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The Compassion Trap

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compassion

“What we want most is only to be held…and told…that everything (everything is a funny thing, is baby milk and Papa’s eyes, is roaring logs on a cold morning, is hoot-owls and the boy who makes you cry after school, is Mama’s long hair, is being afraid, and twisted faces on the bedroom wall)…everything is going to be all right.”
― Truman Capote, Other Voices, Other Rooms

When I was cheated on, one of the many things that surprised me about that trauma, was that I desperately wanted comfort from the very same person who had hurt me.

Isn’t that odd? Can you think of anything else in life where you’d do that? Would you go back to the restaurant that gave you food poisoning? Would you ask a mugger to help you find your wallet? Or invite your IRS auditor to be Facebook friends? And yet, when we’re betrayed — infidelity being one of the most intimate and traumatic kind of betrayals — chumps almost universally seek comfort from their cheater. Who, let’s face it, is usually in serious cake withdrawal and not one bit interested in your pain. In fact your pain is hugely inconvenient and mortifying to them right now (assuming they’re not sociopaths, in which case it’s only inconvenient).

We so desperately want cheaters to show us some compassion, to hold us, and say “everything is going to be all right.” But it doesn’t play out that way, does it? What usually happens is that the cheater wants compassion from the chump. Tell me you’re not going to tell anyone! Tell me you aren’t going to divorce me over this! You must understand that I am grieving too! (Grieving the affair partner.)

Chump Lady often gets taken to task for not being compassionate towards cheaters. My answer to that usually is — there are many other places on the internet that offer compassion to cheaters, and not just compassion, but in other quarters, celebration of their infidelities as sexy and risk taking. My business here is compassion for chumps. But, the argument goes — what if it were you? Can’t you imagine doing something horrible for which you need forgiveness and were being denied?

Sure. I’m not perfect. My husband and other loved ones show mercy on me for my failings — and I have a lot of failings. It’s a beautiful thing to be accepted “warts and all.” But I do not confuse that mercy with unconditional love. That I can do anything, and my family must accept it, and work harder to have me in their circle. Grown up love is conditional love. If I was a drug addict, and I stole from my family, I would expect that they distance themselves from me out of self preservation. As they say in recovery speak “detach with love.” Similarly, if I cheated on my husband, if I were truly remorseful, I would have to understand that I broke our covenant and no one owes me a second chance. My husband is not obliged to stay married to me, or forgive me.

But I see that expectation all the time! From cheaters who act entitled to as many reconciliations as it takes to Get It Right. And from chumps who think they must be the bigger person and eat this shit sandwich. That they must forgive and ask themselves what they did wrong and try harder to win their cheater back.

You can argue that people reconcile out of fear, or crappy financial consequences, or keeping it together for the kids. But I also think mixed up in there is compassion — a great big heart that is trying very hard to love someone who has grievously hurt them. That IS a virtue. A beautiful sacrificial thing.

And it’s that very compassion, chumps, that gets you played.

That may be why, to anyone who hasn’t been chumped, my posts come off to some as angry or unforgiving. In real life, I’m actually Chumpy McChumperston. Pretty trusting and gullible (ask my husband about the rattlesnake vaccination I got talked in to… or any contractor I’ve employed). But I’m not as chumpy as I used to be. I understand now the blues song that goes: “you mistook kindness for weakness/And you walked right over me.”

It’s not that it’s wrong to be compassionate. I don’t want a life in which I never trust anyone again. But recognize that disordered people will use your kindness against you, and your strength and your generosity.

“Remorse” kept me stuck. My ex was operatic in his feigned remorse. It hurt me to see him in such pain. I could not imagine a world in which someone could MAKE THAT UP to play me. Who could say things like “I swear to you on my father’s grave” or “you know how much I love you and , I would never do anything to jeopardize our relationship.” But he did say those things, and more, but his actions told a very different story. We meant nothing to him and our pain didn’t register with him one bit.

I fell into the compassion trap. I was afraid of leaving, absolutely. But I also struggled mightily with the thoughts that I had to be a good person and not quit. Not let this person down — even though he had let me down in the most intimate and humiliating of ways.

My willingness to shoulder that unfair burden kept me stuck in that marriage. I should’ve wised up sooner and realized that he saw me as a mark. My staying to him meant he got another chance at cake. The price of admission was some kabuki theater that he was “sorry” and sitting in a shrink’s chair once a week and spewing word salad about Why He Did It. (Never got an answer on that one.)

The take away from this is NOT don’t show compassion or never trust again. No, it’s that chumps need to choose better. Compassion toward someone who is appropriately humble and acts contrite is very different than compassion for someone who acts entitled to it and does the same dumb shit over and over. Hold your compassion back and watch what they do. If you must love, go ahead and love. But detach out of self preservation. Have compassion for yourself. People with self esteem have conditions to their love. That’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a wise one. Give that big heart of yours to someone who has demonstrated that they deserve it.

This column ran previously. Feel free to comment!

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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.
  • Oh spot on. I couldn’t understand why I need/ed comfort and re-assurance from lord voldemort. I thought I must have stokholm syndrome or something. detaching for me has been monumental. after 30+yrs of marriage I am having a helluva time. The good news is that every time he slips I feel myself growing away from him. one day at a time. Been getting my ducks in a row and scared shitless of the rage-fire-nado when the time comes. this will strip the skin off him.

    • Same boat! We are mighty. I’m pretty sure I won’t last as long as I wanted to in my plan of how to get out with minimal financial impact. I needed this post today. I am getting love bombed because he feels so much like he needs to balance the force of just how much hooker ass he is off sniffing. I want him twitching on the floor but really right now I think just no contact and lots
      Of chump lady will be all I really need to right my head. *hugs*

  • You may be Mrs Chumpy Chumperton in real life, but as Chump Lady, you display exactly the right amount of anger /lack of forgiveness and no-bullshit firm boundaries that we all need.

    Some of us lack those qualities (for now), even anger. Thank you for being an excellent role model. Xx

  • I need to forgive…forgive myself for believing him despite knowing the truth, for letting him talk me into sharing the blame, for letting him steal inches from my boundaries year after year, and for not standing my moral ground. I need to show as much compassion for myself as I gave him. He will not get my forgiveness, but one day, I will give it to myself.

    • Anne, you may want to look into the work of Kristin Neff and Chris Germer, on self-compassion. Their websites are loaded with free information. Their work has led me to figure out what self-care looks like.

      • Thanks for the referral, U’me. I was just telling myself I need something like this and had no idea where to start. It’s great to have a ‘pre-vetted’ site to check out 🙂

      • SELF-CARE!!!!
        It has taken two years and throwing myself in the deep end engaging in mental health studies to fully get this.

        Self -care is a must. It aids in
        Understanding yourself
        Setting boundaries
        Setting goals
        Getting mighty!!!!!
        Fixing your picker

        It is not selfish nor is it entitlement, it is learning how to creat and feed the best you. And is different for every one.

        • I’ve made just about every mistake trusting my cheater – before and after the divorce! They are not your friend ever!!!!!!!!!! Even when your cheater is a sweet 2nd grade teacher.

          Thank you for the info on self care!!!

          This will be my goal for 2016!

          As the year ends. I can’t say enough about how helpful this site has been for me.

          • Asswipe is now on a campaign to totally make me hate him and he acts like he hates me cause when I move hours away(he wants me to live local so he can be there if I need him) and I flat out refused to be his friend! Imagine that!? Why would I want to be friends with someone who hurt me so badly? I wanted the parting to be decent. Goodbye have a good life and be on my way to start fresh. But no now he is in a rage that I WONT BE HIS FRIEND. What the hell is wrong with him. He got his freedom, he got that whore. His life is basically unchanged except he traded women. Wtf!!!

          • I thought I was the only one who made every mistake that could be made trusting my Cheater. I couldn’t have been sane. No one in their right mind would have trusted Cheater as many times as I did with the same results each time. What was I thinking?
            I thought he was just going through a “phase” meanwhile I analyzed and replayed every conversation we had, thinking that maybe he misunderstood something I said and I offended him or the tone of my voice caused him to Cheat and be a jerk.
            Lets call this time period my River Dance, Funky Chicken, Lambada, Macarena, Dougie,Nae Nae years.

          • Ahhh the sweet school teacher. Mine too! He (a 4th gr teacher) and his fellow howorker (a 3rd gr teacher) liked to bump uglies in the teacher lounge bathroom….twice a day, everyday after the bell rang. But gosh! He was so compassionate! So good with the students!

            • Must be something about teachers. My ex wife is also a 4th grade teacher who ended our marriage. (20 yrs & 3 children) Seems I read somewhere that teachers are on the top of the list of those who cheat.

              • BONG – as in Bong Show. NO. This happens EVERYWHERE!
                Who knew dog shows were filled with Gay folks but also, many affair people!
                I sure didn’t. I thought it was about dog shows.

                I’m sure teachers think it’s about teaching children…but, what a community to pick from..

                Motor-homing crowd – oh YEAH. Lots of trips, drinks, traveling, more drinks…well, I can just imagine what goes on with that crowd..

                The Racing Car Crowd – oooooh, lots of fans, lots of girls..Lots of hunky guys…

                And, then of course, there is the Motorcycle Harley’s, BMW’s, the dudes with beards and heading to Sturgis for the long weekend of rev-ving engines..

                Not to mention, oh, I’m sure the Church Crowd is also filled with many of this as well. It’s just another gathering of people, after all.

                I also hear Golf courses – a great place to pick up all sorts of sexual deviances.

                Bingo? No doubt that’s in there too somewhere.

                Couldn’t we all go on.

                I wonder, how does one stay as normal as I was through a lot of those years? (tho, I do not play Bingo)
                I never once thought to cheat.

                X found the dogs show route – and he didn’t even like dog shows! ha.

              • Bud; I read the same thing, teachers & IT guys. Can’t remember where though, it was a couple of years ago. This article said watch out for the seemingly innocent teachers and nerdy IT folk. Seems unlikely, but it seems like you hear of a lot of cheating teachers!

    • Anne, I agree totally, one day forgive myself. Him, never! Also helps not to forgive when they never ask for it because what cheaters do is not wrong. Screw em!

  • I vividly remember trying very hard to elicit compassion kibble. Like a puppy once beaten with a rolled up newspaper, it felt so good to be petted. It felt much better when I discovered my canine teeth!

    • Compassion to an abuser sounds simething like this, “I can’t imagine what it would feel like if she had ever done this to me”. This is what he said to me and his adult daughters. No he couldn’t as he lacks the ability. Sociopath speak at it’s finest.

      I don’t believe they can imagine the CHUMP leaving. I will never forget the look in his face the day he got served.

      • Me too. Of course, the only reason he got served, was because I learned from my therapist, and CN, what kind of life I was actually accepting (one that considered ONLY him). He never imagined, in his wildest dreams, that a wife appliance could develop clarity, and go off to be happily on her own! How dare I?

            • It was one of my most gratifying moments of this horrible experience when, while he was moaning about the house sale etc., I reminded him he was well aware of every step in my process of leaving him, from looking at apartments to getting a lawyer (I didn’t want to blindside him) and that he had hundreds of opportunities to make things right between us since DDay in 2012.

              He just looked at me and said, “Yeah, but I didn’t believe you were really gonna do it this time.”

              Felt really mighty at that moment.

              • Mine is about to come, 9 years ago yesterday was the night he started pursuing me. It has taken just over one year and I have waited for the smoke to clear and for him to do the right thing. He is only concerned with what is right for him and OWhore. I filed today for paternity, custody and child support. He is going to come undone. Tough shit. He owes it to me and our son. It’s done. He is out of chances.

        • I was married 36 years when mine tried to kick me me out of my house with a promise he would take care of me if I didn’t divorce him!!! When the papers were served he texted me….WERE BOTH GOING TO THE POOR HOUSE…I am going to put on on my business hat….And it’s going to be a TIT FOR A TAT,

  • This is exactly what happened to me. The first few months after my X moved out she first was very nasty and tried to put me in jail with false accusations. Once the court system through the cases out she then reached out for some cake. At first I had the solid wall but it was so soon after the separations (about 3 months) that I actually broke down and let her temporarily back in my heart. That is, until I realized she had no intentions of accepting responsibility for her own actions and spent most of the time trying to convince me that I was to blame for everything.

    Our last council ling session (which was suppose to be 45 minutes but lasted 2 hours) I watched my X and the counselor go back and forth while I said nothing. The councilor tore apart her stories and tried to make my X realize that it was obvious she was lying. At one point the councilor said “I believe that you believe that XXX was their, I am just not convinced he was there”.

    While that was going on it finally dawned on me and the Meh settled in. I watched this event play out and asked myself WTF do I want to go back to this for. The one mistake I made is my X and I came in the same car to the session. Right after the session she looked at my face and she realized at that point I was done. The 30 minute car drive home was one of the happiest but strangest moments in my life. My X spent the entire drive cursing me out in both English and Spanish. Called me every name of the book and I simply did not care. I never responded other than to say, you are right, yes I am the biggest looser in the world etc…. just so she would take me home.

    When I got home, she would not let me out of the car and would slam on the gas and then slam on the breaks. I finally got out of the car and spent the rest of the day with my daughter.

    Sometimes Meh does not take time to reach but it takes a special moment to hit you with the realization that the future (no matter what it holds) looks far better than the past and that the courage needed to look at the future is far more promising than what you are leaving.

  • This is the very post that smacked me upside the head with a true-by-4, stomped on my hopium pipe, and lit a fire under my ass, right when I needed it. I thank you again for your help and wisdom, Tracy.

  • Yep. It’s true. On DDay, I so wanted the Ex to tell me he was sorry. Sorry for doing it, sorry he hurt me, that he was about to destroy my life, our son’s life, everything. He did none of that.

    I realize now, after that experience of getting nothing from him in the way of remorse, that when I have an argument/disagreement in my other relationships, that person (and I) will apologize because we value the relationship and each other. And, honestly, in life, when we are wronged, we expect remorse. So naturally we expect it from the Cheaters. But they are not remorseful. At all. And that is the first lesson we learn. It’s surreal.

  • What was missing for me with my compassion was … wisdom. With my hard-earned wisdom, I learned to have boundaries and enforce them. Nowadays, if you don’t add value to my life, you are out. No negotiations. I have this one life to live – why choose to share it with assholes?

    Cheater ex is still telling people that I hate him. Gosh, he is so irrelevant nowadays that it’s so weird he is still seeking pity from others. He’s a sociopath and a new marriage (to the final OW) didn’t change his stripes. Not one bit.

  • Thank you for this site Tracy. It has helped me to know I am not the only one who has been lied to by the one person I thought I could trust. I was married for 33+ to a person I thought was trust worthy and caring. Little did I know that he had enjoyed going to work so much because of his secretary who he wanted to be around and then divorced me for. It has been a little over a year since the divorce, life has gotten better. However it is still so painful to know of the betrayal of the person that you loved and care for. I found this site by finding your book and reading it. Thank you to all for the encouragement that life does go on and it will be a better life than I had. I just hope that someday I will be able to trust again and love. I am glad you provide wisdom and truth about being chumped and gaining a life.

    • HIT, keep hanging in there! The pain will eventually subside. It took me over a year, but I don’t hurt anymore. I’m still angry and sad, but that should go away some time as well. For 30 years I trusted her unconditionally. The betrayal killed me. Now I’m rising again (even while making mistakes) like a Phoenix. I will get the real ME back some day. You will too.

    • Put me in the 30+ year club. I trusted him unconditionally and thought I would die from the betrayal. At one point, I really believed that was an option. It has been a 13 months since divorce and life is getting better. He is becoming more of a vague memory, but like Marked711, I am still angry and sad.

      Being a chump when I was blindsided by his affair with the howorker is something for which I will never feel any guilt. When I took those vows I meant them, and I thought he did, too. What makes me so angry is the compassion I had during wreckonciliation. Dancing the pick-me-dance is what I struggle with the most.I know he enjoyed that I had found out and really enjoyed secretly continuing the affair.

      I am slowing getting my life in order and things can only get better. Forgiving myself is the next step. Forgiving him…never!

  • I know damn well asswipe is not sorry for what he has done just sorry he got caught. Now his life is more fucked up than ever! Good!!! I’ll be free of his nasty demeanor and whore can deal with it. He’s been back with her for three weeks and has cheated twice with his bondage bitches. Boy is she in for it! He is a very very bad liar. He moved us so many times, pushed all my friends away, not his, mine and made sure I was isolated and dependant on him and when I needed him the absolute most He walked out for some hussy with money. Pieces of shit the both of them. He left me with no friends, no family anywhere near me I had the phone and chump nation. His heart is made of fucking stone! How anybody can hurt someone they supposedly love and care about to the extent they do is beyond my comprehension. He started an instant relationship with the bitch left her for months she nagged the shit out of him to move back with her because they are prefect together. What a bunch of teenaged morons. Me I’m gonna take care of me and fuck them. Once I move I will never give either another thought! Thank all you guys from my whole heart!

    • Kar Marie, I understand your situation completely. Mine also moved us multiple times, geographically and socially isolated me from my friends and family then his piece de resistance was moving is to a country where I wasn’t allowed to work for legal visa reasons so was then financially dependent on him. That was his ticket to do whatever the hell I liked.
      I was a hostage and to save myself would have been to sacrifice my children. He’s a total bastard.
      My heart goes out to you, I understand where you are. I hope you’re getting away even if it’s gradually. Stay strong x

  • You’re absolutely right, I wanted to be the good, forgiving wife, being understanding. Cheater blamed me, being the Chump I accepted the blame and criticism. I wanted to fix my faults and apologized even when I wasn’t sure what I was apologizing for. The more “understanding” I was the more abusive and cruel X became. I continued to make excuses and blame myself. Reading, and reading some more on Cheaters and and narcissistic/sociopaths and CN finally opened my eyes to who the Cheater is and I am not responsible for his behavior.
    This morning before I logged on to CN I made a list of Chumpy things I do that need to stop asap.
    Most importantly regarding my son who has his father’s attitude until he needs me or he and Cheater (SATAN) aren’t getting along. No more Chump Mom. I’m done with being a doormat.
    I wasn’t a doormat when I got married, along the way gradually I became one.
    I trusted Cheater loved me and would love his understanding wife even more, I avoided confrontation and in doing so I lost my self worth.

    • “I wasn’t a doormat when I got married, along the way gradually I became one.
      I trusted Cheater loved me and would love his understanding wife even more, I avoided confrontation and in doing so I lost my self worth.”

      This^^^^^^^^^

      All we can do is stop the behavior that helped create the entitlement. When I went to my first therapy meeting, before I understood the real depth of his betrayal the therapist warned that helping myself would change the dynamics of the relationship in ways that may not mean it’s continuance.

  • One more thought, he wants me to tell everyone we just drifted apart, not a chance motherfucker, not a chance. He’s the big fat bellied, toothless, dickless nasty old man. I am honest. He is not.

    • Oh yes. Cheater wanted us to tell our son that “our feelings changed”. Um, no the hell they did not. *I* told our son the truth. Mommies and Daddies aren’t supposed to have boyfriends/girlfriends. Your Daddy got a girlfriend so we can’t be married anymore. Got that truth nugget right here on Chumplady. That explanation was age-appropriate for my 7 yo son.

      I think he knew that wasn’t going to fly with me. At the confrontation on DDay, I gave him an ultimatum. We were supposed to go on vacation to see his parents in 3 days. I gave him a choice about calling his parents at that moment to tell them what he had done and why we had to cancel our plans. If he didn’t tell them right then, I would call them. He looked at me like I was crazy, I told him to leave and the moment he did, I called his mother and told her everything. And I never stopped singing like a canary whenever the opportunity presented itself.

      • yes. mine said to me as i sat ruminating ” so this is a mutual decision, right?” i said no it is not. it was a unilateral decision. his narrative includes that i am bitter, mentally unstable, the cause of his unhappiness, etc. i remind him of his story so he can get it straight for the next person cause you know sometimes he misses bits…like how i was sucking him dry of money, how i did not understand partnership, how he was leaving me(not the children), etc. my crazy money sucking bitter ass has not tried to kill him. in the movies crazy bitter money grubbers usually up the ante with a murder…ahhhh. i am so not playing up to my full potential.
        he was griping and complaining before he left us and i was listening being supportive. then when i would put my concerns or the children’s concerns to him it was like sunshine to a vampire…he could not handle it.

        i remember on dd1 when i found out he ran through the house crying and i sat there shaking my head thinking that I was the one who should be crying. so of course my compassionate ass ended up comforting him cause i’m thinking he must really be upset at having hurt me so. Idiot me!! it was never about me!!!

        in the meantime i am having a wonderful holiday full of meh days. it is true too, get busy and fill those days with things and people you love until the next ….. comes along. cause i don’t get how these idiots think that sex doesn’t matter to us. we have self-control with whom we do it with but are no less passionate…anyhow! i am doing great and for the new ones hang in there.

        • Yup. My ex blames me for his 30+ BDSM hookups. If I had been more loving and attentive he wouldn’t have done it. He compared his cheating to me “escaping” by doing crafts. Ummm hello. Crocheting and playing 50 shades of gray with Women from Craig’s List aren’t really Comparable. He loves to tell everyone that I was cold, a bad step mom, a bad wife. It blows my mind.

    • When I was pushed out of my apartment, my ex husband of 37 years told his boss at work that “this has been coming for a long time”!! Interestingly, he forgot to mention it to me as I was blissfully unaware that the hammer was about to fall until he sent our then 28 year old son in to tell me that I was leaving and the amount of money he was prepared to give me. He told others that, “Maree just left without explanation”. He lies to suit his agenda and he is still doing so. I was in such shock that I left with my tail between my legs and acted very, very reasonable. I regret having been so accommodating now but hey, his karma is living in Phnom Penh every day with a tramp and 2 little boys in the heat and the filth. He loves it but then again pigs do like dirt.

      • Oh Maree, my ex told my son the same thing! When I heard that he said “this has been coming for a long time,” it traumatized me, and I woke up over and over in the middle of the night for months with those words ringing in my head. I couldn’t for the life of me understand how it had been coming for a long time, since he never said a word to me about being unhappy or wanting to work on any issues. So good to hear that it’s just part of the cheater’s repertoire. It really is amazing how they all say the same things, almost verbatim.

        • Lyn, I have commented before that you and I were married to the same type of guys … bloody cowards that is all they are. They do traumatise us no doubt but we have prevailed despite their best or worse intentions. Have a great 2016 Lyn as well as everyone here in CN and especially CL for her wonderful support to all of us. xoxo

        • Same thing here, “This has been coming for a long time”. ” I have been unhappy for the last 7 years or 10 years” or whatever suited his whining bullshit at the moment. Now, I still get the “you should have known”. How could I have not looked deep in his eyes and known how rejected and ignored he was “for all these years”. Sorry, he is just a fucking assclown. My answer? I forgot to check the Magic 8 ball! I decided to break NC over the holiday, so I got what I knew would happen anyway. He will “accept responsibility for his actions” but it is all on me for ignoring him for years. Same bullshit, different day. He will NEVER realize what he did. In his mind, he did what he did because I drove him to a dating website and it is my fault he fell for a Ghana romance scam. The guy has the emotional skills of a 16 year old boy. I was to busy raising 3 kids and I ignored him, told him no and would not get on an airplane, so I got what I deserved. Now none of the my kids, his step kids that he raised, will talk to him and he is not allowed to be near my grand daughter. Of course that is my fault too. I got the ” I would have sent you a Christmas card but it would have made you angry for some reason”. He thinks it is funny that I am still angry. I finally figured out that the only reason he was trying to be nice to me was pure manipulation. He figures if he is nice to me, he will be able to see my grand daughter. He told me to fix it. Well Happy New Year mother fucker. He is a sad old man. Can barely get it up, gained a shit ton of weight and sits alone in his shitty apartment. I took half his retirement in the divorce and bought myself a new house. Joined Crossfit, quit smoking and lost 80 pounds. I am back to doubling down on NC, even when I get his stupid, I will always love you and care about you crap. Those are just empty words from someone who has a hole where a heart is supposed to be. You think you know someone after 25 years. Nope. I remind myself often to stay mighty and not shed one more fucking tear for an asshole who does not give a shit about anyone but himself!

          • Wow, this pretty much sounds EXACTLY what happened to me, after 12 years of marriage and 3 kids later. Mine decided he was unhappy and left 8 months after I finally decided to quit my job due to health issues. I even waited until I got his permission and blessing that it was okay for me to quit! Before I quit, I was the sole provider, and he CHOSE to be the house husband to stay home with the kids. I was forced to continue commuting over an hour each day (he insisted on living in his hometown, which increased my commute by about an hour each day). I felt trapped in a marriage where I was expected to shower him with love, or suffer the consequences of his anger or passive-aggressive vengeance. I now realize that the only time he EVER shows affection towards me is when he needs something from me. Otherwise, he’s cold and indifferent. All I ever wanted was his approval, love and support. I’m done trying to please someone who is incapable of genuine love.

        • Oh ladies, I am so glad to read this and feel a little better. I was madly in love with a man who loved attention from other women. I spackled and spackled and spackled, begged for better treatment, and beat myself up for being petty and insecure. Only to be told, after 27 years, that I was “hard to live with.” I spent two more years blaming myself, just like he wanted. I worked on every little thing I could identify that was “wrong” with me while he refused to truly work on anything. Instead, he became nastier and meaner. But because I hoped for a change of heart and I didn’t want to damage his reputation , I never countered the public story that we were both just ready for something new. It’s just now, eight months after leaving everything and starting a new life 200 miles away, that I am beginning to tell people the truth.

    • Mine told people something similar as well. I don’t think he expected me to tell EVERYONE what he did. He told people we drifted apart and just weren’t in love. Oh really? Funny, because I was off birth control and we were trying to get pregnant and even had an appointment set up with a realtor for the next week to put our house on the market because we were going to move to a larger home to accomodate our growing family. There was no drifting, i was securely anchored in our relationship. She was the one who was paddling down the river of our relationship.

    • Kar Mariw….. STBX dickdead, wanted me to say the same thing….NOPE, I call her the OW, Putana, “HER!”
      Not my problem, when it comes to his mother or his kids!!!!

  • Funny, I didn’t feel that way during my dday. My ex had been such a colossal jerk for the year leading up to it that I knew I wouldn’t get any compassion from him. He was such a snake, I didn’t see any caring nature left in him. I guess that was good, that I didn’t run to him for comfort. Didn’t stop my heart from breaking over the loss of the man who I thought I loved, but for some reason, I instinctively knew that he couldn’t be the one to offer me comfort.

    • I knew instantly on DDay that if I even brought up my discovery, that all I would get in return would be gaslighting and blameshifting and other forms of emotional abuse.

      I knew he wouldn’t blink an eye at the pain he caused me.

      Once I knew he was a cheater, it was over, because I couldn’t stay in denial about his abuse anymore.

      There was nothing more to say. Nothing he could say would persuade me to trust him again, and nothing I could say would make him regret the hell he put me through.

      Maybe I should send the howorker a thank you card….

      • “Once I knew he was a cheater, it was over, because I couldn’t stay in denial about his abuse anymore.” Me, too!

        I love the idea of sending the howorker a thank you card. Maybe a new post for CL…write the Hallmark card for your cheater’s AP…could be interesting!

      • SnakebitNoMore,

        Words of wisdom! What you said is so true, but I was still looking for compassion. Still looking to find that trust again. Still looking that he would regret the hell he put me through. Instead I got:
        – Well, ultimately, we both trust each other and we need to work it out.
        -I don’t regret for anything that happened in my life. I had to go through that experience (15 years of affair with his ex-gf who lived in another country but they both found ways to meet here and there, and then the “just for sex” ones) to learn who I was.

        Ultimately, they don’t care because they are detached from their own emotional side. I frankly think that they are so hollow inside and are scared of this themselves so they are trying to fill in the void with stuff (affairs in this case). Some people become greedy and collect material stuff. These ones collect humans – somehow they think those humans will help them fill in the horrid void inside.

  • After D-Day, he wrote that he was “so ashamed”. I could not get myself to believe that shame had anything to do with his decision to get his own appartment “to create some distance, to work on himself and realize he misses me”. This did not trigger my compassion one bit. He was so enthusiastic to get his own place that it felt like another dagger in the heart.
    The terrible, terrible therapist that I saw at the time, said that he was ashamed for real, that many cheaters are, because they love us ; loving 2 people is possible, “don’t you like both strawberries and raspberries ?”. I still miss those 50 euros.

    What triggered my compassion, was his apparent sadness, once he had moved out for good. He was looking miserable. He was not checking his phone any longer. He was finding excuses to visit me. He pretended that I had kicked him out, although he had done nothing wrong post D-Day. I really started doubting my decision and I have to thank CL and CN for clearing my head with wise words.

    • loving 2 people is possible, “don’t you like both strawberries and raspberries ?”

      It has always irritated me to hear that kind of a comparison. People who are anti monogamy tend to say it’s like having to eat the same meal every day for the rest of your life. To think that therapists could foster such drivel! A therapist who marginalizes the difference between living thinking human beings and food substances shouldn’t be a counselor (or become a chef.) 😉

    • I wouldn’t have paid for that shit, it’s like getting a bad haircut. Nope, sorry, I’m not paying you for making this mess. I already got screwed by the OW and the Ho-Hub now I’m supposed to be charitable to a therapist who probably puts their shoes on the wrong feet and says “Well now you know how each other ‘feel’. Maybe it’s good for you to be ‘light’ and ‘reft’ for a little while.” Jesus. Probably got his credentials on the back of a cracker jacks box. Durr

    • “don’t you like both strawberries and raspberries ?”

      Oh no. No no NO NO NO. For fuck’s sake.

      One spouse is a fully formed human with a brain and thoughts and desires and needs … and their spouse is a passive piece of fruit lying there at the bottom of the crisper drawer in the fridge? And so, you know, the one officially-human spouse of the pair, who possesses a brain and body, and who experiences hunger and taste (unlike the piece-of-fruit spouse who doesn’t even have much of a face, never mind a brain or feelings or needs) should be able to sample and enjoy other, new and different pieces of fruit (who likewise lack faces brains feelings or needs of any concern)? Because one spouse is designated a human being, and their spouse is a gooseberry?

      Is that how this works? And do idiots become certified therapists by saving up four cereal boxtops and sending them in with a self addressed stamped envelope? Or do they have to gain a whole four-year degree in False Equivalencies to get certified?

  • Cheaters are never sorry they did it. They are only sorry they got caught and there are consequences that they have to face.

    My exWH moved out of his own accord within 10 days of D-Day. He had told me on D-Day he was planning on living with me until our divorce was final to protect his financial claim in the house. His reason? “I can’t stand to come home each day and watch this sob story pity party you are throwing for yourself.” I was harshing the high of his sex-fest with OW and me having feelings was inconvenient for him.

    • I think I need this tattooed on my hand “Cheaters are never sorry they did it. They are only sorry they got caught and there are consequences that they have to face.” because I am certain his crazy train and excellent manipulations are going to be… Really really really hard to keep upright around.

      Thank you.

      • Lets make a tattoo date, because I want the same thing tattooed on my hand! No, they’re NOT EVER sorry – Fat Bastard referred to his cheating as “my indescretions” or “my mistakes” – NO fucktard, dialing a wrong number is a mistake, taking a picture of yourself masturbating and then sending it to 4 other women who then send you pictures of their crotches in return is CHEATING.

        In the week after D-Day when we were still communicating he never once acknowledged that he’d been cheating online, even though he knew I found the flash drive, I’d emailed him pictures from it! I sent him the link to the Chump Lady posting about how to prove you’re really sorry if you cheat and he responded by saying he didn’t understand why I sent that to him.

        That was my I’m Done moment.

        • Gepster: 1, in honour of you I christened my new (used) jeep Jeepster. She has been hunting for a name and playing on gepster sounds like jester, and aside from the jeep my life is the shit right now so the joke is on me- so it’s homage and toungue in cheek all in one go! 2, tattoo date sounds lovely, but let’s get something mighty and NOT about these losers.

            • Ah. I have that. Put that on my left side from below rib to hip. A very nice flaming phoenix rising from the ashes. Got that a year after dday and just days after divorce and house financing was settled!

              If I look in the mirror and turn slightly it is very visible for me. A daily reminder that I will and can over come anything that will happen to me. If one can survive a stinking asshole family abandoning cheater, leaving you with shit and financial misery, and you manage to get the house, keep your pension and have the most time with the kids, then nothing, and I mean nothing will ever break me again.

              Gained a life. Have a new job. Have more money to spend then with the cheaters income. Have savings. Have fantastic kids. Have a great and caring boyfriend (who thought that a relationship could be so nice?).

              Onlys bs comes from cheater and his ho. Who cannot stop texting stupid shit when she is drunk. Breaks my heart my kids have to put up with that. But hey, hence the Phoenix. I will and can get past this. Only 9 years to go until I can go 100% no contact. Counting the days 😉

        • Gepster, my ex called it “getting reacquainted with an old high school classmate”…. Gee, my idea of getting reacquainted is talking about what you have been doing with your life over the years. His idea was explicit descriptions of what they would do to each other sexually and arranging how they could get together to do it…. He also would “lust after females” on social media with inappropriate comments about their bodies (he picked the ones who had sexy selfies) and invite them to his band gigs… Why? Because he “expected me to please him whenever he got the urge, and if I didn’t he would get mad and resentful.” How horrible that I wasn’t too keen about him rudely waking me up to have sex at 3 or 4am after a band gig, three sheets to the wind, reeking of beer and cigarettes and God knows what… How horrible that I stayed home with our kids because I didn’t think it was right to leave them with a sitter every weekend. The band always came first on his list of priorities. He was a middle-aged rockstar wannabe.

        • My dickhead on Dday, said, “Im so sorry I hurt you!”…..was paralyzed when I told him him to get the fuck out! COMPASSION???? nope, only learning it for me!

  • Cheaters love to talk about “unconditional love,” the ultimate Get Out of Jail Free card for the selfish and cruel. Not since we discarded the idea of beneficent slaveholding two centuries ago has such a stupid and destructive theory of human relationships enjoyed such wide and unthinking acceptance.

  • That one hug could make all the shittinss go away until it could no longer.
    Deep inside of me I knew. I read somewhere that feeling numb in a relationship represents detatching. The Limited left blatant clues in plain view. He cut off his wedding band and left it on the table next to the bed. . Anonamous caller repeatedly appeared on his business phone. I was numb and never said a word. He never loved me. The fight to keep him was over. He would have to fight for me and I knew it wouldn’t happen.

    For him it was more than cake. I’m not sure what to call IT. In the end i knew it was more important to fight for myself despite my weakened state. I changed the dance and when he coldly informed me he would be sleeping at her house he awoke to a porch full of all his clothing and I took his keys to the house. I never allowed him back in. And I finally filed for a divorce.

    It was WORTH facing the pain. There were layers upon layers to peel away to find myself. Now we are both where we belong. The Limited with all his entitlement lost the cover his family provided and was forced to accept his lot in life living with his equally disturbed catch in a shitty dump with no support system. Me, I got my soul back and embrace my life knowing the biggest loss I suffered in all of this ended up being the gift I gave myself to finally live.

      • Thank you CJ
        I’m still getting to know myself thanks to finding a great therapist who pulled me from the depths of Stockholm Syndrome. And the beloved Tracy who has literally pulled me from the wreckage. Knowing each and every one here shared my pain and hope daily has given me courage and light.

        Compassion should start with ourselves.

  • I don’t know how relevant my comment is to today’s post because my brain is not firing on all cylinders…

    On Sunday had a call from my daughter’s psychiatrist who has taken a great interest in our family dynamics over the past two years. He had just spoken to STBX for quite awhile and it seems that X was sad that we didn’t spend the Christmas holiday together. He had invited Schmoopie to move in with him back in September and the kids (23 & 22) have flatly refused to meet her and wanted no part of the holidays with her. So when my brother invited us to his house to celebrate, we jumped at the chance. No one told X until the very last minute so he was forced to drive with Schmoopie halfway across US to visit her newly widowed mother. No one in his immediate family would see him —including his only sibling who was hosting “Mother and Father”.

    So Dr B tells X that he needs to slow down and stop ramming Schmoopie down our throats. Dr. B thinks eventually we will accept her but it needs to be on our terms and not his. Then Dr B tells me that maybe I should reach out to her and invite her for coffee so we can discuss what’s happened. I was dumbounded! So not happening! I can see his reasoning — it would be better for the kids if we could all be one happy family — but I’m not through being angry. He said she might tell a different story of what went on. In any case, I gave it some thought and decided to test his theory by writing a letter to Schmoop on my computer (a letter I will never send) and in it I said I had questions that I wanted to have answered. If she wasn’t willing to answer my questions completely, then there would be no reason to become acquainted. I also decided that I would plant a seed and mention that X’s betrayal has made me wonder if there were other women besides her in his past (her husband left her for another woman and mine left me for her — if someone asked me this I’d be gone in a flash!). In any case, the letter is on my computer and not going anywhere, but I can read it and add to it as needed.

    Still can’t believe the good Dr thinks this would be a good step. Makes me cringe and laugh…

    • Ha. It is not, and will never be, “better for the kids” for them to see a human being forced to devalue themselves and not require being treated with basic human dignity. It will be better for the kids to see their mother being mighty and respecting herself and demanding proper treatment from others. Then maybe they will have courage to demand respectful treatment as adults instead of becoming doormats.

    • Mom9193–Hell to the No!! Tell the doctor to get his head out of his ass and respect your boundaries. And perhaps to re-enroll in graduate school so he might learn actual therapy techniques. Scrap that, you don’t even need to respond. Shake my head. It is a great idea, though, to write your thoughts to Schwhorpie to clear your brain from the pablum you’ve been fed by X and the “good Dr.”

      I’ve started to read some of the ancient & modern philosophers + psychologists who argue that this push for forgiveness and “can’t we all just get along” is not only complete hooey, but actually destructive to individuals and to society. There have to be boundaries, and consequences, and Aristotle argues that anger is not only warranted but necessary when strictures have been violated.

      Good for you seeing through the nonsense.

      • Not completely on the subject, but I have friend who was going to a shrink for awhile, and the people who were coming in to see him came in through the front door and the folks who were finished went out the back door. I assume so that they would not see each other.
        One day he was curious about why there was a 10-15 minute break between patients and decided to knock and then open the door. There found the Good Dr. nipping out of a flask in his bottom drawer! So much for all energy focused on your life progress!
        I had one during my living in hell phase that I could tell was attracted to me so I changed to a woman. It is a bitch to catch someone else up on your story but well worth it. Lots of Narcs in that profession too.
        Probably/maybe have a personal stake in making excuses for Cheaters!

      • Tempest,
        Can you please tell me who you are reading other than Aristotle? I would love to look further into this both personally and professionally. The current push for forgiveness at the cost of the abused is nausea inducing.

        Mom9193,
        Tempest has put it much better than I. My thought while reading your post was. Your children are adults so you being requested going cap in hand, to bridge the gap with your ex’s latest attraction in the hope of creating some fake relationship base line for him with his children is a disgraceful act and Dr should know better than allowing himself to be triangulated into your ex’s game this way.

        Does he even have clearance from your daughter to engage with you and your ex in this way as she is not a minor and without clearance is a breach of confidentiality. Clearly he identifies there is a server lack of relationship if he is now trying to triangulate you into a relationship with your ex’s current partner.
        Wow that is so messed up.

    • You do not need to do this – ever. You have a responsibility to your kids and your immediate family. But you have no obligation to be friends with your EX and his partner. Sure be civic at joint events like graduations or weddings, but make nice over coffee?

      Also, I recall my EX ‘interpreting’ conversations with other people — effectively manipulating them for his benefit — because he thought that I would believe their words (and not his). In other words, these people lie for their benefit.

      Hugs

    • it’s time to find a new dr.! And when you call him to fire him tell him to F*** OFF! Sick of this loons telling us we have to get along with them. And their is no point of his to see. The kids will be better off seeing you mighty instead of a doormat. Screw them all! I am not going to try to get along with my x or anyone associated with her. She is a cancer and i’m cutting it all out and nuking it! This is my life and I will make the decision on what my relationships will be and with whom. Be mighty!
      Sorry, kind of a rant but i’m sick of people saying we have to forgive them and all get along. NO WE DON’T!!!!!

    • OMG. Went to drinks & tapas last night at a friends’ whose husband (now ex) had cheated when her now adult son was about 9 or 10. Her ex was very much involved in the town’s youth hockey program where her son played. So the son was extremely upset and embarrassed that his father was at all his games with his mistress and his mom stood off alone. So the therapist tells my friend that maybe she should not attend the games as it was upsetting her son to see her standing alone. ???!!! She asked the therapist did it ever cross his mind to tell her ex if maybe HE should be the one not to attend the games. Anyway you have to wonder about some of these therapists and their quirky advice.

      • Our final therapy appointment was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

        The “therapist” called me crazy and manipulative for calling X on his bullshit. She said “Aren’t you worried about yourself?” to me.

        I looked over at X who was sitting there like the cat who caught the canary – so pleased with himself. He just couldn’t believe his luck that she bought his crap.

        I got up, told the therapist I’d be making a complaint to her professional association, and walked out.

        That was the last time I sas X or the therapist. And I did make a complaint, which is still being investigated (this happened in November).

        This is the same therapist who called me a “harpy” for being so angry at X. She also told me to soften my approach to X, literally comparing him to a deer in the forest who I should be approaching with an outstretched hand.

        Many of these therapists are quacks. Period.

        • Seattle: Maybe she is turned on by the asshole!
          You never know! Good for you for getting out of there & reporting her.

        • Yeah for you, SadinSeattle! Some accountability for bad therapists is long overdue.

          I hope you called her a gorgon.

        • “literally comparing him to a deer in the forest who I should be approaching with an outstretched hand”

          And in that hand, an axe!

          Sorry, after experiencing 12 months worth of expensive weekly sessions that led absolutely nowhere, I have NO TIME for these con-artists who call themselves therapists!

          They put the ‘SILLY’ in ‘recon-SILLY-ation’.

          • Hahaha. Axe in hand! She bought his bullshit, alright. But it was probably a blessing in disguise, since his incredible moment of validation of someone else finally confirming what he’d said all along, meant we will never, ever speak again! Except through lawyers.

    • “Would you tell me to become friends with a rapist if they raped me? Or a thug who beat the shit out of me? No? Then shut the fuck up. You have NO FUCKING CLUE what you are spewing out with that garbage.”

      Playing ‘happy families’ just DOES NOT WORK with people who entered said family by subterfuge and deception. People are fucking morons, I swear to god….

  • Yeah wanting them to care about us is ingrained. After all, isn’t that why we get married? To be that special one in each other’s lives. When we find out that we aren’t special to them, and they don’t care, it’s devastating.

    In my case, I had gotten into a small fender bender and was scared to death when I got home. I was in tears when I told cheater ex what had happened. He looked at me with those dead, flat sharks eyes and said just two little words. “Shut up.” There I was, scared, shaking and crying and he tells me to shut up. You know those moments on tv when the character has a holy shit moment, and you hear the sound of a needle being scraped across a record? Well, that was my holy shit moment. I never emotionally trusted him again.

    That was the moment that my compassion for him started going south along with my love for him. With every cruel act, big or small, I found my self moving farther and farther away from him until all the love and almost all the compassion was obliterated. He killed them both by inches until there was practically nothing left, and then blamed me for all of it.

    His final grandstand play for power didn’t surprise me at all. It broke my heart, but it didn’t surprise me.

    I know this sounds heartless, but I’m unapologetically glad he is dead.

    • You are so fortunate Tessie to not have to live with the (living) legacy of infidelity. I cannot tell how many times I said it would be easier had he died. (and i wished for it as well)

      • Unfortunately, I am forced to live with it every day. Sorry to say it was a very bittersweet victory for me Willowchumpx30.

        Cheater ex’s power play was to kidnap and murder my youngest son, his own flesh and blood. Cheater ex then drove across country and killed himself a week later with a buddy.

        Normally I don’t talk about it much here except when my story can be of help to someone, or on days like today, when it is sitting in my lap. Tomorrow is my precious boy’s birthday. I miss him so much and my heart is aching today. Tomorrow I will be a basket case as per usual on the day of his birthday and the anniversary of his death. After that I will pick myself up and go on, also as per usual.

        Sorry to be a downer, but some of these cheaters really are dangerous. Take care of yourselves and don’t make the mistake of putting any dastardly deed past them.

        • Tessie: We will be spiritually with you tomorrow, holding your hand. Your story brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it.

          Nomar made a distinction once between “getting over” vs. “getting past” a trauma; there is no getting over what happened to your son or to you. May you regain some peace the day after tomorrow.

        • So very sorry for the assinine remark bout you being lucky. Also so very sorry that happened and am sending you hugs and strength to get through the next few days. much love to you…

            • Tessie

              You give me strength and hope to live better. Each time I see you reaching out to others I cry for your loss. Sending love your way today and always

              • God Tessie I can’t even imagine what that must be like for you. Lots of love coming your way.

            • Tessie…I have read your story before and it always breaks my heart. Just know that there are good people out here that love you and we hold you in our hearts.

        • Tessie, sometimes I forget what exactly happened to you so I’m glad you remind us every once in a while. It’s so important that we not take the disordered lightly. You have tangibly helped me in that I still distrust my ex with every fiber of my being and call him out every chance I get, even though the rest of the world screams “Oh come on, just get over it” etc. If my suspicions are the only thing between my child and disaster, you better believe I’m going to make sure my suspicions are alive and well. Thank you for being here and for reminding us of how important all of this is. I’ll be thinking of you this week as I’m with my own family.

        • Tessie-sending big hugs and prayers to you for your sons birthday tomorrow. Thank you for sharing yourself and your wisdom with everyone here at CN. You have helped many of us & I’m sure that your son is proud of the strong, compassionate woman you are. And that the two of you will be reunited again in heaven

        • I remember being asked during the separation process if I had any concerns about Ex being alone with the children. Before d-day, I would have said without hesitation ‘absolutely not’ but what I realized after d-day and being faced with that question, is that I have absolutely no idea what he’s capable of. Apparently I am not a reliable judge of his character whatsoever.

          Much though I wanted karma to stomp all over him, I have also since realized that it’s better for me and my children that his mistress hasn’t dumped him. She keeps him distracted from obsessing over us.

          Tessie, we’re all thinking of you tomorrow.

        • Dear Tessie, so so so sorry this happened to you… It made me realize it might be good I am seperated by an ocean from my cheater and he has never met his baby daughter… His rages and unpredictability scare me now that I am a mother… I guess I should give it more time before I visit my old life and maybe I should accept that moving back is not safe even if he has never physically hurt me. I dont trust lying cheating addicted irresponsible and immature STBX one bit… going with instinct after reading your story.

          A big hug to you, so sorry for your loss.

        • Tessie; On the contrary, your message is so important to CN! You are living a nightmare that could happen to any of us who underestimate the sickness, narcissism, selfishness and cold hearted vengeance that can lurk behind the phony facade of a Monster. What a wake up call for the rest of us. What a lucky break we got out with ONLY a broken heart, empty wallet and difficulty trusting in the future. We are the lucky ones.
          Thank you for sharing your devastating story, it is a teacher like no other. Tomorrow I will be thinking of you as many here will. Only wish we could do more.

          • Tessie – love and prayers for you and your family today. Crying at work right now for you. I wish I had your strength – I’ve never admired anyone more. Hugs.

    • Even before I suspected the infidelity I found myself wishing that somehow he would drop dead. My therapist found that “interesting”. I’m still processing the pain and shock of his cheating and wondering how that fits in with my obvious dislike of being married to him. I wonder if I’m a horrible person who was using him for financial security or if I was just so miserable that my unconscious was screaming at me and yet I couldn’t compute.

      I focus on his shitty treatment of the kids for guidance. That is my North Star.

  • Mine Never, I mean never in all our years of marriage wore a band. for many years we could not afford one. later when we could and bought one he said he just did not like jewelry. they did not fit etc. I felt that a ring would not stop someone determined to step out. but it sure did help. what dumb ass niave little girl i was. oh and that comforting hug? never got it. to this day, almost two years after d day, still no comforting hug or affection outside the bedroom. I always felt I was groveling. oh and yes, yes, yes,; how inconvenient to have emotions or be so devastated. we must be not be normal. we must be crazy. its not that big a deal. just move on. live in the moment. forget the past. It’s just the past keeps coming back to haunt me you mf-r!

    • I read one that says “when I am finished with your training you will be my complete slave. Any bad behavior or indecresion will be met with complete and blinding violence you will be beaten into submission. Prove to to me that what I’ve just destroyed is all worth it. Prove to me I’ve made the right choice. You will prove it to me every single day or you will suffer grave consequences” there were dozens like these. A few loving ones but always with the be my slave or else stuff. Good stuff huh? Sick bastard.

  • I find my heart has been hardening pretty quickly. Reading his texts to the OW gave me a pretty good view into the depths of his dysfunction. Manipulative and predatory. After the initial shock, and while I’m still mourning the person I imagined he was I’m trying to fast track into viewing who he really is. Maybe I should have a funeral for the person I thought I was married to.

    The title of this post made me think about his demeanor whenever he doesn’t get his way – poor sad self pitying sausage. We had an argument about a friend of his behaving rudely towards me, now I realize because H encouraged it, but H segued into a sad tale about H’s ex wife not being nice to him a year before plus something about a dead cat. WTF? He took 2+2 and got 17 in order to deflect, distract and elicit sympathy, all with big sad eyes and the hint of a tear. It was so egregious and ridiculous that I was actually thrown for a loop. It was like dealing with a 5 year old caught with his hand in the cookie jar using a bad grade from a year ago as an excuse.

    I can’t believe I used to buy into the sad face routine. Now that I really get it, I’ll never buy into it again. FOO issues are no excuse but I know his enabling mother created this disaster, all of her children are similarly immature. I had realized recently that our dynamic was hovering close to theirs and I’ve been dialing back as quickly as I can.

  • My deranged husband is a sociopath. The day he ran off while I was out he calmly made himself a few sandwiches and of course took that infamous apple pie for his lunch! But he did tell me later he cried. No doubt tears of frustration because he had been found out and for himself. He wanted me to feel sorry for him. But this fixer was through with that and it is very liberating. I have discovered boundaries and me again. He lives with Twinkle Twat and apparently is in poor health. And I don’t care – not even one little bit. Of course he told everyone our split was mutual. I told the truth – to everyone, loud and clear. He cheated, lied and stole and now everyone knows.

    • good for you telling the truth. thats what they do cheat lie and steal. yet somehow they rationalize it;s all good deeds. like it’s charity or something. yeah giving whores some money to help their college fund is charity.

      • yes. Charitable. Especially when it’s your collective money, mainly your wife’s, and she has been trying to pay off everyone within the families college bills. Where is my fucking charity?

        • Charity? My X would define those as the 50% of marital assets he had to give me in the divorce because they were “his life’s savings.” At first I was angry about that characterization (esp. since I gave up tenure and higher pay so he could have a significantly better job), but then I liked that he thought that way–it hurt more to sign over those funds to me. tee hee

  • BTW he has no problem getting all duded up and wear rings and jewelry to go get the oil changed on his car. Which happened to take 2.5hours and missing 300 cash from his wallet. except he charged the oil change to his cc.

  • This post struck a chord with me. I find it funny that cheaters want you to freely give them all this compassion on tap. I know my ex did and for a while I was hoping he would have compassion towards me. The thing is though compassion means that you show concern for others well being. One shows that concern through action. Some how I just couldn’t equate repeated lying, manipulation and reckless sex with multiple partners as demonstration of true concern. So I began to turn that compassion towards myself and I have not looked back. I think compassion is a wonderful characteristic don’t let anyone exploit it, or make you feel guilty for having a caring heart. All we can do moving forward is truly observe and gain discernment on who to share that gift with.

    • my turning point came last night. I am tired of being pathetic. of my kids watching me be this person I have become. watching them slowly lose respect for me while I dance on eggshells. I have decided to pull out all the stops. get my info that he is still engaging in affairs and/or postitutes. It may kill me but it’s killing me anyway. literally shaking and heart pounding as I write. I am just waiting on the daughter to graduate like I promised. Hope I don’t have a heart attack first. BTW he is off on a made up errand as I write this. jumped up and ran out after watching the cosby bombshell when I argued that maybe his wife did not know in the beginning. that some people are that good at lying and leading double life for years and years (him)

      • You are no good to her dead, or stifled. High school kids can be pretty resilient. If you’re at this place now, and you can’t take it, pull the plug, get out. I know only too well about staying for the right time- I have desperate hopes for January and February. But last night between love bombs and snuggles and dotting on me he was busy texting his fucking Ho-harem, my up to date billing history validates this. And it makes me sick. It breaks my already shattered heart. How can it even do that?

        Being a strong woman and leaving or making him leave in her high school year is going to make a lasting impression on her, she won’t be ruined by it. She will admire your strength. Your kids love you. They don’t want you to be a doormat. And the ‘married people aren’t supposed to have girlfriends or boyfriends, your dad got a girlfriend so he can’t be married to me anymore” would work just as well on a 17 year old. I can actually garuntee you as a teen I would have thrown myself into school, ignored my dad, and trusted my mom for good advice if this had happened to me.

        Be mighty and know we have your back, whatever your choice.

        *hugs*

        • I’ll add that they probably already aware of tension or may even know what EXACTLY is going on. Tell the kids the truth now will give them stability. The truth sucks sometimes but it’s also very freeing.

        • I hear you, Willowchump. I also waited until my second oldest graduated high school. It was a tough time choking on the diet of shit sandwich. We do what we feel is right for us and our children. Thinking of you…

  • Yeah, I was told that I was “not capable of compassion or empathy” but really that was just another way to gaslight me and blame the victim.

    My favorite was when he said “don’t kick me while I’m down”…right after Dday. Ever the victim…

    I like this sentence: “Hold your compassion back and watch what they do.”

    • HM, they are such sad sausages, eh? My ex actually had the gall to tell me, a couple of years after I kicked him out (and he willingly went off to the Twat Waffle), that he lost far more than I did! Yeah, you ‘lost’ your wife, kids, home, friends, and your good life. Gosh, must have been some kind of carelessness!

  • There’s also the pressure from outside to be compassionate toward the cheater which CL touches on. I’ve said all along there’s a competitive nature to the varying sites for chump dollars, and it all revolves around being compassionate, understanding, forgiving, what have you, toward the cheater. Cheaters are told they are “100% responsible” for the cheating, but these varying sites and resources never enumerate the actual consequence of that action. Instead they focus on this rampant, ignorant, and mean spirited “forgive at all costs” mentality. There’s a huge difference between letting go of the past, putting it in perspective, using it to better yourself, versus being trapped into a conundrum where the cheater supposedly owns the act, but never feels the consequence of the act, and you the chump swallowing the BS whole that the only way to live in the future is to “forgive”.

    I’m Catholic. After I found out about my Ex’s betrayal, I was devastated, but purposefully, I saw a therapist, I saw a lawyer, I found this site, and others and slowly regained my personal strength and power. At one point, I went into the confessional, and still whipped on the idea of forgiveness, I asked the priest, “how do I forgive this”. Much to his credit (I know priests don’t always get a lot of credit these days), he told me, “don’t. Just don’t do it. You should focus on yourself. You should get out of your marriage if that’s what you choose. Let her live with this sin against God. It’s not your burden.” I was shocked. He told me eventually I would figure out how to let it go, but that I needed to keep the focus on me.

    What a shocker!

    At the same time I’m amazed at the number of people who advocate for forgoing your own health and healing and your own growth for the holy grail of forgiveness. That we must show compassion to someone who has brutally and surgically removed our identity, our understanding of the world we built, and demolished so many innocent hopes and thoughts about life is beyond my comprehension. I advocate letting go of the past, walking away from the pain. Yes. I do not advocate this BS forgive and forget boogyman that everyone has dreamed up. When people ask me, “did you forgive her” I tell them, “she’s not a safe person. She would use that to further damage me. If you’re asking have I moved forward, the answer is yes. But to her face, no, that’s not a safe thing for me to do.”

    Since when does me showing compassion for her hate, her violence, her destruction, do me any good at all? What do I gain by being altruistic to someone who has proven abusive to me? That only makes me weaker, not stronger. Should I hang onto it? No! Should I let it define my life? HELL NO. But that doesn’t mean I should make her feel better about her bad choices or her destruction. She can live with that, it’s not my job to live with it. Those were her choices. So much the better that the compassion I show is to myself and my children, my true friends, my family, the people who supported me and lifted me up in my time of need. Those are the people that need compassion, NOT her.

    • Scott, I talked to two priests separately prior to filing for divorce, and they both told me to leave the cheater, otherwise, I would be enabling his sin. Both of them called him a fool. I used to want to forgive because that’s what I thought I had to do. I now know I could not force forgiveness and I don’t even give it a second thought anymore. If it happens, it happens. If it doesn’t, I honestly don’t care. I, too, am focusing on myself. A healthier way to live life, that’s for sure.

    • Very well said Scott! I still have moments of weakness when she tells me about the consequences of her decision. I just have to remind myself i’m no longer responsible for her and don’t owe her anything. So, I just don’t respond the the text where she is seeking compassion. That goes against what the majority of the public thinks and believes. We should for some reason be compassionate to them after they destroyed everything we believed about a loving relationship. I am not going to do it. People can think what they want to I just don’t care anymore!

      • Right, and that’s also a power play on their part. They apologize, expecting some response, a “sorry for hurting you” type of thing, when all that they are doing is putting salve on their conscience or trying to gauge how ‘hurt’ you still are over them. It has nothing to do with you. It’s no different then a rapist reliving through a trophy, or a murderer returning to the scene of the crime. There’s a bizarre and absurd fascination abusers get out of seeing their victims writhe in agony. It’s not enough to victimize and brutalize, there’s a real element of wanting to relive the act. If she can force you into an emotional reaction, she believes she’s ‘won’ something. So, it’s best to pay zero attention. That’s what eats their soul, when no one gives them attention.

        I have said this before and believe it to be true, this is the only form of abusive behavior that’s celebrated in our culture, and the only form of abusive behavior ignored by courts. Do they like the behavior, no, but there’s rarely a compensatory judgement for a betrayed spouse based solely on philandering.

        • The sick satisfaction thing is super true. Half of Ho-Hub gets off on how he’s so smart and I’m a dumb wifey carrying his ass while he is this ladies man (*cough *payying doesn’t count asswipe*cough*) and yet I know he is going to get a really really good stiffy when I show him what I know and he sees how deep the hurt goes. Like a serial killer in training torturing a house cat, he is in it for the pain.

        • Agreed! I screwed around trying to reconcile for about a month after dday and accepting blame that I didn’t need to. The you made me do it line, etc. Caught her in another lie and that was it. Pretty much went no-contact at that point. Refuse to answer almost any text or speak to her. I will if it’s an emergency involving the kids but that’s it. And it’s funny how no-contact is driving her crazy. My resolve is so strong that the dear loved ones text to my family that her mother has cancer didn’t get a reply. Maybe some will think that’s too harsh but I don’t. She didn’t want me in her life so I am out of it. Do I care about her mom? Absolutely, she is the grandmother of my kids. But they knew about the cheating and never told me. They just want her to be happy. Ok, i’m out of here. Relationship with you terminated.
          Our culture today really doesn’t see a real problem with cheating. It’s sad but that’s where we are today. My lawyer told me upfront that adultery in Texas is irrelevant to a divorce.
          So I lose half of my assets to a cheater.

    • All of this is exactly how I feel. I cannot rationalize how to forgive the guy who completely threw me under the bus and napalmed my children. And all for WHAT?

      There is no forgiveness for him for any of it.

      • “I cannot rationalize how to forgive the guy who completely threw me under the bus and napalmed my children. And all for WHAT?”

        I agree, ANC, no forgiveness.

  • I have to thank CL for doing this for us. She has the gift of writing and after her ordeal she decided to give advice to all of us. Her unique style of writing make us cry, laugh and feel the same. tHank you. wHen I first found this website I could not get it since English is my second language then I got hook up
    & started reading all the articles since the beginning. I am still with my cheater planning my exit but Sometimes I think that there is no perfect get away. My cheaters keep giving me kibbles, nice gifts & BD dinner, taking about us getting older?!? 50% of me fall on the trap but then I heard CL voice and said to myself kibble,’kibble And I change the conversation. It is difficult try to balance job, not show a sad face in front of your kid, and keep going. God bless CL and CN specially during this holidays. You are the only ones that know my story and I feel “free” to talk with you guyd after a year of just reading. DO not give up and do not show a sad face in front of your cheater, they love see you sad. And like other girls said if you just found out stay quiet and plan your exit.

  • I am always amazed when I read CL posts and she says something that my CB ( his initials and also stands for cheating Bastard!) has said to me. He swore on his kids life he was not cheating anymore! And I being ms chumpy believed no one would swear on their own children’s life, he must not be doing anything. How wrong I was! No more compassion left for me. So many lies, they lie like a rug!!!!

    • Holy SHit mine swore on our kids life too! I have decided to take him up on his offer of him signing a contract that he loves us and does not want to leave us or divorce us. only the contract will be written by me that says sign here that you swear on your kids life you never forked anyone but me for our entire marriage and was faithful to me by my definition and the states definition of fidelity…. let’s see if he signs that! that will prove to all he is a lying asstard to the power of infinity

    • Mine, too, swore on our kids’ lives. Two months later, the oldest child was dead. As close as I am to “meh,” that’s the one thing I really don’t think I can get over. 🙁

  • I fell into the compassion trap too after DD#1 and then years later when my EX moved out because he needed ‘space to think about things’ (but he really moved into with the 25 year old OW). I believe that it an honest and natural emotion when you have had an intimate and long-term relationship. However, that was burned off after DD#2 when I realized that I had been played and then my anger took over.

    I used to long for a simple apology like…”I am sorry. I was an asshole to you.”. Once I realized that he is incapable of this, I was able to move to ‘meh’.

    I think chumps need to direct the compassion to themselves. For me this part has been difficult because ugghhh I invested half of my adult life with a fucktard.

  • “Evolution favors the organisms that can be vengeful when it’s necessary, that can forgive when it’s necessary, and that have the wisdom to know the difference.” ~ McCullough, M. E. (2008). Beyond revenge: The evolution of the forgiveness instinct.

    There is an article in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2010, called The Doormat Effect: When Forgiving Erodes Self-Respect and Self-Concept Clarity by Laura B. Luchies and Eli J. Finkel, Department of Psychology, Northwestern University; James K. McNulty, Department of Psychology, University of Tennessee; Madoka Kumashiro, Department of Psychology, Goldsmiths, University of London, London, England. Their conclusion was:

    “The present research establishes that forgiveness is not related solely to positive outcomes. Although forgiving bolsters one’s self-respect and self-concept clarity if the perpetrator has acted in a manner that signals that the victim will be safe and valued in a continued relationship with the perpetrator (e.g., by behaving agreeably or making amends), it diminishes one’s self-respect and self-concept clarity if the perpetrator has not. These findings highlight the importance of both victims’ and perpetrators’ responses following a betrayal. By withholding forgiveness from perpetrators who have failed to indicate that their victims will be safe and valued, victims might avoid experiencing the eroded self-respect and self-concept clarity that stem from being a human doormat.”

    • I discovered compassion for MYSELF when I finally reached my breaking point. I no longer was going to be a doormat. I was done being taken for a fool. When ex cried and begged me for another chance, I did not cave. I showed compassion by remaining calm when I told him I no longer wanted to be married. I showed compassion by maintaining my dignity. I’m sure it wasn’t the kind of compassion he was seeking from me, but no one can accuse me of being abusive toward him. A claim he can never truthfully make.

        • I agree! A brilliant way of looking at showing compassion- to the one who deserves it, the Chump! I did something similar, Over and Out, I made a resolve to ‘take the high road’ as I left my marriage, mainly because X and his neighbor Ho had caused me and my boys so much pain and embarrassment by being lowlife, tacky cheaters. I knew I could behave better than them in my sleep! Of course, reading CL helped me focus on my goal. I just would never let him drag me into anything that was dramatic, or compromised my value system, and I methodically divorced him, and was even polite and kind to him when I could be. But like you said, I no longer wanted to be married to him, and I focused on that.

          • I was very careful about choosing words… Tried to be as non-threatening as possible because I KNEW how he was and that I had to keep him thinking that he was in control or had the edge over me. It was very methodical process. When I told him I was a divorce, I specifically said, “I no longer want to be married” and purposely omitted saying “to you.”

  • What a beautiful column Tracy. So on point and reading this makes me feel it’s ok to be who I am and that my ‘compassion was a beautiful sacrificial thing’ but to keep my self worth and move forwards. This has given me huge comfort today. Thank You

  • My therapist recently told me about “Trauma Bonding.”

    I’m sure most of us already know what oxytocin is. The bonding hormone that is released when people hug, kiss or have sex with each other. It also is released after mothers give birth, but not just to bond the mother with the child, and this is where trauma bonding comes in.

    Oxytocin is also released during traumatic experiences. It makes the brain forget trauma. In childbirth, it makes the brain forget some of the trauma of actually giving birth (this is to increase the likelihood of the species reproducing again.)

    But this is something that also happens with other traumatic situations, like abuse. And this goes along with “Fight, flight or freeze” responses. Not everyone either fights or runs away, it is actually far more common for someone experiencing abuse or trauma to just freeze up. The mind goes into a sort of shock state and the body follows suit. (Anyone ever found themselves in an abusive or extremely uncomfortable situation where you just didn’t know what to do and you found yourself feeling paralyzed? Yup, that’s freeze response.) This also goes along with disassociation. The mind tries desperately to separate itself from what’s going on and focus on something, ANYTHING, else until it’s over. This is often why abuse victims cannot recall every detail of an incident.

    Trauma bonding is also why. When the brain releases that oxytocin, it blocks out some of that trauma. It also has the effect of the victim “bonding” to the abuser. Which is one of the reasons why it’s so hard for an abuse victim to leave. They are often literally chemically bonded to their abuser and they don’t even know it. So oxytocin is a double-edged sword. It can make us bond to our loved ones, but it can also make us forget pain and attach us to those hurting us.

    So when it comes to wanting to be comforted and shown compassion by our abusers, you can thank trauma bonding.

    I think another part of it, when it comes to relationships, is we have loved this person so much, and we have been under the impression that they loved us as well. Because of that, when betrayal happens, we want very desperately for it not to be true. We search and search and search for any sign of the opposite. We don’t want to accept that this person we loved so much could actually do something so insidious that we look for the tiniest indication that they could really love is and this will all go away.

    • the trauma bonding explains a lot. also explains why I sometimes feel as though I am going through some sort of detox-drug withdrawal. not having physical or verbal contact sends me into anxiety, jitters. I end up having to take a b.p. pill. thank god for beta blockers. I give myself little talks: i can get through this etc. Oh and yes I believe he is the high priest of covert NPD’s. He can twist meanings and words to his advantage, sets verbal traps, machiavellian manipulator, compartmentalizer extraordinaire, and every other marker for NPD. on the surface he glows with kindness and generosity. has totally fooled two psychiatrist friends who admire his erudition on many topics and philanthropy. I sit there and am amazed no one sees through the B.s. Oh well. took me thirty years so I shouldn’t judge.

      • willowchumpx30, Those NPD ratbastards are the worst. They can charm the birds out of the trees and convince most everyone to believe whatever they say. So understand that the playing field is not level. You will have to expect the unexpected until you can put some serious distance between yourself and that disordered fuckwit. Protect yourself, protect yourself, protect yourself.

      • Willowchumpx30, Bingo! Mine is the High Priestess of Covert NPDs! Only the people who have been through something similar see through her mask. Yes, and that oxytocin trauma bonding (cPTSD as well) is a Bitch to get past. I don’t know what Heroin withdrawals are like, but I read somewhere that this is up there with it.

  • My husband of 11 years and best friend blindsided me with the statement that he wasn’t happy, felt empty inside, felt like we were roommates, and so on. While we were “working” on our marriage in the following two months, I learned that his feelings all stemmed from a woman in town that he had become infatuated with. After meeting her he felt like our relationship had problems.

    During those two months, he was having these crying jags alternating with periods of almost euphoria. One day he’d tell me he wanted to leave our marriage, the next he’d say I’m his best friend, he loved me, and he wanted to stay. I really did think there was a mental illness going on here, and I tried to get him to see an individual counselor or psychologist. When I wasn’t numb and devastated, I felt for him, he seemed so agonized. Was he bipolar? Was it a brain tumor? Had I neglected some feelings of his that he never put voice to?

    The, he went to a conference in Vegas and had unprotected sex with a stranger. He called me at work to tell me about it the next day. But, he told me that after having sex with a stranger he, “felt more optimistic about us.” WTH?! He came home, I suggested a separation with counseling, he filed for divorce and moved out.

    It’s been two months since he left. Sometimes I read stuff online and start to wonder again if he was dealing with depression or something else and I start to feel sorry for him. This post was helpful. I think it’s time to use my compassion on myself and say good riddance to the crazy train that I just got off of.

    • I’ll guarantee you’re still in shock, too. But yes, save the compassion for yourself.

      I read a book called Runaway Husbands that helped a lot. I kind of had the a similar thing in that my X loved me, loved me, loved me, until I found out about his affair and suddenly he started telling me he “hadn’t been happy in years” and it was all a sham. Then later in the day, text messages about how much he loved me. WTF? This shit rips you apart.

      I felt sorry for my X for about two seconds. It was like he morphed into a different person. I thought he was nuts.

      Stay here and read. It really does get better. I’m quite a ways out now and never thought I’d ever get past it, but I did.

      • Thanks, Rumble. I’ve never participated in a forum before, but this has been helpful. I read Runaway Husbands and this older book called Sudden Endings. I guess I’m trying to make sense of something that one really can’t make much sense of. It’s weird thinking that I’ll never really understand what happened, everything was good, we loved each other (I thought), then he went crazy, got involved with other women and left.

        When I thought he was mentally ill, I was really trying to understand and help him work through it. I guess it’s easier for me to believe he’s ill than that he’d do this. In the course of three months I went from a loving relationship living in our dream home (which we bought only 18 months prior)…. to renting a room in a friend’s basement. Just me and my dog, trying to figure out what happened here. I probably am still in shock.

        • I am still knee deep in my own pile, but your story… It’s odd and hauntingly similar to ones I see all the time here. I think he is actually using the ONS in Vegas to cover the affair he has with the woman in town. And his odd mood swings were simply him jumping between his ID (I want my new toy and all my stuff the way I want it. Right now. Immediately. I’m gonna blow up my old life) and his reasonable grown up narc self (not ego and super ego, those are reserve for people with conscience) “I’m gonna make her file and kick me out for being weird or keep up the appearance of marriage for the sake of money/comfort/kibbles even though what I really want is my bright shiny toy pussy from town. And whatever I can get on the sly” enter a one night stand which should push you off the ledge, he moves out and files and conveniently, enter stage left the woman he only had ‘a connection with’ before you guys were divorcing, protected from the terrible rumours of an affair.

          Fuck that shit. Start digging.

          • I’ve seen a few similar stories since I started reading CL too. It’s disorienting seeing this crazy thing I’ve experienced happening to someone else. It feels so big and unusual and out of nowhere, and here’s a bunch of people experiencing the same thing.

            I think about it all of the time because I cannot make sense of it. I wish I could just let it go, but none of it makes sense. Was he gay? Is it about sexual identity? Is it male menopause? Is that even a thing? In the end, it’s likely to be as simple as “greener pastures,” but it’s just so hard to believe. Once I believe that, I’ll stop feeling sorry for him and get angry instead.

            He told me so much crazy stuff that I have trouble reconciling it all, I don’t know what’s true and what’s not. He loves me, I’m his best friend… but he thinks divorcing is “for the best?” He had to live out his “fantasy” of having sex with another woman? He “just connected” with this other woman in town, but told me he wouldn’t pursue her because they’re “not compatible?” She has a 7-year old child and we’re childless. He suddenly decides after a decade of postponing our childbearing decision that he wants kids. Okay! But… he told me he wants kids but “not with me.” Huh?

            • I believe greener pastures. I was the one who sacrificed for his fucking business me not the whore, but I think they get to an age when the body starts failing, the dick ain’t so hard, death is a lot closer they need a big change to make the rest of their easier and fuck how they fuck up the family. They just don’t care. Fuck my wife out of her future, make her work two jobs to support herself, for new sparkly whore juice which has blown up in his face so badly and the stupid bitch wanted him back when he cheats on her. I believe asswipe can not bring himself to say its all about the money. This stupid treats him like a king and bows down to his every whim. What a loser. He never liked women like that before. The money, the money! Her whiteness can have him, the angry beaten man.

            • Go to the untangling the skein articles and cling to their truth. The reality is he’s cheated, bad, probably not just once. He’s decided he wants a shiny new life and this lady is the key, he now wants kids because it fits with her part in his life. There’s no WHY. It’s now just… He sucks. Trust trust trust that he sucks. And wash your hair, go have a drink with the girls. Tell everyone he’s a cheat. Start fixing your wounds. get a great lawyer, thank your stars you have no kids (we are in the same boat. At least once your done with him you can have no contact forever. Blessed be) get copies of all the bills. Pay a PI for proof of cheating if you want, but realistically if you’re already divorcing it may just be better to cut ties and get on with the new opportunities in life.

              It blows. It blows my mind, it blew my heart to smithereens, it blows in general. But the sooner you dig in to the work of removing his cancerous barbs from your brain and his bad mojo from your life, the sooner the new good stuff can flow in.

              I’m sorry you’re here. But welcome.

            • Liz, Honey, why are you in the rented room and he is in your dream house? That fact right there is proof of his inate selfishness and overall disfunction. Lawyer up Girlfriend. Don’t let his cheating ass steal one more thing from you. He’s not mentally ill, just an entitled prick!

        • Yep. We had just bought our dream house too. I think we lived there a whole year before he blew everything up.

          All of our friends thought we were a dream couple. I can’t tell you how many times my friends remarked that they were sort of envious because my husband loved me so much. And of course they thought so since he’d buy jewelry and flowers all the time, for 11 years! He told me he loved me every day. Played with my hair and rubbed my back before we went to sleep, Mr. Attentive, never missed a birthday, anniversary, holiday, etc.

          When it all blew up, I was in shock. I felt like I had an arm severed. Some of my friends thought something might be mentally wrong with him because it was like he changed overnight. That’s when he started re-writing history saying that our marriage was always shit and he was unhappy. News to me . . . The only thing that changed was I found out he was cheating and he decided to move his life over to the OW. If I had never found out, I’d still be living a lie.

          I know we hear a lot here that it’s better an X outright bails then if you have a crazy narc X who tries to reel you back in. I’ve had both, and this one is more of a mind fuck for me. But, it all sucks. The good thing though, is the more time you get under your belt, the more tolerable it is. You’ll get to the point you really don’t care why they did it. And for me, I found out more details that who I thought was my loving husband never really was. He was playing a role, and I was a front. She’s not the first person he has cheated on me with. Once I found that out, it made the whole thing easier to deal with I guess.

          • *As an aside, he did a half-assed attempt to keep cake in the month following D-day. Then he went to the re-writing marital history. I thought my posted didn’t make much sense . . . I’m trying to this and lock up for the day. 🙂

            There’s people here who went through a blender with the cheater trying to get back into their lives, sometimes even after the divorce is final. I didn’t have that crap to deal with.

    • Liz, it occurred to me that the story about a hook up with a stranger in Vegas may well be a cover for his having the AP there with him rather than a stranger. I agree that there is more going on here than he has admitted.

  • I know, rationally, that I have a lot to be thankful for, especially compared with many of my fellow Chumps, that my stbx didn’t carry on long or many affairs (as far as I know) while trying to stay married to me or asking me not to divorce him. But it presents the alternative mindfuck of just discarding me and our marriage and our entire relationship like it was nothing. And because while he didn’t act like a victim or try to convince me to stay with him (on the contrary: he left me for AP), he still painted himself as the sad sack anyway, that oh, he hasn’t been able to sleep without pills, that he’s an asshole, that “I deserve better” (no shit). It’s hard for me to process.

    • Mine did this too. Just left. No crocodile tears for me. No begging me not to divorce him. I was nothing. Our marriage meant nothing.. I busted him after about 3 months but, honestly, looking back, he was ready for me to know. He is now living with the OW. It is a total mindfuck. It actually scares me at times, especially right after DDay. I realized he was NOT the man I thought he was and I did not know all that he was capable of. I thought he’d NEVER cheat on me. And he did. What ELSE was he capable of??? That “what if” kicked me into high gear of self-preservation and lining up my ducks.

    • Mine did this too, too! 30yrs, walked away from as if it never existed. Straight to the AP right after we sold the house. Not a word since. Serious Mindfuck!!!

      • Marked – seriously, after talking to a lot of folks with wisdom, a lot of reading, well…they WILL regret this. It’s guaranteed, especially after a long-term-marriage. It’s just a matter of time. I guess those are the stats from my wise friends anyway. But, I am long gone. Sorry Bud, you had your chance. So sad, too bad.

        • At 50+, 60+, what exactly do you want out of life anyway? You want to throw away your entire history of somebody you swore you loved deeply. The entire clan of families on both sides? for what? A fuck? A little thrill. A new sports car? It’s sort of pathetic when you look at these old guys (or gals) looking for validation from cheap sources outside their marriages. What exactly are they looking for? I’ll never know, but the X of mine sure looks like a fool with a shaved head and some kind of beard. ewwwww that he’s trying to look young again. He doesn’t.

  • This is my first post ever and I apologize for the length… and this is after I shortened it.

    Tracy, and Chump Nation, THANK YOU ALL for what you have done for me in the last two years by coming to this forum and posting. It is because of your compassion for others that you take the time to write and pay it forward. I understand that now and not only want to say thanks, but to pay forward what I have been given and to join in the movement of changing the narrative away from blame shifting innocent spouses. We know it is a joke to whitewash their deceptive lives with a “Normal Narrative” of relationships are tough and ILYBINILWY. They hid behind us and somehow I now feel empowered to join forces with you all and blow the lid off of these destructive cowards who have the nerve to call themselves spouses/partners.

    This Compassion post had meaning to me the first time I read it a couple of years ago. Like many of you seasoned chumps know, the farther we get from the trauma of DDay, the clearer I see. Maybe I can use my hard-faught wisdom to give a huge thumbs up to this message for someone newly chumped and thinking just the right amount and love and compassion will keep you and your precious family intact. I too had that hope and sincere belief that God too wanted me to keep being a loving a fathful spouse and He could help mend my broken husband. I thought God wanted me to save a 26 year marriage and the family for our 4 kids. There are tons of posts to hit you with a 2 x 4 for that hopium. Hey, I was chumpy enough to try to give compassion during the divorce…maybe he will see that I am still kind and fair and just want to be treated fairly, and we can be like the videos of mature adults who together love and support their children (grrrr). Cheaters by definition make that notion laughable.

    CL is so wise and spot on. Compassion (along with commitment and love) given to spouses who promised to love and be faithful to us, can be DANGEROUS in the wrongful hands of the disordered- aka Cheaters. It’s a gift of a virtue that would bring a healthy relationship or marriage stablilty and strength. I think my ex used my compassion and trust until it was all used up. He lived off the fumes of my excessive faithfulness and love and slurped it up and occassionally thanked me for being such a loving and supportive wife. (Until he claimed I was the opposite- another post altogether). I naturally believed my spouse was using the same values and behaviors that matched mine (even while away on “business” ) because he said so! Cheating is a set of deplorable behaviors and lies. Focus on that and not on words or tears of the caught spouse. If you are hanging onto old memories and hope that they will return to a former self then I urge you to stop. I faced that reality dead on and it was so painful- the hardest thing I ever did is admit that I was chumped in a 26 year marriage and duped in every way. I did it before even knowing Chump Nation existed with a therapist we saw 3 times who gave the message of every marriage takes 2 and you are equally responsible. I did it because I finally withheld compassion and did not feed that feeling. I looked at his behaviors and that gave me the moxy to stand up and get rightly angry and secure money and make plans and get ducks in a row. I also read The Power of A Praying Wife and cried and grieved and hoped. That’s who I am and that was all I knew to do then. You can even have compassion, but don’t just sit with that compassion. MOVE, and get on with the business that lies ahead. I had no clue what I would be facing, but his emails asking me to pray for him and telling me he was confused and lonely were distractions at best. It was knowing my worth as a daughter of God that motivated me to act in my own preservation and to secure life for me and the kids. It is not selfish or heartless and chances are you are not lacking in compassion, so don’t get sucked down that rabbit hole.

    If your cheating spouse is asking for your compassion that is a huge red flag. They should be offering you compassion! It is a front for someone to keep taking advantage of you. Do NOT fall for tears or the “I just need time excuse, or I am confused or broken” Trust your gut…get those boundaries in place. Withhold compassion from those who do not deserve it. Cheaters do not need or deserve your compassion. You need it. Keep it for yourself and your loved ones who do need it. Don’t worry one bit about what your cheating spouse and his or her family will think of you when you suddenly act so cruel and compassionless. If they notice that shift…congratulations! You’re one step closer to authenticity. Compassion from a sincere place with no hidden agenda is a beautiful thing and I for one am hopeful to enjoy that and other virtues some day with a real man who recipricates those values.

    I wish I used that compassion on me then. That was a mistake that I made that I hope someone new to CN doesn’t make. Take that love and compassion and focus it in inward and take excellent loving care of yourself and you will have the strength and love to give to your kids/loved ones and the energy to go fight the mighty battle of divorce and face your fears of the unknown. I am finally, after 30 years of giving away all of my compassion, using that toward me. I sure need it and deserve it. Nurturing myself and honoring the pain my kids and I have endured keeps that compassion well placed.

    Cheaters lack integrity and do not love us enough to keep a vow. The spectrum of cheaters Tracy shows would likely match up with a spectrum of kindness and compassion a person doesn’t have. Mine happens to pin the right side of both. The fact that I thought he was a man who could never cheat, never mind be the poster child for cheaters may fill a book someday. But the part that I have to own is that he exploited some of my very best qualities- compassion being one of them. I allowed that. Similar to Cheaters’ talents (gag) of twisiting and manipulating outcomes while maintaining position and power over you (withholding truth, impression management, crazy making behavior), they have a penchant for knowing and using your strengths and weaknesses against you and for them. They see your strengths (Chump is devoted and cares about my needs and happiness) and “weaknesses” (naivety, believing we love them, trust, compassion!!) -which are only weaknesses in the hands of users as a means to an end. Know your betrayer. This is who they really are.

    Also, know the value of compassion and believe Chump Lady. Not showing compassion to your cheater does not mean you are bitter. You need to shift that inherent impulse to give away that virtue to a “hurt” partner, and change that now. It is the first of many shifts you’ll hopefully be making.

  • I struggle with this one. I do have compassion, I do have love. I’ve always been his main support, since we were in high school – 26 years ago. He does show remorse – took awhile – was spiteful and defensive and quick to turn the tables on me and my contribution at first. But he softened. He is sorry, sorry he sucks. He wishes he didn’t suck, but he knows he does. It took him two months to end the affair after I found out – he said it was for me, that it fueled my rage and he couldn’t take that from me – but really, it just ran its course. Relationships with bartenders do that. Anyway he moved out on DDay, and I filed 5 weeks later after being told he needed time to figure out what he wanted, to work on him. Wrong answer. He never asked for reconciliation – he says he’s scared he would do it again. Said it sobbing. I believe him. He would do it again. Might take 15 years this time, maybe only 5. He’s in therapy, trying to fix his abandonment/neglect issues from childhood. Made the appointment on his own. He didn’t balk at me telling EVERYONE, didn’t balk at STD testing. The financial consequences for him are severe – reconciliation makes sense for him – but still he hasn’t asked. I appreciate that at least – not being lulled into a false attempt. I had one week of temporary insanity where I begged him to consider – we have a child, we took vows, how does he get to unilaterally decide we’re not going to even try? But that passed, and I got pissed instead of sad. But honestly, I do feel compassion for him. He does have tons of issues. And he does sincerely suck. But those aren’t new – and for whatever reason I’ve always been crazy about him. And it is really hard to let that go, to deal with the end of our years of shared history, on top of dealing with the betrayal. But I’m not judging the compassion – that feels right to me. I’m still pissed as hell, but really, I recognize like me he’s going through the hardest time of his life. His guilt and shame are real. And he’s all alone. No one is on his side. Cheaters aren’t exactly sympathetic figures. Everyone, including his own family is supporting me. Of course that makes sense, but I do see that when you’ve been that awful, and you are sorry, and you want to change, and no one will even call you, and you already take meds for depression, it’s a lot. It’s just all a lot. Anyway, it’s all so complex!

    • Even now, how I feel and how I act are not the same. I also feel compassion, but I do not allow myself to show it to X. Why? Because I know my kindness will always be used against me. X is older and in poor health and he has lost the love and respect of many people. He has paid a steep price, but the price I have paid for his infidelity is far, far greater. I have lost my ability to believe in the fundamental goodness of people. Intellectually, I can accept the proposition that trustworthy people exist. Emotionally, I am on constant vigil to protect myself. I was very young when I met X, he was my first and only love, we raised a family together, and I truly believed we would be together until one of us died. We were “that” couple, the one everyone was shocked to see divorce. So yes, it was one of the hardest things I have ever done to walk away, but my very existence depended on it. Sometimes it really does come down to survival. I am bent, broken and sometimes sad, but I am still standing. I am not sure what would have happened to me if I had stayed.

      • Karen, I know what that feels like- knowing that you HAD to divorce because there really was no good other option, after believing and thinking you would be living “to death do you part”. Mine renewed vows with me at our 25th in a church and had a huge ring blessed- all in front of our children on a family vacation. He did this while deeply involved in multiple affairs that I only learned about in the divorce process. He fooled me, the kids, our mutual friends, family and his coworkers for years. But guess what? He is gone thankfully.

        I am left with the reality that I was a great spouse, and was actually good at intimacy and staying faithful. It sounds like you were too. Hold onto that aweosmeness, Karen. Chump Lady once said let them untangle that huge skein of fuckupedness and know that you brought your A game. Don’t let the past that ended in the death of our marriage becuase of your cheater define your future. If you want to be single by choice, that is one thing. Letting fear keep you from rediscovering love with a healthy person is another. I don’t want you to forget your mightiness. You have already stared fear down and pulled the trigger on a sham marriage. Keep standing up to fear and allow the possibility of meeting an honest person to share intimacy with in your future.

        I have not started dating and want to get further down the road to being solid on my own before I consider relationships, so I am not speaking from experience, but from hope.

        You said something very powerful, yet so sad because truth be told I share this fear deep down too.

        The price I have paid for his infidelity is far, far greater. I have lost my ability to believe in the fundamental goodness of people. Intellectually, I can accept the proposition that trustworthy people exist. Emotionally, I am on constant vigil to protect myself.

        I hope this is a state of mind that will pass for you and anyone else in that uneasy state. I hope that the constant vigil (which sounds like building walls so high even you can’t see out of them) lessens. I hope you meet some very beautiful and trustworthy people to ease you back into trusting humanity. You deseve that- bent, broken people who are still standing are some of the very best in this world.

        • Very rough day yesterday; I’m better, now. I am content with my present state of aloneness, but I recognize my need for solitude is partly the result of some wounds that are still healing. I am not sure I will ever dive back in the dating pool. I view my situation as similar to that of my widowed friends. We gave so much in our marriages that we aren’t sure there is anything left to give. For now, being alone in my off time is very comforting to me, as my work gives me a lot of meaning and people contact. Thanks for your very kind words.

          • My ex doesn’t seem to get my alone time is healing for me. Just cause that asshole stuck his dick in the first whore he came across doesn’t mean that’s what I should do. Right now the thought of being with another guy sexually makes me ill. Only one man for thirty years. I couldn’t even date during our separation until divorce cause I made those vows and that promise not only to him but me as well. I know right now I could be ripe for a predator they can smell that stuff I swear they can. I want to heal and feel good and happy with myself and my life, sure I come with baggage don’t we all but I don’t want to put that on a perfectly nice guy. Not fair. Should I decide to date again one day, I will tell them, up front, no wife in me, no live in for you and no live in for me. Long term date perhaps maybe exclusive but no cohabitating. As far as this shit of what we did to cause abuse and bow down to the cheater and/or abuser. Fuck that. I call shenigans!! Ex is already cheating on other woman. Lucky her. He’s an idiot! Doesn’t deserve the good things he has, wouldn’t recognize or appreciate it if it bit him in the ass! He’s losing the respect of his kids, family and friends at least the old life ones anyway. He’s got his whore slave and her family and her money worshipping at his feet. See how long that lasts as he’s a nasty grouchy bastard to all of them as well. He worships his two new whore grand babies but his own grand babies. Nothing. Never could dream of what a pos he’s turned into. The kids are so disgusted with his show off big daddy ways neither wants to be anywhere near him. They said once or twice year visit is fine for them. Aside from a good wife they never realize what and who they lose. He didn’t just her me, he hurt others too he just doesn’t fucking care.

    • I had to keep reminding myself that my ex had always ‘issues’, and knew it. For the 14 years we were together, he knew that his FOO issues, his negativity, his selfishness and his temper were so hard on me, and on the kids (as well as himself, of course), and he made ZERO effort to change or to get help. He only changed his external behaviour when I wouldn’t accept his crap anymore, and even that he resented me for!

      So yes, he’s messed up, yes he was truly miserable for a while, after the OW dumped him for another man and he realized what he’d done. But he had never been willing to change for us (or for his previous 10 year girlfriend, for that matter). So the fact he was unhappy and NOW wanted to change did not impress me.

      Besides, he’s since gotten his life re-organized, feels much better, and keeps proving to the kids and I that he hasn’t changed one bit. Their misery, like their love, is shallow and goes away pretty quickly. In the meantime, they milk it, because they know we’re compassionate.

  • I found that particular well empty pretty fast. Luckily, we were living in a large house, and daughter was away. So I had a bedroom of my own after D-Day (which I reinterpret as Day of Disgust).

    I was so sad, so lonely, so grieving, so all the feels you describe…. I tried to crawl into my own bed wherein crapweasel was sleeping. I couldn’t even find comfort in my own bed with the rat bastard there. It is an indelible memory, lying there, curled up, hugging my pillows, and realizing that I really couldn’t go back. There was no “back” to go to.

    It took another year to herd ducks, got a very favorable post-nup, sold the big house (in the works anyway), mediated a divorce based on the post-nup, yadda yadda. After I did all that intense work…then I had the breakdown. Total, physical, psychological, emotional, mental, occupational.

    It’s now about 3 years since trying to crawl back into my marital bed–physically and metaphorically–and I know where my life is going. It will take time and it’s scary. I’ve had to give up on ever resuming the career based on my research Ph.D.–that was a big thing to give up. But as they say in the Lion King, “Sometimes you need to leave your behind in your past.” Much wisdom in that movie!

    I think I’ve developed some kind of connective tissue disorder, in addition the arthritis and multiple spinal issues I had, courtesy of the stress and PTSD. So, constant physical pain.

    BUT I have the most fantastic relationship with my kid, a roof over my head, a Newfoundland (dog!) snoring in the corner. Life could be so much worse.

    • namedforvera: the stress hormones can really do a number on us. Hopefully they are within normal levels and you are on the way to a bit of physical healing as well as emotional. Love that you got yourself a newfie! one of my favorite breeds.

      • Oh yes…I’ve had rescue Newfs for years…between ones I’ve scooped at local shelters, and the rescue organization….they’re my addiction! I’ve often had 2 at a time, but no more (than that I don’t have a minivan!, and I try not to too over the top….) The other day at the dog park there was me with my geriatric Newfie girl, a 8 month old Berner, and a baby baby Golden. The Berner got a little rambunctious, and of course Rox (my girl) stepped in to nanny the situation. I often explain it’s no accident that the nanny do in Peter Pan was a Newfy…they really do nanny. It’s hilarious.

        Anyway, thank you for your helpful comments. And Happy New Year!

        • Warning – off topic-

          Namedforvera – of course, we could talk dogs all day. I just rescued a starved-almost-to-death Dane who is SO Happy to be rescued. I am down to two and it wasn’t like I was adding more to my family but I recently also adopted an 86 yr old lady who’s had Danes for 45 yrs. Nobody would give her a dog because of her age. Sad, because she can outwalk me at Costco!! So, I put the dog in both our names, paid the adoption fee, and now this GIANT 3 yr old dog has gained 35#’s and finally looks like a Dane again. (this one is on the huge size and the lady is about 90# soaking wet – lol) I’ve never seen this woman or a dog this happy. This was a xmas present to myself this year. What a thrill it is seeing them together. (we even had Fences for Fido come and build her a gorgeous fence for her huge yard!) Rescue is great work! Done it all my life and I will continue to. Animals are far more grateful to be rescued than any Black Knight in armor – fuck them.

          • We’ll just keep in in our corner…or start a thread? I LOVE Danes. So majestic. Goofy and dignified all at once. Loyal. Of course, once you are addicted to big dogs, bigger the better. Leonbergers…a little high energy for me, but gorgeous! I work mostly with ThatNewfoundlandPlace in Coventry CT, and are AMAZING. They vet the most sick and abused dogs and bring them back to health. Just the best people. Something something tell about people by how they treat animals, eh? I had a nifty cat (8 toes on one foot, 7 on the other, grey tuxedo, super social) who I left with Crapweasel. He couldn’t even care for the cat. Moron! Thank God my SIL, nearby, had 3 who are pt siamese, and they just absorbed him into their pack. Such a friendly, goofy little guy. Came off the streets of Boston. But my dog was getting passive aggressive with the cats, and she’d had enough stress, so…. Now, my girl is 9. 🙁 and I’m bugging the rescue for another 4 legs. Now that my daughter is grown, I’m not sure there is anything better in life than the love of a dog.

            • I just had to join in the “Leave a cheater, gain a dog” chorus 😀

              I added a third to my pack a couple months after leaving the snake.

              New Dog deserves my compassion much more than the snake. (See what I did there? Back on topic 😀 )

              • Had 2 already; acquired 2 more rescues shortly after D-day (including a senior deaf/blind one), then a 5th (with aggression issues) this past summer. Quite a pack, but still preferable to cheater (even if the aggressive one bites me eventually, it will hurt less than betrayal).

            • Love it namedforvera. Totally understand it all. However, now that I’m on my own and nobody to watch over me – discipline me – haha, or whatever the men in my life decided for me. I may get out of control because I have a big yard and room for rescues now and I don’t have to ask one damn person anymore about it. I have no desire to travel. I like dogs and I’m a homebody with them.
              However, I do want control and take it easy so I know I won’t over due it…with dogs, I mean.

              Leonberger – oh YEAHHHHH…love them. But, very hairy! Very very hairy! lol

            • “Something something tell about people by how they treat animals, eh? ”

              Absolutely! I would take any indication of a future date that didn’t love animals, or my dogs didn’t like them, VERY VERY Seriously. My dogs have always been right. Well, my smart one anyway, and he’s kind of aggressive at 190#’s but wouldn’t have it any other way. He actually got his hackles up when the trollop came around and I kept apologizing at the time that he ‘didn’t normally do that’. Boy, is that a smart dog. He has since warned away a guy that made me very uncomfortable. A handyman – yeah, sure. Love my Luther!

              • Tempest – ‘(even if the aggressive one bites me eventually, it will hurt less than betrayal)’.

                Guarantee you, this rescue you got will never bite you once he settles in. I’ve only gotten bit by trying to intervene in fights. Otherwise, as you and dogs know, you are Queen Shit and run the show. Nobody gets to bite the Primary Pack Leader! You go girl.

  • Does anyone have an enormous urge not to be compassionate towards cheating twat but to compete with them? Before I came along Cheater had been married and cheated on first wife. Then he really played the field big time before I met him legitimately through work as a singleton. Now 18 months on after I threw him out after 12 yrs together with evidence of at least an emotional affair, he’s doing what he did last time and spent his energy trying to find a new victim. As he’s 46 it’s now found a single mum with three kids. He has no contact with his own 3 girls from first marriage as they were so appalled by his bullying and mind games they took that decision so it’s ironic he’s picked her when he chooses to dismiss and ignore his own daughters!

    I’m just angry he seems to skip off into the sunset with a new woman and avoids the pain of loneliness, real personal growth that I’m having to wade through and as with everyone else here, he shows NO sign of any personal insight, zero remorse, no indication of guilt or embarrassment. Just gallons self pity and now the predatory behaviours back. I just feel he’s won.

    He gets a new partner and I sit here feeling desperate and like I’ll never meet anyone. Why would anyone want him with his track record! I just feel like I want to beat that bastard and get the better job, the long term deep partnership, and do better than him with the success I perceive he’s gained. I don’t seem to be able to let him go and after18 months, this embarrasses me and I feel ashamed. It’s just things seem easy for him and we all suffer!

    • One: a single woman with three kids is probably the package he is targeting because he needs someone vulnerable and needy – and a nice mom is a great place to fish for that. She may know nothing. It’s not for you to meddle, in a vindictive way. But it is not terrible to want to spare her your fate… That is a sticky wicket. Maybe one of his kids will reach out to her and tell her what a dick he is. I don’t know of a way to warn her that isn’t weird. Maybe you can machine some 6 degrees of seperation rumor Mill truth getting to her ears and cause him some more effort for his meal. Anonymous note, or being at the same coffee shop loudly discussing with a friend how important prenups are for second marriages, especially with kids… It all seems like a long shot.

      He didn’t win, he’s a predator and he is en route to his next meal. It’s not a winning situation. He’s always in survival mode. He’s not a person. That’s flaw one in your thinking.

      Be strong. You focus on you. You’re damaged and need to gain some of you back before you have to worry about anyone else. You’re only 18 months out from that sad sack, it’s not about meeting someone else. Start enjoying your life. Life. It doesn’t need to always be focused on a partnership. Focus on you, and do some stuff you want. Scrap book naked. (Mind the glue). Learn some magic tricks (then show them off in a kids hospital). Take a weird class at the learning annex (can i suggest fermenting things? Sauerkraut is so popular right now) and just find your fun again. All these strange things might lead to some new people. And they may lead to a nice fella. They may not, but you’ll know how to ferment things, and that rubber cement also doubles as cold wax in a pinch!

      • Bloody brillant! Creativerational. I so chuckled at glueing things naked and fermenting stuff! You’re great and I have considered warning this new lady. I’ve no real reliable proof she’s the new love but pretty confident I think it’s better to leave them to it and fundamentally need to stop snooping. New year resolution for sure. He’s a soulless individual really and he’s full speed ahead to repeat, lather, rinse, repeat the same cycle. I’m envious of his ability to seduce but really he’s a empty shell. I just feel sorry for the later woman and instinctively want to pre warn but suspect it’s too late. The step daughters are wonderful but they have nothing to do with him. Understandably so as he’s done a real job on them especially since our split. For me though weird classes including sauerkraut. Brilliant idea. Goodness me. This group of people and CN is AMAZING!! love to you all and a wonderful 2016!

      • Sauerkraut is popular now? Then the traditional Polish soup I serve at Christmas (which my kids plug their nose to eat) should be all the rave!

        • Tempest, it’s all the rage, up there with making your own yogurt and having a beard (and beard oil) and wearing vintage clothing ironically… And stuff. It’s all very very hipster and satisfying. You’re totally hip!

    • 2. You say he’s winning…. But you got out. That, my friend, is called mighty. Winning would be keeping you in cheating douchey status quo
      And having that power over you.

      Nope. You get the blue ribbon of awesome.

      • I’d say you deserve a gold and purple ribbon, Lotus.
        A champ!
        He’s a mess and always will be.
        You have learned a lot about life and will continue to.
        He will never learn anything and just go on hurting more souls.
        For every hurt he causes these women and their children and you, the more he’s rotting from the inside.

        You, on the other hand, are just about to BLOOM!

    • lotusblossom; It sounds from over here like you were lucky not to have wasted even more of your precious life on this LOSER! It might seem like things are better for him right now. Get on with your life, but keep the lawn chair and popcorn at the ready, chances are they will deconstruct right on schedule. Don’t live for it, but know it is coming.
      Focus on YOU, this is the mistake I and many here at CN made, trying to figure out someone who was not worth the original investment, much less the after D-Day continuation!

        • Completely agree. Just the fact the comments are seriously intelligent, well crafted, fundamentally decent. Thanks Regina and Creativerational and all for responding. I’m incredibly lucky for the inspiring support amongst many other things.

    • Competing with a cheating asshole who sat at a bar and picked up a desperate whore? No thank you lotus. He won that prize and that’s his future. Laughing just thinking about it! Moving on entails gaining a life. Did the cheater gain? No. He’s waking up daily to an ugly controlling pig. He owns that. I don’t
      I have better options. So do you.

  • We humans are creatures of habit. When you have a spouse who has provided comfort all your marriage, it’s natural to want to seek out their embrace when you experience a trauma. When you discover that your spouse is CAUSING a trauma, those old habits don’t just instantly turn off.

    After I read that set of texts of my ex expressing love to someone else, my mind just went blank in shock, and my body took me into the bedroom to lie down in bed with him and start to cry.

    The worst part is trying to get through a false reconciliation. Your spouse is saying all the right things, and holding you and assuring you everything will be all right, and that’s the only source of comfort you have because you aren’t exposing to anyone else. Meanwhile, he was still going to spend time with his mistress and they are comforting each other – or as I found out, not comforting each other but just being business as usual about ignoring and deceiving me. That was my final straw, finding out that they had no compassion for my feelings and what they were putting me, or my children, through.

    • “The worst part is trying to get through a false reconciliation. Your spouse is saying all the right things, and holding you and assuring you everything will be all right, and that’s the only source of comfort you have because you aren’t exposing to anyone else. Meanwhile, he was still going to spend time with his mistress and they are comforting each other – or as I found out, not comforting each other but just being business as usual about ignoring and deceiving me. That was my final straw, finding out that they had no compassion for my feelings and what they were putting me, or my children, through.”

      This^^^^^^^

      So true, Hopeful Cynic. As I said in earlier post, false reconciliation is the hardest thing for me to get over. Screwing the howorker comes in second to the devastation of the false reconciliation. Looking back, I know reconciliation was not really ever going to work, but at the time I was so very hopeful. He was feeding that hope with more lies and deceit. Damn him!!!

  • I was nine when my parents divorced and eleven when my mom had her first after-divorce boyfriend. He was a very very rich trial lawyer. He was so generous and I wasn’t used to seeing money. We were not rich.

    I think they dated for 1-2 years in which I was handed $100 bills, taken on two vacations, taken to fancy dinners and his summer home on the lake. AND he was genuinely a nice man in a Walter Mathauw (sp?) kind of way. And hey, he was rich. Spoiled us all and my mom was happy.

    One day it was over. Mom had her cry but she dumped him cold, hard, no going back. He was cheating on her. He had the OW’s clothes in his closet. It was sad and no more money or vacations but kudos to my mom for having awesome self-respect.

    When my time came, I was able to do the same thing. Although I don’t think I was in love at the time, boom, it was over in one second and I never looked back. I do think my mom’s actions made an impression on me and I remember being impressed at the time. Sure, he came back crying, money and all….but she stood her ground.

    It’s important what your children see if that sort of thing matters to you. I don’t think my mom did it for my benefit but she sure set a good example. To this day, she has no use for anyone who doesn’t respect her or acts toward anyone in an unfair or disrespectful way.

  • “Word Salad”! Stealing that! Lol
    On point as usual. It took me over a year of listening to how I needed to help my cheater with his issues (word salad in weekly counseling), plugging away dutifully at Wreckconcilliation until it smacked me in the head one day; why on earth should I turn to the one who hurt(s) me to ease the pain. I had this image of a dog beaten over & over again then crawling back & turning bellyup for a rubdown from her abuser.
    When I hit that point, just as I’d waited and planned for Dday, I started planning my timeline for divorce. It was kind of therapeutic to manage this as a job, or task.
    To the Chumps going thru this now I recommend a Divorce day planner. Bedazzle the shit out of that thing, give yourself gold stars & smiley stickers for completed tasks & mighty days.
    It might sound jokey but only half-so. Every day you get thru, every task achieved & checked ‘Done’ is empowering & a step toward healing.

    • “To the Chumps going thru this now I recommend a Divorce day planner. Bedazzle the shit out of that thing, give yourself gold stars & smiley stickers for completed tasks & mighty days.”

      Oh my god you totally just described mixing my current passion and my lifelong one: leaving the loser, and crafting. Now I know what I’m buying myself as a Christmas treat.

  • Oh, this is a fun topic. My ex wanted me to forgive him and for us to be friends but I called bullshit on that. Forgiveness, in my opinion, has to be earned and he has no intention of doing anything to earn it. And I certainly wouldn’t call anyone who treated me the way he did ‘my friend’. He’s only trying to manage his image so he’ll seem like a better person if he can say that he and I are friends. Which means, he’d be using me again and I want nothing to do with that. So I’m staying no contact with him. Since he can’t get his way, he’s spinning it as me being bitter and resentful – poor him. I actually don’t care about that spin either because the people he’s spinning it to don’t matter to me anymore (his family, co workers, ho’s, etc.). They can have him and his lies in their lives.

    Interestingly, we have some Switzerland friends – I’m in the process of removing myself from that relationship too. While ex’s lies were unfolding, they actually sent me an article on forgiveness. They got an earful from me in return during which they learned that ex was lying to them. I was baffled for a while as to why they still kept the relationship with him after that but it finally hit me – a few years back the husband had an inappropriate relationship with a woman (it’s unclear as to whether it was emotional or physical but as we all know, likely physical). The wife kicked him out initially but then took him back. So I guess they feel they can’t cut my ex out of their lives because it would be hypocritical. Like I said above, they can have him and his lies.

    I consider myself a compassionate person but I’m certainly not going to continue to show compassion to someone who repeatedly hurts me. I’m using that compassion on myself now.

    • Same story here!!!! You took the words out of my mouth!!!

      When he moved out, he didn’t have the money to get the gas turned on for his water heater, so instead of sucking it up and taking g cold showers, or going to his whore’s house for hot showers, he came back to me to “work things out…” That he was “sorry he hurt me..”

      I knew it was bullshit, but I let him use me — for about two weeks, then I packed his shit that he had brought back in and threw his ass out!!!!!

      Anyway, he’s got a new kibble supply, so as long as he leaves me alone, I’m fine, but I know he’s lying about me even now, which is ridiculous!!!!

      He even tried telling me one of my friends was stabbing me in the back to which I responded, “Better a friend stab me in the back than my husband!!!” Stunned silence from The Evil One…

      I too suffered through weeks of bitter, gut-wrenchung pain as I dealt with him leaving… I will never forgive him, nor forget— why should I???? Fuck him.

      He wants compassion from me, he can look it up in my dictionary !!!

  • “People with self esteem have conditions to their love. ” I missed this the last time I read it. Lawdy I need to work on this! Tattoo, maybe? Not exclusive to love interests, either. Take no shit. Here’s to 2016!

  • Mom9193 – red flag this psychiatrist. “taking an interest” in the family is poor boundaries. also this doc needs to be referred to chump lady — or invited to review her/his training on Cluster B personality disorders.

    another litmus test for this doc. ask how comfortable s/he would be in this traumatic situation and making nice with the person who intentionally destroyed a marriage and family. if the answer is “just fine” then I’d say it’s a fine time to get a new doc. with good boundaries and better training.

  • When I learned that me ExHusband had lied to my face claiming to be faithful, that I had absolutely nothing to be worried about. I went into shock.
    I struggled not just with what was true as I had been trained not to trust my instincts, but I also struggled with who was true.
    As many of you know the elders of my church expected me to remain married based on understanding that all sin is equal. I confess and stand by the reality that I am not without sin. Neither my ExHusband or the church fully acknowledged the depth of pain caused by his infidelity. I was not to show anger which at the time was my default setting as this to them was also a sin and I could not do what was expected of me, to forgive, if I was angry. It was understood that it would take time for me to get to the place of forgiveness, and so it was expected that the road to forgiveness should be shroud in silence. I was told repeatedly by eldership that they had seen others in far worse situation than I and that through them forgiving their spouse their marriage was better now then ever. These comments made me sick as no one was seeing the contempt I was receiving from my ExHusband, the disregard and the entitlement, they never sat with the two of us again after d’day. They had one agenda they instructed my ex not to speak to me unless one of them was present. It took me some months to realise that they worked on a two to one ratio. That way they could claim or deny anything they liked as they had a witness and I was solo.

    In today’s post the line about why people reconcile fear, finances etc. in my case no one stopped to think or even try to understand why I chose not to reconcile. No one considered that the damage went far beyond his being bisexual, and that sacrificing myself further in the vain hope of reconciliation with a man who will probably never accept or understand how damaged or damaging he is, was never going to create a magical better than ever union. He is still in denial of his sexuality and is marring another woman in the new year.
    This brought to mind the song by Hozior, ” take me to church” I do not see this song as a dig at the church, the church is just a metaphor for anything in your life that expects you to sacrifice yourself for entitlement of another.

    Chumps have big hearts, we love and learn heard, we willingly sacrifice out of our love for others but when we are abused and expected to step it up and sacrifice at a greater level again and again we have to be strong for us and say enough.

    http://youtu.be/c-tW0CkvdDI

    • This song was my marching/walking song in the days/months right after Dday. got me through a lot of really horrible no good days. crying/sobbing while walking… still brings tears to my eyes.

    • Amen! Have you ever heard of Divorce Minister’s blog. As a divorced minister (whose ex-wife was unfaithful), he has a different opinion on adultery and divorce. I am sorry your church expected you to sacrifice yourself. After divorcing, I took a class on boundaries at my church. Apparently, some churches actually believe it is okay to set boundaries. I also had a friend from a support group at dailystrength.com who was a minister. That minister actually congratulated me for finally filing for divorce. I was shocked that there was a minister who thought divorce was the best option for me.

  • Wanting compassion from the one who hurt us: “Can you think of anything else in life where you’d do that?”

    With my parents. It’s the primal instinct when you’re a child whose adult caregiver hurts you to seek reassurance from that person, because what else can you do? I also recall the information that people under stress don’t just fight, flee, or freeze: there’s a fourth response called “fawn.” Where you try to make friends with the threatening person so they’ll love you and won’t threaten you any more. Then you don’t have to face the horrible choice between being a “bad person” (all chumps’ worst nightmare, right?) and accepting someone dangerous in your world. All you have to do is prove somehow that they aren’t dangerous…which you end up wanting so desperately that you ignore all evidence to the contrary.

    Yep.

  • Before we had children, while living overseas, we took in an abused dog. She was beautiful, so loving to us and instinctively protective. She had it in her genes to be a guard dog, although all we wanted was her to be a member of our family and a running companion. She could only hang out with people who themselves had dogs. She LOVED other dogs and was therefore loving and friendly to their people. For those without dogs, she did not like them AT ALL.

    When we had our first child, I was nervous. But, she was very loving and gentle near the baby. When our oldest was a toddler he ran up to our girl, falling into a big hug with her. She snapped at him and barely broke the skin, but did break the skin. We tried to find her a new home, but couldn’t. We called animal rescue organizations back in the US, telling them we would fly her to them, if they would take her. They wouldn’t. Finally, we decided to take her to the vet to put her down. We loved her so very much, but we thought she wasn’t safe for our child at that point.

    Do you see where this is going? Just because you love someone doesn’t mean they are safe for you and that you can keep them in your life. I don’t like the idea of love being conditional. That is exactly what my cheater believed as he rationalized and excused the irrational. If only it was so easy for us betrayed to turn on and off their love like some water spigot based on conditions a, b and c. Love is one thing. Safety is another. In my view, staying in the marriage is conditional. Love and safety are not.

    • By the way, when we took our girl into the vet to put her down, he found she was infested with something similar to yet-to-be hatched from her skin botflies. No wonder the girl was cranky at being hugged. We got her all fixed-up and she came home to us to live a long and happy life with our growing family, never to snap at our family again. She died a few months before d-day. We still miss her.”

  • The first time my ex cheated on me I held him while he cried. I didn’t get comforted. He did. The next time I found out about an affair, he had many cruel things to say to me. Look elsewhere for comfort. There are friends and family members who may hold you, but unfortunately, that may never happen with the cheater.

  • Wow!!! First time here. Loving the site but saddened to see that so many people have gone through what I did. The heartache is unbelievably painful however this site has some great articles. Thank you so much for the honesty that is on this site. I heard all the BS lines as well, “if only you had shown me that you really loved me, I never would have cheated”, “if you had dressed sexier…”, “if you hadn’t done this…”. What utter crap!!! And yes, I got the “but we can still be friends” line as well. Although I am still going through my own healing I can see there is going to be an end to all of this. Thank you everyone for your posts. Happy to me a member of Chump Nation.

  • Welcome InRecovery! Most of us did not know there was actually a Cheater Script and a Cheater Handbook they don’t even need to read! Same lines, same excuses, same blame shifting, same rewriting history, etc. Wish this site was around when first going through cheated on hell, it is a Godsend! Good Luck!

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