, no effort to make things right with the injured parties, or even to admit that there are injured parties.

        Just because I know a VERY few cheaters who did make good, doesn’t mean that they are the norm.

        I want to be VERY clear: I would NEVER want to even insinuate that a chump is to blame for a cheater’s actions. NFW. Any issues in the marriage are irrelevant both to the cheater’s decision to break their vows, and to the entire issue of infidelity, because the marriage contract at that moment of infidelity is officially broken, in most cases broken by its literal wording.

        • Oh, and should add – I didn’t take the bet in my case, I filed and told the stbxw to move out, and I am eagerly looking forward to the divorce being 100% done and dusted.

      • I would add to what CL said, the cheater must acknowledge tha attempting reconciliation is a gift from the betrayed spouse. They are not entitled to it.

    • This is an excellent comment on soooo many levels. Absolutely “how they behave once you find out” speaks VOLUMES to who they are as a person. In fact, it was that which helped me get over my fucktard and see that NONE of it was my fault (despite allegations to the contrary). No apologies; excuses, blame shifting, gaslighting, outright lies, anger, yelling, abusive behavior, harassment (borderline stalking) for two years!! No apologies! (did I mention that already?)…this is who he is. Why would I or anyone else want anything to do with someone like that ever again?
      Peace dude. Hope it works out for ya.

    • It appears that my husbands’ actions support reconciliation – remorse, apologies, marriage and individual counseling, reintegrating with the family and three kids, helping high school senior with college apps, constant availability by phone and calling with any changes to his plans, going on date nights…..

      However, there is that phone call to the AP mid-September and a credit card charge to sexy dresses just two weeks ago….when D-day was January 2015….

      Guess those are the actions I should really be considering.

      Please hope I do not lose my mind as I line up ducks – I don’t think I can handle any more.

      Ohana had a post about “gateposts” where you look for key things as “proof” you are making the right decision in not reconciling – e.g. I’ll leave if he has any contact with her in September — but when they come, you are still undecided so you move your decision out to the next “gatepost.”

      That’s where I keep getting stuck…………..I am excellent at “decisively” setting the next “decision point” but not actually making a decision

      • So essentially – I need to learn to embrace the chaos my cheater created as an opportunity for newness and change – but not add to the chaos by my own indecisiveness…….

        • Tired Chump, I was exhausted the last couple years of my marriage. Dealing with my ex was like living with a teenager. He was evasive as heck, kept long hours away from home, and was disengaged with me and the children. Leading a double life is hard .Of course he was cheating that entire time. When you are dealing with the disordered, life never gets better. Nothing is worse than chasing a fairy tale that will never come true. My hope for you, <3, make the decision that is going to be in your best interest. Even if it's hard. Life is too short to waste on anyone incapable of love.

          • My Stbx wanted sympathy from me because he was tormented living a double life! Martha Stout, who studies sociopathy says that sympathy ploys are hallmark symptoms of sociopathy, together with lack of empathy, lying, blame shifting. All things my stbx is a master of. Life with him was chaos and despair. I will never know if he ‘broke’ at some point or if he just became a selfish prick as he aged. He even blamed me for the cheating. By the time he was done with me I believed I ruined the marriage but I now know that when you live with a crazy person it makes you crazy. I am still struggling with these issues as we are at the start of divorce.

      • Tired Chump,
        I recently saw where my husband was a user on AM. It honestly didnt shock me. It didnt cause me to leave. I even asked him if he was on there. Of course he lied. The gate post analogy is true. I keep thinking I need to see with my eyes something horrific or he needs to leave me to actually break free. Scary and stupid. I know!

          • Same here. My spouse is actually seeming to do most of the right things in terms of reconcilliation, but I have very Strong gut feelings of doubt. I feel numb and confused, and realize that the next gateposts I have set, just haven’t happened yet. It is awful living with this uncertainty for sure!

            • My reconciliation speech from asswipe was everything I needed to hear. However within two weeks the moaning and mourning over whore juice was very much apparent. He was trying to feel better about himself, so after two weeks it was sorry not sorry. Moving forward won’t look back except to help others with my experiences since we chumps totally understand the pain and get it where cheater entitled fucks never do. No one understands til it happens to them. Asswipe was always texting me when living with whore tell me this tell me that I don’t remember and I’m trying to tell whores family, whore and all whores friends about my life! I’m the keeper of the memories. I downloaded a wav. file of crickets and when I feel like answering him he gets crickets! Nothing he will get after Dec 31 2015 he will take it out on the whore already beaten her up twice for lying to him or doing something stupid. Guess violent attention is better than noattention. His first wife same way. She will get it alright in spades!!!!!

        • He is draining you, and he treats you like crap rather than cherishing you. That should be enough. You deserve respect.

      • Wait…wait, he might give you those dresses!
        (Hopefully the sarcasm comes through that line)
        Yeah – its pretty pathetic, isn’t it, TiredChump. You have figured out who he really is, through that.

      • Yep. I find underwear. I think “these aren’t mine.” But then j think “I just bought 5 new pairs from there. Maybe j forgot what one looked like. But I thought they were all cotton… Hmmm.” Then I spend a week doing every peice of laundry in the house. 5 pairs of new cotton underwear appear like clockwork (yes, nice sexy thongs, but cotton because I’m also sensible)… And I realize, for real… Nope. That’s not my underwear. I guess he knew where to go to find nice cotton thongs based on AP’s souvineers. Funny I haven’t dropped the bomb yet. And I’m pretty sure he knows they are missing, he keeps doing all the dishes and baking me gluten free egg free pie and being extra snuggly. It’s positively hilarious. The bomb will drop, when the rest of my ducks are ready. The phone bills and banking, the sensible sit down where I lay it all out and then don’t give a shit, he will probably storm out, and hopefully that’s when I can change the locks.

  • “We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives.”


    • I’m one week post final divorce and let me say, YES! YES! YES! to this.
      Waking up in my very clean house, not filled with all of Narkles crap, not walking on eggshells all the time, able to converse with my children without being told to be quiet, not having to listen to him talk to other people while seated at the dinner table as we eat, all that crap, gone.
      My walls do not yet sing, but they no longer scream!
      At this point I will take the peace and quiet and general order.
      All of life is uncertain. no guarantees I will make it home tonight or any other.
      So WTF does uncertainty have to do with it?
      In life it’s all uncertain.

      • Welcome to, as Roberta told me, “the winner’s circle.” May all your wishes come true and let there be peace on earth and let it begin with you!
        I am 2 mo post final divorce and have to say I MADE IT AND AM LIVING WELL!

        • Where is Roberta?

          [Roberta–if you let your illness-ridden cheater back into your life after the karma bus hit him, we will find out where you live, and kidnap you for a Disney vacation or cruise or something to distract you from his poor sad sausage visage. I mean it, friend!!]

  • We always have the power of choice. We can exercise it anytime we want. There may be costs depending on the situation, but we all have free will, and the right to our own opinion about anything. Better yet we get to change over minds as we gain more knowledge, grow or our tastes change.

    Screw living with uncertainty. Cheaters show us who they are by their behavior. No uncertainty there in my book. Cheater/cluster B’s love control. They truly believe that they are entitled, special beings who are accountable to no one. They want us to believe we have to stay living in hell because we are useful appliances and serve them well. They want all the marbles and plenty of cake too, so they do their best to convince us that we HAVE to continue to dispense kibbles. They use all kinds of tools to get the job done…lying, mindfuckery , manipulation, controlling the assets. All designed to convince us we have no choice in the matter. They strive to extract every last drop of usefullness from us. They do their level best to control our reality so they can keep us living in lalaland. If we don’t really know what the real score is, we can’t act decisively to protect ourselves and our kids. (Of course some of them do move on to a perceived better deal with no further contact with us, but even that is self serving in that they are running away from consequences, or responsibilities.) But bottom line for me is if they cheat once, they will do it again. Their shitty character almost guarantees it.

    No uncertainty with cheater ex. I knew he was going to continue to be an asshole, and things were about to get a whole lot worse. I took my kids and got the hell out. I could live with the uncertainty of everyday life, and the world at large. I felt confident I had the abilities needed to provide for myself and my children regardless of what came down the pipe. After all, I survived everything cheater ex had to dish out.

    We are a lot stronger than we know. Cheaters don’t want us to realize that. No uncertainty there.

    • You’re right–the certainty is that the cheater will continue to behave like a jackass and emotionally abuse the chump.

      The uncertainty while living with a cheater is because they keep you standing on a fault line. You might only feel tremors, but it keeps you wrong-footed and unable to move ahead more than one unsteady step at a time. Get off the fault line; solid ground might have rocks and some holes, but at least it is solid ground.

  • I have had trust issues all my life stemming from my alcoholic abusive father. First guy you are supposed to trust right. Not this man, he was a monster. Out of my life when I was eight. But the scars remain. First husband, big mistake, alcoholic, drug addict, abuser, liar, cheater, dumped his ass, single mom, onto a brighter and more confident life. I’m a very string person. Swore I would never marry again. Dumb ass I am, six years later fell in love with asswipe and his two beautiful children then one and six. Lived together married after five years, great life for another 21 years till he started to feel his mortality and depression set in. I’ve eaten enough shit sandwiches in my life for 50 woman. The only man I ever trusted tried to destroy me and everything he and I accomplished for a fantasy life that blew up in his face recently because his whore couldn’t make him make me do what she wanted. So she dumped him, broke his heart! Aw wah wah! I dug my heels in right from the start and for the first time in my relationship with he told him FUCK NO! About the only thing that stopped him was his kids would have hated him forever if he didn’t at least do the right thing in the end. The whore? Only cared about her and her family fuck his kids. I’m the only mom these two have ever known and they adore me. Moral of my story? Never trusting a man again EVER! this girl stays single. I’ve been criticized for not been very trusting. Ex, all three of my kids always trusted everyone they ever met, the kids have learned better, ex has not. While there are lots of good people out in the world, I don’t trust anyone until I have a reason to trust them, may not work for everyone but it works for me. Shit sandwiches no more, I’m done, from now on its all about what works for karmarie. I’m 60 now I’ve no more time for drama and bullshit. For Xmas this year I get ma back and my total freedom. Yippee!!!!

  • My thoughts are that my opinion on someone is based in their actions. I thought ex was a Good Person. He showed himself to be a lying, fucking, whore chasing cheater. So my opinion of him totally changed. I would never have married a whore, he knew that. It is why he hid it. Nothing to reconcile with there. Whores are a dime a dozen.

  • My first cheater showed me who he was when we were engaged, but younger chumpy me married him anyway. Somewhere in my logic, I must have had some self-protective sense, because I always kept my own savings and made sure I documented all financial dealings, even when he said I was wasting my time. I figured if he tried his games again, at least the worst case scenario would see me NOT destitute.

    He was a decent father, but in the end, his story emerged and I was considered just the gene pool all along.

    So when it came time to divorce (29 years) he had no way to fool me financially. I came away with exactly half and was able to be independent.

    However with that experience, I have made sure that my assets never get touched again by any partner. Cheater number two fell on his proverbial arse penniless and had no claim that could stick.

    I think the only person we can ever trust to not chump us is ourselves.

    “War determines not who is right, only who is left” (Bertrand Russell)

    • Well said Marci – My marriage to my STBX taught me that I will never again mingle assets with any partner.

      • Yes! And, any partner who is offended by us wanting to control our own income, and our property, (and our inheritance), well, that’s a tipoff that something is wrong! What I appreciate in a man now, is when he wants me to do well, be strong and in charge of my activities, and feel happy. And well-rested. THAT shows love to me!

        • CheaterHs death left me with everything…house, savings, kids, & life insurance money. PLUS the extra bonus of realizing what selfish assholes many people can be.

          I knew I wanted to experience real love in my life but realized that my money left me looking like the biggest mark a con man loverboy would ever want to find. I went through a time where I felt desolate that I would have to give up my security for love (which I was not willing to do) or live life without love.

          Enter boyfriend from 27 years ago…chumped and dumped 12 yrs earlier…also leery of anyone who might be more interested in his money than his heart. We love and trust each other fully but have set up a system of separate-but-slightly-overlapping finances so that neither has access to historical funds.

          I care if he is sad or didn’t sleep well. I hope his drive home isnt to long. He cares if my day at work was hard or if there is milk and bread in the house since I hate grocery shopping.

          You are right…a man who wants you to do well and cheers you on and feel happy and well rested DOES show love. This kind of live shines a glaring light in how bad things were with cheaterpants for so long…I wasted SO many years pumping coins into the slot machine hoping that love would pour into the payout bin and it never did – oh he made promises during a few sparkly spurts, but it didn’t last and wasn’t real.

  • I’m certain I never cheated and lied during our 23 year relationship. I’m certain other people manage not to do it. I’m certain that I made it clear that those things would hurt me and were deal breakers for me. I’m certain we took vows not only to not hurt each other, but to raise each other up. I’m certain those vows were broken over and over again. I’m certain that I don’t want to be with someone who’s capable of betraying me and our children that way. It seems pretty (cognitively) simple to me. All of the emotions that go with the decision to leave are balls to the wall difficult. So I either change my standards for acceptable behavior, or I face the hard stuff. That’s really all there is too it in a lot of cases, when we’re talking about something more than a one time drunken mistake with real remorse. Changing your standards is so much easier to face in the short term. But I really believe that would have bitten me in the ass pretty quickly. You learn your lesson when you’re ready to learn it, I guess.

    • Eaxactly DoneNow! You can change your standards to deal with it short term. But then you wake up one day and ask yourself why? Why put up with all this BS? Why live for him when living for yourself is so much more important! Do you really want to be dealing with him 5 or ten years from now? Do you want to look back and be sad that you didn’t leave sooner?

      When you’re happy, your kids are happy too. Does it take a lot of work? Yes it does. But I never imagined it would be so worth it!

  • Can I just say that I really kind of hate reading this website? It makes it a lot harder to spackle my memories of bullshit, lies, etc… Poor me, right? Having to face the music?

    When I started reading like about 4 months ago, a couple weeks after d-day, I was like “oh, I’m totally not pick-me dancing! Good for me!” I realized maybe …. 3 or 4 days ago that my version of “pick me” is more like “pick the devil you know.” Like I’m dancing for myself, to quell this uncertainty. I have no doubt that if I stay with my husband, he’ll continue working really hard to heal & grow.

    But that’s not the point, I’m realizing. It isn’t whether I can bet on him and the uncertainty he brings- it’s where I will be, what I will feel, what I will do if we do or don’t stay married. I’m just now coming around to realize that if I pick the devil I know, I may never stop bristling at his touch, gritting my teeth at the thought of the memories he ruined… Maybe for me it doesn’t matter if he can repent. I hate that idea. I hate that I’m less & less in denial. I hate that this (awesome, God-sent) website is helping that fog lift. Grumble, grumble, grumble… And thank you. Please never stop writing.

    • So spot on!!!! I honestly loved sex and thought we had a great sex life. Now I cannot bear it and it makes me physically ill. Yes..this is all so hard to read because it makes you take a full inventory of who you are dealing with and how to process.

    • I think many of us forgave our partner’s little idiosyncrasies. The occasional grumpiness, the long hours at work, the absent gifts on holidays, the vacations that sucked, the sex that never got better. Cumulatively it was easy, until each year showed me more of WHO he was. The guy who in college thought nothing about paying for sex when out with his “friends”, who partied with others on our wedding night while I took care of our baby, who kept refinancing our houses to purchase bigger and better toys (33k truck when our daughter was a year away from college), who spent more and more time at the racquet club, who ran away from the hospital when our son was recovering from surgery. No surprise then when he abandoned all his responsibilities to be with his one true love. Infidelity nailed that coffin shut.

    • Heather, you nailed the other half of the equation; in my mind the most important part. No matter what the cheater does to make it up to you, how can you feel the same about them again? Most of us cannot do that, can never trust a person who betrayed us enough to rebuild the relationship. My ex “worked” hard at fixing himself too, except not really – he talked about it a lot but the reality is that nothing really changed.

    • I miss sex. A lot. And I am not even separated yet. Jeebuzz. That’s not to do with my comment, but it relates to others and apparently that’s my first thought. Oops. Back to the point. I think this whole idea- the forgiveness reconciliation vibe that people want us to take… We should just monitor them for life like an ankle bracelet so that everything stays the same… It’s just comfortable and convenient. For everyone else. And darn near impossible. Most of us, as chumps, already do more than our fair share. And also usually spackle and pretend our spouse does just as much, and they’re so helpful and shit, image manage blah blahs. So I am now supposed to put aside my hurt ( or make it go away, or take the blame for it all, whatever) and also manage the books, do the shopping, most of the cooking, help them finish school and realize their dreams, keep the household clean and in fresh laundry, raise kids, and MONITOR his actions because he is so afflicted; he’s a timid forest creature who can’t control himself? No wonder we are all teetering on breakdowns. They wouldn’t give this much garbage to an NBC intern.

  • Ummmm, yes. This is exactly what I used to say to my fucktard: when you invest in a bad stock and it tanks, you ultimately pull your money out and put it in a new stock – NOT purchase more shares!! Granted in the stock market analogy, you cannot react to every dip in the value but I have a feeling that many of us endured many occasions of plummeting values and heinous losses before we decided to cash out.

    • There is a HUGE difference between speculation and investment, HM.

      Your husband speculated in uncertainty hoping for a windfall in “sparkly” or, as it was called in the old days, “sexy” companies. HA HA HA

      An investment pays dividends. Solid company, good management, great financials, excellent cash flow, debt reduction with a long history of paying cash to the investor. During the “bad” times and dips you still get your dividend while waiting the the market to turn back up.

      If only I applied this knowledge to the assholes I married!

      • Excellent analogy, CJ! The cheaters were our speculations, masquerading as investments. Junk bonds, anyone?

  • I doubt any cheater would fly on a plane with a known bad wing that crashes from time to time.

    I need to trust my mate with my life and he, me.

    Black and white.

    Great column today, CL.

  • At work, we have a method and training to better interview and recruit.
    The core of this training is that past performance is the BEST predictor of future performance.
    To apply that here, once something like cheating has happened, the odds of its happening again zoom skyward, compared to someone who never cheated. So you might say that far from embracing “uncertainty”, you are embracing far greater certainty (of more cheating) when you deal with a cheater.

  • I remember very clearly my thought processes once I discovered STBX was having an affair.

    I was so shocked I was numb. Thankfully, this kept me from confronting him until I’d done some research. I’d known that STBX had had a lot of life issues at that point: job stress, his father’s death, switching medications. OW was at work and available. You see I was already spackling.

    It took a couple of weeks from Dday to my first lawyer appointment. I learned enough to know that I could not afford a divorce at that time. I also learned that my husband was fully capable of texting OW to text her how much he loved and missed her, and how hard it was to sneak off without my noticing–and then put his phone down to tell me how much he loved me and could I please rub his feet? That one incident made me realize that he was really and truly lying, and a little spark of hopium died as I started on the road to Trust that He Sucks.

    Even though I still spackled at that stage, putting the blame for the affair on his poor coping skills, I realized that I did not want to be married to a man who had Have an Affair as one of the tools in his Coping Toolkit. I would never be able to trust that he’d not use it again.

    But I could not afford the divorce. I ran the math, looked at my expenses, and realized that I needed to line my ducks up–all the while living in uncertainty.

    I have since filed, and our final hearing is in November–nearly 15 months after the original filing date. I cannot afford to move without having a settlement, so I’ve still been living with a great deal of uncertainty. STBX is typically non-violent, but still has BPD mood swings (I’m going Gray Rock), and incredibly entitled. Looking back at the marriage, I know we had some happy moments, but I also had days when he reduced me to tears, and I felt as if I had to walk on eggshells around his feelings while he trampled all over mine.

    In the meantime,I have discovered that the man I thought I’d married–the man of honor and integrity–is a man of deceit, both to himself and to others. I trust that he sucks.

    I am looking forward to divorce.

  • I don’t judge anyone’s choice. I never experienced some of the really horrific things that many of you have experienced. Whatever choice you make is hard. Trying to reconcile, even with a remorseful and repentant spouse, isn’t easy. I am grateful to CL & CN for telling it like it is. I believe people can change IF they want to change. I know the only person I can change is myself.

  • One thing I found this site will do to those considering or are in reconciliation is that it will keep you honest. It will help you call “bullshit” instead of “spackling”. You will not be able to wear the rose colored sunglasses when the truth is glaring. More importantly, you know your options are not limited to staying in a dishonest relationship and you have a whole herd of people willing to help you through the pain of release.

    This weekend I saw unicorns dancing at a festival and I had a good laugh. If only…

  • Over the span of a few hours one day this week, my disordered, cheating, law-breaking STBX asked me to reconcile, accused me of sexual misconduct with one our kids (something I would never do with anyone), told me I was a good mother and good wife, and brought me a romantic gift. I think that he is psychotic.

    Nearing what many people consider retirement age, I am faced with moving my young kids and me into my parents’ house in a worse city/neighborhood, working two jobs for the rest of my life (as I live in a very expensive region and probably won’t be allowed to leave with my kids as my judge very heavily favors my STBX and will likely cut my support to nothing fairly soon, around the same time lawyers and the Court have collected most of my life savings), not being able to go back to finish doctorate, and not being able to spend enough time with old friend/new boyfriend to keep him around. I don’t know how I am going to support my family on my own. I really don’t want to accept STBX’s offer, though, as I am loyal to new boyfriend and afraid of STBX. I wish that my boyfriend, who is also a badly burned chump, was in an emotional state that would allow him to consider letting kids and me move in with him in a few years, but I don’t think he’ll ever be ready for that. Thus, I need to figure out how to suddenly support my whole family. This lifestyle represents uncertainty. I am open to ideas on improving the situation.

    • What has your STBX done to prove that he has changed? What would be different now? As far as the BF, I recommend that you spend time with yourself, and be OK with it before embarking on a new relationship.

    • RSW–after reading so many stories, I would say that your X is among the top 5 disordered spouses of the past year. You’re right to be afraid of him. I know moving in with your parents cannot feel like a good move, but perhaps just until you can get on your feet? You certainly can’t maintain mental health living across from a nuclear warhead. Given your background, would you be able to get a job in marketing research or statistical analysis (which should be at a decent pay scale)? The savings lost to legal battles are sunken costs; you just need your future ship to rise.

      • Tempest, you bring up some good, feasible ideas that I am looking into. Other people survive worse situations than my kids and I am in.

        Working It Out, STBX is ‘consistently volatile’ (i.e., is extremely Borderline). My boyfriend is not. I understand the rationale to being on one’s own for awhile before re-entering a romantic relationship. I didn’t intentionally seek out a romantic relationship when the relationship with my friend became romantic. To NOT have a relationship now, I would have to break up with a man I love who is very kind to me. How many honest, intelligent, childless, single men are willing to treat an unemployed over 50-year-old average-looking mother of young children like royalty? He is the ONLY one I know who has done that.

        • No need to break up with a kind person who is serving as a much-needed source of support. Just move away from the nutjob, and you will feel so much better on a daily basis.


        • RSW, I am so sorry to hear about the latest development in your divorce, your STBX sure sounds like a really sick jackass!

          Are there any government services you can rely on? Reduced or free lunches for the kiddos at school, reduced healthcare fees for you and your kids, assistance or free counseling services for women you could tap into in order to keep your living costs low as you go through the divorce process?

          Have you been building your witness list? It sounds like your STBX has been escalading throughout this process. Do you have people who are willing to testify of your sound mind and good reputation to counterbalance the crazy shit your STBX is spewing about you? I had built a list, and thank goodness haven’t had to use it yet, but it provides me solace to know that colleagues and friends are willing to step up and testify about my values and reputation in court.

          I understand how given all the stress you are going through looking for a high paying job might be really rough. I know several women who have found good opportunities on Mom Corps, which offers flexible projects for professional moms. They have opportunities remote or on site.

          As you might remember, I was in limbo for months as my STBX was trying all he could to delay the divorce process as much as possible. I kept my head up and my eyes on the prize, and boom, all of a sudden my STBX caved. We are done negotiating, I can live with the divorce terms, and we are now weeks away from finalizing everything.

          RSW, you are mighty, smart and resilient… DON’T BLINK, and keep doing the right thing. I am hoping that sooner or later your STBX will make a fatal mistake that a judge or your new counsel will be able to use to turn around the situation to your advantage.


          • Chumptitude, Thanks for the referral to MomCorps and your support! Chump Nation, brought to us by Chump Lady, has been a lifesaver.

    • You do not play with people who accuse you of sexual misconduct with your son. Game over. You live with your parents or in a teeny tiny apartment if you have to, and raise your children to be good people, while documenting every move you make and forming strong connections with people who can vouch for your character. Eventually they grow up and make their own way in the world. Then you worry about retirement. Is it ideal? No. Can you make it day by day and year by year? Yes. He is scum.

    • RSW – your story is PRECISELY why i believe that there should be a law that says that all cheaters must relinquish all marital assets and any hope of child visitation. They have proven they are the scum of the earth – why should they be given privileges?

      • Why stop there? They’ve shown they like to live on the edge, enjoy a frisson of danger…I vote for cheater penance of mandatory bungee jumping with frayed cords.

        • I was talking more about the whole divorce settlement process, but that’s a good idea too.

          Now to wait for some cheater-apologist troll to think we are heartless because we wish death upon someone – to them I say ‘Cheaters want us dead, so we’re just redressing the balance?’

          • But, Lania, we’re not wishing death on someone–we long for them to have the happiness that comes from living on the edge! Kind of like screwing half the student body at the university where your wife also works. Or fucking the employee of a family business. Or practicing positions with your husband’s best friend or the soccer coach. If those are exciting, imagine bungee jumping!

            (and frankly, cheater apologists are welcome to call me “heartless;” I have 4 rescue dogs, and dozens of rescue fish that say otherwise. Why? cuz I prefer them to cheaters).

            • Hahaha!
              Even if a cheater apologist twit wanted to call me heartless for wishing death upon someone – I say for them to have at it – I don’t give a fuck what a criticising prick on the internet says, after all.
              There are some people, like cheaters, who really don’t deseve to live by rights. The devestation they cause in the world today is more than enough reason.

  • “Living with Uncertainty After Infidelity?”

    Uncertainty? IF ONLY.

    My attempt at reconciliation was doomed because there was nothing uncertain about my ex-wife. 20+ years of experience with her should have shown me that, regardless of what she might say or what I might have wanted to believe, she was *certain* to be selfish, *certain* to be dishonest, and *certain* to cheat again.

    Perhaps the only thing uncertain in the situation was my ability to see what the world was showing me and not to spackle. Recovery involves primarily making our own ability to perceive and accept the truth more reliable.

    • Yup. Last time I fell for the old “You’re being narrow-minded and must embrace uncertainty” schtick was in the context of “there are many sides to every story, truth is relative, and facts depend on a jury, so you really ought to believe what I tell you instead of your own perceptions.” Can you spell G-A-S-L-I-G-H-T-I-N-G? The horrible thing is that these people take a good quality–openmindedness, a willingness to empathize and see others’ perspectives–and use it as a tool of manipulation, shaming, and psychological abuse. Thereby scaring victims into either believing that bullshit, constantly questioning themselves, or taking the kind of hard line that gets us yelled at for refusing to embrace uncertainty! To which I say: fuck that. You want a truth-independent reality, you’re welcome to it. I’m not going to take pride in embracing uncertainty until it stops being used as a weapon by ass-covering narcissists.

      • I’m pretty sure spackling is just self-gaslighting, by the way. Another reason not doing it is essential to one’s mental health.

        • As in the Richard Pryor quote: who you gonna believe ? Me or your lying eyes? Sheesh! Send all the happy cheaters to their own country and build a wall around them. I’ll chip in! Fuckers!

  • I just want to note that, with respect to the integrity to the linked site, and this one… in my dark early days of a mutual embrace with chaos, I posted to that other site something that was not sunny, was not cheery, did not look forward to years of shit-eating: (well, you get the picture). My post never ran over there. It didn’t fit the narrative.

    Here, by contrast, everyone (except icky trolls) is free to post their thoughts, explorations of perspective, discuss experiences across the spectrum of emotion…you know, talk about how they really feel.

    It’s a noticeable difference.

    • Namedforvera,
      I’m not sure why your post didn’t run because, unless the post is spam (spell casters anyone?) or outright abusive, every comment runs. We don’t only accept “sunny” posts — a quick scan of comments will reveal that we don’t encourage shit-eating. I’m sorry you didn’t think your post was welcome. I assure you, it was.

      • Hi Elle– I’m grateful for your response–that’s very kind of you, since I was then in a very black hole, and I know that you understand that (alas we all do….). But I assure you I submitted a post to your site about my sense of my mental instability (read: craziness) and it was desperate. It didn’t run. I apologize for impugning your integrity–that was low.

        • Namedforvera,
          A regular poster on the site told me that this has sometimes happened to her comments too. She thinks it’s something to do with the Captcha. I’m really sorry. I know how desperately we need to be heard when we’re in agony, not rendered silent/invisible by some Web site. I’m going to look into this — I hope it’s not happening regularly. And mental instability? Pretty sure that’s a rite of passage through this particular hell. Glad you found your tribe here.

  • The shit sandwiches of humiliation, abandonment, trauma and doubting reality were SO horrible. And what was even WORSE, was the slow, awful joining of the dots that this person was never who I thought he was and didn’t give a shit about me. I was idealised, then despised and discarded. I was not ‘got’ at any level, or loved and appreciated for my essential self. What a lonely, lonely place.

    Admittedly it took me a long, long time, but there is more peace being alone than with someone who doesn’t really connect.

    • Gads. So true. Exactly my thoughts too. So why wait around for the other shoe to drop? Just pitch it in the trash.

      What I’ve learned over the past 18 months is that the wrapping paper covering the core problematic issues of the cheater is the only thing that changes. The knee jerk reaction when stressed out is to resume old habits because their coping skills suck. Who wants to be further doomed in that kind of relationship? Better to be alone and be emotionally safe than continue to live in a toxic marriage that is unsafe.

  • Yeah, my ex used to love to imply that I lacked courage. Because I wouldn’t use drugs, never jumped off a cliff, didn’t drive recklessly, etc. Then the accusation extended to my response to his affair: I was too scared to take the risk of working on the marriage. I was a coward for not taking a chance by trusting him blindly after he lied repeatedly . Didn’t I realize that life was full of uncertainties?, etc, etc. ad nauseum.

    The truth is that leaving my marriage behind despite these challenges to my character and courage was the most difficult and bad-ass thing I’ve ever done. It took guts to sell my dream house and leave the person with whom I had invested half of my life. I had to draw upon strength that I didn’t know I had to move into my own place and build a brand new life on my own. Staying in the marriage would have been me cowering in fear of the unknown. Leaving was taking a leap, and I have no regrets about that. Not one regret.

    • Right on! That’s true courage. Funny how they were banking on us never having that kind of strength, but we did!
      It would have been so much easier for me to stay with X, or ‘come back’. But I do enjoy having values, and he knew that about me, too. So, his big mistake to keep contacting and hanging with the AP!

      • Lily Bart – I love it. I DID find strength I never knew I had. I got tough from the beginning. YOU LEAVE, I ain’t, also from our dream-home. Then, got my ducks in a row – having no idea where this was going to lead me…and suddenly I find myself, 1 yr past divorce – still in marital home but fixing up an old home and enjoying it. My very own colors!

        He truly fucked everything up himself as he and the schmooze thought I would move out and they would move in. Nope – I’m a tough MF’er.

        I really got it all as far as the house and grateful for the chance to have time to move out of the maze of junk he collected over the years. My new place is going to have the cleanest garage ever.
        I think I’m looking forward to that the most.
        And, I’ll probably paint it all lime green.

        LEAP – great word! It’s called Faith.
        In yourself!
        Yep – I’m scared to death to move out, but everything is packed. (and I have no room in my new place for any of this stuff- ah, we should all have such problems)
        Keep taking van-fulls to the local animal thrift store, day after day and constantly digging in dumpsters looking for boxes. hmmm..interesting things in those dumpsters..

        Good luck to everybody starting out on your own.
        I’ll hang onto any thread you post that will help me after 35 yrs of marriage.

  • I think I need to print this thread out and read it daily. I feel so supported on this site. I have laughed and cried just today while scrolling through all of your tough love and supportive words. (CRAZY bc I rarely cry) No one in my real world has any clue, except my narcissistic mother who told Mr Nola it was ok to cheat as long as he provided well and stayed with the family. Makes me wonder what she dealt with with my father that I was unaware of. Seeing people who get it and are all on different sections of the same highway means the world. Thank you Chump Nation and Chump Lady!

    • Nolagirl- rereading the kind and encouraging words from CN may help but from my experience when the lightbulb went off that I was worth more than a dream home or didn’t give a wit that the next woman would get the “fixed” cheater which is all a joke, the realization is equivalent to leaving a smoke filled room, swimming ashore from a sinking boat or fleeing from a burning building. Living a true and clean life has been a huge improvement in the quality of my life. One more tidbit that a fellow chump and I laughed about recently, was we had the same thought process that well, if this cheater should ever improve or be the person we thought we married, we could remarry! It’s silly now to think, two yrs now divorced that I entertained such a short lived ridiculous thought! Once I was nc the gaining of a life was in sight!

  • This really hit home for me. I’ve been the relationship police too long. Its draining & I seem to be at a place where I have absolutely no give a damn left….

    • TessaK, it actually sounds like you finally give a damn about yourself and that’s a good thing. GTFO!

      Jedi Hugs!

    • Reconciliation is a gift from the Chump. If your Cheater wants to reconcile, then all you’re doing is consenting to explore reconciliation as a possibility. The Cheater is not entitled to reconciliation, even if the Cheater truly repents.

      Because once the Cheater has broken the trust, the trust cannot be repaired. There must be a new trust. If the Chump feels he or she has to be the marriage police, then there is no new trust. Without trust, there can be no marriage.

      It is not wrong or petty for the Chump to tell the Cheater that it’s time for a divorce. The Cheater may cry and try to guilt the Chump into staying, declaring that the Cheater hasn’t strayed, is truly reformed,etc. That may all be true (not usually), but the fact remains that the Cheater broke the marriage, and even though they got the special Super Glue out, it is still broken and can’t be fixed.

      The divorce acknowledges this.

  • So with Patsy

    I am a freshman here. I come here to remind myself that I am not crazy. My situation is that he came back broke and broken. I was blind by thinking about my kids first. I now what I need and its not him. Besides the fact of what he did, he is just not the person I thought would be for me when we married. I have kicked him out plenty of times and he won’t go. Not much change so I am MEH in my relationship. It does get tiring acting a part and trying to build something with someone who just doesn’t get it.

    • So you now need a reason to end it which will go in your favour? If he’s broke you’re not bound to get much settlement wise so can you just shoot the dead horse and get on with it? He won’t leave sounds like you can get officials involved?

      • Sucks cause property is his. I will just let the horse stay in the out house for the time being, I will keep reading here to keep me focused and get my ducks in order and get out.

  • I would also like to add that I have never felt “judged” here. I deeded the straight talk, no bullshit found here.

    • Thats because people here will say it how it is – without being an arse about it.
      Those other (RIC) sites are run by people who I think are probably cheaters. In other words – selfish fucks.

      Its gotten to the point where in real life – if someone says they have cheated in the past or are currently cheating – out the door they go. They have shown to me they have zero coping skills and thus are unworthy to be my friend. It might sound a bit selfish – but I’ve got better things to do with my time than to pander to the ego of someone who’s mentally deranged.

      • Lania, for as long as I have noted your comments on CN, you have always and I mean always, struck me as a young woman with a tremendous strength of character and very strong principles. You must make your mother very proud. Kindest regards 🙂

        • Thanks very much, Maree. I’ve always stood by the principles that you only have one life – so you need to always try to be self-assured and confident in your decisions, even if its raining hell around you.
          Even if in your darkest hour you are suffering and smoking the hopium pipe and wishing things would get better – that you never sacrifice your morality or ethics for any price tag or depths of depravity.

          Being severely bullied for many years at school, being a constant outsider even in the absence of bullying, and mistreated at my first job because of a cesspool of Cluster B’s – I never really picked this up until more recently. If I had a do-over, I’d teach my young self all of the life lessons, and teach myself how to defend against the initial shitstorm which led to all of the mental abuse.

          My mum essentially has the same personality as me, to be honest. Except, shes obviously older and probably a bit more cynical, given that she spent years married to a future cheater, whereas my cheaters have been merely (even though it doesn’t lessen the shitstorm) boyfriends of the past. Hell, we even share the same birthday. 😀 (And no, it was not planned that way!)

          You have also struck me as a lady who has some serious mojo – even with the ugly, ugly shitstorm which is your fuckwitted ex husband and your two entitled children who don’t deserve to have a caring mother like yourself. They are seriously evil, and I hope I never come across them in life 😉 – they’d be running off with their tail between their legs, haha!

  • I thought it was easier to stay – which I did after two affairs spanning two decades. Staying appeared easier in the short term, but it absolutely did not in the long-term. It totally sucked pretending that a serial cheater can change his stripes. It was hard work convincing myself that he cared. When I divorced the cheater, it was difficult and painful but I knew I had to choose between the lesser of two evils. If I stayed, all I would be doing is recycling the pain and never reach a place of healing because more pain was definitely forthcoming. If I left, I would face the excruciating pain head on but at least it would be finite and no more additional helpings of cheating. I chose the latter. The divorce was finalized over two and a half years ago, and today, I am in an amazing place of peace, living an authentic life. I don’t even want to think who I would have become if I took him back. My brain can’t even go to that very, very scary place.

  • I think that it’s much easier to live with uncertainty once you’ve proven to yourself that you can be OK alone.

    • I was in a long-distance relationship for a few years and for the most part, I was alone. When D-Day hit me (twice), I thought, “Fuck this. I never felt like I was a relationship with him anyway.” The only difference is now I am alone, but free from tolerating the lies and mental abuse of Mr. McCheater.

  • I just read the whole original piece on the “other” RIC website. The biggest piece of crap I choked on was not the author’s, but a quote she dropped in from uber cheater Cheryl Strayed:

    “…As Cheryl Strayed reminds us in Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar, “Most people don’t cheat because they’re cheaters. They cheat because they are people…. Which is a complicated way of saying, it’s a long damn life…””

    WTF?!?!?! So people don’t lie because they are liars? Or rob banks because they are bank robbers? Or rape because they are rapists? They do all those things because the are people, and that’s just what people do? We are DOOMED as a human race…

    • Yeah–I saw that too… ick. Cheryl Strayed and her ilk are just so sanctimonious about their entitlement to cheat — it’s their *humanity* people!! why can’t we (mere) chumps understand that? Criminy, we must be so unenlightened (read: boring, dry, frigid, unadventurous, yadda yadda) that we can’t understand the necessity of, in Amy Schumer’s memorable words, “catching a dick” whenever we want to. Of course, AFAIK, Amy’s not married. Yeah, detail.

  • Not being marriage police; not waiting for the other shoe to drop; not having to listen to one more criticism from that asshole on a daily basis. Not having to try to make sense of his twisted logic, was lonelier with him than with out him. I cannot wait for divorce to be final. I am having a fucking divorce party!!!

  • I’m guilty of, after getting married, being “certain” that I had emotional security. I didn’t have to worry about being on my own again, and a CERTAINLY wouldn’t have to deal with a significant other who decides she wants me and someone else at the same time. Just had to put effort into the marriage, show my wife she wasn’t taken for granted, and it would be smoo-ooth sailing!

    How well did my certainty work out? Cough!

    These days, my life is full of uncertainty. I live in a new city. I have a new job. Still thousands of miles from my family (who I moved away from for my wanderlust cheating wife).

    I don’t know if any of this is going to work out, or whether I’ll have to try something new…again! But that’s life…with or without being a chump. None of us know what’s going to work out. We were just foolish enough to believe that, if our marriages weren’t going to work out, it would be something we could fix, or address, or accept mutually as respectful adults.

    Turns out, some things don’t work specifically because some people suck.

    But uncertainty ain’t so bad. It’s not what I sought, but it’s what I’ve got. Better to get in the game and play with the hand I was dealt (leave a cheating wife) than sit on the sidelines and not play at all (stay with her and keep believing I had a way to control her actions, thoughts, and feelings.) The hands I’ve been dealt since then have–in all cases–been better.

    • “I’m guilty of, after getting married, being “certain” that I had emotional security. I didn’t have to worry about being on my own again…”

      Yup. That’s the biggest issue I’m dealing with. After a lifetime of feeling lost and uncertain I finally felt emotionally safe. That was ripped away, and I’m left wondering if I was ever truly safe, if I just imagined it, and if it even matters.

      I miss being part of a couple and I don’t think I’ll be part of another for a very long time. When someone says they’re single by choice, I say, “yeah, me too. It just wasn’t my choice”.

    • I think thats it. Playing marriage police. Watching their everymove doesnt will them into being decent honest people. If they want to cheat again or keep cheating they just go around the road block. How many times do you hear a spouse saying, “i check his emails, social media, and i am sure its over. Im sure they are dedicated to me.” This is the bs wanting it to be over.
      Anyway, so happy you got out and are starting an authentic life!

  • Clearly, the problem with this site is that it has too much LOGIC. I love logic. It solves all my PROBLEMS. If you don’t want a logical answer to your problem, you will be deaf to the advice here.

  • Yep, it took me a long , long time to realise that the uncertainty, instability was out of my control. No matter how much I tried, no matter how much I made ” the perfect world” for him, the rug was always going to be pulled from under me…… Time and time again…. Decades of jumping hurdles, climbing mountains , smoking the Hopium….. And the treadmill became more and more…and resulted in less and less of me in the end.
    I was lucky in one way that he was away a lot for work for extended periods, so I was able to form a life and friendships of my own…. That sustained me for awhile.
    But his lying and cheating was exposed finally….. And I then knew all the disarray and Chaos and anxiety I had been living through was because of his presence in my life and it was killing me….. No matter how much I loved him, it had to stop!!!!
    So the big “fuck off” house is gone…. The elite private schools for my kids… All gone……BUT we’re going to be alright…. Bit by bit I chip away at it, bit by bit I’m reforming for my kids and I.
    Damage control is in my hands, but so is the love.
    Uncertainty will always be part of life, but chaotic curve balls daily tossed by fucktard and caught by me are no longer …. I look forward to a more humble and sane life.

    • Yes indeed. I tried to make the world perfect for him too to what I thought was wanted and needed not enough, now the whore is doing it too she thinks she’s enough. If her fat ass can make him stray anyone else could too. She’s no idea what’s she’s in for. And she deserves every bit she gets. He left her once to come home. I threw him out again no w back to her fantasy world both of them!!! Now I will make my world what I want!

  • My life post-seperation is full of uncertainty. But I am totally certain about some things:

    Dude made a conscious, deliberate, repeated decision to engage in behaviour that would harm his wife,
    his children and his family.

    Dude demonstrated repeatedly that sticking his dick in an aging skank was more important to him than the safety and well-being of his wife, his children and family.

    When I circle my wagons, I need to know that the people inside will have my back and fight to the death to protect my children. I need to know that I can face the outside world without the uncertainty of whether I will feel a knife slide through my ribs from behind.

    Dude has no place in my circle.

  • Black Bird I like your words❗️I would keep it for my future life after a/hole! Like chump lady says std checks, being nervous every week when he goes on travels , ironing his shirts because there is no “m0ney” for laundry but there is money for the whores! I have to pretend that everything is fine and dandy but the anxiety is killing me as well. This is my only therapy. I am trying to line my ducks but I do not know how long it would take . I do not want to end up in he street. I am waiting to save money for lawyers and get settle on my new job. If I bring drama to work I might lose it and this job is my exit ticket. If I was alone a would have leave already I am on hold because of the future of my son. I want a super pitbull lawyer I want 401k and spouse support. He is a great piece of shit❗️there is no way I can live like that for 10-20 years I am in my early 40 I rather die alone. I am crying as we speak❗️

  • >
    %d bloggers like this: