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Dear Chump Lady, She hated my poem

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appreciateDear Chump Lady,

I am a male chump. My marriage went to shit after my wife went through a midlife crisis empty nest menopausal revisit teenage youth selfish narcissistic period. She reconnected with an old boyfriend on facebook and ended up fucking him. Though still working on reconciliation, I really appreciate your site, your perspective and that of chump nation. It’s a reality check, keeping the fog cleared.

Around the peak of our marriage crisis, after an initial discovery of inappropriate communications (sexting). I could sense more blame-shifting, demonizing, dehumanizing and revising history to make our marriage sound terrible. All the usual shit sandwiches the cheater throws at us to post-justify their depravity. I could see I was being made a villain.

I decided to put my thoughts into a poem. It’s not real lofty and it doesn’t rhyme, but expressed well how I felt about what I was experiencing. I read it in a joint counseling session. It pissed her off tremendously! She hated it. I loved it! I could tell it hit a chord. The only response she could muster was an evil, hateful stare. Afterward she had a meltdown but I stood by it.

This was a couple years ago but I ran across it today cleaning up some files. I thought I’d share it with you. If you think it helpful, feel free to use it in any way you’d like. And please don’t totally abandon us reconcilers. Even though your target audience are those who leave their cheater, many many of us who don’t (or haven’t yet) still appreciate and benefit from your good work.

I am not the Villain

I am not the villain, I am a good guy
I am not the enemy, I am an ally
I am not the foe, I am a friend
I am not the opponent, I am a teammate and partner
I am not the problem, I can be part of the solution
I am not the cause of all ills, I can be part of the cure
I am not evil, I try to be Christian and moral
I am not a liar, I am honest and sincere
I am not malicious, I try to protect us from harm
I am not conniving, I try to be sincere and communicate objectives and motivations
I am not deceitful, I work hard to be of solid integrity
I am not hurtful, I try to be helpful
I do not push you down, I try to be there to help catch you when you fall
I am not controlling, I try to help establish safe boundaries and influence or steer in a positive direction
I do not keep significant secrets, I try to be open and share thoughts and feelings with you my partner
I do not act in spite, or in revenge or to punish, I try to act in kindness and treat others as I would be treated.
I am not pessimistic, I try to be realistic but optimistic with hope and faith
I am not perfect, I can always be better and do better
I am not hateful, I love you
I am not the villain, I am a good guy.

Untold

Dear Untold,

And your wife’s reaction to this was….to lose her shit?

All my beautiful, beautiful blameshifitng! AiiiGH! You cursed Brat! I’m meLLLTttting!

What did you internalize after that episode? Don’t write poetry? Don’t try to tell your wife how you feel? “I am a good guy” — hate me anyway?

I’m sorry for saying this Untold, but I don’t think you learned much. How do I know? Well, like you, I enjoy writing. So I deconstructed your letter.

I am a male chump. My marriage went to shit after my wife went through a midlife crisis empty nest menopausal revisit teenage youth selfish narcissistic period. She reconnected with an old boyfriend on facebook and ended up fucking him. 

Here are my edits.

I am a male chump. My marriage went to shit after my wife went through a midlife crisis empty nest menopausal revisit teenage youth selfish narcissistic period. She reconnected with fucked an old boyfriend on facebook and ended up fucking him.

Your marriage went to shit because your wife fucked another man.

Not because of a “midlife crisis.” That’s bullshit.

Not because of menopause. Plenty of women not having periods are perfectly faithful and sexual with their partners.

Not because of an empty nest. Teenagers leaving home is a cause for celebration. (No more wet towels on the floor! Goodbye locker room stench! Hello cheaper grocery bills!) It does not compel people to trawl for exes. (Shop for two-bedroom apartments and downsize? Throw off the oppressive bonds of the School Calendar? Trot around the house half-naked? YES.)

Not because of Facebook. Old boyfriends and girlfriends are out there. Oh hey, I’m not looking for them! Oh hey, I might be friends with them and I don’t fuck them! See how that works?

Not because of revisiting “teenage youth.” That’s impossible. There’s no back-to-the-future DeLorean to transport us to 1984. We don’t get our youth back. We get gray hair, and saggy asses, and AARP memberships. And that’s okay. The people who don’t get the “age gracefully” memo are embarrassing. They’re that dude in the toupee cruising girls his daughter’s age. (Eww.) They’re that woman who looks like a Desperate Housewives extra. People who think they can hang on to youth are creepy… not “youthful.”

Untold, you did get one part right — selfish and narcissistic. Strip away all the qualifiers and just leave it there. You have a selfish and narcissistic wife who fucked an old boyfriend because she could. And then wasn’t one bit sorry about it.

Who is she now? You don’t tell us.

Who you are is a guy who’s still spackling. (Midlife crisis? Really dude?) You’re doing that very chumpy thing of meeting abuse with vulnerability. Here’s a POEM! With my FEELINGS! See how sensitive and caring I am? Now my decency will impress you and compel you to be kind to me!

That never works, Untold. Your decency, kindness, and vulnerability just compel her to see you as a chump. I know in that poem you’re trying to assert yourself, tell her that you’re not the villain she painted you as.

But as long as this is just a contest of words, and not actions (read CONSEQUENCES), she can tune you out. If explaining basic decency (I’m not an enemy!) to your wife with a 20-verse poem doesn’t work, I don’t know, try hand puppets? Interpretative dance? Bottom line is, Untold, you shouldn’t have to explain basic decency to your partner.

She gives your efforts a “hateful stare”? Take your poetry slam elsewhere.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Untold, you sound wonderful. There are LOTS of women out here that would truly appreciate you, your decency and your beautiful poem.
    This is the hardest thing. That we invested our all in someone who just …. doesn’t care.

    What is happening now?

    • Untold

      The peak of your marriage crisis? If you were in a leaky row boat with your wife a mile from shore and you lost your paddle it would be a crisis. You would work together repairing the leak, signaling for help, and pull together to survive.
      It wasn’t really like that now was it? She left you in the boat, swam to shore, knowing you couldn’t swim. She didn’t give a shit. Why not write a poem about the pain, her shitty attributes, the ease with which she fucked some guy while you were thinking about what a “good guy” you were. Ok so you got dragged to shore and were saved. You patched the boat named it Forgiveness.
      By your poem I assume your very confident in yourself. Who wouldn’t be faithful? A cheater
      Abandoning reconcilers? We aren’t the ones who left you to drown.

        • Good analogy Donna. Later after learning of the affair, I did remind her of her shitty behavior and detailed how she caused me and our family great pain. She did listen. That was a requirement I had to attempt repair.

          Moving liquid I’m sorry you feel that way. IMO this site is extremely helpful for all chumps to understand the distorted behavior, make informed decisions, and just know they are not alone. A lot of good people get chumped.

  • PS I, too, used to try to explain basic decency to my spouse.
    Now I truly believe that he knew damn well how he should treat me, he just didn’t have enough respect and didn’t want to. And I was so chumpy, I went along with that (hoping and wishing he would change).

    Its not that they don’t see, its that they disagree! Took me a long time to understand Dr George Simon’s point.

    • And that hoping and wishing they will change is almost the worst part of being cheated on. I hoped for years and years, but everyday it got worse and worse. I think that is where chumps lose it – a sinking ship of hope for the reboot of a broken marriage.

      • Quote from my husband. “Why am I always the one who has to change? You don’t love me. You love some other version of me that you want me to be.” So am I supposed to just be ok with infidelity? you can’t even make logical sense of of these types of conversations.

        • Oh! I got that too, that I loved someone he wasn’t. Yes, the faithful version I thought I married! He was wiling to lie to keep me believing while he was having chatroom sex…

          He absolutely was expected to change. He found that scary (ok…), burdensome and, get this, UNFAIR.

          He didn’t stop avoiding and denying long enough to own how unfair his cheating me out of love, time, attention, affection and passion was UNFAIR. And done in secret where I had no understanding.

          Rather than be grateful that I loved the good parts of him that were in there, and viewed him as someone who could regain integrity … he resented that I expected him to mature.

          Sigh.

          • Totally got that one too. It’s so strange how everybody says the same stuff. I felt really guilty about it too so that makes me feel better!!’

        • I got this, along with “you never apologize!”

          I honestly sat there dumbfounded at this. He further explained that I never say sorry during our fights. The fights that had to do with his cheating.

          I replied “for what???” And he scoffed at this. Apparently, we were equally at fault in our fights. The topic was irrelevant.

          Meh is definitely thinking about this, shaking my head, and laughing.

          • Whoa! It’s like we were married to the same man. “If you just would have said you were sorry (then I wouldn’t have fucked my best friend’s wife). On the flip side, STBX said he was “sorry” all the time, including after he screwed someone in the parking lot while we were out with friends. My bad I thought it was better to actually BE sorry and make amends than to SAY sorry and continue hurtful behavior.

    • Ditto here with sharing thoughts & feelings. And wishing / hoping he would change. {{{{{HUGS to Scott!}}}}}

      I finally ‘got it’ and stopped. And left. Took all my good qualities, thoughts and feelings and share them only with true friends & loyal family.

      As is true with all narcissistic cheaters, they just take any nfo you share and use it to bludgeon you further.

      Precious Untold, please, take all your good qualities and escape the horror your spouse has visited upon your precious soul! CL and the Nation have your back!

      Forge on, all………..

    • Yep, spent about a nano second explaining decency but swiftly released it was pointless. What adult needs this shit spelled out for them? And if they do do you really want to be with them? they’re emotionally stunted and generally fucked up. Run, don’t walk.

    • It’s like explaining back sass to a young child. They’re not gonna get WHY they shouldn’t do it on an emotional level (cause it’s disrespectful, hurts others, etc.) they just need to hear “Because I said so and that’s the rule.” However, we just cant help explaining it to them anyways.

    • In the very early days, my ex decided that he wanted to reconcile. My terms: No sex with other women, particularly his employee girlfriend to whom he professed his undying love and commitment after a mere 4 weeks of affairing it up or whatever.

      His response: He didn’t want to put all of his energy into making changes and repairing the damage, because it might not work. We might still get divorced, and he put all the work in without a guarantee.

      Since I had already filed for divorce a few weeks before, I asked him, to be clear, that he wanted to reconcile and work on the marriage, but he wanted to keep his girlfriend on the side.

      I gave my ex husband a thumbs up and a smile and said, “Ok, divorce is still on. Thanks!”

      These whack-a-doo cheaters are just not wired the same way that normal people are wired.

      • Yes, I got this, too. He wanted to “hedge his bets”, so wouldn’t get rid of AP.

        But I love your thumbs up and saying, “divorce is still on!” That’s the best!!

        • Mine said that it would have taken ‘so much strength’ to be honest and leave me BEFORE getting involved with slunt #2. (You have to imagine the drama in his voice and the rolled eyes – who could POSSIBLY expect such super-human strength from anyone?????) Because, what if he left me and then she wouldn’t have him????

          Oh, and he said this in the context of trying to cheat on her, with me, Because, you know, it would have taken ‘so much strength’ to break up with her without yet knowing whether I’d take him back.

          Just not wired the same way, truly.

        • Yep. I got “if this doesn’t work out I want to pursue a relationship with her”. Scary and insane how alike they are.

      • Kelli, when I found out, said to him, what are you going to do? He said, I don’t know. I asked, well, when do you think you will know. He said, I don’t know. I said guess. Well, he said, I’ll know after I get back from Rhode Island after the 4th of July. *I* said, let me help you decide….get the f*** out . He said Ill move my stuff out this week. I said, NOOOOOOOOOOOOO, you’ll get the f*** out of bed and move out today! F****** done deal. So, I helped him move out……I tossed his crap in garbage bags, tossed them into the garage and went and had my hair done. Gonna wash that man right outta my hair. True story! Not to say, I wasn’t in agonizing pain, I was. But, I was sooooo over his disrespect, distain, lies, BS…..go play house with your howorker with 2 kids, looking to you as a sugar daddy. What she doesn’t know, is that all the toys he has is because of me. He is a cheapskate! So, if she’s looking for a sugar daddy, she’s going to be really disappointed. ANDm he’s going to really disappointed when all of her attention isn’t on his sorry narc ass because if she has two small children, hopefully she pays SOME attention to them, which takes it away from him! Thanks for letting me share.

        • Hey Good on you!

          In my case it took him a bloody month to get out – and that was with constant pressure from me asking if he had applied for any rental properties.

    • Thank you Patsy. Update below. You’re right – they just don’t care. At that time in the disordered state she didn’t. Fortunately that changed later.

    • I saw many similar dysfunctions. Many “I don’t know” responses, illogical and circular arguments. A simple disagreement escalates as they generalize with always and never, then go in a totally irrelevant direction. Most irritating to me was the mind reading – she knew what I thought, how I felt, what I would do and why, then argue against that. How many times I said “don’t put words in my mouth and thoughts in my head. I can speak for myself just fine. Now stick to the subject and listen to me”. The contempt was the worst part. If it didn’t stop I could not go on. Gottman got that right.

  • I would describe the end of my 28 year marriage exactly the same way. Mine was trawling for old high school boyfriends 2 years prior to empty-nest-hood. She knew her plan and executed on it (having been a cheater all of our marriage). This is premeditated! Your wife and mine know what they are doing, and are fine with it. They don’t care about us, period. Mine only cares about money and attention. I’m grateful for Chump Lady and Chump Nation for opening my eyes to who she really is and stopping my “pick-me dance” after only a month (it was embarrassing 🙂 I can only say, stay for convenience, but true love is not there. Good luck to you Untold.

    • My story is almost exactly the same as your’s. 28 years and knowing exactly what she was dong. I did the pick me dance for about 8 months. However, I didn’t know about the affair until the date of separation. We split up when she finally admitted to it. And I still tried for about a month to reconcile. Luckily, I caught her in another lie and that was it for me. I knew we were done. Realized she was a cheater, liar, and bum. Found CL soon after and it’s helped me a ton in navigating the end of the marriage. It’s also helpful and scary at how many people have gone through almost the same exact s**t!

    • I couldn’t agree more,Marked711, that it is intentional, premeditated and deliberate behavior by the cheater. Breaking out of the pick-me-dance cycle is not easy, but the long, lost and whole version of yourself waiting for you at the end of that horrifically painful and lonely journey is so incredibly worth it! My ex-wife displayed the same kind of cruelty, selfishness and narcissistic rage as Untold’s and others on here. Untold, unless you have truly encountered a mythical, rainbow-shitting unicorn in your wife, I encourage you to learn from your chumpiness, look objectively at the abusive woman you’re still trying to defend, and break free from the soul-crushing, demeaning mirage of marriage you’re clinging to. Often times the hardest part of cutting free is realizing you’re holding on to what you hope your marriage could be, rather than what your marriage actually is (and is actually capable of becoming). Good luck

      • Chuck, Mark, Lost – sounds like our wives read much of the same playbook. How does that happen after 20+ years? In my case it was not that way the whole marriage, just over a 3 year period . The hard part is most days my marriage is pretty good now. She can be very sweet and loving. Then one rub in the wrong direction can turn her into a rabid bitch foaming with contempt. That’s followed by 1-2 days of her being mostly silent, then recovery.

        It’s not a unicorn situation, but not past my limits yet.

        • Untold, I spackled heavily for most of the time. She was much more covert than your wife seems to be. And we have two daughters who she does love as well as she can. In the end when she had lined up a richer old high school boyfriend, she had no reason to hide it. She let her mask fall away (but only for me). I saw the true monster inside. She had no soul and never did, but she faked it well. My ultimate take away is that as soon as they have no use for you, they abandon you as if you never existed. I was just a useful source of income to raise our girls, provide for her to be a stay at home mom the whole time, have good food and shelter in a great school district, and go on wonderful vacations all over the world. She took half of everything and is getting $1100/mo from me for life (until I retire). And moved immediately to Austin, TX to be with her “shit for brains” AP. As soon as my eyes were opened by CL and this blog, I took steps to leave my cheater. It was a complete deal breaker for me and she knew it. I haven’t heard a peep from her since she left.

        • Untold, don’t you understand that the reason things are good and lovely at the moment is because you are not challenging her?!! As soon as you challenge her or remind her of the pain you have felt – she gets angry. That just shows her true character!! She STILL doesn’t want to take responsibility, & bow her head in shame. Do you REALLY want to be with someone like that? Have you not read the post on Genuine Imitation Remorse??
          I’ve been in exactly the same boat!

    • It’s hard to face when you’ve been a victim of love fraud and financial fraud especially after 36 years and 2 kids investment in a make pretend life! If mine had done what he did to me to anyone else he would be serving time in prison! The marriage license allowed him to do it legally and get away with it Scot free! Marriage laws need to be reformed or better yet abolished as courts do not abide by the rules!

      • I didn’t write a poem but I said many of the things in the poem to my X and on top of that I did everything I could think of to please him. His response was nasty, sarcastic remarks, told me I was pathetic, dirty looks, laughed in my face, and walking out. Looking back he was right I was pathetic. Made dinner for him overnight that he didn’t eat. He’d walk out take out son and sometimes neighbors out to dinner but that wasn’t enough to stop me from trying to reason with him again the following day. I danced every dance, into exhaustion.
        X did what he wanted to do without regard for me, our son, our family, they don’t care about anyone other than themselves. It’s still floors me that I was married to an imposter. He is nothing like who I thought he was. I thought we were a team, he was supposed to be my best friend.
        Like you Gail he did things to me that anyone else would do he would be serving time in prison, being married he was able to get away with everything. It was all so one sided and unfair, cruel. Marriage laws and family court attorneys need to be revamped. Judges don’t follow rules, I learned the hard way that honesty doesn’t hold up in the court room, bullshit lies do. Opened my eyes to what really goes on in our justice system.

        • Foolishly I thought he would eventually come to his senses and “snap out of it,” midlife crisis maybe, or even as someone said abducted by aliens. In my mind I thought, all I needed to do was be patient.., I finally came around.
          Yes, they’re fully aware of what they’re doing. As Chumps we can’t imagine anyone in their right frame of mind being so cruel. Little did I know, this was only the beginning and the worst was yet to come. Unbelievable to me that anyone would be so heartless, the person I thought I married couldn’t do such things.

          • Exactly this above. It hard to believe the one you’ve been married to so long could actually behave that way. Sometimes still hard to believe when it’s smacking you in the face!

  • I don’t think there is a post that I’ve missed… including this one. All I have to say is that I love you Chump Lady.

  • I used to think that if I explained it in terms he’d understand that he would be like “OMGee I hurt her, I get it, I messed up”….ahhhh….but it was me that didn’t understand. I could have said it in 20 different languages – a thousand different ways and his response would have been the same: “me me me”.

    • Me, too–if I am just eloquent enough to explain how much pain he caused me, and how he could have handled things differently so he will admit he was wrong…..They.don’t.care.

      The problem is, the best cheaters give you just enough to make you BELIEVE that talking to them will work. I re-read some old texts from my X after D-day, and he was a master manipulator. He would act just vulnerable enough to finally get me to agree to therapy (even after I’d asked for a divorce 3 times), and as soon as he thought he had reeled me in, turn the tables on me. Thankfully, I stopped falling for it after the deal-killer of D-day, but a year out, still have trouble wrapping my head around just how disordered he was/is.

      • <>

        ^^^^^^ that was me times a million^^^^^^^ for 26 fucking years

        The poem (which I think is dear) sounds exactly like the efforts my now husband made with his then wife who left him to chase green grass. She manufactured a jillion excuses but in the end we both had really selfish uncaring narc spouses.

        • “”””I used to think that if I explained it in terms he’d understand that he would be like “OMGee I hurt her, I get it, I messed up””””

          this is what I meant to quote…me and computer not getting along

        • “It feels personal. But it’s really not.”

          SUCH a profound point that really REALLY helps in processing the whole thing! I’m still working on it, but when I started to think about the shi&%y decisions he made for HIS life and not what he did TO ME, it was really freeing! Still painful as hell, of course, but freeing! All they care about is themselves and then all we care about after DDAY is focusing on THEM, feeding their narcissism bc we need answers and are so hurt. It’s truly a viscous cycle!

          • So very true. I’m really struggling with all this right now. He tells me he knows he beat on the wrong horse, he’s screwed up, I’m his best friend, he misses me, but he feels the need to work on his affair relationship or he simply is a failure! (?) I guess our 26 year marriage meant nothing. He needed to get out there and live life. What is he doing? Sitting at his Chinese mail order bride’s massage parlor babysitting her 80+ year old mother who doesn’t speak English when he is not working. She convinced him her husband, yes she is married to the man who brought her to the US about 6 years ago, was just a business arrangement. I bet he didn’t know that. The entire situation is sick and twisted. Yet I still love that fool. We are in the process of a divorce. I played the pick me dance for 9 months because I did not know about the other woman, although everything pointed to it, I wanted to believe he wouldn’t do that to me. Hopefully this gets better. My heart is broken at the moment. I could not be more surprised by all this than had he told me he was in the witness protection plan and our life was all a lie.

            • If you have proof that it was a ‘business arrangement’ you need to report that to the authorities. Put some karmic justice and get his whore kicked out of the country for immigration fraud.

              • I don’t think it was a business arrangement. I think she used that as the excuse so my husband would feel “OK” continuo g in this sick relationship. If it truly were a business relationship that BOTH parties knew about, she would have told my husband about her husband yo front and invited him over to their house. Her husband has a restraining order against him, she threatened to kill him. My husband believes he just got that because he could. No, I don’t believe so. They both had attorney representation.

                I’m struggling with it all, but I wrote down the following to try to help me put it all into perspective.

                I miss my husband who is living with another man’s wife. This is not the man I married. As he has told me recently, “I’m a wreck Lisa”, yes, he is.

          • Realizing that there was no reason to take STBX’s disordered, abusive behavior personally was the biggest “aha” moment for me. It’s so incredibly difficult to accept, because it’s contingent on realizing they never loved you to begin with and that the entire relationship was an illusion, but on the other hand, it’s how narcissists treat all of their relationships. Realizing that, just because we were married (and in fact *because* we were married and I therefore had higher expectations than most people in STBX’s life) I did not warrant better treatment, helped me move on.

            Second to not taking it personally was realizing that nothing I could say or do would ever persuade him, ever. Most especially when it came to the dynamics of our relationship, but also when it came to other aspects of our lives together–when he was right, he was right, and nothing I could say or do would persuade him to believe otherwise.

            Untold, the sooner you can accept these two basic realities of being married to a disordered narcissist, the easier it will be for you to move on. And please keep in mind, as others posted above, that there are so many women out there who would absolutely love to be with a man capable of writing such heartfelt, self-reflective, and beautiful poetry.

            • I personally believe that these types of people DO love us – but in a very limited, fucked up sort of way, the way they know best. And honestly, who wants their ‘brand’ of love when this is the best love they got!! I don’t!

      • Tempest-I struggled with that too when having conversations with the ex. He could flip between sounding caring and sorry in one sentence, and literally in the next sentence say something that would bring me to my knees. It was completely disorienting. Then, because he was always controlling when we could “talk”, I would mind f myself, by going back and reading our texts.

        There were some whole text conversations, where he would actually sound like an understanding, compassionate human being that accepted at least some minimal amount of blame. Re-reading those texts kept me hoping that he had a soul, when I knew darn well deep down from our actual in-person conversations, that he couldn’t possibly have one. I mean-how hard is it to be fake over text! I even remember telling myself at one point that he must have been sincere when he was being nice over text, b/c he would answer my texts so quickly, I reasoned that he was often so nasty, that it would be hard for him to quickly and respectfully answer my texts if that wasn’t how he truly felt.

        Good God. I was seriously desperate to believe I wasn’t married to a blood sucker. Thank God that I can sometimes get a chuckle out of some of these things now, instead of a full day of weeping. Small miracles and all…

        • Blerg and Tempest, that is my story too – this is very descriptive of my cheater:

          “The problem is, the best cheaters give you just enough to make you BELIEVE that talking to them will work. I re-read some old texts from my X after D-day, and he was a master manipulator. He would act just vulnerable enough to finally get me to agree to therapy (even after I’d asked for a divorce 3 times), and as soon as he thought he had reeled me in, turn the tables on me.”

          After I asked for a divorce, I agreed to first try MC. My cheater was a decent wife for about a week, then quickly reverted to not participating in rebuilding the relationship. We even had good sex for a few days before weeks of sexlessness. She would also manipulate with health problems, so she was unable to work, take care of kids, clean house, or have sex. But she was healthy enough to participate in ironman triathalons and girls weekends away. Rinse then repeat.

          It’s hard accepting the truth that 1) she used me thoroughly and had no desire for a real relationship with me and 2) our marriage was a fake life simply put in place for me to provide for her.

          I should be reimbursed for the eye work, the botox and the fake tits. I’m still paying for that crap. It sucks when you buy your wife $8,000 boobs and then only other guys get to play with them.

          Whoops – went off-topic there !

          • Buddy and Tempest-I can remember weeping over and over in front of the ex to the point where I could barely breathe. He would basically either just stare at me coldly, or act nervous. He was probably nervous, because I often spontaneously started crying in public after I found out. Of course, he wouldn’t want his image tarnished. I just couldn’t help myself, because I was such a wreck.

            It is so awful to even repeat, but I realized that the ONLY time he ever comforted me after D-day was when I actually somehow was completely calm and said that if he hadn’t loved me, he should have just told me, because I would have let him go. He actually hugged me, and then started kissing me. I am positive he only hugged me, because he thought it would lead kissing and then to sex. So depraved.

            It finally finally clicked for me after I had been seeing my therapist for about 6 months. I cried at every session like clockwork. However, in one particular session I told him something so painful about how I felt after D Day that it elicited what I can only describe as an almost guttural cry from my body. My therapist was always kind to me, but he looked at me with such compassion and shock afterwards, that I just couldn’t deny the hard truth anymore. Here was this person that was paid to listen to me, and he had more empathy and concern for me than the person that pledged to be with me forever. I couldn’t deny that my ex had zero remorse about the pain that he caused after that.

              • Thank you Kelly. Those days really were the worst of my life. I will say that, although I still have triggers that can make me weepy or angry, the emotions are less intense and last for a shorter amount of time. Phew.

                I am so glad to hear that you remarried a wonderful man after having to deal with your evil, poisonous ex. I honestly think they take even more joy in leaving later in life, because they know it just causes that much more despair. It is truly sick.

                I have such sympathy for your kids. My Dad was a serial cheat who eventually left my Mom when my sisters and I were young. To this day, my Mom says that she thinks he met his AP after he left. It is too painful for her to admit he cheated, even though he suddenly had a 22 year old girlfriend a month after he left. SMH.. Although, he was always very involved in our lives and I do love him as my Dad, I will never truly respect him. I have a hard time reconciling the man I love as my father with my thoughts about the kind of person that leaves their family for any reason, let alone an affair. I know first hand that they don’t change, b/c my Dad has cheated on every single woman he has been with since leaving my Mom. Of course he and the AP he left for didn’t work out-big shock.

              • Same here for everything. I remember vividly the cold stare he would give me while I was balling my eyes out. Just cold. Then at other times…. and in hindsight they were just enough times to keep me reeled in he would show just enough emotion to keep me thinking he might actually be human. But he isn’t. So thankful that the OWhore has him now. She thinks she won and that is my best revenge. BUT accepting the fact that HE DID NOT NOR EVER DID CARE was hard. I had to rethink and rewrite and reaccept my entire marriage. Its a mind fuck. But going back now with his NP a given it is actually much clearer… all the gas lighting and projecting I now see it in perspective and realize it wasn’t me and that I was the normal one. Accepting the fact that there are actually people like that out there and you were married to one takes a lot of strength thought. I mean if you look at it you are truly in the presence of evil if you believe Scott Pecks “People of the Lie.”

                So Untold once you accept and begin to understand just what these monsters are made of you will most likely go back and see your marriage in a new light. And you get to relive a lot of it and its painful… not painful because you didn’t make it work or she didn’t realize how amazing you were but painful because honestly how many times during the marriage did your heart break just a little? With each slight or disregard or nasty comment or lie or neglect your heart had to be broken just a bit like mine yet WE IGNORED IT to make the marriage work. Thats why I cry now…. when I cry… which is much less. And I think thats healthy because I value myself enough now to see that I deserved better the entire time.

                And CL I love it… there was no midlife crises and our marriage ended because it was bad…. He is/was a selfish narcissistic person who cheated…. period dot. Thats what I tell people now. And it feels GREAT.

              • One way to frame this reality: they didn’t care about the important stuff BUT they also didn’t care about the embarrassing stuff either (farting, eating ice cream for dinner). They were our “starter kit” (even if it took twenty years to really get it)

              • W O W

                PS I teach high school English. I sure wish I could share this AND ALL THE WRITING ON THIS BLOG with my students. You’re very gifted writers. (Now I’m embarrassed about all the mistakes in my own reply. Yikes)

    • I learned not-so-quickly that my pain was for me alone. If he wanted in on it–to be a helper–the onus was on him to make that happen. Turns out we are somewhat hard wired to want others to feel our pain. I am so thankful for the many loving people I have around me that are happy to feel my pain with me, even when my partner wasn’t willing.

      • I wonder if that is a conscious choice on their part, or if they are in some way incapable of being empathetic with those closest to them?

        My cheater was empathetic with victims from nightly news stories and current events, with pets that suffered, and with some of her extended family members, but simply was not capable of experiencing empathy for me.

        I think they are hard-wired to avoid or discount or ignore anything that would make them out to be the bad-guy, so if my suffering was due to her actions, that would make her the bad guy, so her built in self-defense mechanisms were so strong, she automatically unconsciously ignored my pain and was not capable of being influenced by it.

        I suppose my thoughts contradict what Dr. Simon says “Its not that they don’t see, its that they disagree!” so maybe I am simply wrong, and she simply chose not to have empathy for me, because she disagrees that I am suffering due to her infidelity and narcissism and selfishness.

        • Asswipe as well, all the sympathy in the world for ho’s kids and family problems. Pity the animals and people on the news. Oh god yes rants and raves over injustice. Rants a bunch, does nothing. Our kids have problems or issues, who cares, get over it, do what he says to the letter, they don’t he ignores them. Sister called him, her husband died, his sister found her husband dead call him for comfort, oh gee sis, that’s a shame talk to you later bye! Their father a really good guy dies, no tears, no emotions, nothing, did not go to his fathers service did not help sis with the arrangements. Did nothing to help her nothing! But he showed up for the money all kind and nice. Who was that masked man? Calls them birthdays, thanksgiving, maybe, Christmas, that’s it. Why doesn’t whores family ask about his family, reach out to his family, nothing. No empathy for anyone but himself or the current flavor. What an asshole. He has a great family, he ignores them mostly, my family sucks. I got real close to them over 30 years but now they are supposed to hate me or at least take his side. He gets pissed off if they call me before him! Our own kids even. He still wants to be the boss of me! Fucking asshole. Free free, soon I will be free and no contact!

          • Buddy, Kar Marie……ditto on the empathy for those he didn’t even know and the HO HO HO (it’s Christmas time folks!) but nada for me. Sick fuck.

        • Buddy

          X’s excuse for his lack of empathy was because of me! According to the sociopath he got along just fine with everyone but me. Thanks for helping me figure that out. Yet he has NO friends, only customers he sees annually. How did I miss that huge red flag?

        • Buddy–the lack of empathy, even when we are at our darkest, is because their sense of power over us is more of an aphrodisiac. THEY made us cry, they made us heave with spasms of pain–THEY are almighty. It trumps any sense of fairness or empathy they have for us. Sick mother fuckers.

          • Yes, they are sick mother fuckers. My ex did eventually did admit to me that it gave him pleasure to be “King” over me. He wanted to reconcile and I said, “Fuck NO.”

            • I should have suspected that he was cheating when he began to express sympathy for the divorcee at work and anger about her asshole ex. Poor her. Poor needy her. It simply meant that they shared the “poor me” justification for adultery.

          • The Dumbsel/Dumbell In Distress is who they care about because she/he NEEDS them and makes them feel SOMETHING and feel like SOMEONE which it appears is a challenge to achieve for NPD’s.
            I believe they get a big rush out of control and getting a rise out of people whether positive or negative.
            When I realized that crushing me was a rush for him, I started doing better. All of a sudden, I understood that a clown car full of shrinks could not fix this depravity.

        • Gosh, so true. He told me once that he clearly has more compassion than me. It confused me at the time but now my retort would be “sure, maybe for the unknown Syrians but not for the people closest to you. Not for suffering you have to witness firsthand.”

          • Buddy has it so right. No empathy, no compassion, just plain guilt and anger because I want to move far away to heal and rebuild my life while he goes back and forth whether the pick me dancing the whore is doing will make him move back in with her. I thought I was a fool. She’s a much bigger one. If he had left the affair partner to go back to his wife I’d tell myself that shit is not over. I just don’t give a damn anymore. Divorce final today. I wasted and he stole 30 years of my life. When this house sells I will truly be free. Of him and his dramatic bullshit. She can have the mean, nasty, bitter, can’t fully invest, lying, cheating, closed up motherfucker he is. She has no idea about his 30 or so bondage cheating websites he is on or the 10 pictures of different woman s asses he put huge belt marks on in her bedroom in her bed since when she travels for work she leaves him alone a couple of days a month. While the whore cat is away, the sick, twisted, demented practicing no safe sex fat rat will play. He really is a sick fuck claiming to be a nice decent person. Ha don’t they all! I have evidence and if he fucks with me in the future she will get a nice package special anonymous delivery. Thank god soon I will be totally and completely free. Taking chancing with peoples health to satisfy his sick sick ways.

        • Yeah true about the empathy. My ex was a bloody social worker. But when it came time to feel for my pain – well the empathy was quite limited and bound to a time frame. Could’t handle looking like the bad guy….

        • Ditto’s on the lack of empathy. I could not believe her apparent empathy for others – friends, family, etc.. But none for me. I would hear her giving relationship advice to divorced friends, and counsel her unwed niece with 3 children of different daddies on being responsible. I’m thinking – how does she block out her own behavior? Unbelievable, but I think she really has selective amnesia, and that’s how she has dealt with her infidelity. I hate to remind her but feel like I need to periodically to keep it grounded.

          • Asswipe same thing. Ready with big time advice for everyone and opinions up the ass. But god forbid anyone try to tell him what to do.

          • Honey, that sounds so sad. You’re the marriage police.
            What a terrible life. Just enough good to keep you hooked, mine did that too.
            25 years wasted – but I’m not wasting any more time. Kicked him out almost 3 years ago, and rebuilt my life and my kids lives. Listen to the advice here. It doesn’t get better. Trust that she sucks.

  • Untold… My heart goes out to you. I know the feelings of wanting to reconcile. I also know it takes so much forgiveness, patience, love, and kindness to stay in a relationship after you’ve been cheated on. Maybe there are some unicorns out there. Maybe there really truly are some couples that make it after an affair. Looking back, I think a really good thing to look for is true remorse. Does she actually really feel bad about what happened, or does she say she’s sorry for one minute and then want everything to just go back to how it was. I don’t know. We should have a unicorn success story actually tell us what it looks like 😉 I will say this, I believe in marriage and I tried just as you to reconcile. We had major infidelity 8 years ago in our relationship and really really worked on things. I, like you, had to muster up the love, forgiveness, patience, and kindness to try to look past this betrayal and see the person I loved underneath. Took him to sex addiction counseling, waited it out, wanted to see if it was real before we chose to have kids. Had some bumps in the road, it wasn’t perfect, but fell in love with him again, had kids together. Then, when my 2nd child was 3 months old and i’m home while he’s ‘working’ I find a post on facebook with him and another woman. It was “a friend” he needed “to help” by taking her to a concert and an all day hike 90 minutes outside of town. That was then followed by a week in a hotel to ‘pray about our marriage’ and really ‘focus on our family’ of which I found craigslist ads for hook ups. HEARTBREAKING. All I can say is, I definitely hope for the best for you. For me, and my situation, I need to give up on this unicorn and try to move on with my life. Even still, I still get sucked in – but he can change, he just needs to go to counseling. God, I get on my own nerves saying that, but I’ll get it one of these days. Keep moving forward, one step at a time… try to judge actions rather than words. Keep getting support from places like this and other counseling outlets. Best of luck to you Untold. I genuinely hope it works out for you. Take care and God bless.

    • “We should have a unicorn success story actually tell us what it looks like”

      We have a lot of them peacefulchump, you just related a “success” story where you reconciled. And you caught your spouse cheating again years later. Happened to me too, I forgave and 10 years later I caught ex cheating again. Seems to me that a successful unicorn story is really only successful for the cheater.

        • Me too. 8 years down the drain of fake reconciliation. Even if cheater becomes a loyal saint, it turns the chump into the marriage police. I am sure that there will always be something amiss, something broken, forever suspicion…The marriage has gone Humpty Dumpty after cheating, no matter how beautiful the unicorn is.

          • yup same here. 6 years after catching him in a 6 week affair, he was remorseful, so very sorry, moved out for a month, promised and promised and promised it was a mistake, would never happen again, I mean everything to him, his family means everything to him…bla blahdee blah.

            I bought it hook line and sinker, rug swept, forgave, and totally trusted him after about 2 years of marriage police. Come August 26, 2013-he admits to an affair with MOW and I threw him out. I was totally committed and trusting by that point because he had been so good and open and love bombed me on a daily basis. Not a unicorn….nope.

        • It might be helpful to some of us if you shared your unicorn story. Not that I have any intentions of reconciling, but what does false reconciliation look like? … the kind where you fully believe the cheating is behind you, and life as you know it has been restored? My stbxh never quit cheating…. lied like a boss as details of new affairs continued to pop up, so I never really had the opportunity to fall into the unicorn chasing phase.

          • They learn to go underground even more after you forgive them the first time! They then usually wait 10, 20, 30 or even 40 years avoiding child support, alimony, loss of reputation, loss of children’s respect, and loss of house, pension and assets! They usually create chaos and steal everything in the end! Narcissists always have to win…they do it by not playing fair!

            • My ex convinced me he was not cheating with two co-workers. I was 38 years old and pregnant with our third child when I suddenly had these strong suspicions. But he begged and pleaded and charmed and looked me in the eye swearing he would never cheat. He finally convinced me he would stop having contact with them. While it wasn’t a “D-Day” it was damn close and I consider it my first D-Day even though he never admitted physical affairs.

              12 years later, when I was 51, I caught him. He finally admitted he had been cheating with those two women for over 15 years, all along, having unprotected affairs and group sex. But for all those years he acted like the most loving loyal and trustworthy husband ever.

              I was floored, stunned, why? No answer, crickets. Now I had to start over at a much older age, and our children being old enough to understand the depravity refuse to see him and they have no father. He stole all those years of my life and we ended up in the place he always knew we’d be, but he kicked me to the curb when I had so many less options and after quite frankly he stole the best years of my life. He deprived me of making reasoned decisions about Mynown life, love and children.

              I’ve moved on and remarried, to a much better man. But I will always regret not trusting myself and not valuing myself enough to get away before allowing my life to be profoundly damaged by a sociopath.

              My only advice to others in this situation, especially when younknow there was an affaiR– get out. IMHO, the end result is pretty much a foregone conclusion, don’t let them steal another day.

              • “Don’t let them steal another day.” Love this!

                The only regret I have (and it’s a big one) is exactly that–the wasted years with such a terribly unethical, cruel, character-less, all around poor excuse for a human being. I believed the genuine imitation naugahyde remorse. I believed that the short term periods when the ex wasn’t cheating were evidence of real and lasting change. In reality, he would just clean up his act for a few months to appease me and then get more and more secretive and deceptive. He actually just fine tuned his cheating techniques while patting himself on the back for having worked so hard to change his ways! Umm, sociopath much?

                The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. I now know that to be true, and I wish I could have gotten it through my thick skull the first time the ex cheated.

          • Reconcilliation is like an addict attempting to relive his/her first high with the less potent drug until a better fix can be found.

      • “Seems to me that a successful unicorn story is really only successful for the cheater.”
        Preach it, Dat. This is the truth…. sure, some cheaters manage to hold it together for awhile, maybe even for years (although it’s far likelier that they are just better at hiding their cheating.) But eventually, it’s almost guaranteed that they are going to cheat again and you’ll end up going through the nightmare once more, but this time older and already scarred from the first Dday.

        Why do that to yourself? Why reopen a wound? Just get it over with the first time so you can move on and heal. I spent YEARS more with my ex after he admitted (in a rage) that he slept with other men. I spent those years being the marriage police, snooping in his drawers and closet for evidence of gay activities — and sometimes finding it — and knowing deep in my heart that he could never be trusted. God, I cannot believe I put myself through that for so long.

        I’ve been with Nice Guy over two years now, and we live together. Not once have I felt the need to snoop through his sock drawer. Not once have I wondered if he is lying to me. Not once have I found evidence of cheating. It’s so much better on the light side.

        • GladIt’sOver – please be careful. Just because you’ve never felt the need to snoop doesn’t mean he’s honest. In my case, there were no signs, no need to snoop, didn’t felt the need to snoop. I just randomly one day decided to check his email on a really quick intuitive hunch (that made no logical sense btw) that seemed to make no sense. Until it did. I’m not here to insult your relationship, but I’m just looking out for you. Really truly hope it goes well after all your pain. We all deserve this!

    • Yes , Untold, I do think and hope there may be couples out there who recover – but IF they do, there needs to be things in place, such as; true remorse, also if they came to you and confessed in the first instance, that’s a big help. And if they were always interested in personal development or spiritually aware, I’m guessing this could be a good sign. But then again, I wouldn’t know. My ex had none of the above!

  • Yes, no reliving teenage years, no mid life crisis, I’m an empty nester, I didn’t cheat, I put my efforts into helping him build his business while both of us worked full time. I embraced the time he and I finally had alone to ourselves. Choices , bad ones he made put our marriage onthe path of destruction. Now he suffers the consequences of his actions. Turning into a mean, nasty, bitter old man. I told him “the problem with people like you is you don’t appreciate what’s standing right in front of you!” Only sees the shiny and sparkly stuff that’s past me. He refuses to change his ways so this gonna happen over and over again. Good! That bitch whore can get the wrath this time and for the second time!

    • There aren’t many things more pathetic than a 50 year old “teenager.”. I had to suffer one myself for a while.

      • Yes^^^ This. So pathetic. My xw tried to become my girls best friends instead of being their mom. And she dressed teen fashionable. It was just so pathetic. All, right after turning 50. Pathetic (such an appropriate word).

        • My spouse too! Around 7th grade for my oldest, she started hanging out with her friends and running around with them? I still don’t understand that. Luck for my daughter, she was able to push her away some once she started driving. Wife even wanted to hang out with her and her first real boyfriend. It’s just really weird to me. But you know in the end, my girls treat me like a father and mostly want to stay with me. They know mom isn’t normal. They know who the responsible parent is and who they can count on when the going gets tough.

          • My STBX too!

            I confess I’ve thought he was ridiculous the last few years: hair products, weight lifting, unbuttoning the top of his dress shirts (so his graying, thinning chest hair shows?)…well, it’s all crystal clear now.

            His craigslist ads stated his age as variously 28, 34, and 40. He’s 54.

            Because his “infidelity” was all purchased, and he truly believed his webcam “girlfriend” was in love with him, I can now see he really believes he can be that sexy young man he was 25 years ago.

            So much of this is just absurd – if it didn’t hurt so much, I’d be laughing my head off.

            Only I’m not actually a cruel person. And it would be cruel to mock this kind of crazy.

              • All the weigh lifting as swipe is doing to look and feel better will not change his temperament persona or make him not a woman and relationship destroyer or make him not lie and cheat. Or make him pay more attention to his own kids than hers. His are huge dissappoints her are effect and flawless. They just suck and nothing will ever change that. He is proud of the fact he is the greatest lover on the planet, ruins women for other men and breaks their hearts. Proud boasts of it. Gag, puke, barf, should have been more interested in becoming a great dad, not an emotional absent one. Fucker! Karma bus hitting him now . be careful what you wish for asswipe!

            • Because a 28 year old looks like a 54 year old, right? He’s not self-deluded much is he? I see it all the time when men of a certain age start getting chemical peels, eyelid reconstruction (a very big thing) and hair plugs/ dye jobs. Do these idiots not know how obvious it all looks? Apparently not.

              • Had a male friend who got hair plugs. More of his hair fell out later and now his hair plugs on his head resemble a freshly plowed corn field! It’s a pity!!!

      • Anita
        I know what’s worse than a 50 year old teenager! A fifty eight year old teenager. Where do the end uo when MOM is in her 80’s?

    • Truth: “I told him “the problem with people like you is you don’t appreciate what’s standing right in front of you!” Only sees the shiny and sparkly stuff that’s past me.”

      In many cases, these fuckers already have what they are looking for but since it isn’t new and shiny, it isn’t good enough, even though what they have is based on reality, not fantasy.

      They’d rather have the fantasy.

      They tell themselves they are searching for true connection and true intimacy, but they are really searching for escape, regardless of the cost to those who actually love them and back it up with actual actions.

      Now I’m getting angry.

      • Right on buddy! Asswipe stole 30 years of my life, I stood by him every second if every minute of every day and for what?! To be told lies and disrespected. That’s how much I meant. He’s a pathetic five year old who wants all the candy in the bowl. I just afraid I’m so damaged by this. I will live a good life and be okay but I know I will never trust again. Too damn old for this shit!

        • After divorce, he wants to stay real good friends and date!! What the hell is wrong with him!!!! Aaarrrgghh! Why do these fuckers think like this?! Says it will fuck him up if I disappear? Why the fuck does he even care?! He fucking fired me, damn near broke me but doesn’t want to lose me out of his life!? That will fuck up all his future relationship!!!! Shit! Fuck! Piss! Damn! Motherfucker!!! Who the hell thinks like this?!!! Shit! Shit! Shit!

          • Kar Marie, tell him to f*** off. You want real friends not abusers! My ex also had this dream. What did I do? I went almost completely no contact. Cut her off cold just like she did to me when she was pushing for the divorce. I respond to texts if it something important about the kids. Then it’s very short and to the point. Don’t fall for this bs. I find it amusing now how she is the one truly having a hard time letting go. Now she has to deal with the fact I refuse to take care of her and her problems like I use to. She left a medical bill for me just this week. Wrote me a note she had called, etc. and couldn’t get it straightened out. I’m sending it back to her telling her it’s her problem and to get someone else to help her figure it out. F*** her! You want to cheat on me and treat me like crap until you get what you want. And now you want me to help you? No way, enjoy your sparkly new life babe! Grow the he** up! Disconnect and enjoy watching him plead and beg while you totally ignore him.

  • Everything I have read here so far makes sense to me from my current position of hindsight. However, back when I was wearing Untold’s shoes, I felt like I had to walk through the valley of the shadow of spackle too, for my own sake. I had to be authentically done on my own terms before I could walk away without feeling tempted to keep going back.

    So, I empathize deeply, even while my now-self sees it more through a lens like CL’s.

    It truly is a red flag that the poem pissed her off. My ex fired a therapist who called him out on his belief that he could do whatever he wanted then work it out with me later because “she will understand, she always understands.” He actually came home and ranted about it, and he wasn’t one to rant.

    That was the day I realized the reconciliation I was trying to work on with him was doomed. It could be that the same realization is trickling in for you.

    In my case, it felt like a whomping kick in the balls and I didn’t want to look at it straight on. But, of course, I eventually had to see it clearly. It was unreasonably volatile that her acknowledgment of his unfair way of looking at our agreements was such an offense to him. Irritated, sure. Fire-your-therapist, ranting pissed off? Methinks thou dost react too much.

    I feel for you, Untold, and I am glad you are working to keep the fog clear. Keep doing that as best you can and don’t stop expressing those boundaries or sharing your authentic needs for the partnership. Don’t let her reactivity back you off from keeping your cards on the table. If she freaks out and the relationship has to end, you’ll just be learning what you need to know.

    I’m sorry you have to go through this.

    • There once was a guy who was chumped
      His cheating wife he needed to dump
      She snarled at his poem
      And kicked his pet gnome
      And now he’s in a faux remorse slump

      Your turn…

      • Upon becoming an empty nester
        Old acquaintances did a woman pester
        Imagine her luck!
        She found someone to fuck!
        Who resembled creepy Uncle Fester.

      • My friend wrote a poem for me – after I told her my stbxh offered to write me a reference letter (yes, as a future wife for someone else).

        I’m just having a selfish time, it’s not you
        I want to have my cake and eat it, too
        Don’t worry, the children are going to be okay
        They might even thank me one day
        Until then, off in your car I go
        I’ve got many a wild oat left to sow
        And if it would make you feel any better
        I could always write you a reference letter

        • Oh shit!!! How do they allll say the same shit? To be fair I think chumps do too. Mine rationalized that the children would be fine. Asked if they don’t take it well and he says he will come back I’d that would make a difference. Ohh lordie. They talk such shite.

      • There once was an asshole named Don
        Whose pants he could rarely keep on
        Played me for a fool
        But I found him a tool
        Saw the light and I’m so moving on

        (That may or may not be snake’s first name and it may or may not rhyme with it)

    • There once was a cheater named Brad
      That thought fucking around was rad
      He chose tits-magee
      Saw how brown grass could be
      And suddenly can’t stop “feeling bad.”

      • There once was a loser named Paul
        He thought he deserved it all
        He had kibbles and cake
        But he was narcissistic and fake
        And eventually lost it all.

      • My soon-to-be-ex is named Mark
        He’s a creepy, insufferable Narc
        Loves his hand and his dick
        Makes sense (he’s a prick)
        Mad I spent twenty years in the dark

        • My xw has a personality disorder, and
          is a cold hearted manipulator moreover
          After I caught her unfaithful ass cheating
          Shit sandwiches she wanted me to keep eating
          But now she’s stuck in the no-contact zone.

          Permanently.

          • There once was a ginger named Jason.
            Homewreckers and whores he kept chasing.
            He got her tattoo
            and drank too much booze.
            Now, a lonely life’s what he’s facing.

        • Roaring, I LOVE your poem !!

          I wrote one but Im saving it for the Valentines contest

          (I SO want to post it now though!!)

        • Thank you Roaring! My narc is also named Mark and is definitely a prick. Even the 20 years is a match! That one is going in my journal.

    • There once was a man from the Midwest,
      Whose motto was “I am the BEST!”
      “How lucky,” thought me
      To be with a man such as he!
      ‘Til an STD was diagnosed in a test…

  • Holy shit, Untold! Based on your description of her reaction, I was expecting lots of vitriol and the myriad of words to call her a slut.

    But no, your poem was a declaration of your qualities, commitment to your marriage and you ended with “I love you.”

    I don’t know what to say to that, Untold. I just feel really sorry for you.

  • Untold,
    What she IS telling you is your poem pissed her off because she is a wretched woman who chose to find herself under another man and was perfectly ok doing so. Poems…sonnets…pick me dances don’t work with these jagoffs… They work to keep you around, paying her bills to go fuck someone else until she is completely sick of you and has her ducks in a row to divorce you…

    like Ami says….love this btw…you are “walking through the valley of Spackle”…..Spackle this line of bullshit….Spackle this night out….Spackle this new found setting message to her smoochie.

    put the Spackle down. Fear the evil….that shit sandwich she is handing you is gonna choke you.

    • But I love CL’s limerick. There has to be humor. Especially in a cheating situation, where bland / naive doesn’t work.

  • Untold,

    It sounds like you are locked into a battle over the marriage narrative. As long as she is denying and not taking FULL responsibility for her cheating, a godly, healthy marriage is not in the offering.

    Circumstances do not make people cheat. Character makes people cheat. Bad character.

    -DM

  • Untold,

    Chump Lady is right on the money with this one, and we look to rationalize our cheaters behavior. I thought the same exact thing about my XW – that she was going through a midlife crisis. She became a nightmare to live with, and I did not quite know why. She told me all those things your wife told you, and I actually believed it for a long time. You saw your wife’s real character, not a midlife crisis. Narcs start slipping up the older they get, and it only gets worse (do some digging and you will see that you are in for the ride of your life).

    You need to move on with your life and find someone who appreciates you for who you are.

    Best of luck.

    • You are on point about narcs not aging well. X hated getting older because he was no longer cock of the walk and that’s when things when down hill quickly. A mirror is an aging narcs worst enemy and the plastic surgeon’s best friend. Just read that Brad Pitt went under the knife to “refresh” his look. What a shocker. Not.

      • Exactly, balding, complaining about 5 ponuds of extra belly that’s more like 40 pounds, body aches, pains, toothless, dick won’t work with out massive amounts of Viagra, and really nasty bondage sex, can’t achieve orgasm without beating partner into total submissive slave. Gee, I cover my gray, exercise to keep trim and able, my sex drive ain’t what it used to be, have all my teeth, of course I took care of mine, didn’t let them rot out of my mouth. I hurt every day, but I didn’t cheat, lie, betray or act like something I’m not. For all my efforts I got fucked over after 27 years. He sucks, they all suck. Doesn’t matter what we did or didn’t do it was never enough. Now the perfect flawless whore woman is dancing her ass off to get him back to marry her. So far not working. She knows about me but not the six or so others. Asswipe is an incredibly bad at lying but she will find out and when she does will burn him alive. I’m sorry I won’t be there to watch I will be hours away. Hahahahaha!!!!

        • Just gross. Kar. When I think about raising the bar really high as my therapist recommended I laugh thinking about these disgusting creeps. Can’t wait for your freedom ride.

          • Thanks Donna, thought knew him boy I didn’t. When he was a boy his parents coddled him and he always got his way. Guess now kids are grown time to go back to that screaming tantrum throwing five year old. Keep your fingers crossed this house sells. Then I will truly be free and absolutely no contact for any reason.

            • And entering therapy with a good therapist. Not a judgy one. I know I will need it to heal and of course all you in chump nation. I really want to start a local group for me and other chumps now no. He’d probably only come around to troll for new conquests. I will do this group so many of us out there and especially the ones like myself who was left isolated and totally completely alone. Need a name for my future group any ideas guys. I sincerely believe helping others through this bullshit will help me too.

  • Hi all – totally off topic, but am needing the nation’s words of wisdom and help. Husband and I are in process of divorce, he cheated and is still with AP. Here’s where I am – back to signing up and spending money on how to get him back. D-day was 6 months ago – is this normal? Am I just insane? Okay CN….help?

    • You are insane and are harming yourself. Document ALL of this crap and use it in your divorce settlement. I assuredly think two cheating assholes deserve each other. There is nothing magical about their genitals vs yours.

    • Chumptastic, my husband is still fucking his AP but I want to go back into reconciliation and win him back.

      What would you tell me?

      Exactly, back away from the Reconciliation Industrial Complex, get your money back. Go NO CONTACT. All communication is through your attorney from now on. Don’t let him suck you back into the pick me dance. PS: Insanity is repeating the same mistakes and expecting different results…are you insane?

    • Not insane, Chumptastic, just delusional. Get thee to a library, start reading Lundy (Why Does he do that), and George Simon (Character Disorders), and align your head with he.is.disordered. again. Time and space have made you resort to a “he can be reasoned with! he can change!” view that you know in your heart of hearts is WRONG. Next stop, Home Depot for the 2 x 4 to smack sense back into yourself. Read old posts–everyone on CL who reconciled once ended up getting cheated on again, after losing years of their life. Don’t let that be you.

      • Not insane. You can’t see forest from trees. You are too wrapped up. Pretend you are advising a friend as a way to take your self out of it. Your love can’t save him. You don’t love a drug addict out of addiction .you don’t love a cancer patient cured.you don’t love the insane into sanity. Love does not move mountains okay. It can only do so much.

    • Chumptastic, bitchslap yourself please. You’re in the bargaining stage of grief. He’s gone, checked out, with OW, grievously disrespected you. Get mad about that, accept that he sucks. Grieve. GO NO CONTACT.

      • I agree Chumptastic, we have all felt that way believe me, I know I sure did. I convinced myself I could be “secret friends” with my ex after finding out he had lived a double (triple) life for decades. I’d laugh at myself now but it’s not funny, only pure unadulterated awful pain. We know. And your willing to do almost anything after a while to relieve that pain.

        But you must Back Away From The Narcissist. This is a game you can’t win (what’s that quote from the old movie War Games someone used? Something like: “The only way to win is not to play”). It hurts like hell and will take all your strength and more but DON’T DO IT, don’t try to reconcile. If you do you will allow him to destroy you completely. Value yourself, trust yourself and protect yourself. You know the answer. We are here to walk with you on your journey and encourage you to keep putting one foot in front of the other. Don’t desert yourself now, Chumptastic, let the worst remain behind you. (((Big Hugs))))

    • If he’s with AP that’s a no go. No way you can reconcile with someone STILL IN THE AFFAIR. Yes, it’s normal to waffle… but NC is the best prescription. You can’t win him back with any action other than NC. Honestly, if there is hope, NC and indifference will do it. No other pick me dances are ever successful. Take away the fork, remove yourself from triangle. Hang in there Chumptastic, you deserve so much better than this.

      • As usual, Chump Nation for the WIN! Thank you for the bitch slap and the wisdom. NC and de-triangulation it is!! Love you all!

        • Chumptastic…to try to “win” him back from the other woman implies that he is a prize.
          He is not.
          You. Are. The. Prize.
          (Tape this on your mirror….read it daily or hourly if you need to.
          You need to let go and go NC.
          Only then will HE have a loss to greive too.
          You are already on the road to healing and freedom.
          Stay on it.
          He may never know true peace, contentment and self-respect,
          but you can choose it for yourself.
          Breathe, Stand Strong against the compelling pull of the past.
          God Bless You and God Speed to You on your recovery journey.

          (From a fellow Chump who was once where you are and now sees the brightness beyond.)

      • newchumpatl, I agree that sometimes going NC can sometimes provoke the cheater into realizing they’re losing something of value, therefore causing them to want to reconcile. The problem is that you then end up trying to reconcile with someone WHO DIDN’T SEE YOUR VALUE before you blocked them out, and who was FINE with hurting you until it became disadvantageous for THEM. That is so a no-win situation for the chump.

        • Some narcs do a fake tail-between-the-legs dance in attempt to reconcile when they realize the value of all that you DID for them to make their lives easier. Not because they have suddenly realized that they love you… When they have to fend for themselves without you it’s a HUGE inconvenience to them. Divorces are expensive and hard work… The path of least resistance for a narc sometimes is to get back into chump’s good graces and then beef up their stealth mode. It’s all just another narc tactic. They.Do.Not.Change.

    • Chumptastic – harsh words but – in the ‘pick me dance’ he chose her. I’m so sorry. Painful to read right now, I’m sure. Don’t let his future narrative be ‘Chumptastic would take me back in a flash’. Once the divorce is done and you have done your grieving. Once you’ve reckoned him up on the loony-o-meter that hindsight will supply you with, you will be horrified at the thought of him thinking you’d have him back, let alone him telling other people how desperate you were to stay with him.

      You deserve to be loved Chumptastic – and love doesn’t go shack up with someone else while stomping all over your heart, or shit all over all the good things you shared. Love doesn’t make you do the pick me dance, or take the relationship to the wire (divorce).

      Love yourself for now Chumptastic. You are unique and beautiful and valuable and worthy. You will never have those qualities appreciated by him – just look at how little respect he’s shown you already.

      Stay strong. Divorce. Do not do the pick me dance. He’s a heartless idiot who does not deserve your love.

    • Chumptastic

      X filed twice thinking he found his dream girl and cancelled the divorce process. The third time was a charm. I threw him out, filed and it’s the best thing I ever did. What’s normal for abnormal is the repeat cycle!

      • Chumptastic…I’m getting married this summer. I can’t wait until my XH finds out and I’m sure he will. Someone will tell him and it won’t be me. That’s when he will know For Sure that he lost me for good. I honestly think he believes he can always come back to me. Hahaha. Like I’ll always be an option in his disordered head.

    • Mirages look real from far far away. You got away, and when casting a glance back at the dumb stuff, thought it looked like a good thing, so now you’re crawling back to the fake. Watch a terrible movie you hate. Then think about the pain he caused. Watch the movie again. What? You’re not going to do that? Then why put yourself through the pain again? Exactly. You wouldn’t.

  • untold
    sorry to say this but….
    I doubt very much that a” mid-life” crisis is behind this. Much more likely there have been others. It is just in mid-life they cannot be bothered to hide the evidence, therefore get caught. She is bored with you, and is showing you zero respect.
    File for divorce. If she loves you at all, she will try very hard to stop it. If not, you have your answer.
    Move on before you waste more of your life with someone who does not care about you.
    People who care about their partners do not screw old boyfriends. end of.

    • I agree with everything you said, except the idea that the Cheater trying very hard to stop the divorce means something important. My X was horrified that I was setting the divorce wheels in motion! He had been rolling along, eating cake, and then I got a pitbull lawyer. He freaked the hell out! He wished he could have stopped the process, but I wouldn’t let that happen. I knew I would never love or trust him like before he fucked the neighbor. And he should have known better. The last straw was that this AP was a jerk, I hate people like her, so I just couldn’t see him the same, because he fell so in Wub with her, nasty!!
      I love the rest of your points! You are correct that she is bored with Untold, and showing him zero respect. I think that means that Love has left the building, and you’re probably dealing with a disordered spouse!

    • The point about being bored is real. Heard a lot about “tired of the same old…”, sick of these same four walls, etc.. Even though we’d take vacations, weekend getaways, she often seemed discontent. Always needed to be entertained, stimulated. It wore me out. After main DDay I stopped trying so hard to please. We have a regular date night and reasonable periodic fun getaways.

      • Sounds like my wife. No human being could possibly have generated enough non-deterministic “romantic” kibble to keep her happy. She was addicted to the continuous thrill of the first weeks of a new relationship.

        • Gonna be a long hard road adjusting to being single and starting completely over again at 60. But anything will be an improvement over the last three years of hell. I’m prepared to move forward and live a decent cheater free life!

  • cheaters like to lie and steal,
    spouse are ok for a next meal,
    once in a while they have a fuck,
    might be just you with any luck,
    anyone handy grope a feel?

    could go on ….

  • Untold,
    Think about where your marriage is at right now with your cheater. If you feel distrustful, exhausted physically and emotionally, and a cloud of sadness hanging over your head, it’s time to leave.

    I think you need to investigate your legal options. Like get a post nup. It takes a tremendous amount of energy to plan a fuckfest with a former friend. You need to protect yourself and your children legally from another episode.

    Never ever EVER rationalize her determined, horrific choices to fuck you over. I’m mid life, grey and sagging, partial empty nester, menopausal. My character and integrity lead my decision making process, not my pussy. And I’m pretty freaking lonely right now.

    You’ve exposed your chumpiness. Plan on further manipulation from your cheater. Get yourself to an attorney to create a post nup completely in your and your children’s favor. Oh yeah….get a full STD test panel. You have now fucked everyone her Xbf has fucked over the past 20-30yrs. I will bet you a Million Dollars no protection was used.

  • Untold, a Morman friend told me that her faith teaches her that her body is a temple and should not be defiled. Look at what you allowed another person to do to your temple. To your body, your soul, your safety, your joy, your hopes, your trust. She defiled you.

  • Hand puppets! Interpretive dance! You are killing me CL.Lol!

    Look I get this guy. We get this guy. Hopium is a bitch in situations like these. Hope dies last. We hope for the brain dead in comas. We hope for world peace. We hope to win the lottery. Your wife is brain dead but not comatose. I see how you can cling to hope. You love her to your detriment. That is not quite the kind of love you want to go in for. Think about it. Letting her go will bring you to the brink. But hold on to your core so that when the shit ride ends you have something with which to rebuild. Here is some dooby brothers for you. Like you I am a fool who sees what she believes. We need to believe what we see.
    https://youtu.be/sRfVAd-kO4o

  • Untold, I sympathize with your pain. I chased the reconciliation unicorn for 2 years. When your done in the forest, let me know, I would totally go out with you!

  • Hi Untold, you said you wrote that letter a couple of years ago. So you’ve been reconciling for over two years and you are coming to this site and writing to CL. When do you think you will feel safe in your marriage? Is it worth it? I did this with my ex the first time he cheated, I regained trust and thought we were in good shape. But when times got tough (ie; my Mom died and I got depressed), there he was, cheating again. I don’t think he ever really stopped. Do you want to be with someone you can never trust to have your back? I tried that and it didn’t end well. I did go to a RIC forum for a few months after my second DDay and what I saw was not pretty. So many people 2, 3, even 6 years out from their first DDay still asking how to get their spouse to stop seeing the AP or posting that they caught them with someone else.

    PS: what did your MC think of the poem and your spouses reaction? I’m curious.

  • Untold,

    One of the many things CL and CN helped me learn is that “I can’t nice someone into doing the right thing.”

    For over a decade I was the nice spouse, an Olympic-level spackler, giving my X space so he could succeed in his demanding career, following him from state to state so he could get promoted, visiting his family over visiting to mine. I basically accommodated him on all major life decisions because in my head that is what a loving team player for our family. All along, I was hoping for the reciprocity unicorn…

    Until I found out that my X was using part of the time I was giving him to “get more work done” to have an affair with a grad whore half his age. The more stories I uncovered about my X’s extra-curricular activities, the more I realized that there was a large gap between what he said and what he did. The person I thought I was married to never existed.

    When I chose to divorce him, he was shocked and became quite nasty in the proceedings. But I persevered, for months I kept going back to a Ludacris quote I found a few days post DDay:
    http://www.ceremonyheals.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/LUDACRIS.jpg

    I chose self-respect. Untold, what will you choose?

    • I, too, made things easy for the ex. He did basically whatever the fuck he wanted to do. While I did ALL the work. He used the extra time to pursue a nasty loser whore.

  • She hates the poem because it speaks the truth. For her the words are a glimpse into a mirror. A mirror with a very clear and unflattering refection! She knows what she has done to you and she is not sorry. That makes her a very ugly person. She does not want to see herself this way. So she paints YOU as a devil…one who DESERVES to be treated so badly. Keep shining that mirror on her. Maybe it will eventually sink in that SHE SUCKS.

      • LOL Nomar, you made me laugh out loud! I remember reciting 1st Corinthian 13 to my cheater, which was read at our wedding 32 years ago. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud … love never ends.” He sobbed louder and louder as I recited it, but it didn’t change a thing. Although I was pouring out my heart and soul, it was definitely about as useful as reciting poetry to a bug.

  • Words just don’t break these cheaters! Here at CN we have, what I consider, a very smart, educated and well spoken group of Chumps! I’ve yet to read a post here that was not well thought out and intelligent! We are VERY good at communication! Our Cheaters…….ummm, not so much! That’s why they use their genitalia to “communicate” with their Schmoopies, prostitutes, Facebook hook ups, etc! The Cheater lacks the basic skills necessary to maintain ANY sort of long term, fulfilling relationship! Worse yet, they really don’t want to! They are “base”! It’s too much effort and work for them! We Chumps just require something deeper and more meaningful to fulfill our lives! Let your cheater go! Go find someone who “speaks your language” and knows that relationships are reciprocle! You aren’t on the same sheet of music with your cheater anymore and they are off dancing to a totally different tune! They just don’t want to listen, it’s not that they don’t get it, they just don’t care! Tell them Good-bye!

    • Roberta, you are onto something here. Cheaters are terrible at communication. If they are sad, mad, tense, uncomfortable, whatever, they hook up with some skank. They are truly unable to discuss their feelings, it just isn’t possible. I believe that is why it is so hard for us chumps to get why they are doing what they are doing. Why wouldn’t someone want to work on a lifetime partnership?
      Unfortunately we picked shallow partner’s who would rather run away and not work on anything. Having a relationship that is balanced would be nice. That’s all I’m saying.

  • First, I am a woman. I passed through the mid-life, almost an empty nester, definitely menopausal, never wanted to revisit my teenage years, sometimes selfish (but rarely, I mean almost never), not narcissistic and have a few old boyfriends as Facebook friends…and guess what I never cheated. It is called character. Something you either have or don’t have. Yes, there are people out there that reconcile however those are rare and I believe that the relationship will never be the same let alone better. That known fact of betrayal will always be there in the back of your mind triggered into your thoughts when the wind blows gently.

    I say move on. It is hard but there are too many other people out there that would just never do what she did. Never even think about it.

  • Untold…

    I’m sorry to say you are most assuredly fighting a losing battle. Not only are these assholes NOT sorry for the pain they cause they are downright resentful and full of contempt. Cheaters will stay for convenience as long as you will allow them to, they are cowards and they enjoy watching you eat those shit sandwiches. They WANT you to end it so they can be the victim.

    Another CL gem that sticks with me is “Life with an unremorseful cheater is death by inches”.

    Only you can decide when you’ve had enough. Life is short. Good luck.

  • Untold…….WASTE OF YOUR TIME!

    Please direct your time and attention to yourself and your needs. She clearly did not, has not and will not ever see how her actions hurt you. You deserve more and I’m betting you already know this!

  • I’m with This To Shall Pass! I am also a woman who has passed through the empty nest, menopause stage of life! NOT old, MORE mature, ha ha! Our letter writer has offered up every poor excuse he can muster to cover his cheaters bad behavior! I feel terrible for him because he sounds like a really great guy who has no problem recognizing who he is and what HIS boundaries are in a relationship! Sorry to say that he will NEVER have his cheater feel the same way! He needs to pack her trash and set her to the curb! He will have absolutely no trouble finding a partner who shares his values and morals. For Petes sake, just look at the true ladies on CN! He needs to move on and let her go with “her people”! He is trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear! ! And she IS a pig if she thinks nothing of hooking up with old boyfriends in bed! Who the hell wants a woman like that? She doesn’t even hold herself to any value! Just another roaming vagina up for grabs on Fake Book! That place is loaded with them! But even though I went through all the passages of life as a woman, I NEVER put my “goods” up on any social media or started sneaking around in hotel rooms to cheat! No excuse for his cheater, she’s just low on character, values and morals! Get rid of this albatross!

    • Thank you, Roberta! Now my brain can’t lose the image of a mass of ‘roaming vaginas’ like some kind of mutant buffalo herd. There’s a limerick in there somewhere.

    • Roberta,

      Your posts never fail to make my day and have me bending over in laughter! “Roaming vagina up for grabs on Fake Book” indeed! Of course, a picture immediately came into my head of a vagina floating through the air and hands fighting to catch it. Such a visual! Thanks for making my morning.

    • Roberta, like many mature females I have also passed through menopause and it is the best thing ever, to me that is. I was so faithful and true that it makes me sad to have been so naive but proud to know that I am also a really decent and honest person. As you know my ex is hooked up with a nubile 23 year old 3rd world prostitute but the last time I did speak with him and I address him as either Romeo or el Stoopido, I did say that he was a glutton for punishment because he had to go through periods and menopause again and that is if the union lasts long enough. What a moron, but he is now a happy moron, like a pig in mud or a pig in the gutters in Phnom Penh. !

      • Maree, your Ex must be crazy to not only relocate to a toilet like Phnom Penh, but then to delude himself into believing one of those young street urchins actually “loves” him????? What an ass! You and everyone else here knows exactly where this whole mess is heading! That little chick he has will walk over his dead body to get to the next meal ticket and that’s all he really is! She’ll probably try to sell his dead body for money! Let him go! I know it’s awful to watch these old farts just throw away a lifetime, but it is their life and hopefully we have planned well enough with our divorce settlements that we will be pretty much unscathed by their demise! For sure no one will miss them!

    • OMG roaming vaginas on fakebook. That is hilarious but so true. You can spot the NPD’s a mile away. Tons of selfies, changing profile pic daily, lofty memes about be true to yourself, it’s all about having fun, and subscribing to “heart-centered rebalancing”!

  • Untold, I haven’t seen it mentioned above so I will make a suggestion to you. Get a GOOD counselor. Interview them until you have one that deals with affairs and personality disorders. You need to work on yourself. For some reason you just can’t let go of her. You are hanging on for dear life. I don’t understand what makes people like you stay, but there is some underling reason that you let someone walk all over you. Find a counselor and work on that. Then tell your wife you want a divorce and make her move out. If she really wants the marriage, she will do whatever she needs to in order to save the marriage. I’ve learned the first thing they have to do is confess all of it and then show through their actions they are truly remorseful. Your wife doesn’t sound like she is the least bit remorseful. You deserve better! You sound like a good person and there are others out there like you. You just need to get rid of the soul sucking slunt in your life. Start taking steps today for you!

  • Untold, Chump Lady is right. Full disclosure I am working on reconciliation, but it only became possible after I set some really high boundaries. Including.. I will divorce you (papers signed), get the hell out (I kicked him out), NC (stop talking to him). Only then did the gravity of his actions sink in. And I didn’t waver until I got a post nup agreement, a mental evaluation, and counseling. He still doesn’t live with me and we aren’t out of the woods months later. There are no guarantees.

    Oh Untold, I tried the pick me dance, I tried to “nice” him back into it. I wrote letters, heartfelt letters pouring out my emotions… it only pushed him further away. None of my overtures meant a thing. I wish I had done what Chump Lady suggested and kicked him out the minute I got the ILYBNILWY speech… would have shortened this whole thing.. but I didn’t have it in me at first. But I got strong.. and when I got strong, that’s when he noticed. Chump Lady is right, she sees you as a chump.. redefine it for her. Smack her with some first class consequences.

    The ONLY thing that works, and I mean ONLY thing is to define boundaries and stick to them like glue. Start living your life.. for YOU. Screw her. IF she wants to make amends, let her do that HERSELF. This is ON HER. Why are you doing the work??? She’s the one who screwed up. IF she wants you back, make her earn it. In the mean time, live your life, do your think, explore your interests. Get your financials in order, see a lawyer, make a plan. Do this for YOU and let whatever happens with her happen. Let the chips fall.

    I honestly think you have to be willing to LET GO of the marriage if there is any chance to save it. The chances are slim at that.. but it’s possible.. but you can’t do any of this for that reason. Make your focus YOU and let things develop. It will work out as it’s supposed to. I had mentally left the marriage and now my H is having to rebuild it from scratch. I know I can make it either way. You need to mentally get to that point.

  • It’s only after these fools actually suffer the consequences of their actions through the full divorce process that they finally “wake up” to the unholy mess they have made of their lives! Mine had his epiphany eight months after divorce and strict no contact from me or his family! Add to that a health issue that affected his ability to “perform” like a Romeo and his status as a broke old man and BOOM! The love affair of the century was over in less than four months for he and his beloved Schmoopie! It’s actually laughable! Outside of room service and hotels it just didn’t have the same romantic vibe. I imagine wiping his old ass got old for Schmoopie too! He was just NO FUN at all! Let them go live the dream, it will soon become the nightmare everyone knows it is going to be, except them of course! Reality has a wonderful way of curing these assholes! Then YOU can decide for once what YOU really want and either move on or reconcile. They cannot change unless they go through the process and hopefully they learn something from the whole mess. In the meantime, use the time to enjoy your life and let karma and consequences do the work. DO NOT sit around waiting on them, it’s a waste of that precious commodity called time. Use your time wisely!

  • I was vilified to justify his crap treatment of me. I hated it. It took me a long time to shake off his accusations and criticisms. I think I ultimately resented him most for that. Have the balls to leave because you want to…don’t blameshift.

  • I hear the “sounds like he had a midlife crisis” ALL the time. At this point I just don’t bother arguing it. I had a hysterectomy at 41. I didn’t cheat afterwards although I had no sex from him from that point on. I could also have divorced his ass for that way back then.

  • So did anybody besides me notice that all the things the OP said he was NOT, in the poem, were the things his wife WAS AND DID? SHE’s the enemy, the liar, the one who pushes other people down to feel good about herself, conniving, acting in spite …..

    But I get it. I spent 14 years trying to EXPLAIN things to my ex. I assumed there was a good person, a good heart somewhere in there, I projected my humanity onto him. I figured if I could just get him to understand …..

    I kicked him out because I realized I couldn’t live like that anymore, and letting his stay would have sent a terrible, terrible message to my kids. But it was only much later, after reading Dr. Simon’s and Bancroft’s books, and then observing him objectively, that I GOT it. The day I found myself trying to explain to a grown man why lying was unfair and dysfunctional, something clicked. And the day I found myself explaining why it was a problem that he not only blew up his kids’ family for so little, but then proceeded to neglected them so badly they gave up any hope of his being their father, it all slid into place.

    We simply do not share the same values, in any way, shape or form. And given that, there was no point to further attempts to explain anything. Just boundary setting, very simple.

    • KarenE, “So did anybody besides me notice that all the things the OP said he was NOT, in the poem, were the things his wife WAS AND DID? SHE’s the enemy, the liar, the one who pushes other people down to feel good about herself, conniving, acting in spite …..”

      I thought this exactly when reading this poem. She lost her shit because she recognized that she was exactly all the things that he wrote about and it f*ing drove her nuts to be exposed like that..Her greatest fear is that he realizes that she is all those things and she is not at all remorseful about being any and all of those things.

      Emotional vampires are “alive” and well. Scary that they all play from the same playbook but it is what it is and the only way to stay sane is to get the hell away from them with NC and boundaries.

  • There once was a girl who was chumped
    Whores were the things that her sick husband humped
    Once she figured out he was shady
    She read the blog of Chump Lady
    And that asshole found his whore-fucking ass dumped.

  • Untold, I think that your poem was genuine and hits close to home as part of the “pick me dance.” I am too close to my D-Day to offer real advice, but I am today a fellow reconciler (notice I didn’t say unicorn) trying to make things work only 2 months out from D-Day. I thought it could be valuable to say hi – because I understand the feeling of finding this website helpful but still holding on to the idea of reconciliation.

    In my case, I read others stories and feel shocked and so decisive finding myself thinking “how could someone stay in that relationship?!” When I myself am doing the same thing. The truth to everyone’s story is just that it’s hard. You love(d) someone who didn’t love you, or at least not enough. And now we have to decide what to do and we all have reasons for the decisions we make. I tell himself, well “he just fell for a coworker and he doesn’t work there anymore” he isn’t a sex addict or trolling porn on the internet, he isn’t hooking up on Craigslist or with prostitutes. He’s a pretty normal guy who didn’t love me after all – or at least not enough. And I can’t decide if he deserves a 2nd chance.

    He cheated, but he says he’s sorry. He has ended his relationship and is home with his family. He has started individual counseling and marriage counseling, has made efforts to plan new holiday traditions for us, writes me sweet cards, is spending quality time at home now and interested in me – without pressuring me to come around yet. He seems to understand that I am going to need real time to trust and love him again and that I still have not decided if I want to stay in the relationship.

    But I still wonder at least a dozen times a day – is his remorse real? How do I know that it’s real? Even if it is real now and he’s honestly trying – will it happen again 10 years from now because that’s just who he is? Everyone says try a post-nup, he agreed, but when we spoke to the attorney she advised against one – said we had no real assets to protect and that it could in fact hurt me in the future as our assets grow over time. I feel like I have no litmus test left except my gut and it was incredibly wrong in the past.

    I know this isn’t a blog for unicorns but I just wanted to reach out to Untold, to say I get it – but I’m afraid we both may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

    • Hi ATXChump. I’m in your boat. Dday was just over a year ago. Husband immediately dropped OW (4 weeks email only affair but with plane tic purchased to take it to the next level) and became contrite, begging, went to counseling with me ASAP, etc. Over the course of the next months through conversations, out came some blame shifting, gas lighting, trickle truthing, and denial. Irregular as it was, it began to fill me with rage (thanks largely to the truth wagon I jumped on at Chumplady!), of which soon I was expressing. Since those confrontations there has been contrite apologies and admissions of complete guilt and explanations about WHY he behaved as he did post-affair (trying to reconcile in his own mind how he could do something so terrible). Meanwhile, he is being accountable with time, etc., making lots of extra efforts and thoughtful gestures, being around practically 100% of the time (too much for my liking, frankly), accepting and supporting my emotional and physical distances, being supportive of my new life goals (that will disrupt our family), etc.

      I ask myself all the time: yes yes, but how do I know he won’t do it again in the future when life hands him a bag of lemons at some point? And, is this real remorse or just some narcissistic act? We enter more counseling next week wherein I intend to discuss the major question in my life right now: was his affair a one-time lapse of a struggling guy or a massive character flaw, and if it’s the latter, is he able and willing to work on that character flaw until I can feel comfortable that he will not betray me again? Do we even share core values? Did we ever? Was it all a lie? He is a soulless vampire? Prior to his affair, our marriage was struggling (both of our faults) and he is known to be somewhat arrogant and increasingly so over the years (as observed by those closest to him). Lots of moving parts and I have no real answers except that I’m not ready to blow up my kid’s secure household quite yet.

      With that being said, I don’t believe in unicorns but I do believe that people can change. I myself have changed dramatically in the last year in numerous ways and have watched others close to me transform their lives through work and willpower. It’s not possible to see a unicorn, but it is possible for a pasture horse to turn into a star show horse. Happens all the time.

      Chumplady has helped me in so many ways to better understand what real boundaries look like and given me the fortitude to erect them. To know my truth. To stop being the boat rocking in the rough ocean and become the ocean guiding the boat. I’d love to see a little more attention given to folks in our situations–who’s cheaters may not be as terrible and narcissistic as many that I read about here. To address the grey–seemingly remorseful spouse who are trying really hard to make right. However, I recognize that that is not the primary goal of this site–it really is for those in extreme situations…such as Untold–sorry man, your wife’s a lost cause.

      • Kc thank you so much for this. So good to know that I’m not alone. Our situations are very similar – I just wish I had caught mine before he actually gotten on that plane. Or that he had had the remorse to confess afterwards.

        • Oh yea, I unwittingly caught him, then he trickled out the truth and his confession, usually after I uncovered another nugget of evidence. I was a PI for weeks, did some dastardly underground stuff to ultimately uncover that exactly what he eventually confessed to was the whole truth. I research for a living, so it was like sicking a fucking bloodhound on a bleeding rabbit. Game on.

          He wanted (wants) so much to put his shame and guilt in a little bag and bury it in the backyard, but that’s not the way it works. It’s taken the better part of a year and my increasing boundaries and personal work for him to realize that this is NOT going away and that he will need to WORK HARD for us to stay together, and that even then, it will NEVER be the same again. But the sad truth is that it will never be the same again regardless of whether I stay with him. For all the terrible shit I’ve endured in my life, betrayal of someone I trusted was not one. I will never trust the way I did, anyone outside my own sister and parents, ever again. This has stained my soul forever. So, if I can release resentment against him and he can change himself to be a better person, and I can still find him attractive, then staying makes better sense, for me anyways. He may not be able to live with that (the fact that his life partner doesn’t trust him completely and will always remained somewhat emotionally guarded, forever), his ego may be too fragile, but I live with it regardless. I have enough passive checks and balances in place now (with our financial situation, credit action, social networks, etc.) that I will be made aware quickly if he is gearing up for another affair. Anything outside out current status quo alerts me, and he is aware of this. He would truly have to be a magician to pull it off again. Does that make me a jailer? Not really in the everyday sense–everything is on auto alert for me, no daily thought required…but still, I’m unsure of the outcome. We all are. That is the way life works. He may try and still pull a rabbit out his hat or just get too tired from all the “decent human being” shit he now has do. Can’t tell yet.

          With all of this being said, if it HAD turned into a physical affair or HAD gone on for longer than just a few weeks or if he HAD multiple of these, I suspect it’d be over. It is the limited nature of what he did and did not do that has allowed me to consider reconciliation. Take that for what it’s worth.

          • He wanted (wants) so much to put his shame and guilt in a little bag and bury it in the backyard, but that’s not the way it works.

            Yep, sounds like my H. In my case my H’s situation was emotional.. which he has admitted, I guess he could TT out the physical if it was there, but it’s possible it wasn’t. For me it hardly matters though. The emotional betrayal is every bit as bad as the physical. H wants to bury it in the backyard too, but alas, NO. Won’t work. I will say he’s been willing to endure some pretty testy therapy sessions. He’s had to admit some really shitty things.. so I do have to give him credit. He’s trying to earn my trust back, and I remain open but like you.. I don’t know if I will ever trust again- him or anyone else. He’s not a perfect man.. but he was always loyal to me. This has shaken me to my very core. A lot of people think I am crazy to give him another chance.. maybe I am. But I have prayed, meditated, searched my soul and this is what I feel called to do right NOW. Who knows what I will feel called to do tomorrow. It’s a day to day thing.

            • Also watch for clues from the ones who say you are crazy for giving him a second chance. they may know more than they are willing to tell you at the moment. been there, done that.

    • Dear ATXChump, see another lawyer who is on the clue train. If you had to divorce today, or 10 years from today what would YOU think is a fair division of assets given the hell your spouse put you through (and would do again, because that’s why you would exercise the option)? That’s what the postnup is for. If your spouse is willing to sign one that says anytime YOU want to walk you get 50% or 80% of all assets that would be useful. A postnup has to be very carefully written, very.

      Finally, I personally think a postnup is a waste of time. Get an actual divorce and then spouse can date you again. That would constitute a true reconciliation.

      • I agree with Datdamwuf. I got a Post Nup. It defines things like CS and Alimony. It also defines the parenting plan which gives me primary custody. These are not small things.

        • If you question whether or not you can trust your spouse then you are already in trouble. Do you really want to spend the rest of your life with someone that you may not be able to trust ever again? That’s asking for a lot of pain in the future. Always wondering if you can trust will wear you down to nothing with time. Think about when you married them, you must have implicitly trusted them enough to marry them. Had you not trusted, whether or not it was earned at the time, would you have married them? I doubt it. It would have made you think before acting on getting married. Being young and naive, is one thing, but knowing deep down that you would not be able to trust and marrying them anyway was just young stupidity, still something excusable. But now knowing what you know about your spouse, can you honestly say that if you felt then what you feel now about trust, would you have married or would you have thought twice about it? If you think twice about it, just call it and walk away. These people rarely change, they don’t think that they should. They know that they are hurting you, that you are distrustful, and rightly so, and they do not care. If you are providing cake tor them that is all they are looking for, they don’t care about your feelings, they don’t care about your pain, they just don’t care. They know enough to know what they have to “say” to you to keep you but do they mean it? You have to ask yourself a question, could you do to them what they did to you? You were both in the same relationship, with the same timeline and the same “feelings” supposedly, did you cheat? If you did then you can be on the same level as they are, but if you didn’t, you are on a different level, a more “mature” level a more Human level that they will never understand. They can only look in but never be and it kills them, they can’t feel what you feel, they can only pretend. Is the pretend going to be enough for you to make a life with? That’s what you have to ask yourself, is the pretend going to be enough to make a life with them and then proceed from there.

          • This is tremendous. Thank you for clarity. I’m learning that painful honesty is THE most desirable quality and best gift you can receive – and that’s what you’re writing here. Thank you.

    • ATX and KC, thanks for sharing your similar stories. There are no guarantees one way or the other. We don’t know if the cheater narc will resurface or not. We don’t know if we will be able to move and trust. If we end it we don’t know that we won’t regret it down the road. In some ways it would be easier if our cheater was a total shit-for-brains fucktard derelict, then the decision would be easy.

      • Yes, perfectly said. I’d been waiting for another big bomb to drop that might make my choice easier (second affair! STD! Violent ourbursts! Refusal to attend therapy!), but none of those have happened (yet). In fact, if I don’t at least try reconciliation I kinda feel like a holier than thou asshole who won’t give a “pretty solid guy” a second chance. BUT I AM holier than thou, in this regard. I didn’t do the bad bad thing. I wouldn’t ever. I am very imperfect and difficult in my own right…but still! I tell my daughter all the time “no one and nothing is perfect and life won’t always be fair, but no matter we must be our best self.” So, is my best self leaving the jerk who bailed on our commitment OR giving said jerk another shot? Dunno

        • Hey Kc – I’ve been there. You want to be the best person you can be. Can I make a suggestion? Turn around the spotlight to him and make it all about him. What sort of person is he? Is he open to change? Has he ever been interested in self improvement or is he stuck in his ways? Really, really analyse him and his character, his habits, his past behaviour, etc. When you do this you will find your answer whether or not to stay at all. It’s actually not about you at all. Don’t let him tell you’re the one not wanting to move forward! Again, make it ALL about him. Asses him and analyse. Watch. Then, instead of being ‘the person that walked away’, you are the smart lady that made a choice to walk away from a sinking ship (or whatever the outcome) for your own self protection.

  • Hi Untold:

    From your letter to CL, it looks as if you wrote that poem a couple of years ago and her reaction to that poem still hits a raw spot on your soul.

    I know you want to reconcile, and I understand that some people really need to feel that they’ve given the marriage every single bit of effort they have so that when the divorce occurs, they can feel confident that they, at least, honored their vows.

    I think that Chump Lady’s posts on what real remorse looks like are insightful. If you find that your wife is still into blame-shifting or dismissive of your feelings, then you need to ask yourself some tough questions about the reality of your marriage.

    Cheating breaks the marriage. In offering her reconciliation, you offer her the gift of trying to forge a new relationship. You can’t fix the old trust. That’s broken forever. You can offer her the chance to show you that she is trustworthy, and that involves her owning her actions and taking steps to remedy them. There are no guarantees that this will work.

    If she still doesn’t want to talk about or recognize that she did wrong and that she hurt you, if she tries to make feel bad for making her feel bad–well, that’s not a good sign.

    Best of luck.

  • “My marriage went to shit after my wife went through a midlife crisis empty nest menopausal revisit teenage youth selfish narcissistic period. She reconnected with an old boyfriend on facebook and ended up fucking him”

    Yep. Agree. Same shit. I still ask this question, even though we are divorced and still dating: why was it easier to fuck an old girlfriend (absent 25 years from your life) than talk to your wife (present for 25 years, kids, house, and shared bed)? no answer. He still see the look in the mirror choices that reflect this self centered absorbed deserving asshole. Improvements? many. deep down character flaws? many.

    So our questions in reconciliation? are the changes enough??????

    I am still on the fence. even tho divorced and dating.

    CLL

  • She hated it because she assumed you were accusing her of being all the things you said you were not. That’s how the disordered roll. They take things as personal slights, and because they are always projecting onto others, they assume others do that as well.

  • There is nothing graceful about a 58 year old man with a whore sitting on his lap in public with his hand between her legs resting on her infected crotch. The entitled ignored the memo.

  • There once was a narc a sly cheater
    He had a problem with his lil peter
    Now he’s run out of luck
    A whore he chose to fuck
    Financially I’m now the leader

  • “I’m a good guy.”

    Cringe.

    FYI, Untold, cheating wives don’t care if you’re a good guy. In fact, they are probably physically turned off by that fact, given they hop into bed with “bad guys” willing to fuck married women.

    I am not a holdout for reconciliation. But if there is to be one, it must be done with a clear understanding and acceptance of what happened. Your wife cheated…through no fault but her own shitty character. And your being a “good guy” only shows her that you’re willing to continue being disrespected.

    Be a human being who stands up for himself and demands respect from his life partner. That means NOT being a good guy when it’s called for.

    I get it. I used to be more like you. But I learned quickly that professions of the quality of my character while (for all intents and purposes) asking my wife to stop cheating on me won’t make her respect me.

    Actions command respect. Poems don’t command anything.

    Divorce her.

    • So true. Consequences for actions produce results, being a good guy or girl, not so much. They just walk all over the rug you presented them with.

    • I think that you may have something here. The marriage vows are a list of things that you are agreeing to to make this union a union that precludes unconditional love. Forsaking all others, sickness and health, unconditional.

      I also think that meh is the opposite of love. If you have strong emotions towards your ex, you still have some form of love, some tiny, tiny hope that this person loves you back, that you respond to. Once you realize that this person has or may have never had any love for you, is when you can finally get to meh. To the realization that you were just of “value” to them for a time and that you are not of value anymore. It is a grieving process for your lost innocence, because the relationship that you had was only a mirage, a carefully planned and exceptionally evil plan to use you until you were of no use anymore.

        • Wow, DeeL, that really hurts. I read that a few times…and it’s all true. Looking back, I also wonder if I ever loved him either? But, I did, until I knew how mean he could be…who he really was. Respect was gone…and no getting it back. It’s a shitty deal all the way around.

  • Untold, the fact that you reached out to CL two years later makes me feel your soul is crying out for rescue. You are the only possible rescuer. Please don’t let yourself down.

  • Untold, it reads really passive aggressive to me. It occurs to me that you intend those “I” statements to be reversed and turned into “you” statements in her head. So, why not just save the theatrics and say: this is how I feel about you: You are hateful, You keep secrets, You…” Taking delight in her negative reaction tells me that you are more concerned with punishing her and feeling superior then actually making personal progress. I get it, it feels good to watch them squirm. I suggest transferring a fair amount of that self-pity and vengeance into exercises of self worth and see where you are in 6 months. If you need to assert your own self worth for confidence rebuilding then do it, to yourself, as a regular exercise in self improvement (I Stuart Smalley the hell out of myself all the time now, feels good to remind myself why I’m a good human). Good luck. The fact that cheaters are total slapdicks does not mean that we are flawless people. In the same way that cheaters made many choices each day to continue their disgusting affairs, we did the same each day to stay with these clear losers. Why?? Figure it out and be free.

    • KC, I think misinterpreted. This was before discovery of the affair, only suspicious activity and texts. It was a stage of massive denial, gaslighting, blameshifting, history revision and contempt. She was flat-out lying to me and our MC. I was tired of being told what a bad husband I was.

      Passive-aggressive? The faithful spouse being honest and sincere? I. Think. Not. This was a statement to her and our MC that I would not accept being villafied. It communicated who I was, what I was doing and how I felt. If the mirror reflected badly on her, so be it.

  • Untold, you’re exactly where I was when I first found suspect texts on my wife’s phone. You’re projecting your basic decency on to her. Narcissists are very different inside, and no attempt at counselling or reconciliation will succeed if you continue working on the assumption that she’s like you inside.

    The difference between narcissists and us is that we love our partners unconditionally, for who they are (or at least who we believe them to be). Narcissists aren’t like that. They can’t love unconditionally – they don’t understand it, they don’t know how, and probably never will. The emotion they call “love” is their response to what a person does for them (financially, pragmatically, etc), and how that person makes them feel at any particular moment. With these people, you have to remember:

    A ) The nice things you do for them on a regular basis get taken for granted, then expected, then demanded. (My wife once admitted as much, in a rare moment of introspective honesty)

    B ) More importantly, you can’t /ever/ stop the emotional manipulation. If you ever, for any reason, go more than a few days without deliberately, intentionally, and consciously manipulating their emotions to make them feel good towards you (and remember point A – continuously doing nice things pales for them very quickly, you need to be continuously random and spontaneous, always, for the rest of the relationship), they will get bored. If it continues then they will get depressed, then leave you, and find a new partner. And, to quote Firefly “if [you]’re very, very lucky, they’ll do it in that order”.

    The really cynical communities of male infidelity survivors (red pill, etc) have convinced themselves that this is simply the nature of femininity – that if you want relationships with women you need to understand this dynamic, internalize it, and develop emotional strategies to satisfy it while also protecting yourself from it. I don’t believe that. The same symptoms are too common in men as well for this to simply be the nature of femininity. There /are/ women out there who love unconditionally, just as healthy men do. But this kind of narcissism is very, very common, and apparently quite difficult to detect early in a relationship, especially if you’re a decent person who tends to assume the best of others.

    • Very well put except I can’t agree with the “we love our partner’s unconditionally” thing…I don’t believe that exists between most sane adults, not really, not like it does between parent and child or perhaps between some siblings. Most adult love is totally conditional on some level of reciprocity. In fact I find the assumption of unconditional love between adults to be immature. It came as a shock to my husband when he discovered that I might not love him for always and forever if he acted like a dick.

      • The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s meh. I think we do love unconditionally, because when the narc hurts us, we don’t go to meh, we go to anger, rage, depression, bitter sadness, any other strong emotion. And then we usually hope desperately for reconciliation, drifting from the negative strong emotions back towards the positive strong emotions. We hold strong emotions about them, unconditionally, even if they hurt us. If our love was conditional, we would go immediately to meh when they broke the conditions. But we don’t. They go from “love” to meh the instant a better source of kibble pops onto the radar screen, but we have a long healing process to go through to get to meh.

        • This is true. We really are a different type of person. We can’t NOT hurt and they can’t feel anything but sexual arousal. My STBX has to pretend to fit in every waking second because he ONLY wants to fuck.

          I am glad I at least have a VARIETY of emotions to experience.

        • Yea, I see that. It may just be semantics here. Love is an intangible concept that lives on a continuum of sorts and doesn’t often evaporate right away. I’m taking “unconditional” to mean something that is without conditions. Adult people love other adult people without conditions all the time, but no one would consider that healthy (there’s an entire industry devoted to the problems with that). Marriage vows themselves are conditions, albeit for living not necessarily love, but even still they are a real glimpse into what we all consider to be love deal breakers. To my way of thinking, the healing process doesn’t negate those conditions but in fact highlights them as being broken. It may take the heart a while to catch up to that fact though. Mature love, as far as I can tell, comes with many conditions.

        • If there were no conditions on our love the fact our spouse fucked someone else wouldn’t cause so much pain. The first condition is exclusivity, while we may be willing to forgive a transgression we expect the person we love to stop transgressing. That is a condition of our love.

          • To the contrary, if our love /was/ conditional than breaches of those conditions wouldn’t cause any real pain at all. The strong emotional bond would evaporate instantly and we’d go straight to meh.

            It seems the confusion here is that many are defining love as “willingness to stay in contact with and physically near a person.” That /is/ conditional, and /should be/ conditional, and is profoundly unhealthy when it is unconditional. There are many, many things a person can do, cheating (violating the condition of exclusivity, as you say) being among the least, which can and should strongly motivate us to withdraw from and cut off contact with that person.

            But love isn’t just willingness to be close. That isn’t even most of what love is. Love is the emotional connection we have to that person. And I am afraid that that /is/ unconditional. It will persist long after we have completely removed the cheater from our lives, no matter what they do, and no matter whether we still want that connection or not. We can’t will it away, and even nothing they do can make it any weaker. It only fades after a long grieving process, and may never completely go away.

            I’m sorry to say, but if a cheating ex-partner that you’ve withdrawn from is still causing you strong emotions, then you still love them, on some level. Because the opposite of love is not hate, it’s meh, and if you’re still experiencing strong emotions about them, then you aren’t there yet.

          • It is precisely this unconditional emotional bond that we have, that we can’t get rid of on our own (without a long healing process), and that they can’t destroy [they can use this bond to cause us enormous pain, but that doesn’t destroy the bond. Only time and healing does that], that separates us from the narc. Narcs don’t have this. They can enjoy your company, and even like us, but there’s no strong emotional bond there – it can fade to meh almost instantaneously, if they get bored, or depressed, or see an opportunity to upgrade the kibble.

            Moreover, a narc, in the process of starting to cheat on us, will have intentionally and consciously destroyed whatever weak-ass emotional connection with us they were capable of forming. Even a narc can’t cheat on someone they respect. They went through a process of consciously devaluing us in their minds, weakening and fading what little emotional bonding they had with us. This is another reason why reconciliation practically never works. Even if the narc wants reconciliation, even if they have every pragmatic reason in the world to try to make things right with us again, they often find that they literally cannot. They intentionally destroyed what emotional bond they had towards us, and often find that they cannot rebuild it, even if they want to.

            • Holy wow! This makes SO MUCH sense! He was so much more withdrawn in the months he was cheating – but I thought that was because he wasn’t getting sex everyday. He used to sulk & withdraw if he din’t get it after more than 2 days, so I was used to his withdrawing and didn’t know that this time it was cos of cheating!

    • “Narcissists aren’t like that. They can’t love unconditionally – they don’t understand it, they don’t know how, and probably never will”

      This truth has been the most surprising aspect of my situation.

      My STBX is such a deeply phony person, hiding a very scary, dark, selfish drive for control and immediate gratification.

      It’s really no wonder people seem to find him charming (but he has no friends) or that he is oddly distanced from his large extended family (we dated for three years before I realized he had zillions of “close” relatives!) because his special gift is mimicry.

      He is a parrot repeating back “normal” speech and behavior because he really doesn’t possess any normal at all. But he’ll affably conform to whatever the group he finds himself with is doing. Until the novelty wears off.

      I was fooled for twenty years until miiddle-age and alcohol loosened whatever was holding him together – his depravity is s h o c k i n g.

      • Geez, sounds somewhat familiar. We dated for a year before I knew he had a sister. He is estranged, essentially, from all of his immediate family except his mom and step dad, of whom he says “suffocate him.” What’s tough is that, I think, many of these people come from totally dysfunctional families so it’s easy to see why they would distance themselves–tough to use that as a real red flag. Lately I’ve been talking privately with people who know him best, outside of me, and have been hearing the same thing again and again–yea, he’s a nice enough guy, kinda arrogant, and I don’t know him that well. This coming from people like my sister, who he’s known for 18 years. Close friends, apparently, of mine only. My sister says “he never really accepted any kind of real relationship from me, just wasn’t interested.” In fact, the only relationship he has, outside ours, that has sustained any kind of closeness is one with his best friend, who is younger and essentially looks up to him as an idol. It’s taken me a long time to piece all of this together. These are concerns I’m going to discuss in our therapy sessions.

    • I doubt ANYone loves unconditionally. Those philosophy classes I took oh-so-long-ago make me try to think up counterexamples so that if someone did X or Y or Z to you, then you would definitely stop loving them. But I’ll spare CN the grisly counterexamples, and simply argue that no one SHOULD love unconditionally. Loving someone else without conditions = not loving yourself at all.

      • See my reply above.

        “Willingness to stay in contact with and physically near a person” is conditional, and should be.

        But that’s not love.

        Love is the emotional connection we have to a person. In healthy people this connection is unconditional – we can’t will it away, and if the other person injures us this connection causes us great pain, but is not typically weakened, let alone destroyed, by anything they do. [It only fades away though a long period of grieving and no contact, and may never fade completely.]

        In narcs, on the other hand, this emotional connection is very weak, and /highly/ conditional – it can fall apart, or they can intentionally dissolve it, practically on a whim, in response to almost any perceived fault in us, or even just the prospect of a kibble upgrade on the radar screen.

  • Untold,

    When we love someone it is natural to want to believe the best about them. It is unfathomable to us that someone whom we love, who has professed to love us, with whom we have built a life, had children, shared the most intimate part of ourselves might not have the capacity for the same bonding and emotional investment which we have. What is most disturbing to me in your letter is that your wife’s response to your poem was anger – not self-reflection, not self-examination, not guilt (which shouldn’t be confused with shame), but anger.

    When I first met my Ex one of the first things he did was present me with his narrative. In this narrative was his difficult childhood where he was not given the nurturing and love that every child deserves. His narrative further went on to say that he used those circumstances to propel him into a life of service (helping profession) to help other people with similar issues to heal. That was the lens he provided to me to view him. It was a set up, a con. The Ex’s dominant emotion is anger and it is always operating just below the surface. Anytime he doesn’t get his way, anytime you disagree with him, anytime life is not as he decrees it should be, you can feel the quiet seething contempt and anger. I had to put down the lens he handed me, calibrated to obscure what he didn’t want me to see, and observe him with my own eyes, I could then see clearly exactly who and what he was and how he operates. It took getting away from him, CL and CN to give me the vision that I needed to see clearly. His self-professed emotional deprivation and childhood examples had actually created a gargantuan sense of entitlement, anger and total lack of true self-awareness.

    Many women, me included, go through midlife, menopause (either naturally or surgically) have Facebook accounts, run into old boyfriends (on FB or in person) and don’t fuck them. I recently ran into an old boyfriend and didn’t have the urge to fuck him – and I’m now divorced. The natural progression of running into an old boyfriend (or girlfriend), under whatever circumstances and at whatever stage of life you are, is not fucking them. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a liar and wouldn’t know the truth if it walked up and slapped them in the face. Part of being a Chump is trying to make sense of Cheater nonsense and blaming all kinds of life events in an attempt to understand the incomprehensible that is Cheater behavior and choices.

    I attempted reconciliation with a “sorry about that” but truly unremorseful (“you need to get over it already”) cheater. Almost three years exactly to the day he cheated again. That is three years of my life I can never get back (I found out later that he was a serial cheater, so it was the majority of my adult life I can’t get back). If he did not love, honor, care for and respect me enough not to cheat in the first place, where was he going to acquire those things to keep him from cheating in the second (or third, or fourth . . .) place? His default problem resolution setting is duplicity and deceit.

    Good luck Untold. I think you might need it.

    • Wow chump princess. Right on the money. This sounds just like my situation. My husband soon to be ex has been a social worker for 10 years. He “needs to help people”. It was one of the things that made me fall in love with him. He worked with orphan children and people with disabilities. I still am mind boggled by the fact that he has this many issues with sexual integrity while he appears to have it all together and be a caring loving person. Simply mind boggling. I also relate to the underlying anger. You describe it so well.

      • WOW! Chump Princess & peaceful chump – this is exactly my ex to a T! A social worker! Always had this narrative that he was just a really great, unselfish guy, who was under appreciated. Deprived childhood, etc. Yes, lots of ‘repressed’ anger & seething under the surface. Found it odd that I would talk to him about his lack of cooking or housework, and someone it ended in him pitying himself & feeling hard done by. WTF??

    • let’s make it a three too!
      During one of my very calm conversations with Narkles about his cheating he was emanating anger like a cat spitting up a hairball. I point blank asked him, “why are you angry with me? I think I should be the angry one.” and all he could do was choke out an: “I don’t know”
      Narkles always has to look helpful, anything he can do to look like the good guy. He would push me off the sidewalk during walks through our neighborhood (once straight into the street) to make room for another person walking the opposite direction, not step behind or in front of me, flat our hip check me off the sidewalk to make room for someone else.

    • Thank you Princess for the thoughtful insight and experience. I see many similarities too – subsurface anger, careful to project loving/caring/unselfish image outside the marriage, and a get over it already attitude at times. It is a definite red flag and struggle when it occurs.

  • There once was on old high school friend
    Who said he would love me to the end.
    He made me his wife,
    but he had a secret life…..
    Lunch visits to BDSM!

  • My poem to my cheating wife wasn’t nearly as eloquent: “Fuck YOU! There is no fixing US until YOU fix YOU, you evil insidious bitch.”

    I just stared at her as she cried.

    She raged at me telling me I was heartless. I merely informed her, “‘Heartless’ is ignoring your own family while you fuck your facebook BDSM fuckbuddies. ‘Heartless’ is living under the roof I pay for while you fuck your facebook BDSM fuckbuddies.”

    Again, I just stared as she told me I was being cruel to her. “No. ‘Cruel’ is giving the best of yourself to your facebook BDSM fuckbuddies while you bitch at me for slicing red peppers incorrectly. ‘Cruel’ is blaming me for your own moral bankruptcy.”

    I simply reminded her, “Again; there is no fixing US until YOU fix YOU. Period.”

    Thank you ChumpLady for publishing the narcissist’s playbook and helping me regain my voice.

  • Off topic, but OMG a Saudi millionaire actually did just claim his penis entered a young woman when he tripped and fell on her! Goodness me, I guess it really does happen. Snort. And apparently it’s believable to a jury that took thirty minutes to find him not guilty of rape.

    Someday I must learn how to post a link.

  • Vulnerability is just an open door abusers use to gain access to your soft underbelly. It took me too long to learn that lesson.

  • Hey, Untold wrote to say he’ll post tonight (can’t access my site at work). But he wrote:

    Very interesting take on my letter and amazing feedback from your readers. I cannot access your site at work but plan to post this comment below when I can.

    Thank you again for your insight and raw, cutting, yet humorous unpacking of reality!

    Sincerely,

    Untold

    Wow! Did not expect that spin on untangling my fuckedupedness! But hey it’s fair! Hard as it is, I’ve learned from this experience and your site to try to be objective with eyes wide open. The poem was two years ago. Chump nation comments are highly perceptive and insightful!

    Was not reading CL at that time and poem was written before full discovery/disclosure.
    Like some readers said – the poem was to clearly communicate to her and MC I am not those things she was making me out to be and would not accept it. And in fact many of those things describe the cheater. She did see the dichotomy, which is why she got pissed – me saying that in front of the MC. )She was lying to us both at the time)
    Have since become a student of GINR versus real remorse; my situation may be 85% real right now.
    Have insisted on all questions being answered (probably still some lies)
    Clearly explained to her all the damage she did and pain she caused.
    Full battery of STD tests complete and clean
    Transparency in place (but you can never be sure) and boundaries established, but it was not easy or fun to sustain.
    Saw attorney to gather info and make preparation for filing.
    Set up separate bank account my name only with money in case sudden split necessary.
    Post nups not valid in our state
    Disclosed my activities and intentions to spouse; work to repair but no bullshit or I’m out.
    Working on myself – health, spirit, awareness of the disordered, regularly reassess decision to reconcile
    I believe this was the only breach, but still see tendencies for her to self-promote
    Have seen improvement, though a slow process with several setbacks.
    I have set my boundaries and do defend my positions. I do not allow myself to be walked on.
    I did the milk-a-toast pick me thing for the first few months, then got a backbone after reading/learning more about how to protect my well being and that of our two sons (late teens/early twenties) – have self-respect.
    Have had two counselors, neither very good. She would not continue going as they were not helping. I couldn’t argue that.
    Read CL and DM daily.

    • OK thanks for posting my reply CL. Adding a couple things.

      Yes there is some spackle no doubt. But do you gut the whole wall if there’s a few cracks and spackling is serviceable? I don’t know for sure.

      All the above stuff I’ve done sounds like a lot of trouble. It has been a drain. But so is the alternative. The difference is where you end up when the smoke clears, if it ever does.

      I am blessed to have been successful in life, good education, good family, two great young men for sons. Not so easy to blow that all up. My situation, though bad, has not been as devastating as many on here. I’m 53 and not getting younger. I got close a couple times but not yet ready to hit restart.

      Oh, and spectacular limericks! Here’s mine:

      A gal named Chump Lady blogs here,
      Diagnosing fuckwits without fear.
      For those in chump nation,
      This needs no translation,
      Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

  • your attempts to reconcile make her extra-marital fucking more exciting for her. just walk away.

    i have been in your situation and, despite the necessary pain you go through after breaking away, life is much, much better.

    you don’t deserve this shit, dude.

  • I am so glad I found this site! Yesterday I went down to the county clerk and filed for divorce. I was shaking. It was hard to take that first legal step to end what I pictured my life to be for the past 27 years, but I did it. I was sad and cried all the way home. I felt the need to contact by STBX, who is living with AP to tell him what he has done to me and how badly I hurt. I got home and had to fed my 3 dogs. They’re always way too excited for their food and they take all my attention until they’re fed. It’s insane the amount of running, jumping, barking, and whining they will go through for a little kibble. The light came on. I called my sister.

    • Anne, honey I feel your pain – you are much stronger than you think and calling your sis instead of your STBX is proof in the pudding! Good for you girl and coming here is great too! Sending support your way – remember you got this and you deserve so much better!

      • Thank You All. I come to this site as often as I can and more when I need to remember where I want to be, meh. I have a long way to go. My sister is driving to New York from New Mexico. She’s bringing her dog. I love her.

        After I posted this last night, my 21 year old son came to my home to talk to me. He needed my advice. He used to work with his father, before his father went to work at the company his AP relocated to. Apparently my son’s boss is suddenly bullying him at work. His boss, who is married and my STBX had been fighting over the same woman, who was their subordinate. Apparently my STBX won (lucky him) and this is causing my son’s boss to harass him. He is being called into HR on false accusations. I was struck with the sudden urge to find these two self-absorbed rutting beasts (I cannot call them men because to do so would be an insult to men) and castrate them using dental floss and iodine.

        I wanted to tell my son to beware of magical pussy sprinkled with fairy dust, but instead calmly told him that I was sorry he was put in the middle of something that was personal that he was forced to deal with both at home and at work. I told him this was not his fault, he didn’t cause it, he couldn’t have stopped it, and he does not have any obligation to lie about it. I told him to talk to the HR person, be honest, and ask for his advice on next steps to get the boss to stop harassing him. He texted me after the meeting. My son has always told the truth (he takes after his mother) and he told the entire sorted tale. The HR man called the company president in (small company) who told my son, “This is not going to happen in my company!” We will have to see if he means it.

        Moral of the story, I’m glad I filed for divorce and relieved I did not contact him. He needs to go back into the pond and finish evolving into something resembling a human being.

  • Yes, Untold you are still spackling.

    Let me tell you a story. In the last 2 years, I learned A LOT about Narcisstic people. I just divorced one. I currently work with one, and she’s a shining example.

    We drive busses. The other day, hers broke down. I had to go lend her mine. Mine stays near my house for logistic reasons (to both the company’s and my benefit). She wanted to take mine back to the terminal after her route (it’s company policy that if you borrow someone else’s bus, you bring it back and then remain with your broken down bus until something is done with it). I told her, “No, xxx, you need to bring it back here when you’re done”. In front of her kids, she decided to challenge me (I am above her in job rank) – “Why should I?”, she says semi-loud with a little snip. I told her “You need to bring it back here – check with (the boss)”. She continued to challenge me in a loud and bordering on disrespectful way. I had to be loud and definite, and repeated that she needed to return the bus, and to stop arguing.

    She boarded her kids and took off. When she returned, she screamed at me (literally) for “embarrassing her in front of her kids”, blah blah blah. Everything is always about her. She insisted on challenging me in front of her kids? Not MY problem… Anyway, I went toe-to-toe and wound up yelling at her to back off, stop arguing, and get back to the terminal. Before, I would have jumped through hoops to calm her down – and wondered if I HAD BEEN THE ONE with the problem.

    The following morning, she texted me an apology … but of course, she blamed her losing her temper on ME “barking instructions at her in front of her kids”. It was a long text. I wound up saying Thank You. And that was it. I didn’t go NEAR apologizing to her because I had nothing to apologize FOR. I knew she was fishing for a reciprocation – SCREW that.

    This is a woman who, when a friend of ours would bring coffee to share in a carafe – and one day didn’t feel well enough to make it – this woman got pissed at our friend because she brought no coffee. :/

    LESSON: You CANNOT reason with irrational people.

    • Been having a couple of rough days. A little emotional, I think, as the holidays approach. This part made me cry: “You have a selfish and narcissistic wife who fucked an old boyfriend because she could. And then wasn’t one bit sorry about it.” I had to say it out loud…and the some…

      I have a selfish and narcissistic soon-to-be-ex husband who fucked a co-worker because he could. And then wasn’t one bit sorry. And then EASILY walked away, without looking back. I have a husband who tells our kids he loves them, but acts like they matter less than her. I had him as my life partner for a quarter of a century and made humans with him. I thought he was a good husband. I thought he was a good dad. I thought he had integrity. I thought he was on my team. I thought what we built together mattered. It didn’t. And he isn’t one bit sorry. Not one bit. Not at all.

      Hanging on to the proverbial “it gets better” part, because sometimes, it sure doesn’t feel like it will.

      • Hang on. You’re going to feel better soon. I promise. I didn’t believe the bitter, desperate pain would ever end but it did.

      • 2kids2love, we were married to the same guy. He fucked his ho-worker and easily left. There was no pick-me-dance necessary. He turned his back. He is now a person I simply do not know. The man I thought I married died on DDay. The only “apology” I ever got was “I’m sorry you got hurt” and I know that wasn’t even true.

        Hugs to you during these holidays. It’s hard I know and everyday I seek to find the good in my life. And when I do that, I see so many things. My son’s trust and love. My sister’s willingness to let me live rent-free while I get back on my feet. Getting to the gym as best I can. And wine. Red blends do it for me. So look around, you can find them too. Plus, there’s wine! 😉

  • I feel for you, Untold. I, too, believed in reconciliation, the power of people to change, the idea that maybe the ex was just a timid forest creature who needed love and reassurance and support. And I was wrong. And my being wrong cost me years of suffering and wasted time with someone who had no real intention of changing anything.

    When someone makes a mistake, owns up to the mistake without blame shifting, and takes consistent, concrete, observable steps to fix it, that’s what real remorse and change looks like. I think a lot of us on here have learned the hard way that a person who only gives lip service to remorse and shows resentment at having to deal with your devastation at what SHE has chosen to do to you is not going to change. That’s just not what real remorse/change looks like.

  • I have found this thread and the recent ones especially helpful.

    As someone who has tried reconciliation and gotten burned, and who has (in a different relationship) simply cut ties, gone nc and done the hard yards to find myself again, I know which one I would always choose in future.

    Reconciliation just seems to make the mess last longer. And the pain is worse overall. And the spackling is exhausting. Admittedly I don’t have kids with anyone, and I am certain this makes reconciliation seem like the best choice when you have the kids to consider.

    Having said that, I am glad I have seen both sides, and reconciliation is not time wasted if you REALLY learn from the experience.

  • Untold, I used to believe as you. I am a chump. I was married for 22 years and together 27 with two children. I thought I had a rock solid marriage and a bomb was dropped into my world with no warning. That was 8 years ago now. It was a most horrific divorce. I received all the abuse…,gas-lighting, blame-shifting etc… It was a co-worker. A much younger co-worker. It wrecked my world and that of my children. It humiliated me. Made me doubt my attractiveness and worth. I was told it all. How much better she was than me. A better mother, partner, lover, friend. That she was more successful than myself. That her fashion sense was outstanding and that she just beamed with positiveness and was always smiling.

    It hit hard. There were days where I didn’t think I would get up off the floor. There have been years and years of tears. I’ve not dated…trust is ruined and well let’s face it… the dating choices at my age (late 40’s) isn’t attractive at all. The baggage that comes with people who have lived a lifetime is sometimes overwhelming. But, something interesting happened this summer. After 8 years of no contact, I received an apology. Seems all the glowing traits of the affair partner now wife didn’t stand the test of time. I was finally seen again in the positive light that I thought I deserved all along but had somehow been forgotten and set aside for the affair partner. It helped hearing that he was wrong. Did it fix anything? No. I had hoped silently all these 8 years that this would happen. (the apology and regret on his part with total recounting of all verbal destruction) and it finally did after almost a decade. I thought it would make a difference, that we would reunite in the happiness we once shared. I let myself bask in that light and enjoyment for a few months but then reality set in that it was still done to me and the utter lack of thought for our family and time together. I would think it would take a earth moving event to make one leave a pretty good marriage with what I thought was pretty much every blessing one could ask for…especially the beautiful children. But… it was walked away from easily and with no thought for us.
    That… in the end is my truth. What I would like for you to know is this…. you will never ever trust her again. You will always check her emails, texts, calling record and possibly follow her events physically in the world and through social media and that is exhausting. If you were asking for suggestions… and take it from someone who has truly lived this nightmare… you need no contact and to be separated for a good bit. Only when she is not in your everyday life will you have the opportunity to reflect properly and make the best choice for you.

  • Lonely, I agree. And I think you have articulated for me one of my principal objections to reconciliation – it deprives you of the very necessary pain of no contact. I do think that it’s only in no contact that the fog can really lift, and you can get enough perspective on things to know where to go next.

    I only discovered this during the break up of my last relationship. Before that I was a die-hard reconciler to the point of flogging horses that were so dead, they were now fossilised. And it meant that abuse continued.

    At the risk of sounding like the shopping channel, No Contact changed my life! Thank you, No Contact!

  • I could not even imagine X going thru the hard work to kiss my feet. He never did when we were married, why would he do it in R? Easy decision for me, looking back.

  • Untold, this should be your poem

    Eamon – fuck it

    Whoa oh oh
    Ooh hooh
    No No No

    [Verse 1:]
    See, I don’t know why I liked you so much
    I gave you all, of my trust
    I told you, I loved you, now that’s all down the drain
    You put me through pain, I wanna let you know how I feel

    [Chorus:]
    Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now
    Fuck the presents might as well throw ’em out
    Fuck all those kisses, they didn’t mean jack
    Fuck you, you hoe, I don’t want you back

    Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now
    Fuck the presents might as well throw ’em out
    Fuck all those kisses they didn’t mean jack
    Fuck you, you hoe, I don’t want you back

    [Verse 2:]
    You thought, you could
    Keep this shit from me, yeah
    You burnt bitch, I heard the story
    You played me, you even gave him head
    Now you asking for me back
    You just another act, look elsewhere
    Cause you done with me

    Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now
    Fuck the presents might as well throw em out
    Fuck all those kisses they didn’t mean jack
    Fuck you, you hoe, I don’t want you back

    Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now
    Fuck the presents might as well throw em out
    Fuck all those kisses they didn’t mean jack
    Fuck you, you hoe, I don’t want you back

    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah

    You questioned, did I care
    You could ask anyone, I even said
    You were my great one
    Now it’s, over, but I do admit I’m sad.
    It hurts real bad, I can’t sweat that, cause I loved a hoe

    Fuck what I said it don’t mean shit now
    Fuck the presents might as well throw ’em out
    Fuck all those kisses they didn’t mean jack
    Fuck you, you hoe, I don’t want you back

    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    Oh oh
    Uh huh yeah
    [Until the end]

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