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What Made You Leave a Cheater?

How_to_leave_a_cheaterOn yesterday’s post a thread broke out on what it took for chumps to finally leave their cheaters. Not surprisingly, we have quite a readership of folks stuck in limbo, numb, weighing options, or just resigned to a revolving buffet of D-Days.

So those of you in the Gain a Life graduating class — help the freshman out. What made you say ENOUGH? What was your tipping point?

For me, you know I’m so far out now, I don’t remember a specific a-HA moment. He’d been serving up a lot of a-HA moments for months, I just wasn’t trusting that he sucked. That’s on me.

So, quite honestly, it was a process to get toward self-preservation and protecting myself. And it’s precisely because I was so chumpy (four D-Days, did I really need that?), that I began this blog. To save you guys the trouble. To arrive at conclusions sooner. And maybe save yourself some heartache, dignity, and money too.

I would also say I had many tipping points, and each one lead to a small action. (Today I see a lawyer.) But then a retreat. (I see the lawyer, but I don’t take her advice.) And then another tipping point. (Okay, I’m going to take that advice.) It was a gradual liberation. First I had to decolonize my mind, give up sparkles and What I Thought It All Was Going to Be, and have a hard, unvarnished look at reality — this shit is killing me.

Eventually I got there. But even THEN, even as I was plotting and scheming and lining up ducks, I still wrestled with insecurity and self-doubt. I still wrestled with fear of what next, and how would I make it financially, and would I be alone the rest of my life and all those other sleepless-night-3 a.m. bugaboos.

But I did it. And the only thing that made it all better was DOING it. The actions are what informed my feelings. No contact made it better. No contact stifled the hopium, the mindfuckery, the hits of his attention. (He wants me! I won the pick me dance!)

There was no Chump Lady. I had a couple sane friends in real life, and online (where I spent an ungodly amount of time) I had proto-chump ladies lost in a sea of unicorns. A sort of underground army on a thinly disguised reconciliation site. Their “run away” messages were drowned out by conflicting advice. There was no clear message to LEAVE. There was me and my fear.

This shit takes a lot of hand-holding. Which is what Chump Nation is for. Thanks guys for paying it forward!

So today — how’d you get over to the other side? And — what’s the view like?

“How I Got Over” — I didn’t think I could love a version more than Aretha Franklin’s — but this Josh Nelson fellow knocks it out of the park!

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.
  • Mine was very soon after D Day. I had discovered he was cheating on me, went & got my STD test. No STDs….but I was pregnant! I was a SAHM with a 2 & 3 year old. I had banished him to the couch on DDay, but I loved him. He swore it was over. I had my doubts but wanted to believe. So one night, I stole his phone while he slept & found out he was banging 3 more woman besides the original OW. I woke him up, kicked him out. That was almost 3 years ago. Best thing I ever did!!!

    It was scary, but I now have a great job, and an amazing boyfriend who is also a fellow chump. This site was my lifeline.

    • Tallula, that’s so AWESOME that you woke his ass up only to kick him out, lol! That’s exactly the kind of shock and awe these %$@#s deserve! CL, thank you for creating this site and reminding us that we ultimately don’t have to take this shit and have more power over many situations than we think. I love how you identified the first step as “First I had to decolonize my mind…” as I truly feel that I’ve been undergoing a process of simultaneously de-programming and re-programming my mind in order to protect myself from all the bullshit that’s entered my life because of the cheater. Thanks again : )

    • technically,I didn’t leave. He left me bleeding and having a miscarriage due to std’s from his troll and stress to have a sleepover with troll(he fully expected to come back in a couple of days) She rang me the next day to tell me where he was & what they were doing.I think I may have been in shock, because I went there.He was so startled that I knew where he was and turned up there hysterical and still bleeding he rang my parents. While I was in hospital they cleared my house out.Troll was very unhappy about this because she had expected to move straight in? This troll lasted a couple of months before she found out about ALL of the other trolls?As an aside this troll then stalked me for years because I’d ruined her life by leaving him! He did make contact a month later to see if I was OK yet?and wanted to be friends again?Didn’t respond. Only other contact was years later when that troll was convicted if GBH,found a phone number and rang to remind him he was an arsehole( he was the one who let his trolls think they were exceptionally special)

      • The first site I found was Hero Spouse which was as confusing since my naracisstic boarder line husband is not in a transitional period,,, Reading this blog makes him not fully responsible for dumping me after 36 years of marriage, trashing my reputation, stealing 30’ooo dollars, stealing our paid off 2700 square foot new home which by the way was all paid off, stealing my furniture, cars, lawn mowers, checking account, retirement accounts as well as my children’s hearts with lies! I fought for my nursing license, half my home, pension but lost the rest! I paid 17000.00 in divorce fees but my ex was a nightmare, My ex and his hoe wrecker work wives ( both work for Verizon…..Whitesboro NY stalked me at work in their work trucks getting out and confronting me at stop signs, openly cheating in front of me during the divorce etc, I left too late when my life was endangered! If I had found Chump Lady earlier I could have been on top of this and not lost so much!

    • He was my boyfriend and greatest love for 5 years. Unfortunately when I fell hard it was for a man I suspected to be unfaithful. I m a very instinctive person and I would dream he was with other women and felt it in the pit of my stomach. Along the years I grew so frustrated because I NEVER caught him with his pants down nor a confirmation from another woman. However, I did find out about his attempts with some girls he was texting, I heard him once tell his friend he cheated on me from time to time and had been with a girl from fuckbook. I guess i was in denial because I thought it couldn’t be true, not my love, he must have been showing off and all bravado. But last year we broke up, on his clock mind you, and since then I have painstakingly pieced together that he had a wild sex fling with some American stripper who was in town. I saw her phone number registering for a few months. Meanwhile, he was trying to reconcile with me by inviting me to his parent’s and buying 500$ designer sunglasses. In a weird way I know he was crazy about me too but some men are obsessed by sex. It controls them and destroys relationships. Now I know nothing is sacred with him. I don’t forgive him for hurting me, to him it was as if it were an extra curricular activity, pawns in his harem.

      • Ah, fbi, mine had a harem too. Each time I had suspected he was cheating (or trying to… not a pretty boy), a minimum amount of digging had confirmed what I guessed/already knew; but that sickening churn of my stomach stopped me in my tracks and the shutters of mental denial hammered down.
        Finally, was a letter from a friend of (one of ??) the OW, delivered anonymously to my work, that opened my eyes. Hit the kerb so fast his hair made an awesome whupping noise (love this phrase, thank you chump who posted this 2 years ago)

        However, it was Chumplady that stopped him weaseling his slimy ass back in my life. Every time you waver, read “trust that he sucks” (I have it as a favourite on my phone).
        They’re not obsessed by sex (poor sausages), they don’t really truly love us deep down (they only love themselves). They are just entitled arseholes and deserve to die a lonely lonely death, nibbled on by alsatians (but the dogs would have to belong to a neighbour, as it would just be a little tooooo much effort to actually care for another being). Keep strong. x

        • Thank you gintrap loved your words of encouragement. You are lucky you received such a letter, I wish I had gotten such evidence!

          • All my stuff went down before CL. By the time I had had enough, I was 16 years in and the ex had humped my best friend from college as well as some students and maybe his niece. I was standing under an avalanche waiting to fall when I got home early one day and saw the mail before it disappeared. The phone bill was enough to convince me. But there was also a letter from an attorney suggesting that he should really rid his life of me, the crazy bitch who was holding him back all those years. Really? Wakeup call. Holding him back? Not in this life. It was the classic projection. I was held back to let him get to the top. Then I was his obstacle, because his bad rep for hustling students wasn’t his fault. I must have done that to him. Getting angry is a good motivator.

            It was the phone bill that showed him calling someone every morning as I left the driveway at 7 a.m. that got me on his trail. In short time, I had reams of stuff to confront him, and I did. With his former therapist there. He didn’t admit a thing, but he beat the stuffing out of me a few days later for exposing him, and I made a quick call and ran off to that awesome woman’s home for the night. She felt the lumps on my head and saw the bruises and thought I should go to the hospital. She was right, but I just wanted to believe he didn’t do that purposefully. Of course he did. I went home in the morning to get ready for work, and he never knew I’d left. Until I went to leave for work and he noticed the bag by the door and accused me of going out to cheat on him. In short, I’m lucky to have survived, though I never did a single thing to call my credibility into question.

            A pillar of his community who would have killed me if I had not found it in me to protect myself. I cannot stress this enough. Be in contact with friends and family and have an emergency plan. Involve as many as you safely can. You need never be alone in this.

  • Very simple answer: I read a book. Lundy Bancroft’s ‘Why does he do that’. I didn’t think my husband was abusive till I read that but it all fell into place. I loved him very much but he was making me ill and after we split it BROKE ME IN TWO for a long time.
    Three years later I have literally never been happier in my whole life. Feel great, have started own business, kids thriving. View from here is just beautiful. Don’t be scared, you won’t regret it. Promise x

      • Me Too! I am only three weeks out and have days where I know if he asked I would let him back home, but, NC is the only way t o go and this web site!

        • You’re doing well, Newlifeahead! The first two months are the hardest in terms of temptation to let them back; one day at a time!

    • I also read a book: How Can I Forgive You?: The Courage to Forgive, the Freedom Not To. It didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t, and did not have to. Also, I was edging up on 50 at the time and wondering if anyone would want me. That fear turned out to be unfounded, so I cut the cord and never looked back.

      The view from here is just fine. I’ve had a few flings, a couple of short but happy relationships, and I’m retiring early next year with my freedom, my two dogs, and no drag on my sails.

      And so, life goes on.

      • I read the same book Sassiernow while I was going through the “pick me” dance. Turned out the same….I just couldn’t forgive/forget and started holding him accountable for his actions. Rather than take that responsibility, he ran into the OW’s arms, moved in immediately and they recently married. For me it was painful, but a year and a half later, I’m sooooo much better off. He actually did me a favor…I have a great job, wonderful boyfriend, lost weight, and wake up everyday knowing, as you say, “no drag on my sails!”

    • Like Jenniejay, Lundy Brancroft’s “Why does he do that?” was transformational for me.

      I found the strength to pull the plug on my own after DDay1, but would have probably fallen for his poor sausage routine if I hadn’t found CL, CN and all the great advice and support I was lucky enough to find here.

      To me, knowledge has essential in feeling at peace with my decision and in finding the courage to, as so brilliantly put by CL “decolonizing my mind from the cheater.” I was also particularly touched by a comment by LittleMightyMe on 10/9 about Swizterland friends and his word against mine. It really encapsulated a lot of my core chumpiness:
      “I am a researcher for a living. I don’t draw conclusions about anything without concrete evidence.” Then I shut the whole conversation down. For others who are closer to the situation, I may be more verbose, but it’s the same tactic. “I know. I wanted to believe the best of him, too. Hell, I NEEDED to believe. I think that’s why I was so devastated when I was faced with all the evidence. It made it impossible to lie to myself anymore.”

      Replacing my hopeful beliefs about my STBX with the hard evidence of who he really is and the reality that our marriage was dead for longer than I wanted to believe is one of the most painful things I have to do. The following resources might be of help to other freshmen chumps (I posted this last night on the previous blog post for Nolagirl + Snowflake14 too):

      One of the links that Beth shared about Cluster B relationship cycle has been really key to my putting the hopium pipe down –

      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.

      Bottom line:
      Does finding out you were stabbed in the back by your spouse hurt like hell? Absolutely!
      Am I afraid that I will end up alone? Absolutely!
      Am I frustrated that most of my savings are getting gobbled up in lawyer fees instead of being invested in a house or my retirement plan? Absolutely!
      Do I believe that he suck and that I can achieve a better life for my kid and I without my cheater? Absolutely!

      I am very proud that I put the hopium pipe down and left after DDay1, and I am so very grateful for all the support of CL and CN as I keep forging on to Meh.

      Whether or not you want to leave your cheater, I hope that all chumps learn as much as possible about Cluster Bs so that you can change your relationship dynamics and achieve a better quality of life for your kids and yourself!

      • I also encourage an in-depth study about Cluster B’s. Chumpitude’s insight and the link she provides above can be so helpful for those newly chumped and devastated by the horrible realization that the person they believed would love, respect and cherish them forever is nothing but a facade to a vapid sub-creature. Knowledge really is power, and points toward freedom.

        • A friend gave me a book on trust, cant remember the title, anyhow…got a few pages in and the author said something to the effect of, if you know you will hold something against someone blah blah and you wont be able to trust, stop reading. I think it was supposed to hook the reader in. I just put the book down and stopped reading. I had hundreds of tiny moments but it all led back to one simple question for me. What do I really want in a relationship? It wasnt cheating, lying, turmoil or constant betrayal. It was and is loyalty, decency, partnership, trust and love. Nothing else will do for me, nor will i lower myself to not fulfilling that same expectation for the woman who is with me. He caveat is, no more marriage. Too many lawyers 🙂

  • As CL says, it was two steps forward one step back for many years.

    My x had gone back to school to do 7 years of education while our kids were small. We moved a lot. We sold everything, we lived in limbo and I changed jobs like underwear for each new move.

    The pay off would be at the end. His new career, financial security and a new life in a new city.

    Little did I know that I was not intended to be part of HIS dream. Miss Piggy had been on the scene for the last 3 years of his education and I ate and even served the shit sandwiches in my own home.

    When we moved to the new city, to the new house ( which is a rectory and I had no claim ), he snapped.

    I was at rock bottom. I had nothing .
    Somebody who loves you does not put you in this position.

    I guess I had nothing to lose at this point. I rented a total ghetto apartment and left. With the help of a women’s shelter I received legal aid. I went back to school.

    I have two amazing kids and I am divorced now. My life is small but mighty.
    I have never once looked back and thought I did the wrong thing.

    • Lucky, very interesting. My ex also used going to school as his front for “doing right by his family.” His first day was the due date for our now 3 year old daughter. It was an uneasy place and something in my gut told me that first day he left for classes that this was the out he was looking for. The baby came 6 days late, I was bursting-at-the-seams pregnant and I sobbed as he drove away. There were many clues through my pregnancy that he wasn’t “in it” like I thought he once was.

      I never spoke up about my view that him beginning school then was a bad decision, poor timing at least, which is very unlike me. His overpowering family just kept the dialogue going in my ear “this is for your family. It’ll be a quick 6 years and it’ll all be for the better. You’ll have to put yourself on the back burner while he’s on this journey. He needs your full support.” All the while I’m fighting with my subconscious to stop telling me that we won’t make it 6 years…it’ll be a miracle if we make it one.

      And I was right. We made it a year & 3 months and that was when the neglect & abuse was so defeating & crippling that I could no longer share a home, a bed or even common air with him.

      Almost 2 years later & life is good.

      • Jamie, lots of those bad creatures seem to enjoy disrespecting the women they got pregnant. Lots of them don’t like “doing” kids. Mostly, it could be that caring for anyone but themselves is beyond their ability. If your ex’s family was shutting you down, it was because they aren’t caring people either. Shame on them. And good for you to get some fresh air. Hugs to you! You will be fine.

    • Nor should you look back, Lucky!

      The sunrise is always in the East, A beautiful sunset is always in the West. Focus on the good to be, not the shit you’ve wiped off your shoe. Good luck for every single day and smile to come.

  • I’m definitely in the freshman class. It’s strange for me because it wasn’t my choice, and in many ways my STBX is not even close to the worst of the bunch around here. But he had an affair (first emotionally, then physical whole telling me that he wanted to work things out). I’ve been swimming in the ocean of self doubt. Navigating between the “this is all my fault” channel and the “I will always be alone, and no one will ever love me” sea. I’ve been doing all the right things, taking care of myself financially, emotionally and physically, taking to my family, friends, IC and priests; but I’m waiting until I start feeling the right things, and the pain numbs a bit.

    For me what made me realize I couldn’t keep “doing the pick me dance” and I had to set my boundaries was talking to my family. I know that I could have chosen to be one of those “win them over with your perfection ” wanna be unicorns. He kept blaming me for everything and gaslighting me so I kepy saving our conversations (many of them over Whatsapp) and reading them out loud to me, my friends and my family. It was good knowing that I wasn’t crazy and he was being an asshole.

    And still, there is a part of me that wants to pretend that this didn’t happen. Go back to the time before I understood his emotional abuse, before I allowed myself to ask for what I wanted and stop settling for someone who couldn’t make a priority. Someone who had belittled my faith and couldn’t be part of a sacred marriage with me (who actually told me he didn’t believe in marriage anymore). Because this path is so scary.

    • After 2 years with my ex, she not only cheated and took off on me, she also told me she never believed in Jesus which she knew was very important to me. It was a triple attack. My ex also said she didn’t believe in marriage anymore. Her exact words were “why do people have to be married?” None of us chose this path. It was done to us. They took advantage of our sincere nature to nurture their ego.

      You’re doing the right thing. The questions you’re asking, all the fear and doubt, is unfortunately part of the process. Sorry you have to go through this part but you’ll get there. And when you do you’ll look back at the flooded landscape from dry ground, wipe the sweat off your brow and breathe a sigh of relief. It’s scary not but when you get through you would have leveled up.

      • Michael, I truly understand how you feel. I married a Jesus cheater, and was basically shunned because I tried to speak truth into the fact that my then husband, an Elder,was a predator and targeting women in our church. I had the hard evidence, and still was dismissed. The link below is to a video that helped me make sense if it:
        I haven spoken to Patrick Doyle personally, and he calls my now XH “exceedingly pathological”. Mr. Doyle’s helped restore some of my belief in the spirituality of my youth, but, honestly, I’m still wary of organized religion.

        • “I’m still wary of organized religion.”

          As you should be. You don’t need religion. You just need to know your Word, What I mean is that you don’t need a bunch of “churched” types. You just need to know God.

          • my story is here on this thread too…. and i married a religious cheater. I was always told that “God hates divorce” and I truly thought that if I left him that I would drop down dead. Yep – I was the perfect chump for him. Here’s the thing that was brought to my consciousness one day: WHY did God give the writing of Divorcement????? IT clearly says: “For the HARDNESS OF THEIR HEARTS”. Period. When people do that shit about well – did they CHEAT???? Did you try to RECONCILE? oh how many times I sucked it up because I was supposed to freakn reconcile. You know what? I was doing all the work – not him…. i was trying for both sides of the relationship. Some preacher I heard once said: “I’ve been a preacher for 30+ years and I have even occasionally seen relationships where there has been adultery be reconciled…. but what can you do with a hardened heart?” I say LEAVE. Period.

            • “God hates divorce” – that passage is taken out of context by wussy pastors who don’t really want to deal with you and what you’re going through and would rather put you on some guilt trip rather than walk with you through your pain. That passage in context, it is talking about old Jewish men who were divorcing their faithful wives to marry younger women. They were trying to circumvent the bible to commit adultery. That what God hates. For them to take it out of context and throw it at someone who is already hurting is outrageous. And I’ll venture to say that these people should not be in biblical marriage counselor. They are sell outs and frauds. God gave two conditions to righteous divorce: adultery and if a non-believer leaves a believer. In those cases He leaves the decision to you.

              For the people who asked if you tried to reconcile, you should tell them it’s not your job. You didn’t commit the offense. And you can’t save a marriage all by yourself. I would say find a new church. The people who are telling you this crap does not know the Word! They are part of what is the so called “Christian Culture” which is a gross interpretation of real Christianity.

              Sorry if I sound angry. I had a lot of this type of junk thrown at me too.

              • thanks Michael – its been 11 years – I’m looooong time out, and I’m enjoying the pure, wonderful Grace of God without a mixture of law. I agree with you – it was a fleshy/carnal Christianity masking as spiritual. The best thing I ever heard was that God gave the writing of divorcement for the hardness of their hearts. Period. That was my answer. My ex-husband cheated the week after my wedding…. and i still stayed for 21 years (i’m sure he cheated throughout those 21 years too (and by the way – one of the cheats was with a man)), I hate the whole “rubber stamp” for divorce in the church being adultery. There are a lot more complications that can be worse than adultery IMO.

        • Narcissists and psychopaths are drawn to religion, because religion = power (and very often, wealth)

          Don’t doubt yourself!

      • I’m Catholic and my ex and I were playing to get married in Church but it never seemed like a good time (I wanted to do it back home, and we actually never went back after getting married at city hall). I now think God protected me, He knew it wasn’t the right choice and maybe I knew it too and that’s why I didn’t push for it. Finally, when we separated we went through a mini fake reconciliation where I told my STBX that I needed a Church wedding. I wasn’t going to be ostracized from my community any longer. He said yes, but then later told me he didn’t think marriage was “sacred” and he couldn’t do it. So I know now that he is not the guy for me and it is okay to want someone who can stand in front of God and swear from the bottom of his heart to uphold our marriage (even though I know Church marriages also fall apart). I’m very grateful now that my STBX and I didn’t get “married married” because it means I still get to do it, God spared me.

    • I know it is hard, but the last thing you should worry about is that you “will always be alone.” There is nothing lonelier than feeling lonely within a marriage. Sometimes it is lonely being single, but it is never as painful as being lonely while married.

      You can fix lonely. You can go to the library, pick out some DVDs and books, and chat with the librarians. You can go volunteer your time and skills. You can invite people over for coffee or a meal. You can join a group aimed at developing new skills (I’ve got my eye on a women’s beginning kayaking class).

      But you cannot fix jackass spousal behavior. And it is ever so much worse than lonely.

      • We librarian chumps will be delighted to chat! And may I recommend “The Verbally Abusive Relationship,” 3rd ed. by Patricia Evans. The one book that helped me understand the mindfuckery. I actually bought a copy, which is the highest praise a librarian can give.

        • Okay. This is the second time CN tells me to go to a library, I think you guys are onto something. 🙂

          • I will suggest more things ….. I went to a local shelter and 2 days a week I worked with lost and forgotten animals – they restored my sanity – how willing they were to love and hope again. I also got involved in anything going on in my community – if there was going to be a block garage sale – I was on it. I went to things I didn’t want to go to. And I learned to not look for another relationship. I realized that what I needed was to really find Wendy and learn how to actually like her. The loneliness was a huge hole in my heart that I had since a child (abandonment) and I needed to fill that by learning how to love myself – to love the silence, and the “aloneness”…. and gradually – very gradually it started. My talk to myself between my two ears HAD to change. I started to say good things to myself – that I’m ok…. that i’m going to make it…. and that I am worthy. All the best to you – you will grow immensely once you are out of abuse.

            • Wendy, loving solitude and your own time is not at all like being alone. It is finding time for yourself, which is very different. If you were abandoned, that is another hurdle to hop, but you can do that. Go to a movie with a friend or watch one by yourself or with a friend. Acclimate yourself to know you will be okay for a night or a weekend or a week by yourself. Because a good book or film or project will send your heart soaring when you feel yourself alive again. That is not lonely. It is just fine.

        • LOL! I’m a librarian chump too! As Hermione Granger said, “when in doubt, go to the library”! Great advice imho.

      • Funnily enough, this morning I had so much angst and I wrote that I was afraid to always be alone. Well, today I was doing a networking lunch and this very cute guy started flirting with me. I had a very innocent flirty lunch. I haven’t flirted with a guy since I was 16 years old. I know its too soon, and I not ready to date. But just knowing that other guys out there think I’m beautiful, smart and charming, is a huge confidence boost. So yeah, this is me time, but when I’m ready there will be a world of good people out there for me to find.

      • You can fix lonely. You can go to the library, pick out some DVDs and books, and chat with the librarians. You can go volunteer your time and skills. You can invite people over for coffee or a meal. You can join a group aimed at developing new skills (I’ve got my eye on a women’s beginning kayaking class).

        I really love this. Thank you for that.

        • I agree. I’m 4 years out from D-day and although I’m alone, I’m not as lonely as I was in my marriage. It takes awhile to get to know yourself and start enjoying your own company, but if you don’t give up it will happen. People tell me I’ve really blossomed since our divorce, that I’m much more lively, confident and fun. It feels good to be becoming the person I was meant to be instead of suppressing myself to stay in a relationship that’s just not right for me.

          • DC and Lyn, Look up above. Being on your own is not being alone. You have yourselves as good company and a peaceful life as well. And with the smallest bit of confidence, you can look in the mirror and see someone you like a lot. That is a good place to start a new life, eh?

  • I think everyone (well, almost everyone) deserves a second chance. So I did the second chance. I did the pick-me dance. I ignored every horrible sign that reconciliation was false. I put everything out of my mind except “We. Will. Get. Through. This.” Knowing the effort and huge heaping plates of forgiveness that I had doled out, when the second d-day came, I was ready. Sure, I had invested so much and so many years in the relationship. But a third chance would have been further wasted time, further squandering of mine and my child’s resources, and further physical risk for me. But that’s all the logic/weighing-options stuff. In my heart, it was an easy decision because my child was watching. How can I expect my child, the most precious human in the world to me, to grow up demanding healthy treatment from others, if I’m not modeling that? So I chose to be mighty.

    All those outside voices, all those unicorns, will try to plant seeds of doubt in your head. “It’s complicated,” those voices say. You know what? It’s not complicated. It’s really just not. Do you want to be associated with your cheater’s evil empire for the rest of your life?

    Ask yourself, if everything that’s happened to me had happened to a close friend instead, what would I be telling them? If you love them, you would probably be telling them to run for the hills. Have the decency to take the advice that you yourself would give!

    • “Ask yourself, if everything that’s happened to me had happened to a close friend instead . . .”

      This is something I pounded into my brain in the beginning. I would never tell a buddy to deal with it. I’d tell them to get a lawyer and run.

      I tell my kid this, treat yourself like your own best friend. You’ll give yourself much better advice.

    • It’s what Chump-tastic said: my kids were watching. Yes, one was 20 and out of the house, but my daughter had just started jr high and was just 13, and because of the trauma the x-douchbag caused both of us, she immediately began sleeping with me two days after DDay. I was in shock and PTSD came to stay for about 6 months. It was in the 8th month post DDay, I told him that no one believes he’s “sleeping in his truck” and demanded to know where he was staying. He said her house. I filed that day.

      See, what kept me stuck for 8 months after DDay was the immature belief that he, like me, wouldn’t dare flush 22 years of shared history down the drain. Two kids, one grandchild, and we were only 39 & 40. Things were never bad, or when it felt “bad” I now know it was because he was emotionally & physically distant from me as the result of fucking around on me. Still – not my fault.

      There’s been talk of being immobilized with fear. Been there, but you gotta walk through it and take action anyway. We were over $65K in credit debt from his business idea, had a primary house, and three rental properties (his failed “business idea”). I had multiple retirement funds, while he had NONE, I had been with the same company for 12 years while he got fired over and over. I also now know it’s because he would fuck around with any married whore he could. But I REFUSED to let my daughter watch me willingly accept this douchbag’s treatment of me, and think that I was going to accept his mediocrity in this “marriage” anymore. She and her sibling knew that I was patient and prayerful for 8 months. Once I made the decision, they could watch me kick this douchbag’s ass in court.

      Yeah, yeah – we should strive to be the example of kindness for our kids because no one is perfect, but when these douchbags mistake our kindness for stupidity and blatantly continue to fuck up our families and marriage while they put their genitals as a priority over our kids and us, you have to put a stop to it. It’s physical and mental abuse, and I won’t allow anyone to do that to me and my kids. No one. Also, until you love and respect yourself and your kids more than you want that cheating liar in your life, you WILL stay stuck. What are you gonna do with that substandard douche back in your life?? WORRY he’s always cheating until the day you die?? Live feeling only half-alive because of the trust and innocence he stole from you, and the resentment you now have for that douchebag? Forgiveness is great, but it cannot happen with an unrepentant serial cheater in your face.

      Our individual situations are always going to be different. I knew I wouldn’t be homeless because of my job, and the education and professional certifications I had worked toward for about the last 8 years of that “marriage,” while he only invested in cheating. I was continually finding my own securiy, my self-respect, and my independence. We don’t all have that security, but if you feel stuck and like you can’t move (or won’t move right now), then move toward a degree or an industry certification at a technical school NOW. You’ll be doing something that no one can take from you, and it’ll help set you up toward financial independence. Any combination of education, training, certifications and experience = independence. If that’s not possible, then look online for scholarships to do this.

      I’m 9.5 months post divorce, and 2 years to the month of DDay. Only in the past two months, I can look in the mirror in the mornings and say to myself and BELIEVE it: I’m so much happier now. I actually enjoy the solitute. I’ve never been an adult without being tethered to that cheating asshole, and this feels good. Remember that there is a huge difference between solitude and lonliness. If you’re lonely, volunteer, join a book club or a runner/jogger group, or get involved with your church, or coach little league or volunteer for the PTA for your kids. There are billions of people on this planet. You’re only lonley if you choose to be, and we’re designed to be of service to others to be free of what’s dragging us down. It’s pretty hard to obsess about the fucked-up situation when you’re busy serving others in need. But enjoying solitude is when you’re able to be happy and comfortable in your alone time. Find that difference. I just turned 41 and I’m a professional, and I coach soccer, voluneer with everything my daughter is involved in, and I run. I always did these things, but now I’m free to not worry where he is WHILE doing those things; now I don’t care at all where he is. Finally being free of that douchebag – all I had known since I was 16 – is so good. I NEVER would have thought that in the first year to 1.5 years after busting him, but it’s SO much better now.

      Douchebag? Got fired from the job where he met the soulmate whore. She dumped him 20 months into their “forever.” Didn’t see that coming. She took a new lover within the week. He freaked out and now has felony assault & battery and burglary charges to his name. Now he can’t get a job (background checks are a bitch!), I have a restraining order so he can’t see our daughter, his son won’t talk to him, he hasn’t seen our grandchild since he was 1 (now 3), and the rental property he has been squatting in since the whore dumped him has been foreclosed on.

      My daughter finished junior high, and is into high school taking all AP classes, and plays four instruments. She’s on her way to a full-ride college scholarship. Prior to and since DDay, she’s maintained all As. Not because of my pushing her, but because she’s secure enough in my ability to kick ass for her, and to be her one constant, sane parent. We’ve both been in counseling since DDay. She sees me working my ass off, finishing house projects, running half-marathons and volunteering to help others, and seeing me thrive even more than I did with that anchor attached to me who NEVER inspired me to be better or make a difference. She always saw me do that in spite begging the dead weight to engage, come home, be a part of the family.

      Now she sees me soar with other eagles. No one is going to help you do that. It’s all on you. Go do it, so you can start your awesome sooner.

        • ^^ This ^^ “She always saw me do that in spite begging the dead weight to engage, come home, be a part of the family.” Right on!

      • Kibble Free- You are amazing! You are reaping your blessings, from leaving a fool.

      • Bookmarking this to read over and over. Very inspiring and very true. You are AWESOME KFMM!

        • Tempest – girl you keep me rollin’ with all of your fiesty kick-ass comments on this site! I hope you know just how brilliant and amazing you are, cuz we all do. (((hugs!))) ;D

      • “Now she sees me soar with other eagles. No one is going to help you do that. It’s all on you. Go do it, so you can start your awesome sooner.”

        What a great story, KFMM! You are an inspiration!!

        • Awwww! I just love all of you mighty Chumps!! Much love and respect to each of you. Your stories of strength and resilience have propelled me forward, and this site has been a daily mental-health vitamin. Seriously! xxooxxooXXOO to all Chumps! =D

          • KFMM, you are truly mighty. We all have stories that would curl most people’s hair. But they are true and amazing. Every person here has a story to tell, but they all need to hear that they are not the only one suffering for no apparent reason. Everyone here has done something hard, and we all are getting through it or have done that. Like the Special Forces, we don’t leave any chumps behind.

    • My best friend said to me at one point during the pickmedancing “Would you be ok with it if your son was treated this way, or if you saw him treating someone this way?”
      Well, crap, that’s an easy one – HELL NO.

    • “My child was watching”


      Literally mine was, she toddled in during a tirade (his) and her eyes were bright with curiosity. I took her and left that night.

      In our case, shoulda gone much further because -in hindsight, the parental alienation had already started.

      And her life has been miserable. My love alone (nor the therapy or the sports or the special trips) have been enough to restore her bond with me. I will always be the crocodile in their Peter Pan and Wendy Party. If only he were the Disney version.

      I’m just biting my mental nails to the elbow waiting for her to interact enough with the world and mature enough to do some reassessment. I pray it happens. Miss her so much. She lost so many good years being caught up in his narrative that she’s lost her childhood.

      So, yes the children are watching. And they are also listening. And cheaters whisper in their ears when no one is looking…

      • @NoMoreNarcs, you miss her? Does that mean your cheater got custody of your child? *shakes in terror*

        • No C-T. Her father did not get custody. But long story short, I sent her to live with him (in another state) when her risk taking and substance use got out of control. I was the ‘safe’ parent and she is one angry kid. Please don’t judge me too harshly.

          • NoMoreNarcs–you set boundaries for her. She refused to live within those boundaries, and thus suffered consequences. She will learn from that, no matter how painful it is/was for you (and her). You did well.

          • No judgment AT ALL. At 32 now I can say that if my mother had told me to get out I wouldn’t blame her one bit. 13-17 was a monstrous age for me, also because I too was that little girl who “was watching”. The things I said to my mother during that time make me sick….
            There’s no handbook for how to deal with emotional, wreckless, risk taking teenagers. You do the best you can.

              • And she may yet draw her own conclusions about her donor…err..Dad. I think you have acted responsibly-not that your daughter’s presence will make her Dad, behave, but she will have to come up against the painful truth that nothing and no one matters to him but himself.

              • I will always love and miss the man I fell in love with and married. I will never again put the time and effort into another relationship. The man I’ve known the last two years out of a thirty year relationship is not the man I married but is the cheating lying bastard neglectful father I am divorcing. Guy I loved is dead he is no more and the kids will never know the father they should have known. He will be off to marry “perfect” whore and join her ” perfect” family. Cheaters are so fucking stupid. They deserve each other I finally gave that cheater the full boot because of comments made about his own children. What an asshole!! 30 years of my life wasted on him but I have my kids. As he progresses further into fantasy world of him and the whore and their perfect world. No matter how much he claims he loves his kids and would die for them. Its simply not true, his own children aren’t good enough to be in his new world except occasionally when they are useful like making him look good after all they might taint perfect whores family. Both have refused to attend the wedding saying its OK for dad to be happy they guess but both said they refuse to share in the joy and love of the union that destroyed their family. I have been threatened with I’d better not disappear where he can’t find me and check up on me that would ruin his new marriage you see if I make him “worry” about me. Ha the nerve of these fucking people. This nanny is disappearing first chance I get. The fucking nerve!

    • I love the phrase “cheater’s evil empire”! That describes my ex and his wing nut family to a “T”. I refer to them as a cult, it’s that screwed up.

  • I now know it was a gift, but she left to be with her AP and never looked back. Still hurts like a M***F***. An old high school boyfriend that she found on Facebook after 30 yrs. To me, she’s just pathetic.

    • Either I know you or there are two pathetic souls out there who did the same thing. I hope it gets easier for you. So sorry this happened. if I do know you, trust me, I told her not to do it. Virtual hugs.

      • One more thing….whether I know you or not, I’m sure she doesn’t look back because she doesn’t want to see what she gave up.

        • Thanks for this comment. Yes, I thought we almost had it made in life. I didn’t realize she had other plans. I think she doesn’t look back because she just never cared. She had no qualms walking away from what I thought was a great life (with ups and downs), because she married me for my potential (money – her words). Her new guy makes much more than me. She’s just pathetic. Thanks for the support. I don’t think we know each other (I’m in Chicago and she’s now in Austin), but so many stories are the same. Thanks.

          • I’m sorry we are all having to go through this. Personal growth can be a motha. Mine cheated with friend from 20 years ago, via Facebook, so I hear you loud and clear. I’m still fractured; it’s been a year. They’re getting married soon. It’s so crucial to hear from the ones who made it to the other side of the valley of despair. I agree with your assessment, Marked711 – they don’t look back because they never really cared. Or maybe they cared for a short time, until it (we) started looking too much like real life. Either way it’s the most painful experience of my life. I have to believe we will look back on it as a time when we were liberated to discover a more joyful life. Hugs to every one of us chumps.

            • When cheaters marry cheaters they not will get exactly what they deserve. Asswipes ho was cheated on by both her ex husbands she is a big a cheater as asswipe for sleeping with a married man so they both know the other cheats she told him she was always faithful and never cheated till asswipe. I’m sure they will marry later down the road. The kids and I have started a pool to see how long it lasts. The kids now see him for who he really is. I filed the day he told me he resented and was angry at our kids for not being the PERFECT children the whores kids are. How dare he? You don’t want me anymore fine! Fuck me over fine! Don’t blame the kids for your own short comings! Do not fuck with my kids!! Maybe if asswipe has followed up with being more emotionally and mentally present and did more instead of what was only required would have helped. As soon as this house is settled POOF this girl disappears into her own new future and fuck him. The kids are closer to me than ever.

          • ” She had no qualms walking away from what I thought was a great life (with ups and downs), because she married me for my potential (money – her words). Her new guy makes much more than me. She’s just pathetic. Thanks for the support. I ”

            Sorry to hear dude.. but my stbxw is similar. All about they money.. she wasn’t like that when I met her. But she became that way (I provided and fed that money monster). Only difference is she left me for a richer guy, but he dropped her. Now she is hunting for a new guy (already have one in sights), that makes good money. At least I know she’ll spread eagle for money, not love… and she is not my problem anymore.

            • Most cheaters are shallow MFers, whether they be male or female–a wealthier man here, a younger female there, they lose much to chase fool’s gold.

              • And then rather than take their blows when the newest bestest thing finds a yet better thing and drops them like a hot rock, they think a cheap meal and a drink will bring you right back. DO NOT DO THAT!

    • Marked711…….same here. Mine did everything in his power to get me to leave, but no, chumpy me was gonna help him see the light. You know, the light that banging a stripper 25 years younger than him (and others) was probably not what a good life would end up being.
      Wholeheartedly agree too that he never looked back because he never cared. That, I feel certain of.
      Ultimately he’s a fake, a fraud, a phony, a liar, a cheater, a coward, a sneak, and a no good lousy rat.
      I’m sure I’ve missed some.

      Yesterday marked 3 years from the first DDay though I was highly suspicious for 10 months before that. I still have sorrow but not about missing him; this time the sorrow and pain is for me.

      • You missed Snake! Mine hissed so sweetly in my ears until she no longer had a use for me. It was 30 years of a lie. Thanks for the support. Hugs to all.

        • Marked711…….30 years is such a long time. I’m sorry and I can’t imagine how difficult that had to be to feel like it was a lifetime (practically) of a lie. My 10 years were difficult enough let alone triple that. But we’re all better off now even if we’re solo.

            • Jedi hugs Marked711, it will get better – though you may never get over the random thought that the whole world would be better off if your particular asshole was dead. I know I haven’t.

            • Hatred is a perfectly legitimate response to the level of betrayal that you (that all of us) have suffered. It will justifiably consume you for awhile, but there is no shame in anger, rage or hatred as long as you ease your way toward an honest, rewarding life for yourself.

  • When I knew that he was leaving the OW’s apartment to meet me at marriage counseling. Kind of figured that there was not much worth saving at that point. When I mentioned this during MC he flew off the handle and said, “I can’t believe that you are spying on me”. Even our MC gave him the “you can’t possibly be angry that she is checking up on you” look. The MC asked him “do you want to work on your marriage and end it with your AP or do you want your AP partner?” Ex husband said, “I don’t know”. That’s when I said, “well I guess that answer says it all, we are done, I want a divorce”. I left the building and called my attorney.

    I later went back to speak with the MC during my “oh shit, did I do the right thing?” portion of this rollercoaster ride. My MC said “he didn’t give you much to work with and he was never going to change. Divorce him and move on with your life. It will hurt, but ultimately you will be much happier not having to deal with him anymore”. Boy was he right!

    To the freshman – not gonna lie, it wasn’t easy. Financially it was a struggle, self esteem tanked, kids fought, tension from outsider pushing me to reconsider, but looking back it was the best thing that I could have done. Life is so much better. My kids are doing well, my life is fuller, no more anti-depressants, no tension, genuinely happier. You really are stronger than you think!

    • My ex pulled the “I don’t know” crap on me too. She was just stalling and she really thought she’d be the one to decide on me or the AP. She maintained that stance all the way up to the point where I had to put the bullet in the marriage.

      • I don’t know was my ex’s favorite response to every question. Why? I don’t know. What now? I don’t know. Do you want to leave? I don’t know. Should I leave? I don’t know. So you wanna get back together you say, but did you break up with AP? I don’t know. Do you actually mean anything you say? I don’t know. Let’s get divorced. I don’t know.

        • What they mean is that they don’t know if they want to downsize their kibble supply.

          • Yes to every word! I got that response “I don’t know” for some time and could not figure it out!!!!

            • I think there is another explanation for ‘i dont know’ – gas lighting. They are behaving like 4 year olds. And yet you stick around. They are not so subtly giving the message that normal rules of adult conversation dont apply so they are managing down your expectations in the most basic way. Its insidious. It used to do my head in [i was with a narc, not a cheater as far as I know though no boundaries with his harem. I come to this site because cheaters are narcs and somehow though I’ve been broken up with him for 8 years, somewhere he broke me and I havent been able to move on properly from the stress of living with him].

        • But what they DO know is that they don’t want to tell the truth……..EVER!!

    • I am impressed with your MC. It gives me some hope that good ones do exist out there!

    • “I don’t know” actually means “I’m not willing to tell you because you won’t like the answer and that will wreck everything I’ve got going.”

      My upheaval happened before Chump Lady, so I floundered on my own for quite some time. It was meeting with a new MC after yet another mini d-day and having the counsellor tell him she thought he really wanted out of the marriage but was too much of a coward to say so. “Yeah,” he said. “That.” That was the moment that pulled the wool from my eyes, as up to then, I had tried so hard to believe all his lies instead of all his actions.

      I guess I never did the leaving myself, as it took an outside party to initiate it for me. I like to think I would have gotten there eventually, but I’ve always been one to beat a dead horse to the bitter end, I believe in loyalty and commitment so much.

      • Yes, us chumps are a loyal bunch and believe in commitment but we truly are MIGHTY!

  • I had a D-Day in March and he apologized, cried and we decided to work on the marriage – so I thought. The AF had been his employee and he let her come back to work for him that October. I suspected things started again, but was going to ‘make him’ be the bad guy and end our marriage – I was going to “fight” for our family!

    He and I were texting during a December afternoon about a Christmas party for our daughter’s softball team that night, he having asked me what the attire was going to be. Then he texted me, “I’m serious! 4 pm for smooching!!!!!” The having been an asshole to me for the two months since her return, the sneaking out at night – none of those things moved me like that one text. I replied with “WTF” and he rushed home in a complete panic, pretending the text was meant for me. We all went to the party and I played the happy wife for the kids and assembled guests, but I called a lawyer the Monday immediately following.

    I still often kick myself for having tried to save things, to have been such a chump, but I am also glad that it happened that way. That text is still such a defining moment of my life and the absolute second I turned the corner from Chump to Mighty.

    • I get the defining text thing Vicki!
      My pure defining moment came a week after BPD exWife moved out to live with Schmoopie.
      I was still fighting to save the already dead 25 year marriage, and also spending hours at the hospital tending to HER gravely ill Father, with whom I had a great friendship. As part of his care, I changed his diaper because she “couldn’t handle it”.
      He died soon after and I will never forget seeing the death announcement in the newspaper which named her as family…and made no mention at all of me….after I had loved and been friends with him as a father figure for 28 years.
      I stared at that newspaper for a long time before finally accepting that she had simply erased me from history without a second thought….and I decided to let Schmoopie have that all for himself. I never spoke to her again.
      God often sends us such defining moments.

      • Don, this is just hateful. I’m sure he loved you. I took care of his grandmother for years while he cheated. I cut her grass, planted flowers and went shopping fir her. Yet he left this out when he was spinning his tale to the whores. They have no shame.

    • Yep, a missent text was the beginning of my disordered fuckwit’s undoing as well. I couldn’t appreciate it at the time, but thinking back now to the sheer panic in his voice when he called me trying to lie his way out of it, is one of the little memories I’ll just treasure always.

  • I wish I could say I was strong and might and threw my XW out. But I can’t. She was bound and determined to hold onto the OM. She wanted both though. After a week of two hour per night sleep and no eating, I gave her an ultimatum; him or me. She chose him so I asked her to leave. She spent a few weeks with a sister then moved into his place.

    But… Although I didn’t end it, in the year and a half sense that time, light has dawned on this Marblehead. Wow, I can’t believe all the stuff I missed or covered up and spackled over the 20 year marriage. I can’t believe the relief that I feel. I can’t believe the money so have now. I can do things again. My boys and I experience things and enjoy ourselves now. Sure its hard being an only parent and its difficult learning to live on one income but its worth it. My future is bright not gray.

    One thing I can absolutely say to a freshman, once the cheater is gone, the flood of truth comes washing in. Some of it stings and some is sad but as a whole, it is good.

    • Exactly! My ex wife did the same after 24 years together. After several of her “leaving Friday come home drunk Sunday” weekends “with friends” I finally told her to get out. Later found out she was hooking up with our daughters boyfriends father, they also live together now. But after the loneliness and shock wear off life at home with my daughter is a lot more peaceful. No more tension, fighting, arguing..I got my daughter a shih tzu puppy from the shelter and quite frankly we’re doing ok. My ex on the other hand lost her job she had for 17 years over a year ago and hasn’t worked since, she’s 100% dependent on her new boytoy and he wants to move in his pregnant daughter with her husband and their 2 year old to their “love nest” 2 bedroom apartment. Can you say Karma? Sounds like bliss to me! He can have her!

      • You got a shih tzu puppy and lost a cheater. Sounds like a good trade. She lives a 2-room with 5 other people? Wow, that is some quick karma.

        • That just reminded me, he got a skanky bar whore druggie and I got the washer dryer, leather couch, and my children’s respect.

  • I’m not a freshman any longer. I am moving to graduation though. Like chump-tastic I asked myself how would I counsel a good friend, family member or my kids if they were with a serial cheater. The answer is the same, GTFO.

    I cannot drink the kool aide of compartmentalization to remain with the cheater. That’s self abuse in my opinion. I’d rather model for my kids strength and resiliency vs. mental torture and sadness. I would never want my kids to be the abuser or the victim. They need to witness healthy and happy. They should have all of those things and more in their future relationships.

  • It is a hugely scary time. I’m three years this week past D-Day and still waiting for the final Agreement to be ready. I think it will be this year’s Christmas present.

    When he first told me he wanted a divorce he lied that there was no one else. So I was hell bent on trying to figure out “why?”. I sent him to our minister and then we started MC. Finally, I learned there was another woman. And old friend from college who was going through her own divorce and he wanted to save her. (35 years later). It took over a year before he told our 20 year old daughters and over a year before we sold the house. So I had a little time to get my head wrapped around it. I still thought I loved him and I tried the “pick me dance” but always felt like I was betraying myself. He seriously wanted out and didn’t want to even discuss it.

    Once we sold I retreated to my brother’s home while he was in FL for the winter and those long winter months alone in CT were the best thing I could have done. I discovered what I wanted for myself. I knew I wanted to live near my old home because all my friends were there. I got my ducks in a row and I was happier than I’d been in two years.

    I bought my own place and my kids (now college grads) come to my place. I’m making more new friends and have a better social life than I did when I was married. His gf has now moved from IA to live with him in NY (culture shock!) and they live only a few blocks from me. I have yet to meet her but I’m sure our paths will cross.

    I’m no longer sad or angry or upset. He no longer affects me. It’s taken a long time but I’m ready to sign the Agreement and live a good life.

  • I don’t think it was an “aha moment” that finally made me leave. I had “aha moments” but I stayed for awhile hoping for change. For me, leaving my cheater was gradual. It was gradual, but finally overwhelming. And even when it was overwhelming, I was still hoping for him to change and I was still scared about divorcing him.
    I remember going to an appointment with my lawyer. That was the second time I saw my lawyer. The first time I saw him was in October of 2012. I told him I was probably going to get the divorce started after Christmas. About 3 weeks after that first appointment, my father died and I felt that it was the wrong time to initiate a divorce. So I saw this lawyer again in March 2014. After talking with my lawyer, he told me that this was the second time I had come to him and that I needed to get out of this marriage. I forget his exact wording, but he told me that basically nothing was going to get better for me in my marriage. He also told me that others had the same fears as me, but once divorced they were doing just fine.
    I was still scared to do this but I knew that if I left his office that I would probably put off the divorce and not ever get it started; there would always be a reason or small glimmer of hope to stay married. I knew I had to write a check to my lawyer at that moment and not leave that office without handing him a check for his retainer. So I wrote the check. And handed it over.
    I was still scared and full of doubt even though I knew my ex-husband was lying, cheating, rejecting and neglecting me. I am waiting for the fears and doubt to go away. I know as things fall into place for me that I will feel better and not doubt myself. I am working towards getting to that point.
    This was gradual, though. I guess I finally realized that this was no way to live.

  • Newbies to the site, learn from my cluelessness/good heart. I had three (sorta) DDays.
    #1: ex acting funny, I checked email, and found what I thought was poetry written in French to a fellow graduate student. I do not read French. If I had, I think I would have realized the gravity of the situation. No Google Translate in those days. It was also pre popular understanding of emotional affairs. I accused, he denied, we went to MC, he gaslighted and emphasized she pursued him, just a good friends, etc, I truly believed no affair and put it behind us (though was also insecure about it).

    #2: 9 yrs later–ex was acting like he did also those years before. I read email, noted weird comments from a colleague (who signs emails love you?) ex again denied, she was crazy, had thrown herself at him two weeks before asking him to leave me and the kids, etc. and I, innocent that I am, believed him. She had been throwing herself at him since day 1 on the job, and I warned ex about her. So, again, I thought it was also one sided.
    (Regret, she got word that I knew something and tried to talk to me saying ” I don’t know how he spun it.” I refused to talk to her, wish I had.

    #3: 3 yrs later– ex increasingly unhappy “with work” so I encourage him to take a leave from work and pursue work in a “dream field.”
    He came home every 4-5 weeks to get me and the kids. 7 months in, I am exhausted with work and being a single parent.. Ex comes home and says he does not want to end up like his parents (?? What, we are nothing like them….). Ex does not want to do MC (my regret there, if they do not want it, walk away!!!) so, after three months of false MC the truth comes trickling out, and I know it is only the surface.
    DDay #1, yup, an affair, but they were only physical 1x (uh, huh). He was in love with a woman at new job in different state, but he had not had an affair, etc. it took a month of trickle truthing and gaslighting, but I finally saw how much ex lied. The final kicker was looking at OW FB page, she commented she was in foreign country… Ex was there for work but said she would not be there.
    Ex was too wrapped up with OW to come home and get divorced, could not even utter those words! So, I did it.
    Most difficult thing I have ever done, filing when I did not want it, now, 3 years later, best thing I ever did!

    Advice to newbies– it is always worse than you suspect. Do not fall for the “you are just jealous/insecure” trap. Trust your gut.

    and I know it is scary, but life DOES get much better. Even the days I am struggling with the suicidal depressed teenager, I am grateful for my current life.

    • zyx — you’re definitely right about one thing: Things are ALWAYS worse than you suspect. I keep telling myself that every time I find out something new. Whatever I think I know, it’s probably just the tip of the iceberg. And no matter how hard I try, I’ll never know everything.

      • Yup. Divorced mine on the basis of 1 affair from years ago; as the stories spilled out, determined he was a serial cheater at conferences, on adult web-sites, and with numerous students (not just the 1). NEVER believe their minimalized stories.

    • I have to say, there were many many things that rattled my cage, drove me to counseling (not helpful, BTW), and made me question everything especially my sanity, but it was THIS website and particularly the raw honesty in the comment threads, that got me to DONE.

      It’s actually scary to think where I’d be now if I hadn’t found it when I did. I say it every chance I get: THANK YOU CL and CN!!! I will always be grateful, more than grateful – I owe you my life.


    • Same here Arlo. “Raw honesty”, it’s that something that moves us from Chump to Meh.

  • I got “lucky” (in a way 🙂 ). On D-day, I gave my ex an ultimatum to either follow the straight and narrow or get out. She chose to work hard and stay with me…for about four days. Then, she changed her mind and chose him.
    I’d like to say I was strong and unwavering at every point, but I wasn’t. My emotions swung from “GOOD RIDDANCE!” to “Oh, no, please don’t go! We can work it out!” from one minute to the next. Thankfully, I did the right things at the right times.
    My first good tipping point was advice from our marriage counselor (we did go to one session in the first few days). She told me NOT to go after my wife, and NOT to even think about taking her back unless she was actually contrite about the whole thing. That stuck with me. She also assured me that the cheater would come back in short order (and she was right). For once, someone in the counseling profession actually gave advice that was good for the victim, not just the cheater.
    The next big decision point, and the biggest one, was when I was in one of my “Please don’t go” moods. I was reading a book about how to work through infidelity. The book advised writing up a letter telling your spouse you would not work through things until the affair was done. I wrote up said letter. I read some more in the book, and I read something like “You should not ask for an apology. I don’t think I’ve ever heard a wayward spouse apologize.”
    Maybe my mood swung back, but at that moment I thought “What? No apology EVER? This is totally f***ed up. Will I ever have any self-respect in this? This is bull****.” I tore the letter up, and didn’t give it a second thought.
    The final tipping point came when she said she wanted to go back to counseling. When the World’s Most Wonderful Love Affair Ever with Prince Cheating fizzled and died within a week, the little wayward bird tried to come back about a month later (just as our counselor had predicted). I said I wasn’t so sure I wanted to talk to the counselor now, but I was wavering. I told her that I really didn’t think it was wise to take her back after she spurned my offer to fix things the first time, and that I was no one’s second choice. Not what I signed up for. She said “If we go back to counseling, I am not willing to talk about the cheating at all. Never again!”
    “Then enjoy your cold lonely apartment by yourself.”
    I have never looked back.

    • They always circle back. X is low in supply, cake, and kibbles. The latest is (said with a pity me whine) “I miss my family”, to the chikdren he hasn’t bothered with in 15 months.

      Regrets? No! He misses what he had, a good life with side fucks.

  • Having an abusive partner who stonewalled me whenever I said something he didn’t agree with.
    During the last period of time it happened (this was ongoing for about 9 months or so), I started searching online to figure out ‘why does he stonewall?’ and found this site. When I read the first article here, it opened the door to hell and I realised things would never change. I went no-contact shortly after that, and have been free for over a year now. Realised that there was nothing to work with. I suspect he probably was cheating – but I didn’t care anymore – I was free! No matter what flavour of fuckedupness it was, it was still fucked up.
    This site is great not only for chumps, but for life lessons too. A lot of the advice helps to protect you from arseholes out there.

    • Lania, you are like me. This site has been great because it has helped me to sort out my own messy past. I dodged several bullets, but kept choosing narcs. Took a while to face why, so thank you, therapy.

      My last effort was a very disturbed mama’s boy and workaholic, who also cheated emotionally. It took five on and off years to work out what was going on. Meanwhile, he had me waiting on him, doing the pick me dance, keeping the kibbles coming, for fear of losing him.

      But how can you lose someone you never had in the first place?

      That was more than 2 years ago. He left me for a divorced lady 5 years older, who he can’t marry because he’s very religious (my trouble was that I was marriageable, and thus dangerous). But given that he was terrified of marriage, they should be very happy together. I am desperately grateful to her for taking him off my hands.

      I am happily single, approaching 50, and don’t want to change a thing. He ws my last chance at children, but reading this site has really helped me to accept that the children would have only been horribly hurt.

      But the question about leaving makes me think of my erstwhile fiance of 20 years ago. He was a basher, boozer, cheater and liar, from a psycho family. What got me away, a mere few months away from the wedding, was that he finally behaved like such a shit that the scales fell from my eyes. The critical psychological step was being able to imagine a BETTER FUTURE WITHOUT HIM.

      That’s why I love this site, because it encourages chumps to do just that – imagine a different future from the present one, a future in which you get back your self respect, your personality, your joy and your mojo.

      Life is good now. Life is BETTER than I could have imagined. It’s not the future I imagined for myself at all whn I had a partner, but that was because my imagination was too limited. THIS IS BETTER THAN I EVER IMAGINED!

      • Yeah. I dodged several bullets of past boyfriends who cheated on me, and spewed some pretty nasty words while doing it.

        With the last ex – he didn’t cheat on me, as far as I know. However, being stonewalled when he didn’t agree with my opinion, or when I wasn’t catering to his every whim – while he thought excessive time on a video game, time which was supposed to be spent with me, was fine. It was a dealbreaker. In a way, he cheated on me for a video game.

        There are serious FOO issues going on with him, to be fair – but thats not for me to worry about or fix. I went no-contact over a year ago now.

        I think the reason why a lot of people will stick it out, is because they want to make sure that they did everything possible to try and fix things. That was part of the reason why I hung around for 9 months – was partly because I thought he was extremely stressed with life issues. It all fell apart when he lied about two things he said he did, but I believe he actually didn’t. No proof – but given the situation I don’t believe I needed proof, because the story didn’t add up.

        Life is far better now, though.

        • I suppose I was a bit like that – wanting to exhaust all the fixing options. Except that every time, it was flogging not just a dead horse, but a skeleton where a horse had once been … Or maybe even a horse fossil from the Chumpacious Period …

          Why did I stay? Because of vanity, fear of being single, feeling like a failure for overinvesting in a poor choice, and seeing marriage as the take-me-seriously finishing line of life.

          Why did I leave? Because I started to work out who I really was, stopped being afraid of being single, realised that it was better to cut my losses, and looked around me at the unhappy marriages and divorces, and thought twice.

  • I’ve dealt with a few cheaters over my lifetime so my fuse is REAL short.

    There was no catalyst that propelled me to leave my last cheater. My need to respect MYSELF was simply greater than allowing myself to be disrespected by staying with a lying cheater. I refused to continue being force-fed a shit sandwich for the rest of my life.

    When I read reconciliation message boards, I’m often amazed at just how much disrespect some folks are willing to continually swallow just to stay with their cheaters. And I’m even MORE amazed when other posters in the same position will blindly encourage each other to continue swallowing that shit sandwich – at all costs. Talk about the blind leading the blind. I’m assuming one must have to drop all their pride and self worth at the door there.

    It’s amazing how you can change your life for the BETTER when you find your pride and self respect.

    • CLF

      I have never visited these other sites. I am ashamed to say I stayed with a cheater. I for one am regaining my dignity, strength, and self respect. These are what I believe we lose when we putothers needs before our own. It’s a pit without a ladder until you finally find one and climb your way out. CL was that ladder for me. Hopium, was my fools gold for way to long.

      • Donna, so did I. Until I didn’t – I hit my personal tipping point.

        Keep climbing. There is fesh air and sunlight at the top.

  • I caught the soon to be ex wife blowing her boss when I stopped by to take her out to lunch. After that kicking her out wasn’t that difficult and finding out she had been sleeping around are whole marriage made t

    • Whoops hit reply too soon. Once I found out she had been cheating are whole marriage filing for divorce was easy. Sometimes I think I was lucky that once I caught her she was pretty unremorseful and virtually honest in how much she cheated.

  • For me it was that a-ha moment when I saw my ex-wife for who she really is and what she is capable of. Fortunate for me, she didn’t deny anything, nor did she deny her intention to carry on her affair. She was un repentant, remorseless, and even though she showed some signs of guilt she continue to do what she was doing. Zero contrition. I decided that I wasn’t going to spend another moment with someone who could do that to me. All the stuff she said to drag things out made me sick. An all the stuff she did to try to get sympathy from me made me feel even worse. I can see she was trying to spin a tale that mitigated her actions. She tried to tell the tale in a way where she wasn’t the bad guy. It was disgusting and a monumental failure. That last thing I had to hear before putting the bullet in my marriage was when I asked her why she didn’t just stop and come home and she said, “It’s not that simple. I might be pregnant by him.” That was the tipping point and I told her I had heard enough from her and to meet me at the courthouse the following Wednesday. At that point I felt my heart just shut down.

    It took me a little while but I had to come to terms with the reality of the situation, the reality of her as a person, the reality of divorce, and the reality of being single again and the pain that would come from having to readjust. Marriage is in my blood. But after finally getting there, having to put it down was worse than never having it. But it’s worth it because what I had was not what a marriage is supposed to be. It was just a cheap imitation, like crab meat on sushi.

    Honestly I wrestle with what’s next; if I’d ever find someone. But right now at least I’m safe. Which is more than I can say when I was with that jackass. I regret nothing. I was real and I know I can be a good husband to someone.

    • Michael, come to Warsaw. There is someone who thinks just like you!! ?yours is a very touching story that was very similar to my story. I have actually written to chumplady exactly 1 year ago. I was sad and desperate. I have survived 16 years of abuse and my husband’s serial infidelity. I had my suspicions many times earlier but chose not to act on them – NOT that i haven’t tried, i am a journalist after all. ? but i was very young, idealistic, and gaslighted and abused. i loved him or rather – the idea of him. I gave him EVERYTHING A WOMAN CAN GIVE TO A MAN. Last year in september i had finally my proof black on white – he was cheating with 2 different OW. I hv also discovered he was RECORDING ME since months!!! he was also turning my son against me – a son whom he always has ignored (Stbx is an addicted gambler and his addiction always came first!!! ). I have escaped in november 2014 from MY OWN APARTMENT WITH MY KID. i have filed for divorce in february 2015. I live in my parents APARTMENT right now because the judge rejected my plea for my return to my own apartment (! ) cause MY HUSBAND AS A HUSBAND CANNOT BE THROWN OUT CAUSE DESPITE HE iS NOT AN OWNER, HE Has the right to live there. that’s the law in Poland. stbx is earning loads of money and i have to pay rent for both apartments from my miserable journalist salary. But its OK, you know why??? Cause i dont have to see his ugly cheating horrid face anymore and walk on eggshells around him and give him… kibbles and listen to things from him to me like: “The XX (OW) called. She said you are insane!! “. Unf@@@@@ingbelievable now. I have a great son and great friends and a job at a lifestyle magazine that i love. And one day when i will sign up finally my divorce papers i WILL Get MY APARTMENT BACK. AND Maybe, just maybe, i will find REAL LOVE. and what kept me going? Chumplady!
      Lost of kisses!!! Monique

      • Aww Monika. Thank You! You’re very sweet. And I’m sorry for what the court systems is doing to you on top of your divorce. That is horrible. But you will triumph! Hugs.

        By the way, Warsaw seems like a lovely city!

        • Michael, yes, Warsaw is a lovely city?. What impressed me in your letter was that “marriage was in your blood” and “you were real”. I soooo understand it! And i dont know any man who would admit to it. When i married my husband i was v young.I thought:it’s Forever, it’s destiny etc. I wanted this marriage to work. I did not know anything about addiction etc. (it took me few years to understand that he was addicted to gambling) I come from a very loving, great family, my parents are together 40 years. I loved him sooo much…. But he did not love me. He was cruel, an empty shell, a sociopathic narcissict. I still hear his voice in my head that i am worthless etc. I dont know if i EVER believe in myself again. He destroyed my naive childish belief in marriage and “eternal” love and honor and respect. I hate him for it. I know i have escaped his clutches in the last moment. But i soooo regret the lost years.I regres my begging him for apology (how pathetic i was!!! ), writing to OW last year asking “why? “(How pathetic i was and naive). I regret i fought for something that just wasnt there and that i let him destroy me. But just like you – I WAS REAL and honest and sincere and believed. i am so happy i discovered chumplady. She opened my eyes to many things. like: no reconcillation! No kibbles! And GASLIGHTING… ? i am stronger every day. Have a nice day? monika

      • Since you’re paying rent on that apartment can’t you end the lease? Just… Stop paying? Whatever?

        • Creative, this is my own apartment, i have bought it with my own money. I think i misused the word “rent” here. I meant the cost of monthly usage of: cold and warm water, heating, rubbish etc. That i have to pay every month. I can’t NOT PAY cause the building admin will sue me and my psycho stbx doesnt pay. monika

          • Understand you, Monika. In some parts of the world an apartment means a rental place and in others it means a place you buy, An apartment here where we live is definitely a monthly rental, without ownership. In New York City, an apartment might be bought for an insane amount of money. It’s all about how it works in a particular place, and what people call a place to live.

  • I’m 4 years out and yes, getting out was the best thing I could have done. I wish I’d done it DDay 1 rather than DDay 3.

    A few things that may help:

    I really struggled with the idea of breaking the promise I made and what God would think of it. I wasn’t actively in a church at that time and it took me a while to work out for myself that adultery is specifically mentioned as legitimate grounds for divorce. DivirceMinister may have more to say on that.

    DDay 1, I was just in shock. I shut down. I thought maybe he was having a breakdown because suddenly, I was seeing a stranger. The information here should really help people in that stage. We did counseling but he quit when pushed. Overall, until DDay 3, I’d say my expectations were so levered down, and I so bought into the presentation of everything being unbearably hard for him (because he felt so bad…NOT), that I finally talked myself into being satisfied with essentially no change.

    DDay 2, I was sure this was the end. It was around this time I came to terms with adultery is an out. But why didn’t I leave? I wanted to be sure I’d done everything possible before giving up. This created the opportunity for me to lose my clarity. We went to another counselor. This counselor told me my x was a sex addict and to run. But I wasn’t ready to hear it so bluntly. Dismantling my life, hurting x so badly, it was overwhelming. And how could the counselor be so sure so quickly? He was right of course but I didn’t want to be unfair. Also, and I’d say this is something to be very careful of, I’d confided in a mutual friend and didn’t realize she’d bought into his story and was working to reconcile us. She never said as much but her influence was definitely a factor. She apologized after DDay 3 but of course, that was 4 or 5 extra years of suck for me. I think she fed him the lines that helped to convince me he had changed. I put together a postnup but allowed him to wimp out in the grounds it would be humiliating.

    DDay 3. Finally, I was pre-armed and ready. I’d decided if anything came to light again I would make it publicly known to my friends and family. Which I did. I also withheld from him what I knew. I just told him I knew he had cheated again. For any chance of reconciliation, he had to reveal all. He never did, not even close, but I did get some hilarious tales out of it. Knowing for sure that he still lied gave me great strength. Getting out was the hardest thing I ever did. What an emotional roller coaster. He melted down in every way he could to try to make me relent. I did some individual counseling this time and it helped.

    It hasn’t been easy to put things back together but I would NEVER EVER return to the life of being an appliance, basically a bit player in his life, worrying more about how things affected his fragile self than I ever worried about me. I was the strong one, he needed me. Bullshit. He moved on quickly after I left and reconstructed his life in no time. The distorted picture of the future that seemed so real was just that — a distortion.

    When things are wrong, they’re wrong, and one person in the pair can’t fix them.

    • Ohana, your post resonates so much with me. We traveled almost the same path. I had a lot to work through with wanting to be right with God, with wanting to make sure that I did not jump to conclusions, to not jump the gun with a person that I loved and maybe made a “mistake”. I had such dissonance with this because deep down I knew that he was wrong, that what he was making me, making “us” go through was wrong. I never really realized that there were so many choices and decisions on his part to find a new partner while he was married. At any one of those times he could have chosen us, but he never did. He chose himself, and what would be “best” for him in his eyes and never gave me or our family a second thought.
      “It hasn’t been easy to put things back together but I would NEVER EVER return to the life of being an appliance, basically a bit player in his life, worrying more about how things affected his fragile self than I ever worried about me.” So well put. It hasn’t been easy, but freshman chumps, you deserve so much more than being a “bit player” in anyone’s life, especially your spouse of significant other. Do not become insignificant in your relationship, more than likely you have done nothing to make you insignificant, other than being a faithful, loving partner.

      • DeeL – GREAT point about how much deliberate planning and effort it takes to cheat. I remember about 6 months post-divorce, it hit me forcibly that x’s different Facebook views meant he had conducted a longstanding, deliberate and pre-meditated campaign of deceit. For some reason the full implications did not hit me until then. I was actually angry about it for several days before I figured out why. That’s how muddled and confused I was. That’s how hard it was to understand it wasn’t “mistakes” or “bad judgment”. New chumps, think about how hard it is to hide the long series of actions involved in even the “simplest” single episode. It’s not a mistake. It’s deliberate and a campaign. No one should have to live with that.

    • Ohana,

      Quick Biblical primer:

      1) God divorces Israel over unrepentant adultery (Jeremiah 3:8). So, divorce is not a sin as God did it. And adultery is crystal clear grounds for acceptable divorce.

      2) Jesus mentions sexual immorality (Greek word, “porneia”) as permissible grounds for divorce in Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:9. Adultery certainly falls into the broad category of sexual immorality. Jesus does not permit us to sin.

      3) The Old Testament proscribed the death penalty for an adulterous spouse and his/her partner (see Deuteronomy 22:22 and Leviticus 20:10). A divorce would not have been needed in that case. I fail to see God extend more mercy to faithful spouses under the Old Testament Law than He would in the New Testament. God is loving and merciful; God is not into victim-blaming.

      Hope that helps!


      • DM, where were you 10 years ago?

        I hope your primer helps other chumps avoid wasting time and suffering needless anguish. In a few words you summarized everything one needs to know.

        • Ten years ago or so I was getting married to my cheater…young and naive. Oh well, I am glad I serve a God who redeems such things!

          Thanks for your kind words, Ohara! (And chump-tastic)

          • Genuine question, DM-how do these tenets fit with the parable of Christ and the Woman taken in adultery? I have heard more than one Jesus Cheater cite that.

            • Jesus said to her , ‘GO AND SIN NO MORE’.

              Not many cheaters stick to that one. In fact, the cheating they have admitted to and been ‘sorry’ for is usually just the tip of the iceberg.

            • Jesus kept them from stoning her to death. Divorce is a completely different matter. Jesus never mentions her husband needing to stay married to her after her sin. He is silent on that matter.


              “You’re right. I will be merciful like Jesus and not call for my cheating husband/wife to be executed.”

              And I agree that the part about “Go and sin no more” is also glossed over too often.

      • I really struggled with my vows…the same ones he was desecrating left and right. My x was (still is) struggling with alcoholism and addiction. So I knew the adultery got me out, but I struggled with the “in sickness” part. It was very hard for me because I felt I was breaking that sacred vow. It took a lot of prayerful work for me to move past that.

  • I had finally had enough of the phone hoarding. After he got busted with his fuck phone and yahoo chat accounts, he just continued to do it. He would lock his phone, carry it like it was his life line, turn it upside down, put it on vibrate, sleep with it under his pillow….it was PATHETIC. He told me it was ‘none of my business’ who he was texting/sexting. I think what REALLY was the last straw was when my son told me about his fathers little sexting adventures – he also told me that his dad told him (my son) that I had cheated on him. I was IRATE! My stupid stbx has been accusing me of a ficticious affair for 15 years (and I think THAT got old too) and for cheater to believe it is one thing, but to plant that thought into our kids’ heads – totally WRONG!
    It took me awhile to realize that jackass was ‘entitled’ to his phone. He could care less that what he was doing was hurting me and somehow didn’t see anything wrong with it. Oh yes – after he got busted cheating, I outed him. He didn’t like that so he sent out a mass text to our friends telling them how we are divorcing because of my past indiscretions, but I apologized for being mean and treating him like shit. Yep – for real……

    • This is what I fear. There are real issues which will hurt me, that he and I chose as partners which will make my family sad. It’s emotional hostage taking. What do I want more? My freedom. The shit sandwich of my own choices- which my family won’t agree with for religious reasons- that’s the suck. Because I know it will come out, because he’s a douche.

  • I set a single, non-negotiable boundary after I found out about the affair: I don’t participate in 3 person marriages. I was lucky, as there was no false reconciliation, no taking the affair underground– he wasn’t willing to drop his girlfriend (a married woman he had known in college many years ago) because she was PERFECT and he had, in fact, been suffering DAILY being married to me for 26 years. (This was the first I had heard about that).
    Update: The cheaters are now married to each other, which is what they deserve. And I get to live my life post-divorce as I wish and drama-free, which is what I deserve. I win.

  • Coming home to discover she had taken her preferred form of birth control out of our condo and also learning of the OM. Then I read Dr. Dobson’s classic “LOVE MUST BE TOUGH” and told her in a letter to either end it plus make me sure it was ALL ended or lose me even as a friend. Got lies/denials in response and she pushed the divorce through–which was a blessing in disguise at the time.

    Looking back, I find comfort strangely in realizing how little power I had over the situation. Seven–if I counted correctly–joint sessions with a marriage counselor while she was involved with the OM–unbeknownst to me at the time! This from a trained marriage therapist herself. Enough said!

    • I read that book too, funny that it kind of sells you the hope of getting them back. But when you read it in its harshness, it makes the reality of your situation hit home, this book helped me regain some self respect and come to terms with breaking up.

  • I think questions like this are good and helpful — but confusing for those of us who were discarded. We didn’t get the chance to leave since we were left.

    BUT, we spent painful days, weeks, months, or years coming to grips with what happened and slowly letting go of the person we thought our cheater was. So for us who were left, I say to consider asking yourself this question, “What helped you to let go of your cheater?”

    In the early days, when I was still in utter shock, denial, and frankly still thought I loved and desired my cheater, what helped me to let go was to say to myself, “It doesn’t matter how much I love him; I cannot be with someone who has the capability of doing what he did to me.”

    In its simplest terms, that’s what it came down to and I moved on from there. I knew I could not let him back into my life, I just had to figure out how to live with that outcome — with was long and painful.

    But worth it.


    • ML, when they leave, when they abandon, when they will not speak to you is so totally heartbreaking. The devastation is so hard, so final and so damn good in the end. The ex just up and left when I confronted him. No chance of wreckonciliation, a blessing in disguise, nothing. One day you are married, by 5pm you are being left. Total mindf*ck at the time, but the best damn thing that they have done for you in probably years. It’s so hard, so heartbreaking at the time. It probably takes years to get over. I’m 2 years out from it and it’s barely getting ok, not good but ok. Their evil really goes far and has lasting consequences, but I am confident that we will prevail. Is it the life that you once dreamed and hoped for, no. But it is an authentic life, filled with heartbreak and indecision, but at least no one making your life a living hell. We will prevail !!!

    • This^^^ I’m past the worst, but still hurting very much. CL and no contact (which she imposed upon walking away) have really helped. Still have a long way to Meh.

      • X checked out on me but forgot to let me know. I spent a year trying to figure out what I had done to piss him off so much. His preferred mental abuse was the silent treatment.

        For me, the tipping point was suspecting he and his “work friend” were at our family home on Cape Cod together. When he came home, I went through their trash.

        Poetic really; I was literally going through garbage when I came to my senses after 18 of the longest, loneliest years of my life married to him. There was no doubt. I knew then that I had married a scumbag while digging through used paper plates, used condoms and used tampons.

        It was the lowest moment of my life.

  • I did it by spitting my heart and mind apart, I acknowledged that I loved him and still wanted him back and I told him plainly “I want you back, just so that you know, I want you to come home and we can work this out” but while I was saying it, I was simultaneously handing him one of the last few bags of his belongings because there was NO WAY he was going to leave his shit at my house without paying rent.

    I let my heart still want him but I refused to be walked over, I drew hundreds of different lines. He was unable to be a better man and has permanently left me and his little kids who he adores. I felt like he left me but everyone else I know is like “well done you chucked him out.” It was like my hands were controlled by the sensible me and the sad sappy person was locked away in a pen and could only watch.

    Only now, I am feeling better after half a year, NC works a treat and he truly makes my skin crawl.

    • ” It was like my hands were controlled by the sensible me and the sad sappy person was locked away in a pen and could only watch.”

      That’s an amazing way of putting it. I feel like my ex left me because he refused the try-and-regain-my-trust option I gave him (until a week later when it all hit him). But some part of me took his refusal, packed my stuff and the dog and left the same night. That me initiated NC when he begged me back a week later–even though I wanted nothing more than to go back to him.

  • My stbx actually wanted the divorce and I was working the lets work this out angle very hard. She finally admitted to an affair in my opinion to push me to divorce. It worked. What she didn’t expect was for me to tell her to leave our home and move out. I’m not sure what made me do it, but it’s the best decision I made. Even after she moved out, I still was hoping for reconciliation. I just thought it was a separation to work out everything. So, i was still begging to work it out. Even went to the MC one last time. She told me one day she had made an appointment with an attorney so I figured I should do the same. I went and listened to what my rights were but didn’t do anything at that time. Still hoping. Still trying to work it out. Then somehow I got up the nerve to file for divorce even though she was wanting it. I’m a logical thinker and I knew I had to protect myself and filing was the only way to do it. But I was still hoping she would come to her senses. Then I noticed a motel charge on the credit card for a local motel. I confronted her and she said she just needed to get away from her parents. So I believed her; however, i requested a copy of the charge from the credit card company. Well I forgot that i had requested it until one day i got a text from her telling me that she had opened the credit card response, sent to me at my address, and she fessed up to it being for a “friend”. Of course she didn’t stay there with him, he was just in town and didn’t have a credit card as he wasn’t planning to stay overnight. That was the breaking point for me. I knew we were done because she was still lying and covering up her actions. Shortly after I went no contact and started the process of detaching and accepting my marriage was over. It was extremely difficult for me even though I was seeing a counselor every week. He is good and told me early on there was likely someone else. But my progress was very slow and I was totally broken. Wasn’t sure how I was going to get through another day. So I started googling how to get past a divorce. Eventually I found a support website. From there, I found CL and CN. This blog has done more for my recovery than months of IC. I have made incredible progress in a very short time. My IC even mentioned how well i’m doing. So for me, the breaking point was realizing that she was going to continue to lie. I couldn’t live with that. Even if we got back together, I couldn’t trust her. So now i’m waiting on the final divorce which oddly her attorney is dragging out. Thanks to CL and CN I feel prepared for it and have hope that there will be a future for me. I can’t thank you enough CL for this site!

    • Well done Alan. You hang in there and you make sure that you get what you deserve out of your divorce. I was stupid, and mushy and I got screwed in the settlement. No mercy was shown to you and the divorce process is a business deal, show no mercy.

    • ” Even if we got back together, I couldn’t trust her. So now i’m waiting on the final divorce which oddly her attorney is dragging out”

      I filed too. But I realised why she is dragging feet.. because of money. She wants the car paid off etc.. so she is stalling waiting that I pay as much as possible.

      Joke is on her… car is 4-5 years then it’s paid off. I wish her out of my life, if it wasn’t for the kids, I would have booted her long ago.

  • I can tell folks who are new to this… DO NOT follow the advice of many RIC (Reconciliation Industrial Complex) “save the marriage at all costs” websites, or listen to any therapist that insists you bear on atoms worth of blame for what the cheater did. I divorced my POS only having her tell me “she had feelings for someone at work, and we have never even held hands”… Sure, despite the other BS coming over to our home at D-Day +1, who I thought might kill you, with my daughter having to witness the who whole event.

    After the initial shock wore off enough for me to function, I sat her down and said you have five days to tell me everything, go 100% NC with the other POS (quit job), with no guarantees that I will stay. Don’t do this, and YOU WILL receive divorce papers. She knew I am a man of my word, and not bluffing. Five days were up, and it was nothing but “I can’t switch off my feelings like that”, blaming me for her shit; “If you were a better husband, this would have never happened”, etc… Papers soon followed. Now she could really let the mask slip and become a total psychopathic bitch, but I was driven by purpose, preservation, and anger, and am SO GLAD to now longer have this piece of garbage in my life.

    100% NC since 6/13, divorced since 12/13, so meh I couldn’t care less if she dropped dead, and grateful for every day I have. I have been dating a gal (chump) for over 2 years that shows me there are good ones out there, my daughter still loves and respects me, and the world continues to spin. Please folks, do whatever you can to get out of the mess these selfish fuckers tossed you into, and gain a new, calmer, much better life without them.

      • Thank you sephage. I’m so fortunate, as it breaks my heart reading of people who have survived multiple D-Days, the agony they speak of from false reconciliation, feeling stuck and inert staying with a filthy cheater with no hope in limbo. Gotta say what really felt nice, and had me know I did the best for myself and daughter, was when was when I told her of my new girlfriend.

        Just to say the word ‘girlfriend’ to my late teen daughter, was awkward, and I did not want to have her feel weird… Nope, she said the kindest thing I could ever hear:

        “I’m happy for you dad.”

        After having her guts ripped from her as so much collateral damage, being a well played pawn in a rigged game from her psychopathic mom who was dead-set to destroy me, she still had the ability to be kind and share joy with her dad… I knew then everything was gonna be fine, and never prouder of my kind, empathetic, wonderful daughter.

  • It finally happened when I laid aside thinking about
    – what I wanted/needed
    – how much I sacrificed
    – how could this happen?
    – how much years I put into it

    …and did a hard analysis of what I actually had… and the answer was a negative number.

    What’s the view like? Let’s see… it’s like climbing a steep mountain, and upon reaching the top you see the beautiful, panoramic view of the ocean. Someone asks, “How was it, going up the mountain?”

    The answer: “What mountain? Don’t you see this view?”

    • I am so looking forward to being able to say “what mountain? Don’t you see this view?”

      • Stay the course, and make the tough decisions… climbing the mountain is challenging. But you’ll enjoy it when you get there DeeL.

  • To be perfectly honest, the affair was the impetus for me to dump the abusive d-bag. I was a stay-at-home, homeschooling mom with 5 kids. He had been emotionally (and spiritually) abusing me and the kids for years and years. And since the divorce I’ve realized that even though he never hit me, some of his actions would be considered physical abuse. He would drive like a maniac, not let me out of the car when he “needed” to say something hurtful, etc. I remember one time in particular when The Jerk was yelling at another driver and I was terrified that the other guy would come out of his car with a gun.

    Life today is amazing. I’m not walking on eggshells any more. My home is peaceful. My youngest child graduated from high school in the spring, four of them are college students, and they are recovering from a childhood spent with an asshole.

    • I’m with you, Elizabeth. I had an associate’s degree in “He Sucks” by the time D-day hit. I had come close to asking for a divorce the month before, and then found the notes preparing him for the sexual harassment officer for an affair with a student years before + condoms in his computer bag. Took pictures of the notes, left the condoms on the bed with a note saying, “We’re over. Go to a hotel.”

      He came home, 3 minutes of silence while he composed his lies, then “Tempest, come talk to me.”
      T: “no, leave.”
      X implores me to talk to him several more times, I succumb (largely out of curiosity), and….Let the Mindgames Commence.

      I moved into the guest room the night of D-day, gave him opportunities to tell the truth (ha ha ha) & make amends (as if), threw him out after 3 weeks, found CL a month after D-day, and filed a month later when it was clear the only remorse I was going to get was naugahyde remorse.

      I guess the odds were ever in my favor, as divorce was the best thing I did for myself as an adult (after having children). Guess I graduated–and it must have been a B.S. degree (or is that anti-B.S. degree)?

    • I struggled with the same kinds of abuse. I don’t think we really have a term for them. I kind of want to reserve “physical” abuse for people who have actually experienced damage or trauma to their body. I certainly never saw myself as physically abused. But the road rage infused driving, parking me in to places (so I couldn’t get in my car and leave without hitting his), blocking my access out of the bathroom so he could keep me trapped in a small space and rant at me, disabling the phones in the house (removing the batteries), threats that I should not call the police because he had already done so and reported that I was unstable and in fear of his safety, etc. All these kinds of manipulations of my person and options seem like something other than emotional abuse (though I got plenty of that too). I think part of the problem we have getting people who have never experienced the varieties of abuse to understand the problem or even that we have achieving understanding ourselves is that we literally lack the language to distinguish the range of ways a partner can be abusive.

  • What made me realize it was tme for him to go was how he acted on D-day-angry, dismissive and blamey.

    Once the mask slips and you finally see the reptilian hatred, it is oh so time to go…..

  • He contacted 30 different hookers in a 3hr period – trying to find one immediately (before I got home from shopping).

        • Sadly Tempest-there many apps for that……and they are free………………
          Want to guess how I know?

          Thank god I don’t have to worry about that crap anymore!

            • It’s ok Tempest, I don’t really have to deal with the “Porno Theatre of Drama” that was my STBX much anymore-except for when it has to do with our son.

              I used to be angry and insulted about his free piece of ass speed dial iPhone apps before, now I just see it as pathetic and gross.

              In the famous words of another chump “Not my circus, not my monkey anymore!”

  • The bottom line for me is how have you been treated? If someone loves you, they may do some things you do not like, or things that unintentionally hurt you, but the love is there, and the respect is there. You can reconcile and compromise with another person who understands that life is about give and take. You cannot reconcile with someone who doesn’t consider you a part of a team, who is not invested in a future with you, When you realize that the person you partnered with has NO consideration for you or your welfare, has NO respect for you, DOES NOT look forward to a future with you, thinks of you as a “free” resource that can be drained of all value and then discarded, then you realize that your only option for survival is to leave.

    My family of origin and the extended culture I grew up in was full of stories glorifying hard work and delayed gratification. Duty, Honor, Responsibility, Generous Giving. All of these things are wonderful Chump values, and have a place in running an organized and civilized society. However, protecting yourself from those who do not share those values, and learning to recognize users and con artists so that you can avoid them are important, too. No matter how strong you are, or how great your intentions are, you cannot do it all. Everyone needs a little help and understanding and support. If the person you are with has disrespected you by carrying on an activity behind your back while continuing to reap the benefits of being in at least a surface relationship with you — you need to sever that relationship. They know it is wrong — that is why they sneak around. They can argue and blame-shift all they want to — they are operating with bad intentions. It really does not matter if it is emotional or physical, if there is one AP or legions of them, once they lie, and continue to carry on and reap the “rewards” of an illicit and underhanded “other” relationship At Your Expense, it is time to go.

    Everyone has different tolerance and a different time-table. You take it and try to change it until you realize one day that you cannot do it anymore. Then you leave.

    The only regret I truly have about the whole thing is how long it took me to come to realize that I was done. It is not that I enjoyed any part of the experience of being betrayed, but I did learn an awful lot from it. It happened, and there were some bright spots that came from the (mostly) bad times. I have my sons, I have a much better understanding of what others are capable of, and my life experiences are a part of who I am. I cannot write off or revise my entire history because I made a bad choice in picking a mate. I just wish I had not been such a stubborn and prideful woman. I wish I had not kept myself isolated in Denial such a long time.

    Living an authentic life is it’s own reward — once you realize all you gain by doing so, you will wonder why you let fear paralyze you for so long.

    • I was stubborn, in denial & paralyzed by fear too.You expressed my experience better than I ever could. Thanks for the post. It hit home for me.

  • I didn’t leave him, he sent me an “I’m moving out tomorrow” email and left. But, and it’s a doozy of a but, I’d had d-day #3 just days prior. I was still processing that the marriage was going to have to end when he left.

    The actual turning point for me was the summer before he left, before I knew what gaslighting is. We were eating dinner as a family (all 3 kids sitting at the table with us) and I mentioned that I kept smelling a really strange odor at night. Kid #2 said she smelled it, too, and wasn’t that weird? X piped in and remarked, “Smelling phantom odors is a sign of mini-strokes.”

    Unpacking that: 1) is it still a “phantom” odor when two people report the same experience?; 2) my mother had a series of mini-strokes, which can be hereditary; 3) kid #2 was having a really tough time and was seeing both a therapist and a psychiatrist at that time. He fucked with his own fragile child for no other reason that to fuck with her. (BTW, kid #2 and I later realized the smell was from X’s cigarillos which he smoked secretly on the back porch while slugging down massive quantities of tequilla.)

    I realized right then and there that he was lying and manipulating me just because he could. I’d already been writing notes to myself about certain events because he would say, “You don’t remember xyz right,” so I had a log of crazy. From that point forward, I refused to accept his version of reality. I knew I wasn’t losing my mind and I would stick up for the actual events. That had to make him angry since he’d been saying black was white for years.

    The road to divorce was long and full of potholes. It sucked. He sucks more. He left in 3/2012; the divorce was finalized in 7/2015. I’ve seen him exactly twice in that timeframe.

    My kids are doing so. much. better. without that creep in their lives. I’m finally finishing my BA. We’re not hungry or homeless, which were my biggest fears. Truly, the fears about divorce were far worse than the actual divorce. And nothing was worse than feeling like a madwoman or a shadow in my own life when I was married.

    • I could have written that last paragraph. We spend so much energy doubting ourselves. You’er right “nothing was worse than feeling like a madwoman or a shadow in my own life when I was married.”

    • I relate to this so much. The whole time I was with ex (16 years) he was always doing this. Always telling me he had told me things he never did then telling me I was forgetful. After DDay, and after I kicked him out and he kept coming back “to talk” he started practicing some of his revisionist lines and gaslighting that I’m sure he was telling other people (OW, etc) too, for example… “Oh Please Muse. Our relationship was horrible and dozens of times I begged you to go to counseling with me, and every single time you refused.” What? I said, that never happened. “Oh, seriously Muse. We both know that as you are getting older, you are developing memory problems.” He also claimed that “every time with had another one of our knock down drag out fights,” (actually his abusive rage-athons), “Muse, you always threatened to move out.” He said that whopper right after telling me that I should move out of our home that I paid over 90% for, so that OW could move into my home with him, and that he had “already brought her here and she liked it.” INSANE.

  • First of all I did not know I was living in an abusive relationship. I was busy taking care of children and working toward buying a home on minimum wage part time jobs. The cheating was ever present. He explained it away at first and I believed these women were throwing themselves at him until I found hard evidence. Things were good until the next time. I believed he loved me and never recognized the pattern of love bombing, devaluation, and discard I was experiencing. He was a master, good looks and a good guy image. The last fifteen years were aiving hell as the devaluation stage took on a life of it’s own. It took me seven years to complete my degrees and the payoff was increased control as he wanted me to support him since he “supported me” for years. X was upset when I joined a gym with my friends, bought clothes, and talked on the phone with my friend. X started a campaign to make me look bad to our adukt chikdren. He wanted me to be with him all the time and I was forever waiting for him to come home and by then he was always too tired, full of complaints, and health issues. I lived him and supported him through prostate cancer, alcoholism, and his getting high daily. I was selfless and I learned not to have needs. The periods of “dating” multiple women at a time all the while blaming it on me became unbearable, yet I was still in his holding pattern until the final DDay. He HATED me. I saw it in his eyes. His mask slipped. The outrageously cruel things he said and did were not necessary and were meant to destroy me, the loving wife and mother of his children.

    He didn’t just want to leave, he wanted to erase my very existence. He initiated no contact as soon as I threw him out. Deep down I wanted him to pick me however the pain his actions caused this time made me realize I needed help to stop loving him.

    Therapy caused me more pain when I had to desk with the truth, he never loved me. This was a man who could be in the delivery room one minute and standi outside the delivery room with his “work friend” to show off his child later that same day. Every memory with him was tainted once I knew he was a sociopath.

    Therapy also helped me, along with medication to file for divorce even though I still loved him. When I opened our health insurancr statements (his by accident) and saw multiple office visits and testing for HIV I was beyond crushed. When I asked him about it he laughed. I learned to STOP gaining evidence.

    Getting to the other side alone was difficult even with medication and a great therapist. It took a nation of chumps to get through the lowest of lows throughout the grieving process which I work through daily. I forgive myself fior my past and believe Reconcilliation keeps the abuse going regardless of their acting abilities.

    The other side? At first it felt bleak while detatching from the chaos of living wit a cheater. It’s a fucking painful process with out a doubt, facing the fears and self doubt. My identity was tied to a monster who disrespected and devalue me fior 36 years. I found strength,truth,and kindness here. After 15 months I continue to work in myself whic is necessary. I’m wort it. I deserved to be cherished and to have my emotional needs met. It takes courage fir a chump to move on from living a lie with a coward. It was worth everything I went through to get to the other side. This is where I can smile. Thank you CL and CN.

  • Through the agony of Asshole X’s silent treatment, blameshifting and refusal to get a job, I hung on till my sensitive, mini-me daughter turned 18 (so no Possession Order) and left for college (full NC). I tried to tough it out after that for the sake of our 16-year old son, but I just couldn’t. The guilt I felt for choosing myself over my youngest child kept me paralyzed until Christmas Eve. My family was coming over for dinner and Asshole X flew into a rage when requested not to drink. He screamed, “I WOULD be better off without you. We SHOULD get a divorce.” It was the tipping point I needed. I said, “Okay” and never changed my mind after that.

    X has been out of the house since January and the divorce decree was signed 5 weeks ago. My son seems happy and well-adjusted, to my almost unbearable relief. I still feel stunned by the demise of my 27-year marriage but can tell the freshmen that I am absolutely better off without him. I know that I loved him and he didn’t love me.

  • About two weeks passed between D Day #1 and #2 I had long planned for a trip home to be with my parents and celebrate my mother’s birthday for a week and after D Day #1 I stupidly thought we would go see a counselor when I got back from my trip.

    It took him about 24 hours after I got back to actually have the balls to say, in an angry voice, “can we talk?” It was 10pm on a Sunday and I had just finished cleaning up the kitchen after spending 3 hours putting together a gourmet feast for Easter, which he ate while refusing to leave the TV. I’d spent all afternoon going to the grocery store and prepping for dinner while he did homework and watched TV. I was tired, and felt for the umpteenth time like he didn’t appreciate all I’d done. It was my breaking point.

    So I let it all out-I challenged all the stupid justifications he’d given me, I told him it wasn’t a good time to talk, and then I said, “and talking to that skanky woman for 3 hours at the party was inappropriate and humiliating. He said in the most guilty voice, “it wasn’t 3 hours” and I quipped, “no, more like 4 maybe” That’s when I know deep within that he had been cheating (this would be confirmed as I was packing up my belongings in the week to follow). i had asked if there was someone else and he denied, denied, denied. But that night, I knew. I left in my bathrobe at 11pm, went to a friend’s house to spend the night and never slept in his house again. The next day I began packing. From then on, I began “seeing” through the wall of lies and deceit that he’d built.

  • Oh CN, thank you for so graciously sharing your stories. I am a chump who really, really needs help “getting to the other side” – just can’t seem to do it. And your insights help.

    I finally started pot-nup process (in September – after first meeting lawyer in February) and once signed will have options. But I feel sort of crazy and nothing shocks me anymore.

    I would have advised a friend to leave from January 2015 D-day where husband (55) denied, then acknowledged affair with assistant (28 – WTF?). But being a chump I stayed. After all, didn’t want to upset son who was soon graduating from college, daughter in college who was expecting us at big sorority weekend or tightly wound high school son who needed help with college apps. There were also Easter, family birthdays and vacations to consider. Why ruin everyone else’s life? I could wait a little longer and then decide.

    I think waiting made me lose my judgement and my mind, because as i learned more and more I became numb.

    Moved on to find that husband had gotten AP pregnant in 2013 and they had grieved an abortion together and that he had been dining with her/ walking her dog and having sex with her several times a week. . All those late nights at work, running his company, were with her. But I was made to feel controlling and crazy for asking him to let him know his plans.

    Found his car at APs house in July, while we were “reconciling.” MC saw him individually because he couldn’t stop contact with the AP, as he was “in love” with her. Claimed he didn’t want to hurt AP as she “had issues with abandonment” since her father died young. “TC is strong and doesn’t need me,” he said. What,?33 years together, 29 married, three kids and I barely deserve consideration. I even found a list of pros and cons for her vs. me – her “pros” were younger, sexier, more compatible, feistier, new family. Cons were: lose TC as friend, kids might hate me for a while, relatives will think I’m crazy, have to get new friends.

    Finally he agreed to cut off contact after I kicked him out for two days in July. I set September as cut off – its my birthday (turning 55) and 8 months after D day.- when he knew I knew and he could lose everything.

    But….A text on September 8th showed they’d had sex. When I looked this week I saw an outbound call (he’s blocked inbound) September 28th, there is a dress order on his private credit card from a company called “sexy dresses” I don’t check much — but every time I do, I find something.

    We’ve tried regaining intimacy but he (normally sex crazed) is not into it. The MC said AP has been his “sexual mentor.” He looks at a lot of porn sites. I don’t look like a 28 year old or a porn star!

    I have lost my mind for sure. So…..I will come back tonight to read all these responses to gain strength and get on with my life. I need to get the post nup signed (should take about 10 more days) and then get out.

    I am spending time thinking about his problems, versus mine, and am a shadow of my former self.


    • BTW – my younger sister, 45, told me to change the locks and put a sign on the door saying “next time, go for the convertible,” the first day i told her he was cheating, as I was “spackling” about his poor midlife decisions. Now -that’s clarity.

      • Dear TC, please find your strength to leave this user/abuser. I was also emotionally abused throughout my marriage — and worse, so were my sons from a previous marriage. I can guarantee you that no matter the hardships, the freedom is worth the price of admission, and more. xo

    • TC, it took me a while to kick him out, but I finally did it. Stay the course. It sounds like you need to invest in yourself more; maybe that would help you see your worth. So much of what you said resonates with me. I knew I wanted him to leave, but waited until after Easter, and other family obligations. The day after Easter I asked him to leave. He didn’t leave right away… he always had one excuse or another, and I didn’t want to be “mean” about it. I found more phone calls to his lover, and told him to be out by the weekend. Use the shitty stuff he does to propel you forward. You’ll get there.

    • TC, that numbness is one of the signs of PTSD. I was diagnosed with Acute Stress Disorder, the precursor to PTSD. I understand, but that numbness is actually what helped me put all the effort into getting my divorce. Had I not been numb I would have been emotional. Instead I mindlessly collected and copied financial documents and other things my attorney needed. After Narkles the Clown left the house and I had the distance I realized I didn’t need counseling but I did need to treat the stress and the physical signs of it. So even though step one is leaving the abusive cheater (and you probably won’t even grasp the extent of the abuse until you have distance from it) somewhere down the line please get treatment for the intense stress and trauma that you are currently going through. Good luck and when you’re ready CN is here.

    • TiredChump–I’m wondering why the postnup, unless you think the terms will be more favorable than a 50/50 settlement? Are you in a community property state?

      Get a credit report using both your social security numbers *immediately* so the jackass can’t hide funds. then file for divorce; use the credit report for discovery & to make sure assets are frozen.

    • TC, it is hard to leave, no doubt. But that’s the only way the hell you describe can end.

    • “She has issues with abandonment”? TOUGH FUCKING SHIT. She shouldn’t even BE in your fuckwit cheater’s life – she should have fucking thought of that before she was being a whore.

      Cull this bastard. You got nothing to work with here.

  • I finally had enough when I discovered that she had been lying to me and our marriage counselor for 2 months. (And, as I suspected, the affair wasn’t over…at all.)

    If your spouse lies even during the “reconciliation” process, at what point in your marriage *won’t* she lie?

    I called my family that night to let them know my decision, and then began looking for an apartment so I could get away from my manipulative wife. I did my research on divorce in my state, and then broke the news to unsuspecting skank wife 1 week later.

    She cried her eyes out and complained about my impossibly high standards.

    Boo fucking hoo.

  • Ha. I didn’t get the chance to- he left. I found out through texts while he was out running and I left to wrap my mind around it. By the time I came back he was gone to his parents. And then he went on VACATION by himself the next day. ‘Cause that’s what you do when your marriage is in crisis. Oh but he was sure to text me that he PR’d in the marathon.

  • Things had felt bad and I suspected cheating for almost 2 years then the Ex told me wanted to leave in November 2014. He told me there was no one else and he just didn’t love me anymore. After 22 years I was shattered. I tried to reconcile. Changed lots of behaviors. We were sort of reconciled for a few months between February 2015 and May 2015. Well, we were talking about staying together but no hurts had been fixed and no sex was had. He told me he wanted to leave again three times June 1st, July 1st and August 1st.

    August 10th I finally checked his desk and found a receipt for admission for 2 to an attraction. Decided to hack his computer after asking for advice here and I found the motherload on August 15th or so. I never told him what I knew and I stayed frozen for a couple of weeks. I served him with a draft separation agreement August 26th then froze again. I got the house evaluated for the buyout in September and had a free initial lawyer consultation. Then froze again. I finally have an appointment October 28th to finalize the separation agreement and have 2 lines of financing planned for the house that I can arrange as of November 12. I hope to see the last of his sorry ass November 30th – 3 days before his 50th birthday. Let him celebrate it with his crazy, suicidal slut, perhaps with a BJ in the utility closet at work. Yep, she wins!

    The things that kept making me move towards kicking him out each time I got unfrozen were the horrible disordered things I found in the computer evidence as I continued to monitor it. That and the thought of finally having human contact with someone new and better. If the idiot had just kept having sex with me I would never have suspected.

    • When he tried to reconcile last week…he said he “could give me another chance”…lol. No thanks.

      • They really are insane, and confused about who’s at fault here! My X said if I came back, he’d write the ‘I’m sorry’ letters for me, LOLOL! This is a 30+ yr serial cheater talking. He’s not sorry, I should be.

  • Oh but she took him to the airport. Her husband said she told him she was taking both of us to the airport. Ha! Yes, they were friends of ours…

  • Two steps forward, and one step back… uphill both ways. It took 3.5 years after Dday to ask him to leave. I was confused, and trying to make sense of it all, but every new discovery pushed me closer to my tipping point. I know 3.5 years is a loooong time to be with somebody who is clearly disrespecting you, but it would have been longer if I hadn’t been following Chump Nation. I never, ever bought into the notion that I needed to “own my part” in the whole mess. I totally shut him down on this point, and boy was he pissed. I can’t imagine the anguish I would have experienced had I tried to figure out what I had done wrong. Oh, and it turns out he’d been cheating most of our 30 year marriage! So, yeah… he’s just a disordered fuck.

  • It was my birthday! I found the texts, emails, and voice mails from Narkles the Clown to the Flying Whore while he was away at work, the voice mails of him professing his love to her repeatedly, going back at least three years. I called my mom. I called two good friends. Then at 1 am, after everyone said they needed to sleep, I got on line and started looking for information about what to do. Somewhere in the din of reconciliation sites I found Chumplady. It was the only thing that made any sense. When he came home from work I watched his behavior. He wasn’t even nice to me, not nice to the kids and I realized what a cranky, mean spirited asshole he had become not just to me but all of us. I realized I had been speckling.

    I won’t lie, there was hopium. I found an attorney two days later- “just in case” I told myself. I decided to confront him upon his return from his next trip and give him 24 hours to come clean. When I told him what I knew I got the blank stare, no words. After twenty minutes of that he said he had to go do something, which I’m sure was call and tell the Flying Whore that I knew. He started to do all the things I read about here. The trickle truth started. We did a few sessions of MC and he barely spoke about the affair, admitted it but did the blame shifting, sad sausage, and other crap I’d read about here. It was insane how much he did that I could have predicted he would do after I read about it on CL.

    It took me less than a month from D-day to file and then less than five months to finalize. I pushed my divorce like a stage mom pushes a baby beauty pageant contestant. My every waking, non parenting, non work moment was spent on my divorce. It became my mission all while he refused to leave the house and made it his mission to make me miserable. How dare I divorce the wonderfulness that is him!?!?! He was going to make me pay and is probably still trying.

    How did I do it? I refused to honor his request to keep “our business” between us, mainly because it wasn’t “our business” but his for at least 3 or 4 years. I told my friends what had happened and honestly I did not know until then how many true friends I had willing to support me, willing to stay up and text their support to me all night long, willing to call me every day to make sure I was still alive and he hadn’t done anything to me, willing to open up and tell me they too are fellow chumps, even willing to pay for a session of therapy for me.

    Here on the other side? I just got here and it is a beautiful, calm, peaceful place where my children are able to express themselves and be kids. He may try to make me look like I’m no fun and a horrible person for being the sane parent but I don’t care. I found myself a fellow chump and we are getting to know each other. I knew he might be part of my future when he said what he really wanted out of a relationship was honesty and reciprocity. Because we are currently leaning on each other and helping each other through this tough situation, I call it Commisidating. We hope to have a real relationship after his divorce is also finalized. In short my life now is awesome. Thank you CN for making it that way!

    • Narkles the Clown and Flying Whore, HAW HAW HAW, sometimes I forget some of the names we give these people.

      Thanks, A-OK, for today’s belly laugh.

    • You must be a good friend to have such good, supportive friends. Wonderful to read about such support – I had it too, and am ever grateful.

  • So my friends and I have been trying to get our friend, “Jane” to leave her cheating, lazy, cheating, emotionally manipulative, cheating, financially abusive, (and did I mention cheating?) husband for YEARS. And she just filed for divorce last month. She spackled over his cheating. She spackled over his not having a job for years but spending money on his hobbies and gadgets. She spackled over the lazy parenting. All while she’s scrambling to hold their life together by the thinnest of threads.

    What finally made her angry enough to file for divorce? Jane very calmly listed the things that she needed from him to make their marriage better. Get a job. Stop dating other women. Be more active in parenting, don’t just give our son unhealthy snacks and plop him in front of the TV.

    He smirked at her, patted her shoulder and told her, “We’ll see.”

    WE’LL SEE.

    He was that comfortable being in control of the family dynamic with his inaction/passive aggression.

    Or maybe it was the condescending shoulder-patting.

    Either way, she got so angry, she tossed her “pick me” list in the garbage, told him to watch their son and went to the library to research the best lawyer. She didn’t want to leave an internet history that would tip him off.

  • I didn’t want my children role modeling a soulless woman who compromised her very being to have a nice home, club membership and social status by remaining in a dishonest, loveless third party marriage.

    Threw the fucker out immediately upon seeing the OW. Tempest told me (I hope I get this right) there is always a multitude of behavior disorders to go along with the cheating. Yep. True. It took the cheating to end the madness.

    After 10 years of HELL, it took 2 years to get my life back in order with resolve and grit. I have four children.

    I dated too soon and met an undercover narc SA who preyed on divorced women with children. Professional, community activist, soft spoken, gentle, nice guy, concerned monster. So please beware and continue to read this blog. If it was available to me at the time of my divorce, I would have recognized my shortcomings and the red flags that come with an covert narc SA.

    The good news is that during my recent relationship with the SA, I didn’t marry him, I didn’t mix my finances with him, I continued mightily to do the things I wanted to do, I tried my best to keep my attention with my children and worked hard at my job to get a better salary.

    When the SA’s cover was blown, I threw him out immediately. Today I am traveling, fixing up my home and trying new experiences that I never thought would be possible in my lifetime. The attention I had to give this monster was more overwhelming than I realized. He had me so focused on his well being that the little spare time I had was not on what we could do together, but what I could do for HIM.

    Release yourself from your self imposed pain. You are worth love and consideration and if your mate isn’t giving it to you, and to another woman, you are selling yourself and your children (if you have any) short.

    Yes, it’s scary. Yes, it’s hard. Yes, the unknown can be paralyzing. I and others here are on the other side of these fears and it’s beautiful, peaceful and loving with a monkey wrench here and there.

    The walls of my house sing. Yours can, too.

    Come on over, we’ll leave the light on.

    • Oh, the kids? They are grown now and are doing pretty darn good. I had my rough spots with them, but you will whether you are married to the father or NOT. You know why they are doing well? Because the SANE parent is.

    • “Come on over, we’ll leave the light on.”

      Great post, Calamity! Chumps who consider staying “for the children” should read your words of wisdom to know that they are modelling victim-like behaviors that will not do their sons or daughters any good to see & emulate.

      And yes, cheating is just one of a constellation of behaviors indicating at worst, disorder, at best, extraordinary selfishness & entitlement. Neither is curable, IMHO.

  • I’m not sure what was the tipping point. I think I just got sick of his nonsense. I had already kicked him out a few days after DDAy but seeing how destroyed my kids were I think a part of me was still hoping he would ‘come to his senses’.

    And then one day I just had enough. I don’t even think it was anything special or out of the ordinary. I was simply exhausted by the whole thing, was sick of listening to his bullshit and cut off contact. That was it. He wouldn’t sign the divorce papers and so I did something that still makes me giggle to get him to sign them. And I’ve barely spoken to him since, other than the odd email or text to deal with kid stuff.

    When he was regularly paying his child support late at first I would ‘remind’ him each month. Then I got sick of that and wrote a letter to the authorities and let them deal with it. Now he pays on time.

    Basically, I just had to reach a point where I’d had enough with whatever bullshit he was pulling and then that was it. I was done. I think he liked that I was still hoping because when I pulled the plug completely and made it clear that I was done and moving on his rage began and has never really gone away.

  • I just couldn’t do reconciliation anymore. After five years I was starting to be self destructive. Divorcing was so hard and it totally sucked BUT it will be final anyday now and I have found a great garage apartment for my daughter and me. We are closer than ever and my hope for the future has returned. I’ve been NC for about a year and it feels like I’ve come out of that long dark tunnel and I’m standing in the sunlight. My future is so bright I gotta wear shades.?

  • It was the straw the broke the camel’s back scenario. I’d gone through 2 years of cheating, 2 Ddays, marriage policing, investigating, multiple lost jobs of his, multiple MC attempts, personal counseling of mine, his rehab, and seperation. I was still trying to “make” him see what he was destroying. I was on the verge of taking him back, again, after the second affair, and letting him move back in (he was literally homeless at the time because he’d been evicted from his apartment). I didn’t want to trust that he sucked. And I let him stay at our house with our two children while I went to a volunteer recognition event in our town. He got shitfaced at our house while our kids watched TV all night and spent the whole night texting yet another married woman about how hot she was, among other things. Small town. It had gotten back to me by the next morning. And honestly, I was planning on telling him he could move back home that day. I was just so disgusted. There were cigarette butts and wine bottles in the back yard. And I just looked at that, and then my friends all gathered together and told me about the drunk texting, or sexting, from the night before. It was almost easy at that point, after how much I’d really honestly tried to forgive, and done ALL the classic chump moves, and had really sacrificed myself time and time over to keep my family intact. I think I finally just saw him for who he was then. I called a lawyer the following day.

    I don’t regret any of that time spent trying, and crying, and fighting, and being so devastated and desperate and broken. It was part of my path. And I can tell my kids, honestly, that I did everything I could have to prevent our divorce. But if I had not gone through that shit storm, I wouldn’t have gotten the settlement I got or have the peace of mind to know that I really did make some huge sacrifices and they weren’t received or appreciated or reciprocated. I am a year and a half into my new normal as a single parent. I was more scared of what this life would be like at the beginning of finding everything out than I was when I finally resigned to get divorced. Still haven’t dated. Still hope I won’t be single forever. Still unsure of a lot of things. Still recovering from having my whole sense of self worth shredded. But I know I’m healthier. I know I’m happier. I know I’m stronger. I know I’m okay and I’m going to be okay and my kids are going to be okay.

    I had this obvious thought to myself while I was running the other day. I thought, I love running down the hills. Running up the hills is so much harder. And then I thought, but it’s running up the hills that increases your strength.

    It’s okay to be afraid, Freshmen. But you are already stronger than you realize.

  • For about 4 years, I was carefully balancing home and work stress and afraid to tip either scale. X was caught in an affair before 1st child turned 1. We were stuck in a cycle where every 6-9 months he was caught either in some type of relationship (or attempt at one) and we tried counseling. The last go round, I was pregnant and we tried counselor #3. I knew where we were headed. This was the last chance I’d give him “to clear the fog.” I watched actions, ignoring his words this time. This was the only hour during the week he’d talk to me. He would not look or communicate with me outside of counseling. His GF would call everyone we left counseling (number popped up on car Bluetooth). During counseling, he said he needed to be appreciated. He kept a close hand on his phone and was always on it. Anytime u wanted to discuss our marriage he wanted to talk about his business, considering it the same. Finally, I got fed up, pushed the teetering pile of blocks over and filed. Have reduced a lot of stress in my life!

  • When I went to visit my ex, and found a large, open pack of condoms in his bedroom (this happened after 2 previous discoveries of cheating with different women). By that time, we hadn’t used condoms for several years — he *insisted* that I get birth control because he didn’t like to use them. When I asked why he had them, he looked me in the face and tried to tell me they weren’t his, they belonged to his friend. Seriously? Oh yes, a grown man keeps his friend’s condoms for him, in the exact same place he used to keep condoms when we still used them. Even worse, the friend he named was a married man. So his cover story to explain away suspicious items in the bedroom was that he wasn’t cheating, he was just facilitating his married friend’s cheating. Ewwww. And supposedly he’s also “friends” with the wife. Gag! When I asked him about the woman’s cat-eye sunglasses that I also found, he just sat there and smirked. In the years we were together, I fell for some pretty ridiculous lies, but I couldn’t ignore the dishonesty any more. When directly confronted, he just kept right on lying. I left that night. Even one of ex’s friends told me later, “leaving him is the right thing to do, this is not right, and you’re dodging a bullet.”

    • I forgot about the box of condoms I found…with a phone number penciled inside. Said it was for a co-worker and he didn’t have anything to write on. Riiight!

  • I would not advise anyone to do this…but I met with OW #2 .

    The brief background is a year earlier the EX left to “think about things”, he then returned because “I was his home”, we went to MC, I read tons of self help books, he continued on with lots of weird behavior/lying and boat loads of gaslighting and no efforts at intimacy. I was in limbo. Fast forward to DD#2, when the EX admits that he had been having an affair with a 25 year old colleague/friend (who I knew well/was a guest at dinner parties/etc) – AND she was waiting outside because she really wanted to talk to me. (WTF?) (This is the 2nd affair I know of.) At which point, I tell him to move out but he sleeps in the basement for a few days and then heads to the cottage for “things to cool off”.

    Incredulously, a few days later OW #2 leaves a handwritten letter for me in the mailbox. In summary, it says “how so so so sorry she is”, she is just “coming out of the fog”, she just “can’t believe how many lies he told her”…yadda yadda yadda…and to call her if I ever want to talk. In retrospect, her plan to have him end it with me, resulted in him ending it with her.

    So, I invited her to my home where we had a very calm and mature chat for about an hour in my living room.

    I still can’t believe I had any clarity of mind, but I asked and learned that they had unprotected sex. Now, I am the same age as CL and came of age just when AIDS was an epidemic and the message/practice was safe sex always. There was of course no risk to me — but this was my aha moment. I had invested 17 years with this man and in return he is willing to gamble with my life = he does not love me = he does not care if I die.

    This was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

  • The moments kept piling up, but the first ah-ha moment was when I GPS’s his ass to the OW’s house at 2am, and his subsequent lying about it. I was Done.

    The next day when he joked about his infidelities to our neighbor in OUR HOME within earshot of me…..yes, that was another moment that sealed it.

    • Liningupducks don’t you love GPS? You are one smart woman. I had my first DDay checking his Uber app and finding out he was with his SA, Rodent Face, on New Year’s Eve when he said he was out with coworkers. I was with our teenaged kids skiing because X, Lurch, had to work! When confronted he admitted he had been dating for 4 years and now has a girlfriend. He said it all started after I got breast cancer. Poor guy, chemo must have been a bitch for him! We tried MC but he showed no emotion, MC dx Aspergers. That explained the lack of empathy. After 24 years of marriage I wasn’t even sure what intimacy looked like.
      But the second DDay was checking his GPS and seeing he wasn’t at his new sex addiction therapists but at his SA house, approximately on my birthday. Truly a gift! I told him not to come home. He was so confused how I knew. I told him I could tell by his voice in our phone conversation. I said I would be willing to work on it if he stopped seeing Rodent Face but he instead texted me a week later that we are better off as friends. Oh Lurch life is getting so much better without your robot existence around the house and I am beginning to laugh again.

  • Same as many of you. One step forward, two steps back. The thing that finally pushed me to file eight months after the first D-Day was this: I checked his phone because he had been treating me like crap all day, despite his claim that he wanted to save our family. I found a suggestive email between him and his ho-worker (the one he swore he had ended things with) and I snapped. I’m not proud of it, but I got physical and left a scratch mark on his neck. I also threw his cell phone across the room so it came apart (didn’t break). He was enraged and wrestled me to the ground to get my phone from me so he could throw it in the pool. I was angry and scared so I called the police (he’s much bigger than me). Guess who spent the night in jail? Yep, me.

    Against my better judgment, my ex picked me up from the pokey. He was despondent over what his actions had turned me into and what he had done to our lives.

    But he couldn’t have been too upset because three days later, that same work piece was here where we live (she lives 2,000 miles away), partying it up with my ex, our friends and my then 8 year-old son at a football game. When I found this out, it was full steam ahead.

    I have my moments of loneliness and I still struggle with finding the right balance of co-parenting and boundaries. But my life is SO much more peaceful without his chaos. I can come and go as I please, I can buy (or not buy) what I want, I can eat what I want and get together with friends whenever I want (Hell, I can watch whatever I want on TV!). My relationship with my son is back to where it was before D-Day, since I pretty much fell apart and became a hermit in my own home in the dark days following D-Day. I’m myself again!

    • >>I can come and go as I please, I can buy (or not buy) what I want, I can eat what I want and get together with friends whenever I want (Hell, I can watch whatever I want on TV!).

      It sounds like little nothings, I never would have imagined that these things would mean what they do to me now. The silver linings of all the clouds that still linger.

      This is part of what I’m processing now, how I see in these little things how much control over my life I had lost over the years. The weird sex stuff (tmi) was obvious and I knew that was messed up for a long time, but the little things like coming and going when I wanted without getting his ok, without having to check in every hour, being able to grocery shop for myself and cook the foods I like, watching shows I like on TV, going to see movies I like. I didn’t know they were gone til I got them back, and oh how I missed them and oh how I appreciate them now!

      • You said it, Arlo! I’m more than three years out and I don’t think I will ever stop savoring these little gulps of freedom.

  • I would say I’m in the junior class. Working towards divorce but man, these things take forever. Especially when stbxh and his lawyer drag everything out. The mediation date is Nov 12, 7 months after D-Day, six months after filing the initial paperwork.

    Anyway, I hesitate to say I have it “easy” but in some ways it wasn’t too hard to decide to leave. I’m the breadwinner so I have resources. That makes a huge difference. Also, I wanted to divorce before I even knew about the years of cheating and multiple women. I knew we were broken – I just didn’t know why. But he kept talking me back. The biggest thing that kept me from leaving was our son. I didn’t know how to figure out how I would do childcare in my line of work – I work days, nights, weekends, holidays and no two weeks are the same. Luckily my boss has been amazingly supportive. We are going to split his time 50/50 which I offered and he accepted. As the breadwinner and the mom (let’s face it, the courts can still be biased against men) I could’ve pushed for more. I think he was happy to get what he did and I don’t want to hurt my son. He’s only 5.

    After D-Day I gave him a few weeks to make things right/try reconciliation. But it didn’t take long for my soul to scream out, “NO! This is WRONG!”This reconciliation was stupid because I conceded some time and resources to him that I now regret. But ultimately it didn’t mess things up too badly.

    I also think the way I found out made it easier. I saw the text messages, the emails, the naked pictures, the Craigslist ads, the Ashley Madison charges. I found it all (at least I think I did). And the things he said in those emails really sealed the deal. “I’d have left her years ago if it weren’t for our son” and “We are moving towards a tax-purposes-only marriage.” Really, dude? So you can sit around the house all day as a stay at home dad having sex with other women while I work my ass off at work to pay for it all? Exposing me to lethal STDs? Having sex in our bed? Hosting women when I’m on night shift while our son sleeps in his bed? Hell to the no. Buh-bye.

    And that’s the real deal, chumps. The cheaters don’t care about you. I don’t care what fancy words they use to try and win you back. It’s all a lie. A huge lie. They are trying to secure their meal ticket or look good to family and friends when they try to win you back. It’s not about you. They don’t care about you. Bottom line.

  • I actually had an ah-ha moment. Strange how in an instant you can see the whole arc of your lifetime–decades and decades–collide with an immovable wall and ricochet off in an entirely different direction.

    We were in counseling and false reconciliation for an affair that one of my sons (12 years old) had inadvertently disclosed my ex-wife was having. She admitted it happened but claimed it ended years ago (as it turns out, no). Also that it was her only affair. Then I found pictures of her making kissy-face on web-cam pics with another guy very recently. She claimed it was “only a friend from the Internet” who she’d never actually met. Little things were off in her story over the course of a couple of days. Then, standing in my driveway at lunch one day, when I asked her about some detail that seemed unlikely, she blurted out that the kissy-face guy was actually an affair partner and she’d hooked up with him several times and that trip she said she was taking to Oregon a few months back was actually a trip to meet him in Las Vegas. Yes, that e-ticket she’d emailed me with her flight times was something she’d faked. Yes, she’d called every night from Vegas to tell me and the boys how much she was enjoying “Oregon” and how much she missed us. Yes, yes, and yes.


    My life changed at that moment, which I will never forget. Even me, Spackle Grand Champion of the Chump County Fair, even I knew that you can’t reconcile over after an affair while the cheater is actively having another affair and unrepentant about any of it. My ears rang, my vision seemed to swim, and I had a feeling like I was falling through the air that lasted for several months.

    In hindsight, I’m enormously grateful that it came out this way, in one unambiguous explosion with no remorse at all. I don’t even feel that I left the marriage so much as I was thrown clear of it, the way a soldier might be thrown dozens of yards by the detonation of a land mine. And yet I consider that one of the luckiest days of my life.

    • Love it, Nomar. At the moment of clarity, we were blown clear of the wreckage. Looking back, best day ever.

    • “Spackle Grand Champion of the Chump County Fair,” ahahahaha. I bet some of us other chumps would like to challenge your title! Which of us is the most pathetic? WHO CAN IT BE? *flexes spackling muscles*

    • That moment when you know their lies will never end is the awakening. It took him years to finally admit it was the thrill of the chase. I knew it was the end. She wasn’t a Dream Girl as he wrote in his poems. That wasn’t what really mattered in the end it was knowing that I never was for all those years. What he was admitting in that one line was that he loved no one, Nomar, at that moment my entire world as I knew it came to a halt, thankfully. Since that day he has never been able to look me in the eye.

      I saw a predator who could slip easily into another life without one ounce of remorse. Yesterday, I went through all the family photos I took over the years and burned all his photos including his early ones with his family. I know this sounds strange, however when he dies, there will be not one picture to portray him as a good guy family man. When I read that they left the marriage years before they finally left, I disagree. They were hiding behind a mask all along.

      • “That moment when you know their lies will never end is the awakening.”

        I suppose that’s it. The lies on top of lies, the lies within lies, the lies told for absolutely no reason at all, but just to lie. That’s what finally makes clear that the affairs and the efforts to hide them were not just a bad thing done by a good person, a “mistake” that can be made right. Rather, the lies are an essential part of who they are, a critical bit of code in the operating system of every serial cheater (“OS/Ch”). And if you stay with such a person, you will never know the truth, and you will never be safe.

        • “That moment when you know their lies will never end is the awakening.”

          I’ll have to second that. It becomes so obvious, and so true in that moment.

        • Yes, I would have to agree here. I found out via a website – a public online forum. I was devastated. I confronted him, he lied. But I had proof. He was sloppy and copped to some of it. Turns out that what he admitted to was different than what I had proof for. KABOOM! I actually remember stopping and saying: “wait a minute, so what you told me last night….was a lie too? You lied to me last night??” That was it for me. I knew I would never get the truth out of him. It would take spying and mass surveillance and other things I was not willing to do to know who he really was. He would always lie to hide who he is from me. Which incidentally showed me who he really is. I walked and never looked back after that. For a while he did flounder around and try to get my attention but he had crossed a line that there was no uncrossing for me. He was done.

          I really enjoy reading your comments Nomar.

      • Weird. My ex can’t look me in the eye either. As in literally, he will contort himself the few times we see one another to not meet my eye. It’s bizarre. Me, I love looking him straight in the eye because I know it makes him incredibly uncomfortable.

        • Me too, Nord. I used to even ask (plaintively, because I was so clueless), “why won’t you look at me?” Sheesh what a waste of … of everything, basically.

    • Oh Nomar, Spackle Grand Champ is a serious competitive challenge here!!!!!!!

      Life changing in a single moment. Blown OUT of a dangerous relationship, that prior to the blast felt like the world’s safest place.

      OMG. Thank you.

  • There was no single event or revelation for me. I was committed to prioritizing what he *did* over what he *said,* and over a period of a few months it became increasingly clear that the two were not parallel. His actions regularly contradicted his statements in big ways and little ways, and eventually the evidence stacked up that he was not committed to reconciliation and was lying about still seeing the OW.

    He also said things that indicated a very warped sense of reality. For example, he parroted his quack shrink’s advice that there was nothing wrong with his behavior, and that the affair and subsequent obliteration of my life was just his way of “finding his voice.” He said things like he felt like a gladiator going to battle every day (seriously??). His OW (who was also married and trashed her marriage to an awesome man) complained that her husband didn’t fight hard enough for her after he found out about the affair. (“Why won’t he dance pretty for me?!” *sob*)

    The level of intellectual disconnect and self-spackle just got to be more than I could handle, and I began to shakily extract myself while simultaneously hoping he would realize what was at stake and come after me. He didn’t. He instead stuck with his OW, who had been resolutely dumped by her bad-ass chump ex-husband.

    It was really the accumulation of dirt that I could no longer clean up that finally got me to leave, rather than a landslide. A bit of hopium lingers in my brain, but it can’t shine bright enough through the grime to interfere with my path forward.

  • My aha moment was on D-day about 3 minutes after I found out he was having an affair. He had been emotionally and verbally abusive for 25 years and I had often thought about leaving, but I used a lot of spackle – so much that I couldn’t see how bad things were. During the time he was having the affair, I had been going through a very frightening health scare. I knew in the moments that I discovered his infidelity that I could no longer be with him. I couldn’t be with someone who could act so unconscionably during a time when I needed him most. So, in a way, the health scare was a gift! It provided the tipping point. Without it I might not have had the guts to leave. However, actually getting out of the marriage was very difficult. I was emotionally paralyzed for several months. Then it took several more months to “get my ducks in a row”. But with the support of my family and friends and a lot of “digging deep” on my part, I took baby steps and got it done. It was excruciating and terrifying. I think back and it was like jumping off a series of cliffs, not knowing how I would land. But I did it. I am mighty. You can do it, too. You are mighty!!

  • I wouldn’t say it was one deal breaker that made me finally file for divorce, but a culmination of events.
    1. Affair started when I was pregnant.
    2. The other woman was at my baby shower.
    3. He consistently defended her.
    4. Him choosing to see her after work (co-worker) at bars even he said he would stop in a counseling session.
    5. The continual “I don’t know” response and telling me he loved her. (Duh, total chump!!)
    6. Final straw, attending a wedding with her with our social circle of friends (my now ex friends), thus taking their relationship public while we were still married. They slept in same bed, but of course no sex (he thought I had idiot stamped on my forehead).

    Filed the following week.

    I finally realized he just did not care and I deserved more respect.

  • I placed a voice activated recorder in my husbands truck. Nothing puts a final nail in a marital coffin quite like hearing your spouse professing their LOVE to someone other than you. His lies took a back seat to his voice saying something other than what he was telling me to keep me off his cheating trail.

    I knew that day that it was OVER. I couldn’t do it anymore. Five years of lies and “trying to fix our marriage”. Actions speak louder than words.

    I am nearly two years out from our divorce and while it hasn’t been easy my divorce saved my life! I am so happy!!! I am finally free from the crazy and the drama. My daughters and I have bonded in ways I never thought possible and they are learning to have respect for themselves.

  • I had several “aha” moments in about a 4 month period, but what finally pushed me to act was concern for my kids.

    I could not have explained it this way at the time (about 4 years ago), but now I see that while I’d grown accustomed to making my needs smaller (and smaller and smaller), I could not sit by and watch him try to make the children shrink their needs.

    I worked a demanding full-time job; he worked a small part-time job But he’d give us all grief if one of our children wanted to stay after school to join a club, because then he would have to provide a ride home for our child (as the school bus would have already left). There was no way my EX could take 15 minutes out of his TV viewing or napping or plans to write a best -selling-autobiography-that-would-make-him-rich to pick a kid up from school one day a week. Same thing with spending money on them instead of him. Or seeing a movie they wanted to see instead of his choice–etc. etc., you get the picture.

    Another day, he threw a raging temper tantrum at our 9-year-old for the smallest and most insignificant of reasons (the child shrugged off a hug).

    Sometimes he was so out-of-control in his anger that I was afraid to get in the car with him or to let the kids be in the car with him (and telling him that only made him rage more aggressively).

    These kinds of actions set off alarm bells that I couldn’t ignore.

    I had put up with not being able to attend social activities or being berated myself or even being afraid for years–because I was under the impression that I was doing a good thing for the family by being accommodating and keeping the peace. But as our kids grew old enough that I couldn’t do it all for them anymore, it became clear that my refusal to admit I had a bad marriage and get a divorce was not best for my family.

    So, in my case when he shared the news that he had found his “soul mate,” it was only the icing on the cake. I have never investigated that part of his poor character much. But I suppose it has helped me feel secure in my decision. There doesn’t seem any way that discovering more about his “soul mate” would have improved my experience of our marriage!

  • I had many, many reasons that I should have left sooner. Years of reasons and multiple OW.

    When the final OW came along, it struck me as an animal of a different stripe. Unlike the other affairs, this one seemed to have been a long and serious relationship. I finally had the guts to say, “Choose. Me and our family or her.” He put on a big show of renewed fidelity; we even started marriage counseling.

    But it never felt right. My insides were screaming that he was still with OW. The final moment that made me snap was finding emails between the two of them, joking and making fun of the MC sessions. That did it. Done.

    One other major component was a thought that had plagued me in those final months. I pictured my daughter growing up and seeing that I had stayed in this marriage despite the repeated cheating. Family secrets never stay secret. I couldn’t bear the thought of giving her this example.

    That night that I finally snapped, I knew that none of my fears could possibly compare to the hell of my marriage. And I was right.

  • Great column today, CL –

    Yes, it is a process. -No fast track here. There is no going around it, only through it. There are no shortcuts. Leaving or staying alone after a split, starting over, facing the loss, the shock and awe of humiliation, experiencing the fear – no, make that terror, and uncertainty, going no contact, letting the empty space be the empty space, picking up the pieces, and going on is not for the faint of heart… What do they say about if it doesn’t kill you it’ll make you stronger? I think that is true.

    The pathology of a liar, a cheater, a serial cheater is a parallel universe. How else can another be blindsided?

    The lying and secrecy part is a freak show rush to them. How would I ever know that?

    I feel fortunate in that it wasn’t my first love in life, but it has really made me question my own sanity about how I could choose such a person later in life — was the roller coaster of the love bomb, indifference, breakdown, and toss in dumpster supposed to be a life lesson? .

    After 15 years, in the wake of the 2nd betrayal within my very confusing, mixed message, disordered relationship, it was a thunderbolt experience. Get out or go insane. -And so I did. -And, I will never, ever, ever, choose that disordered universe again.

    – I believe in love… The redemption in all of this is that I was faithful, that I am still whole, that my beliefs in life are still mine, and so very gratefully that my soul is in tact,

    It’s a great thing you did Chump Lady – born out of your experience, pain, belief, strife, disillusionment you saw a need, and created a great space – full of wisdom and strength.

  • Had better things to do than play marriage police or wait for the next bout of cRaZy shit.

    Trust me. I will probably live longer than I would have otherwise. Plus, who wants to live with somebody you know you cannot trust? Good way to wind up a victim on one of those crime shows like 48 Hours.

  • After DDay, initially I was confused by the information on the RIC sites and nothing was clear. Cheater wanted “Time to work out what she wanted” and at the time I was being the Magical Reconciliation Pixie” and wanted to save the relationship. However, even though I was being an MRP, I promised myself if the Cheater messed me around again that I would file immediately. 3 months later, I discovered IHG and Chump Lady. Had an “aha” moment. Cheater was caught trying to arrange a meet up with AP which was the “eureka” moment that I would never be secure with this person again. I slept on it a few weeks, Cheater then confessed to meeting up with and sleeping with AP a few times whilst she was supposed to be “working things out”. By this time I had already filed. It took about 3 1/2 months to get there. With time and as the initial shock receded, her actions appeared shittier and shittier and in the end I decided that I wouldn’t forgive her anyway.

    Without IHG and Chump Nation I think it would have been a harder decision, but armed with the facts it was clear that she would never change.

    • IHG was key for me too, especially the article where she laid out, ok, let’s say the affair really was your fault. It sounds horrible (it wasn’t, just tongue-in-cheek and holding up a mirror to show us the lies we tell ourselves) but when I saw that I really had built the reconciliation on those lies, I couldn’t un-see them. I had to deal with them.

  • After DDay 5 (I know right! frickin chump!!!) I knew in my gut I was done. He would spew the “I could never leave you” card after each one and always “pick me” and end things with her … for like a week. He would come back saying “Why do you think I always come back to you” or ” I could never leave you” but he would time and time again every time he spoke to her, or made out with her in the parking lot at work or lied about his whereabouts and meet her for “coffee”, or call her just to “make sure she is ok”. After number 5 he threw the “I’m in a deep depression! I am sick! Please stay and help me “find me again” bullshit in my face, sobbing every time he looked me in the eye! Two weeks later DDay 6 (Queen Chump right here) I didn’t even give him the chance to “pick me” again, took our son to my moms for the night and asked him when he was moving out. It was the best thing I ever did. There wasn’t really an Ah Ha moment- the one I thought I had he was able to reel me back in again with his “sickness”. I think he would have always “picked me” because he wanted the kibbles. He wanted to feel wanted and he wanted to have his cake and eat it too. He was too weak to leave himself and actually make any kind of decision that wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter, so I had to make the decision and I handed it to him to get the hell out! I think I would be on DDay #72 if I didn’t – instead of 6 month post the finalization of my divorce- that I did very well on Yay!. Having fun being single and realizing there are good guys out there! Spending time focusing on me and spending time focusing on my son- instead of being the marriage police. Instead of doubting my self worth! Instead of stalking the OW’s social media and actually feeling relieved when she would post about how heartbroken she was because then I knew for sure he had ended things… again… for now! Realizing that was a ridiculous thing to actually make me happy! And it did! At the time that made me so happy… and that is so so so sad!

    There wasn’t a moment – but a gradual deterioration of my commitment to “save” my marriage. I fought hard after #1 (and 2, 3, 4…) but the fight was less and less every time. I simply just didn’t think it was worth it anymore. I simply thought my sanity was worth more than my husband. I simply just couldn’t look at him without feeling like he was a weak little man child who needed to screw his 23yr old employee to feel like somebody and to me … once I saw him for what he is… there was nothing left to “save”.

    • Hi. So all of your d-days were associated with the same woman? That’s how it was with me too. And the idea of cheating as a “sickness” also resonates with me. My wife would always act as though she were in some sort of dark place, like being addicted to heroin, and that now (after being caught again) she was finally getting better. But then oops!! She would fuck him again!

      • Good question, Charles. I count my 3 d-days as over a 3 week timeframe. Same woman, yes.
        He said:

        #1 I don’t think I love you anymore. (week one)

        #2 I don’t think I’ve ever loved you. (week two)

        3# I’ve never been romantically attracted to you. (week three)

        Each one hit me with a shock that I didn’t even know what to say.
        This was after I caught him in his 3 yr affair.
        So, I sort of just said. Oh, I see.
        I couldn’t process it at all. I had just gotten off the happiest year of my life with him, or so I thought.
        Talk about getting through shock.

        I’m just glad I went to my room, and wrote all 3 in the journal – only thing written in it was those 3 d-days over 3 weeks time.

        Oh, and he told me it was possible to love many people at one time…and other hurtful things.
        I wish I had the comebacks today for that, which I now have from C/N.

        Thank God I found C/L right away and filed his ass on him, after I kicked him out.
        Ha – loving more than one woman.
        Go put your crazy-assed-fucked up head into her slimy lizardness as that is probably what you really mean by love.

        Yep – he didn’t like the ending as much as I. He had to pay SS (35 yrs married) for the rest of his life, lost 1/2 his IRA, etc etc….and man, did he like his money.

        Now he can have his love with his shortage money and the alley cat – that should make things easier for him. Two loves instead of 3.

  • My ex’s infidelity, lies and craziness could fill a book. Despite that, I was too scared to leave. He actually dumped me once he had a couple of OW in place, but then came back six months later intending to use me as a financial support while he continued to cheat and act like a bum. I was stupid enough to go along with bogus reconciliation, although the emotional abuse steadily ramped up during those eight months. My final straw was when I asked him how he was doing and he replied that, “I see no reason to work on this marriage, since you won’t accept me without a job.”

    It wasn’t even like I was pushing him back into the corporate world… I just wanted him to have some sort of day job so he could contribute to half of the rent. Keep in mind that he made over $100K before quitting his job immediately after our separation. He constantly told me I was negative and unsupportive of his “dream” and that actors never had day jobs when first starting out. Anyway, his comment was the final straw. I called my attorney the next day and told her to proceed with divorce.

    During the year or so it took until divorce was final, ex’s true colors came out and there was a lot of craziness and emotional abuse.

    Now it’s 3.5 years since divorce was final. I moved in with Nice Guy 3.5 weeks ago. It’s going great. Son is happy. I am making decent money. I have a few close friends that stuck by my side and got me through the nightmare. I’ve done lots of new things since divorce, and mostly feel good about my life.

    Just got a text from ex a couple days ago, on what would have been our 26th anniversary. He wrote that he thought about me a “bunch of times” and that he was happy I was with a “stable” man. Wrote that he himself was lonely. I didn’t bother to reply, really, what is there to say? Life is better without him.

    • Congrats on your better life with Nice Man. Good thing you didn’t write back to your ex…sounds like he was playing the “woe is me, lonely” card, looking for kibbles.

  • I’d had suspicions about other women for years, but I was always gaslighted and/or love-bombed out of them.

    I almost divorced him twice – not because I was sure of any infidelity – just because of the emotional torture of the gaslighting.

    The fact I had no solid proof of any physical affair is probably why I didn’t follow through either time. Nor did I really understand the concept of gaslighting or how abusive his behavior was. It was emotional abuse, not physical, so somehow it was less real to me, I guess.

    I ended up in a vicious spiral of depression and drinking a while back that nearly killed me. Spent over a year in therapy. I worked harder on standing up for myself and not stuffing my feelings, as that was poison to my soul. Ended the alcohol abuse, as nearly dying was a wake up call.

    Then…. I found proof of what was at best an EA. The proof confirmed that my first gut instinct about his relationship with this woman was dead right. That helped me realize my gut was probably right other times as well.

    Also, I came to a better understanding of gaslighting and narcissistic abuse, and realized that was probably why I had been fighting increasing depression over the years. I took a long hard look at our past and realized just how long real emotional abuse had been going on.

    It was the realization that nothing was going to change for the better. It was the end of hopium addiction.

    I left three weeks ago, a week or two after discovering the EA.

    I don’t even want to discuss the EA with him, I just want out. He’d only deny, gaslight, blameshift, etc. Talking to him about it would be an exercise in futility.

    Cheers to no-fault, community property divorce!

  • 2004 was the the beginning of Cheaterpants affair. Our situation was complicated by a variety of crummy circumstances, but what relationship of 30 years does not have complications? Cheaterpants had received a cancer diagnosis, been fired from 2 jobs, forced to make 2 large geographic moves in 3 years and we were the parents of a special needs child. In retrospect, Cheaterpants did not respond well to other life challenges…When he was in over his head in a business transaction in 1989 that went south, he decided that retreating into alcohol was a good solution to the stress. In 2004, he selected an aggressive blonde 15 years his junior AND alcohol to assuage his anxiety.

    My initial visceral reaction to the discovery of his affair was to dump Cheaterpants, pronto. Then I put my bitch pants on and tried to logically assess my situation. This may have been a mistake. Cheaterpants cancer diagnosis did not indicate a very long future for him. I did not want to share our marital assets with his girlfriend. I did not count on him lasting until 2012. I did not think that he would spend the rest of his life resenting me, our special needs child, and longing for the Girlfriend.

    He did not have the integrity to ask me for a divorce, he just kept doing despicable things in hope that I would do the dirty work. When confronted directly: “do you want a divorce?” he would strongly deny that was what he wanted. What he wanted was to eat cake, so he continued to lie to me…I pressed him to find a job in a community 300 miles away from his Girlfriend, which he did. The relocation helped in someways, but Cheaterpants continued to pout and mourn her loss for the remainder of his days. This was no way to live…I did not have to share his retirement or life insurance or marital assets with the girlfriend, but the emotional abuse of nursing a man thru a terminal illness who was pining for his girlfriend SUCKED….

    Here I am 11 years away from D day and 3 years after his death and I am still scratching my head wondering if I did the right thing….Who knows?

  • A few things helped me:

    1. My family and friends were one hundred percent supportive of my leaving. Not ONE of them said, “But what about the children?” or anything else that would make me second guess myself. No one made me feel guilty or like a loser for wanting to end my marriage. If possible, surround yourself with people who support your decision to leave the cheater. People who expect you to stay mired in grief and doubt by staying with your cheater do not have your back. Chances are, they care more about appearances or about how your divorce will somehow inconvenience them (“Now we won’t be able to go on double dates with you!”).

    2. Whenever I was around my ex, I felt trapped. I couldn’t imagine spending the rest of my life– and having sex with– someone who had betrayed me so profoundly. He acted as though nothing was wrong. He was screwing his AP while also screwing me. I realized that I didn’t know him and perhaps never did. There was an entire side of him that I had only seen glimpses of, but I thought he was better than those glimpses and that his other personality traits outweighed them. Wrong. He was those glimpses, and I didn’t want to live with that. I also knew that a part of me would resent him forever and would never, ever trust him again. Talk about a recipe for dysfunction. It’s a prison sentence, but you don’t have to serve it. Freedom is far, far better. Like CL says, trust your gut. How does staying with the cheater for a LIFETIME feel to you? Is this what you really want for the rest of your time on earth (or until the cheater leaves you, whichever comes first)?

    3. Online support communities were a huge help to me. When I knew I wanted a divorce (before CL launched), I found a place where people gave me solid divorce advice and validated my anger, frustration, and sadness over the end of my marriage. Again, no one tried to sway me from my decision. Now that we have CL, there is a community entirely devoted to leaving the cheater, and I can’t recommend this site enough. If you don’t have support IRL, find online support that goes with your gut instinct– you must leave this person who treated you as though you didn’t even exist. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to leave that.

    I am grateful that it only took me five days between DDay and when I knew I wanted a divorce. I can’t imagine what it’s like for people who stay with their remorseless cheaters for years. It makes me sad because I know for a fact that it doesn’t have to be that way. You WILL gain a life after you leave the cheater!

  • The knowledge and confidence that life will be so much better without him. Losing a liability is like cutting off a rotten piece of flesh. It feels uneasy at first but then you realize the air is so much fresher and you feel so much better without it…

  • I guess I feel loser-like even now, several years later, because I did NOT leave Ex boyfriend, HE broke up with me.
    DDay 1, broke up with him (inadvertently came across evidence, not looking).
    Took him back after weeks of much sobbing and expensive chocolate. What a sucker I was.
    DDay 2, broke up with him after finding her blog detailing relationship, including their breakup the year before).
    Took him back after weeks of sobbing etc.
    A year and half later, he calls me to break up.

    I believe he saw I had changed. While on the phone a few weeks before, as he explained he couldn’t call for 48 hours for technical reasons, I looked up previous email he sent me while f-ing another. Words identical to the ones he was saying, including ‘I miss the sound of your voice already”. I knew right then it was all lies, but said nothing. Next time he was over, he said one of his pet lovey things to me and instead of my usual melting, I said “Oh, that’s a nice thing to say”. He looked as if I had slapped him, but said nothing. He called not long after, and broke up with me.

    • You are not a loser. You started to change and stand up for yourself and so he left. That’s a good thing. You didn’t have to pry him out of your life with a spatula and some WD-40. Hugs.

    • I think you did break up with him by showing you had standards and boundaries he could not tolerate. The win is on you.

  • To my knowledge mine only cheated on me once in 1984, but before that point to the day we separated, he was a mercurial beast. I never knew what would set him off. So at my older DD’s graduation, he got frustrated and tired with her, the whole rah!rah! of graduations and eventually, when he didn’t get the response he was hoping for when he wanted to leave, shouted, “I hate this fucking family! I hate this fucking family’ that was it… In fact we had endured way more of his blow ups and rages but that was the first time he had responded in such a public way to my DD. It took 2 more years of totally useless therapy, where nothing about him changed. He talked for the whole hour and I just listened, by that time I knew there was no point in saying anything and we split. BEST.DECISION.EVER! He went off to his old AP, and I went on, happy, my children are happy and safe. They see him or hear from him every now and again but he has about the same interest in them as he always had, but now they are seeing it because he doesn’t have me around to spackle and organize ‘meaningful’ activities for him. He is a mannequin of a human filled with rage. SO.GLAD.IT.IS.OVER. I might just live another 40 years.

  • I didn’t leave the cheater; he left me. But I did have a defining moment. The two-day period, a few months after D-Day #1, in which my husband got the police to visit me twice in our joint home, once to frame me for a felony and once to ‘protect himself’ from me. (The police watched me feed the kids and take them to school.) Then my husband told me he was in court, getting a restraining order against me that would prevent me from seeing our kids because he (falsely) claimed that I had committed violent felonies against our kids and him. Later that day, my husband’s attorney handed me divorce summons. My legal counsel advised me not to go home. I took the kids and me to a safe house. I knew that I would never again either physically or emotionally ‘go home.’ I hope that other chumps and targets of spousal abuse won’t wait as long as I did to end their abusive marriages.

  • Hilarious yet wow. Makes me wonder who she heard it from. I have a five year old and I would be like, who said that? If he knew phrases like “I’m moving on.” I don’t think he would come up with it spontaneously.

  • Mine was finally finding the actual proof he was cheating on me. In hindsight, his showing no interest in me sexually for over a year while viewing porn non-stop should’ve been enough, but of course, he always had excuses and the cycle of love notes, flowers, etc. that always followed. I had left several times over the porn, pocket dials from bars, etc demanding that he chose whether he wanted to be committed or not. He would always swear he did ( of course…good cake and all on the home front ).

    But the night that I actually opened up his tablet and saw the private messages from 3 different hookers on TER, along with a video cam, that was the end. And his reaction to my world falling apart around me? Rage, not one ounce of remorse, regret or shame. In fact, he seemed proud and defiant, And after fighting me over that tablet to get his “date” book back, he left the house ( with a gun ) which resulted in a protection order, Leaving the house in a rage after your wife just finds out you’ve been cheating on her with hookers,…not a good idea.

    He never called, texted or emailed that night to even ask how I was doing, which of course all of us know that indescribable feeling of being emotionally hit by a 2×4 and left for dead. It was like he saw the body, and chose to walk right over it and leave. He walked out and discarded me all in one fell swoop without a word.

    Never in 14 yrs did he ever say he wasn’t happy. Quite the opposite and according to friends and family, all he ever did was brag about me. He must have read the book on The Art of Mind Fucking. Or maybe he wrote it.

  • Me, too. Every holiday, every birthday, every anniversary…they were all tainted with memories of his selfishness or neglect.

  • My X was so very good ar Cake-eating, he had me totally conned. It’s like it became his religion! He was was attentive, loving and sexy, at the same time as he was chasing women wherever we moved to. I was such a confused mess! I was keeping our household going, mainly for my sons, while he refused to work, chain smoked and went to bars, and sat back and watched as we went into financial ruin. I thought I was like Wonder Woman, ugh!
    It was such extremes of good, and bad, I can’t even explain it, but I know you people get it.
    What made me finally file, and just plow forward, was trying to express to my Dad, and older sister, what he was doing. We were having a nice lunch, and I came unglued! It all sounded so hopeless, and I was so embarassed (my family wasn’t perfect after all). Dad offered to help me with the lawyer, and I said yes.
    A year later, I found Chumplady, and you have been so important in keeping me going to the finish line, it was really hard! I wish I could get my innocence back, but I am glad to be on my own. No more deceit for me.

  • I was told it was over and two weeks later I caught him leaving his job early to go and meet her at her house. That was my 2nd D-Day within two weeks and I knew then it was over. After being told “I don’t love you anymore” on first D-Day he stayed in the house for 6 more months. I did the pick me dance, took on the blame shifting, gas lighting, manipulation, him not sleeping in our bed for over 8 months because he wanted to tell his OW that he was “loyal to her.” Having to “live the lie” with his five children and my son, who lived with us, during the holidays and then watch him continue to “disappear” before my very eyes. When I met with an attorney after the holidays and he told me “she and I are going to be together in the future,” I finally told him to leave. He is a liar and manipulator and will use her like he used me. She is 30 years his junior, his subordinate until two weeks ago, and their life built on sand might not be so sparkly. I really don’t care like I did and every day gets better and better. One month post-divorce and my son is doing so much better without his step-dad in the house. Amazing what happens when the poison is gone. This website has helped me so much during my numerous, sleepless nights.

  • My cheater actually left me. He was having one of his standard wake-me-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night drunken rages on our 23rd wedding anniversary, no less. We had had a completely crappy “celebration” dinner with another couple whose anniversary date was near ours. My ex got drunk and proceeded to make belittling comments and “jokes” about me, our sex life, and how saddled down he was… All evening I listened to that garbage and was humiliated. (He did this often when we were with other people.) Not once did he have anything nice to say about being happy or that he loved me. I kept my mouth shut. By the time we got home I was fuming. Done with him. He went to bed and I took the couch.

    He woke me up at 2:30 in the a.m. wanting me to come to bed… I refused. Told him to just leave me be and we could talk the next day. That set him off because he wanted sex. Normally his rants would reduce me to a sobbing heap on the floor but this was post D-Day and I was fully aware of his BS.

    He wouldn’t let it go and started telling me what an effing bitch I was. That I couldn’t even take a joke. He didn’t mean all those things he said. That I was mean and cold that I wouldn’t even sleep with him on our anniversary. That I was probably cheating on him… blah, blah, blah. As he neared the end of his tirade he said that he should just leave me and get a divorce. (That’s how he always ended his rages.) Instead of breaking down in tears, I finally spoke up and said, “That’s a good idea. You should go pack a bag.”

    He did and then walked out the door at 3 a.m. He called sobbing and begging me to let him come home the next day. I said no.

    I hired a lawyer the following day. It was a hellish divorce and he launched a nasty smear campaign against me. He put out kids right in the middle of it. Pulled every dirty trick in the book. But I stood my ground and never let him come back home and didn’t cow to his bullying.

    If I had it to do over again, I would have filed for divorce at D-Day. But I gave him a chance to redeem himself as I continued to believe his lies. Hoping that things would get better. The only thing that got better was his ability to cover his tracks. I wasted 2 years of time and energy dancing around and was planning to stay 2 more years until our youngest graduated high school, but our anniversary night was the final straw. He held that carrot under my nose and took it.

    I have absolutely no regrets. I’m going on 5 years out. I’ve moved to another state. Have no contact with him, his family or any friends who decided to be neutral. Not a day goes by that I’m not grateful to be free.

  • There wasn’t really a DDay, it was a really long drawn out process of seeing what was going on right in front of me. But once I did see it all and then got really pissed about it, (one year ago this month, in fact) I said I can’t do this anymore, pick me or her.

    He said he picked me but didn’t end it with her until two months later. And it wasnt a secret, he flaunted her in front of me and his friends the whole time. I put up with it! I was the one saying I didn’t want to blow up the marriage over that stupid girl!

    So we were in reconciliation and MC, but it sucked sooooooooo so so so so soooooo much. The girl was gone, but he was horrible to me, really ramping up the weird sex shit, the tantrums and sulking, the blameshifting and rewriting history, drinking and smoking, disappearing, hiding his phone, etc. Page for page out of the handbook, although I didn’t find this site and learn about this stuff until much later.

    Around May, I got a terrible cold and then lost my voice for two weeks. It was magic! Once I stopped talking, I could see.

    I finally saw what he was showing me loud and clear, and I believed him, and I was done. I lined up ducks in secret for a month, told him to move out July 1, and am now free. NC except for kid stuff, and gray rock on that. Not divorced yet but in my heart and my mind, the marriage is over. I’ll divorce him in three years when our son is 18.

    I didn’t make any decisions quickly, it was agonizing – truly the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, but once I did decide, I acted quickly, and I’ll never regret it.

    When I found this site, I read everything. Every post, all the comments, a good amount of the forum threads. It was water in the desert for me. I am certain it saved my life. It’s keeping me sane and functional every day now. I say it/the website, but what I really mean is you, CL and CN, you good people are keeping me going every day.

  • My story: My stbx left me, it was a torturous brutal process that left me almost defeated. Almost being the key word. The day he left I found out from a text message from bank saying that the username on the online banking had been changed. I logged into a linked account and could see that he had taken half the money. I called him up and said what the hell are you doing and he informed me that we were getting divorced. He said that we would spend the weekend (together at the house) working things out and decide how to tell the kids. It was just then that my self-respect FINALLY popped up and I told him, “You have to leave.” It was the best moment of my life. When I got home he was gone. I spent the next day hauling all of his crap to one room of the house and I told the kids what was going on myself. It may have been the day he left me, but it was also the day I liberated myself.

  • Had an out of body experience as I watched my life from the corner of the ceiling. Me sitting on the couch with our two children, my dad beside us and him wedged between the fireplace and the music cabinet, computer screen turned so no one could see it, on Facebook messaging his AP. In that moment, I knew it would always be like this/never change. He had the balls to disrespect my father, myself and the kids whilst we were still in the room less than two feet away. I told him to move out four days later, after I had met with my lawyer. Less than six weeks later, he signed the separation agreement and was on his way to the he States to meet his AP IRL. I may have graduated but my self esteem at being replaced by a twenty something avatar, is something I struggle to get over.

    • This hurts my heart. ((Hugs)) to you, PhysicsGal. Your post captures so perfectly the profound disconnect/disrespect we all faced. That 20-something will never even begin to approximate your depth.

  • As the short version, I decided to exit stage left when, after the 2nd d-day, (yeah, I gave my husband another chance – chump move extraordinaire), I started to gather bits of evidence to try to unravel the skein. After putting the pieces together, the puzzle formed a horrible picture of not only a serial cheater, but a well-seasoned sexual predator. My amazing attorney stated he was “Bat-Shit Crazy”, and explained she had seen this scenario several times. He was/is a pervert, and he needed a spouse to give him some cache to maintain his sterling reputation within the community. “Boudica, you were his cover-wife.”

    To the ones new to this site, I’m heartbroken you have had to experience your world turned inside-out. If you’re still on the fence (as I was in the beginning), there is an old FBI saying: “if there’s a doubt, there is no doubt”. Believe it. Screw the gasligjting, lying, blameshifting, stonewalling, triangulation – all of it.
    Just. Get. Out.

  • So after many DDays that ended in counsellors, threats of suicide, guilt trips over our children I had always taken him back…… The reason/motivation to leave for me was a bit different from everyone else has stated above….. A mum at school with 5 kids under 7 years old, got a headache and died on her kitchen floor from a brain aneurysm. She was in the most loving and wonderful relationship. It made me realise that life is short and I wasn’t prepared for my kids and I to settle on the horrible family life we had.
    At 4 and 6 the kids don’t get it, but why should they, they haven’t known anything else……
    Within a month I had it all planned and had moved out. Her death gave me the strength to make the decision and finally stick to it…I will always remember her for the change she caused in me…

    • SDEE,

      Why did you move out and not try to stay in the house and have him kicked out?



  • I am now 11 years out. I was married for 21 years to a religious sociopath. I was pulled in early on when he spoke often about pleasing God,,, blah blah blah. Because I was raised in an abusive home I was groomed perfectly for this man. When I married him I left my paralegal position…. my own life in another country (Canada) and I moved to the U.S. We had 3 kids all about 14-16 months apart. I had left my family (which really wasn’t much support) and my friends and once I moved to the U.S. and was pregnant right away – we decided that I would stay home with the child(ren). We had no sex on our honeymoon (and did not have it prior to marriage because he wanted to “do right by God” and I thought he was so noble)… and then on our 4 day honeymoon he told me he got food poisoning at the restaurant we had eaten at on the way to our destination. So we had one time of “partial” sex – which was horrible, and because I was raised strictly religious – I had no freakn idea what it should be like. The sex which conceived our 3 kids was consensual, but over in about 3 minutes…. no foreplay – no nothin’. Right after our honeymoon he disappeared for 2 days, and I was beside myself – no cell phones then – and we had no phone yet in our rental…. when he turned up he said he had lost his paycheck and that he couldn’t really tell me where he had been. Believe me you guys- I WAS AN AMAZING CHUMP.

    In my particular case, even though to everyone else I seemed independent, I was suffering from years of abuse from my father – PTSD to be specific -but I didn’t even know what it was myself. So I stayed…..

    We moved 14x in the first 12 years of our marriage. We couldn’t buy a house because he didn’t want to be in debt (??). So we moved often, and I always felt like we were running from something. I eventually found (in the first 7 years) drug paraphernalia – needles, rubber tubing, etc. There was physical abuse on and off during this time and I knew to never confront him. After this first 7-8 years he claimed to have gotten ‘right with God’ and came clean that he had cheated on me right after the honeymoon and that was why he disappeared… and he told me he would never talk to me about it again because he had confessed it to God. For me….. I went deeper into PTSD…. I was spinning every day – paranoia took hold. I don’t think I could have left in those days if I was paid to. I developed FM, CFS, Lupus and MS. I was getting sicker and sicker – with unneeded surgeries. I used to be a go get it girl… but now I couldn’t get out of bed. When my kids were 15, 16, and 17 I started to get MAD. I started to hate him. We played church and did religious things – but I was mad about ALL of my life…. and the fakeness of it. I started to take my life back. I began to wean off the 5 Rx drugs I had been using to check out of my life. I had to do it slowly – and it took about 18 months….. and then I radically changed my diet. I started to do all sorts of alternative health things – and gradually I regained myself. I started to come back into myself. And after about 18 months of this I looked at him one day and I thought: “WTF????? AM I DOING HERE.” A month later was christmas and my 3 teens had scrimped and saved to give their dad ‘cool’ gifts. My ex opened their gifts – tried them on – put them all back in the boxes and set the boxes beside the door to “take them back in the morning”. There was nothing wrong with any of the fit of the clothing – but this was how he was. And for me??? THAT!!! of all the years…. and all the things that had happened was my final straw. We had unfinished holes all over our house where “remodeling” was supposed to have taken place over the previous 2 years – and I was living in a hell-hole. I decided to leave. I was doing a fair amount of secretive things to prepare when I found out I had breast cancer. I remember just flopping down and thinking: “NOW?? when I am finally leaving?!!” . I was going to Al Anon at the time, and one of the ladies offered me a floor. I took it. Throughout the next 3 months I found an apartment – started my own business and had a lumpectomy. After a while my last two kids moved in with me – the oldest was living on his own.

    My ex-husband owed me unpaid alimony. he had paid his part of the agreement to me for 3 years, and then he got remarried and disappeared. 7 years ago I took him back to court and won and the judge told him to pay me – including interest and also my legal fees for having to find him and take him back to court. He disappeared again. Last year – 10 years since my divorce I found a lawyer – and told him my story. He told me that I had TWO judgments – One was our legal papers with the divorce where the alimony was agreed on by both of us (till 2013 (21 years of marriage)) and the other judgment was when I took him back to court 7 years ago – so we filed 2 judgments: 1) Debtors Exam and 2) Contempt of Court. I had A PITBULL of a fantastic lawyer. We found out that he was on the Title of his new wife’s home (she owned that home before she met him!!! he is so conniving), and so we put a lien on his house.

    I call the next six months: My Stormin’ Norman time…. I call it now: “SHOCK AND AWE”, as each of these things came down on his head. In the almost 11 years since our divorce he has not spoken to or seen his children but has become the “amazing christian dad” to her kids…. and when we filed these judgments we found out that he was busy trying to get the equity out of HER house for himself (what he tried to do to me too). I do believe there is a God because we filed the lien in time so that when he went to refinance they told him that there was a lien on his house…. HALLELUJAH!!!! hahahahahahahaha….. ok i’m laughing, but he owed me 81,000 and change. And last November I received 61,000. I wish I could have been a fly on the wall over at his house….. a little birdie tells me that they are separated.

    If you are like me and you have a lot of childhood damage – you may find that finding “meh” can be pretty complicated. I am here to tell you that you CAN find meh…. but you may have to find yourself first. Sometimes its not just a cut and dried case – I really didn’t start getting truly happy until I started to find my own self worth. I went through the dating crap – and met more of the same type of men. I’ve had to find out my own strengths…. and see where the damage took place. I’ve had to do a lot of work that I would have never done with him or just bandaging my pain with another man. I’ve been single by choice now for almost 6 years. I’ve gone back to school, and I’m 56 years old. I can truly say that I have inner contentment now – and I’ve never known that ONCE before in my life. The gains that I have now are emotional, physical (I am free of all auto-immune disorders, and cancer free for almost 11 years) and spiritual. I am a nutritionist and I help others get well…. I also teach in the school districts and every day I look into eyes that are hurting…. mostly small children. This has all been a bumpy hard road – but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

    You have to find your own reason to leave. period. no one else can convince you – or change you. I hope every one who is suffering will find the strength and courage to reach out for help, and to also believe that they can – by one step at a time – build a new life.

      • its funny how others perceive us isn’t it? to me i don’t feel very mighty. I do finally feel whole though 🙂

        • Amazing Wendy! Clapping my hands in glee for you! Yes you are MIGHTY!!!! Truly a life well lived!

          • I don’t like that past tense sound. I’m only at the beginning of a fantastic life right now. Yes – the future – with this strength and wisdom is right now and going to be AMAZING!

    • So many powerful stories here today — but this is one of the mightiest, Wendy. You’re a survivor! Love that you took his ass to court and WON all those years later. 🙂

      • yes yes yes…. who woulda thunk it of this Chump???? Certainly he wouldn’t have…. he was arrogant right up to the pay out. I remember the first couple years after the divorce trying to get him to help with our kids in ANY aspect …. he would not even answer the phone call. And yet? When he found out about the lien last year? He left many many phone messages and texts saying how “we need to stop playing phone tag here”…. OMG LOL!!!! I asked my gf – “doesn’t tag take two people?” …. he has no conscience and has no empathy. I simply called my lawyer and told him to threaten the ex with harassment if he contacted me again. I did not talk or communicate with him ONCE throughout the whole thing. now THAT is the mightiest part of all in my estimation…. he is smaller than an ant to me now…. meh.

  • One day my ex came home and said he wanted a trial separation. This was after he’d been a shitty husband for over a year, out drinking, getting lap dances and being a dismissive jerk. However, despite all of that I wanted to save my marriage and I had a child. And, stupidly, I loved him – I doubted my ability to survive without him at the time. Sunk costs? 22 years.

    I did everything I could think of during this “trial separation” including go on a holiday with the jerk. He was miserable on that too. However, chump that I was….sucked on that hopium pipe hard. I was “pick me” dancing but didn’t really know it at the time. I wanted him to come home to me and our daughter.

    And he did.

    Lucky us.

    Except this: sexy text messages found on his phone. And STILL being the chump I was, thought maybe it was “just” an emotional affair. I was DEVASTATED. He lied and lied to me about there being anything physical. I really wanted to believe him. (He lied and lied to just about everybody.)

    Finally, he confessed. I felt like a fool. Trial separation = more cake. Then and there I asked for a divorce.

    Fast forward 3 weeks (I could not stand a second longer with him), I lawyered up and he was out. 2 weeks later he was sending selfies to his new unfortunate girlfriend. (Thank you iCloud) And the rest, they say, is history.

    He was a mean prick when I told him I wanted out. His cruel behaviour toward me increased. Trust me, these wing nuts unhinge quickly when they face being exposed so be careful and line up your ducks – in secret. Get a good lawyer and a good friend to keep safe.

    Yes, I was terrified, but I can assure you there is NO WAY I would go back to that marriage. I didn’t like myself much back then and I am so much better now. I’m more positive, have more friends, working with people who are wonderful, and am getting my life back. My home is mine and safe now, and our daughter is doing well. I knew that staying with that drunk liar was not an option. I had had ENOUGH. I do not regret ending that marriage.

    It’s not easy to walk out on someone you love and the only way through it is to believe that you 100% deserve better. And you really do. Your life is waiting for you.

    • Fantastic comment.

      “Trust me, these wing nuts unhinge quickly when they face being exposed”

      Wish I’d have anticipated more of that. Going through it now, and it isn’t pretty!

  • I didn’t leave – I was left after 30 years of doing the pick me dance. Mine was a serial cheat, but I obviously didn’t think enough of myself to exit the situation so God did for me what I couldn’t do myself. I thank Him everyday for it too.

    Of course it was scary and hard in the beginning, but I’m really loving my new “free” life. I come and go pretty much as I please as my girls are older and don’t need me to be home for them.

    Although, I do wonder about retirement – I would love nothing better than to retire at 62 and go somewhere warm. I just don’t know where to go… But I’ve got about 11 years to cross that bridge. I’d also like someone to come along, but we’ll see how that goes. It’s one glorious day of gratitude at a time in my house!

    My ex leaving was the best thing for me. I don’t think I’ve been more at peace 🙂 To all you chumps, there is light and peace – just give it time.

  • Very well put Eilonwy… BTW, I worked in a library, and always loved chatting with the patrons =).

    divorceat25, I was married for almost 24 years, and feared as you did… It’s all bullshit. You now are so much better educated on how bad it can get, so this time around you will be wiser by virtue of trial by ordeal. You are a bit singed, but not consumed. You will know what real companionship is and love when ready, and will never settle for less ever again. My best wishes for you!

  • It all happened in a flash, or so it seemed. Now I realize I was spackling over his psychopath abuse for sixteen years. It was a “normal” Monday. He asked me what my schedule was like for the day and I told him (now I know he did this routinely to make sure he was safe to fuck his OWs and OMs.) Then I asked him what was *his* sched for the day and his response just sounded *weird*. God I was so controlled by this sicko. I trusted him like 1000%. Later that night I was asleep and wondered why he wasn’t home yet. Texted him and instantly he answered and said he’d be home in an hour but it was a frickin Monday night at 10:30 already. My gut told me to get out of bed and log into the cell phone account (that I had been paying for including his sextathons with OW on my dime for at least a year but I didn’t know that yet). When I saw the 5-100x calls and texts a day to a certain number I JUST KNEW. Instantly like a kick i the stomach, no question, I knew. What a chump I was. Holy cow. When he got home all smiley I asked him “were you out on a DATE?” and in that one single solitary second he lied right to my face with his eyes locked on mine. “No??!!!” he said acting like I was insane. Rapidly downhill from there. After I saw that he just LIED TO ME right to my face, I said, “you know, I would like THE TRUTH. If you are “seeing” someone else, I would want you to tell me the truth.” SILENCE. CRICKETS. my whole world just collapsed. how I had trusted him. how i had given ALL of my sweet innocent love to this ocd freak deviant-sex loving freeloader All. Those. Years. exposed my children from my first marriage to his rages and obsessive Discipline and Control. And all those years that I gave him – my entire middle years of my life… now I’m old and menopausal… all those times that I squirmed while he flirted with waitresses and cashiers in front of me, while they looked sideways at me… I realized ALL OF IT IN ONE HORRIBLE INSTANT. He never loved me. He was just using me. He was cheating on me. I wasted six months trying to Pick Me Dance but it was pointless. He switched in one psycho instant, as he told me it was All My Fault (Devalue, Discard) and that OW (Cash Cow) was the perfect girlfriend for him as she had “no children!” (he said with a snarl and I suddenly realized what a monster I had exposed my three precious children too always asking them to quiet down, clean up so we wouldn’t make OCD Narc Man mad. All just a big waste. That night I asked him, did he love me? No, he said. Did he love her? Yes, he said. He said he “wished he could split himself in two so one of him could stay with me and one with her.” WTF?? My brain was exploding. The decisive moment is when I begged him to stay and save our relationship and he said very condescendingly, “No Muse. that would never work. I already ran The Sharing Idea by her (OW) and she wouldn’t go for that.” That instant was the moment I knew I had to kick him out and I did. So proud of myself. Told him to leave that night and he did. Went to OW’s rental property and she now owns this asshole for her very own Kept Man.

    For six months I believed (still spackling) that Ex had just fallen into twu wuv with Schmoopie but I was sleuthing like a madwoman and then I stumbled on some emails showing without a doubt there was a prior OW five years earlier Then I went on FB and contacted “prior” GF and found out quite credibly that Ex had continued to be involved with her including regular sex for the first 9 years that he lived with me in our co-owned house as “a family.” She knew my kids’ names, which one played piano, where they went to college, facts she couldn’t have know other than him living this SICK double possibly triple life.

    Two years later now, I am rebuilding myself. He has really broken something deep inside me, but there is still a deep strength that is fighting back. For sixteen years (all of the Lundy Bancroft book applies), I never told this man “no.” not once, ever. Now I am winning. The house is almost mine. My soul is mine. My life has been reclaimed. OW can have the soul raper for her very own now, I have no use or desire for him now. I just wish that I had known all along that he didn’t love me, but that is just how these Narcissists operate. It’s all a giant con game.

    • “OW can have the soul raper for her very own now, I have no use or desire for him now. I just wish that I had known all along that he didn’t love me, but that is just how these Narcissists operate. It’s all a giant con game.”

      Wow Muse, I’ve read parts of your story before, but so much of what you say resonates strongly and sounds imcredibly similar to mine.

    • Muse

      Yes I’m old and menopause was a done deal at the age of 42 due to the stress of living with a narcissist abUSER.

      We have so much in common including the fact that we are strong, loving, bright, and beautiful women.

      I share that feeling of being broken by his discard. Each time I think I will never be the same again I follow it with, GOOD! Because we are strong women we have the fight in us to do the mending from the inside out.

      I was told I needed to find my identity. So much of it was intertwined with an illusion, I was confused. Who the hell was I without him? I tried on the badass, selfish, think only of myself personna to protect myself. Fuck the fixer, selfless, Donna who was uncomfortable in walking shoes. My anger led me back to realizing it’s ok to be the person that had the ability to empathize, love, and give.

      Now I know who I am without him. I’m the person who makes a difference in children’s lives. I’m the mother who loved and supported my chikdren and granddaughter, despite the trappings of abuse. I’m the person who struggled to put myself through college with three children at home while running a business. I am the daughter who loved and cared for a mother with Alzheimer’s.

      I now see the role I played in accepting less than I deserved and for giving him the power and control over my life. I will never be a participant in my own abuse ever again. Strength lies not in the past but in each day forward as my walking shoes become more comfortable.

      Muse, you are an amazing strong, bright, and beautiful person who inspires me to get even stronger.

    • Mine told me that his OW was quite happy with the sharing idea, and made me feel selfish for not also being okay with it. I spent my pick-me dance months trying my best to share. Problem was, the ratio was something like 90-10 in the OW’s favour.

  • Chump Lady put into words what I could not articulate………thank GOD I found this site. Reconciliation was short, and I knew it was a scam. So I kept surfing the net until I found Chump Lady. After a short amount of time, I thought, “I will rush the next d-day” and so I snooped, and set up a sting. He was still seeing her…….. and finally I realized, “This shit IS killing me.” I then followed Chump Lady’s philosophy of NO CONTACT and never looked back. Very happy now.