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Dear Chump Lady, He’s gone. Now how do I get him out of my head?

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rebootDear Chump Lady,

I found out 3 months before my amazing Santorini wedding that my loving (lying), doting (cheating) fiancé had been having an affair with his past booty call for 5 months. I instantly kicked his ass out, then waivered for a couple weeks on whether reconciliation was possible.

He has (supposedly) cut off contact with the OW and claims that the reason he did was because he believed I would one day cheat on him. You know, a preemptive strike sort of affair (because that’s what grown ups do). I have since told him that reconciliation is not an option because, simply, lying and cheating are deal breakers. I am now 10 days strong on no contact (and about 6 weeks out of D-Day) and don’t plan on reinitiating contact. EVER. (You don’t get a second chance at honesty and fidelity with me).

My problem now is how to get it and him out of my head. I still run through things I want to say to him, things that I know he continued to lie about, but I would really like to just forget it altogether. Will this mental behavior just go away with time?

Aowlee

Dear Aowlee,

You’re so mighty, what are you doing on a chump site? You immediately dumped his ass, called off the wedding, and are only SIX WEEKS out from D-Day! OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO THINK ABOUT THIS.

Look, if a bullet grazed your head at work and exploded the water cooler instead of you, do you think you’d ever forget it? Do you think you’d ever stop wondering, “Man, if I only was sitting three-quarters of an inch to the left…”? No. You will tell that bullet story the rest of your life. It’s a monumental Oh My God life event.

You just called off a wedding. Not only did you probably rent a hall, inform all your friends and family, and pick out a dress — you envisioned a future with this man. The life you would have together, what you’d name your children, how many rescue schnauzers you would adopt. And instead, your entire life’s trajectory has changed. Hell YES you’re going to think about that.

You’re grieving. You’re going to be twitchy. You’re going to overthink him, what he meant to you, what you mean to him (I can answer that — kibbles), what he’s doing now, every shitty, sociopathic play he made, every stupid chumpy thing you did. It’s all totally normal. You’ve suffered an assault on your reality, and you will try to untangle that skein of fuckupedness to cope with it all, to ensure that nothing so awful ever happens again.

The mind movies, the 24/7 intrusive thoughts, the sudden crying or vomiting jags — that’s all the acute stage. It just lasts a few months, in my experience. The what-the-fuck just happened stage can last years. I started this blog to speed up other people’s healing, because so much of this infidelity shit just boils down to Trust That They Suck.

Aowlee, some people suck. Some people don’t invest very deeply. Some people feign love and commitment for kibbles. Some people can blithely abandon their children.

You will know these sucky people by the way that they ACT. They will try to disguise themselves as normal people with a lot of fluttery bullshit to convince you that their actions don’t have meaning. Or it’s all just so sophisticated that you can’t possibly understand it.

Call bullshit on bullshit. He wasn’t doing a “pre-emptive strike.” (Which implies that you caused this by your POTENTIAL to be a cheater. Gee, by his logic, you should’ve fucked 40 men, because he IS a cheater.) There is no excuse for cheating on you, except that he SUCKS.

I still run through things I want to say to him…

There is nothing to say, because he sucks. Expressing your pain to a narcissist is feeding kibbles. He doesn’t care. He just cares about his centrality and what he can get from you. You may as well try and shame a doorpost.

…things that I know he continued to lie about…

He’s a liar. Even if he told you the truth, it would be suspect, because he’s a proven liar. You confront him with a lie? You’re going to get the dead-eyed stare or blame-shifting, or some pathetic cheater charm offensive. Spare yourself.

Aowlee, trust that he sucks. Go build an amazing life. Some day soon you won’t give a shit about him, and all that will remain is a hell of a story.

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  • My problem still getting him out of my head. It aint easy. Run girl your only just starting. Dont be like me and a lot of us here forgive the incident and forge on a cheater is a cheater and will be “good” till the next time and the next time. No contact ls the way to go. And i cant wait. Trust he sucks. Big time!

    • Kar marie, I can’t get mine out of my head either, and it’s been almost 18 months. If there were a magic pill, I’d take it, even if it cost me all my savings to buy it. Aowlee, I admire you so much. You are going to be fine. Cut yourself some slack in the meantime and don’t expect perfection. You are doing just great and everything you are going through is perfectly normal.

      • Aowlee,

        The best thing you can do is take the money that you would have spent on a wedding and head into the sunset with a girl friend. Take an adventure holiday, something you have never done before. Something where you have to have your wits entirely about you. Something like white water rafting, rock climbing, something physical and slightly dangerous. Hang gliding, ziplining, bungy jumping (my heart would stop with this one) scuba diving. I find this helps a lot. Your brain really doesn’t like how it is behaving right now. It is craving to go back to normal and happy… but it has been captured by this nasty gnome that is gnawing on your frontal lobe and your heart. The only way to get it to go away is to not give it any space in your head. That is really hard to do under normal ‘safe’ circumstances. Once you are able to chase that gnawing gnome away for a little bit, your brain sort of starts to operate on its own, it starts to bring up its own forcefields.

        Just for the record, dumping that toadstool was the best thing you could ever have done. As a woman who lived 32 years with a lout, a ClusterBFucker, a douche, you dodged a bullet. It will take you a year to realize it but you will. So now, you are young, you are unencumbered and you must have a little money put aside for some fun. Take that brass ring and run with it. You will be surprised what a little adventure and some hearty laughs will do for you.

    • I’m in the thick of things right now. I was with mine for two years. He’s divorced and has three daughters. When we met he told me they were 6, 4, and 2. A year later when i met them, they were 6, 3, and 18 months. That means he had a 4-month old when we met. When i met his ex wife she said something about him lying but he took control of the conversation.

      We’ve been engaged since July with a wedding in November. Two weeks ago he was away for work and emailed me that he can’t marry me. Then he came home and hugged me for 5 minutes and comforted me that it was all going to be ok. Then I caught him lying about leaving town for work (he was still in town and sleeping at “his office”). I confronted him, then he went to Florida for 4 nights. He called midway through and called me sweetheart and told me he loved me.

      Then he came home and told me that were done and I need to move out. I talked to his ex wife and some friends. He’s been lying our whole relationship. He was still married when we met. We had been together two months when he went to visit his ex wife and wasn’t wearing his ring. She knew he was cheating and confronted him and he said he wanted to make the marriage work. Then came home to me.

      He cheated on her while she was pregnant with a girl he told me was his transitional person. He said this girl was crazy. We ran into her at dinner and she made a scene. But now I know why. He said he and his wife had been separated. Totally different story from the ex wife. Why didn’t she tell me when we met?!!!?

      I am in the process of picking up and moving out. With this hindsight I can’t help but feel dumb I didn’t see it, why did I believe his lies? Who does he have on his hook now? I’m also kind of scared to even be in the house right now. Because i don’t even know this person.

      • At some point, you have to start asking questions when things don’t add up. At the very least, when you found out he had lied about the ages of his kids–and that you were “dating” a man who had a 4-month old, something should have clicked. What woman walks out of a marriage with a newborn and a total of 3 kids under 5? And why would you want such a person?

        And at some point, you have to start listening to your instincts. You say you are kind of scared to be there? Why didn’t you move immediately once you knew he had conned you? Go home to your folks. Move in with a friend. Get an apartment or a storage locker. Whatever it takes. Just walk away and don’t look back. And Monday, start looking for a therapist to help you figure out why you are knee deep in spackle. Good luck. But honey, it’s time to move.

        • Second that LJ. Even if this guy had been telling the truth and was ‘separated’ I would NOT touch him with a barge pole. What ‘separated’ clearly means here is ‘I have abandoned my wife and three little kids to fend for themselves’. What more do you need to know about the man? He’s a piece of shit. Personally I would never ever consider dating a man who had left his wife and kids, end of.

          • Just to clarify, I don’t mean that in a judgemental way of you Christina. I just mean that I believe that it’s important to develop an ability to make sound judgements of a man’s character based on what he has and hadn’t done and to act in a way to protect yourself. If a man has let down his own wife and kids then it is such a major red flag that there can be, for me, no explanation that covers it. The same obviously goes for women.

            • Well he said that she gave him an ultimatum and he chose to keep his company and still be able to see the kids once a month and alternating holidays. So I didn’t think he “walked out” on them. And then we I met her she was very cordial to me and I didn’t get the impression that he was lying about their relationship. I had to meet her before I could meet the kids, which he says in their divorce agreement. I told her she probably shouldn’t be letting any other women meet the kids for the next however many years.

              • “He said.” “He chose to keep his company.” And “she gave him an ultimatum.” Again–what kind of ultimatum did you suppose it was? What does “he chose to keep his company” even mean? As if he would lose his company if he stayed with his family? The fact that she was decent when he brought you over says volumes about how might she is. She caught him cheating, said straighten up or get out, got a divorce settlement good enough to protect the kids, and she moved on. Meanwhile, he continued his cheating ways. All I’m saying is that his story doesn’t pass the remotest test of common sense. And unless you figure out why you finding out he lied about the age of his kids wasn’t a deal breaker for you (once you actually saw the situation with your own eyes and knew he was lying), you can end up in this situation again.

              • Lovedajackass: because I was in love and I was being gaslighted, I accepted his excuses as the truth when I should have questioned him more. I have learned a lesson.

                “While the signs you’re being gaslighted may seem “obvious” to some people, the fact is that when you’re being manipulated by a narcissist, you can’t always see the proverbial forest for the trees.”

                They were living in the Denver area but he opened a consulting and software company that primarily works with the government so he was in DC 50% of the time and traveling another 15-20% of the time for the sales and promotion of his company. He said she told him “choose your company or choose us” and he said he could have both. He was only 20 years old when he proposed and 21 when they got married. I just thought their young love didn’t last.

          • Hi Aowlee, Wow, you’ve done so well!! It must have been so shocking to go through this. But you’ve been really strong. I’m basically two and half years from d day now. I can tell you that for me personally, the intrusive thoughts and mind movies haven’t fully stopped. I think my case may be a bit unusual given that I was also dealing with major cancer treatment at the time so it was two epic traumas at once. However, what I wanted to tell you is that it has got so much better. At d day time I was so bad that I couldn’t really focus on what people were saying to me. My mum told me later that she had feared at that time that I would die from the shock I was so bad. At this point, the memories etc have faded and 95% of my time is full of other stuff. For example yesterday I worked a full, productive day at work and then had a lovely chat with my mum and then went out dancing amazing tango until 3 in the morning and woke up today with a big smile and sore feet. There’s a background murmur of pain. I don’t really fight it – I just let it be and get on with my life. The more you do that, the more other good things push out the space for the bad stuff. Take care, M

        • I did ask him about it! He said he thought I wouldn’t stay with him if he told me he had a 4 month old. He said that they were separated already when she got pregnant, that they continued to have sex occasionally because they lived in the hills of Colorado with not a lot of other humans around, and she didn’t even tell him about the pregnancy until she was 5 months along and had decided not to have an abortion.

          I know I should have seen the red flags and taken them as a sign to leave. I didn’t sit down and put the timeline of his lies together until Friday of last week after talking to the ex wife. He’s traveling the rest of the month but has paid for boxes and says he’ll pay for movers and for the non-refundable deposits that I made for the musicians and the wedding planner. He gave me the appraisal papers for the ring.

          I saw a therapist on Wednesday and am seeing her again on Monday. I am trying to decide if it is best for me to stay in DC or move back to Chicago since DC isn’t a big town and there’s a 95% chance I’ll run into him out somewhere.

          • One thing I’m learning is to be suspicious of the ‘explanations’ they give. My most recent experience of this was my last boyfriend who told me about how he hit his ex-wife. However he ‘explained’ it to me that you know, she was cheating on him and he was driven to it in a fit of jealousy etc etc. And of course, I am still so chumpy, I fell for it. O poor him I thought, he must feel so bad. Then fast forward a month or so and he starts making the most ridiculous and off the wall jealous accusations at me. Like, really bizarre. So I ended up questioning his story. And realising there was a real possibility that he would hit me even though I’d done nothing wrong. I broke up with him due to that and a whole other lot of stuff he was doing. So anyway, my list now includes no men who’ve hit a woman along with no men who’ve abandoned their wife. And I’ve realised that of course – they will always spin it like they were totally innocent. So I keep having to remind myself to judge their actions and not their words. It’s a shame the wife in your case didn’t let you know what was going on. But really, there has to be something desperately wrong somewhere if a guy has left his wife alone to bring up three kids. Major red flag.

          • Good for you, Christina. If you’ve got a good therapist, you can start sorting out what happened here. But your answer to how you got in this situation is right there–you didn’t put the timeline together. When you meet a new person, part of getting to know that person is putting together the timeline of that person’s life. Now in my case, that’s a lot of years (I’m over 60). And probably a lot of my timeline can be covered by “a series of stupid relationships because I was determined not to be alone.” But you are clearly fairly young. When you meet a person, you need to put together that timeline and pay attention not just to what he says, but to whether all the things he says about his past make sense and hang together. This joker you have is not unlike the Jackass who cheated on me. I had known him for over 30 years and I thought I knew his story. He had lots to say about his former marriages, etc. But I spackled over the red flags (not the least of which was it was always the woman’s fault).

            If a man says he left his wife and three kids because the wife gave him an ultimatum, I’d bet my next 5 paychecks the man was cheating. Or something else that is a giant deal-breaker, like using drugs, being abusive, etc. Even if he says, “She told me I had to sell the business or get out,” the question is “Does that statement make sense?” When he said he didn’t tell you about the 4-month old because he was afraid to tell you the truth about that, he was admitting to you that HE KNEW the situation should be a deal-breaker and he was buying time to get you and keep you on the hook. But Chumps take that as “I was afraid of losing you honey, so I didn’t tell the truth. It was because you are so important…” rather than “What I did was despicable and if you find out, you won’t want me.”

          • As to Chicago vs. D.C.–put your long-term well-being first. You might run into him. So what? You don’t want him back, right? If you have a job that you like and pays well, if you have friends, if you have a life, don’t walk away from that because you got engaged to a cheater. You didn’t marry him! You dodged the bullet! But if your life in D.C. is so-so, if you can hit restart more easily in Chicago–then let him pay for the move.

            Whatever you choose to do, do it with the idea of building a healthy, solid life for yourself. In 2-3 years, this guy will just be a big lesson learned.

      • Be thankful you dodged a bullet. I wish I had found out before I wasted over 20 years of my life devoted to a pathological liar who has made my life a living hell. Use this experience as a lesson.
        I think one of the most difficult things to accept is that we fell for their lies. Pathological liars don’t have a conscious.
        You are so fortunate you didn’t waste more of your time than you already have, and even more grateful you didn’t have children with him.

      • I’m not buying that you’re a chump.

        “When I met his ex wife she said something about him lying but he took control of the conversation”

        So she did tell you. You chose to ignore it and not pursue it because you didn’t wanna know. You could have asked her then but you waited until much later to ask her. What do you mean she should have told you? It seems she did.

  • Oh Honey! keep the no contact. My ex cheated on me, left me, kept shit in our apt until our lease was up three months later and then officially moved in with the other woman. Even after we left our shared space, ex continued to text me, social media stalk me and generally mind fuck me all the while living with the OW and when I finally started dating again, oh ex was not at all happy and til this day is not happy with that fact. You have to continue to have no contact, possibly take a vacation, get make over, start new classes or whatever you have to to shake up your life, keep you occupied and your sanity. You won’t stop thinking of him for a long time. It’s like mourning somebody close to you who has passed.

    • Oh, I’m taking a vacation alright! I’m still going to Santorini and to Paris, which would have been our honeymoon. But instead of going with a lying, cheating sack of shit, I’m going with my family and friends. Thank you, POS, for my plane ticket and hotel room deposits!

      • Aowlee, you are truly mighty with the decision to go ahead with vacation plans. Your heart will catch up with the rest of you that knows that he will always be a liar and cheater. Been there, done that! Be patient with yourself .. you loved him because you have a functioning heart (unlike HIM) and it will naturally take a little more time to forget that jerk. Chump Lady’s “Trust that he Sucks” is the mantra that keeps us on track.

        Many years ago, I read “How to Break Your Addiction to a Person” for help in getting over a smart, charming cheater; someone I fell very hard for. It took me five years .. but I suspect you’ll be done and over him much sooner! Going NO Contact is a necessary step (of course, he wanted to stay “friends” as in FWB with me and keep boinking the 2 or more other women he had going). He later married a nice, unsuspecting woman and she finally divorced him years later. He wrecked her heart, and also financially, career-wise since she moved with him to his new job. He’s now on his third marriage to a much younger woman and has a child, but ‘m sure he hasn’t changed one bit – still a lying, cheating narcissist.

        You dodged a major bullet by calling off the wedding. Have a great vacation!

  • Aowlee, you’re amazing! Don’t fault yourself for thinking about him, you’re just mourning the loss of what you thought was a good man. You found out differently and acted on it. Brava! It won’t be easy but yes the memory of him is not going to haunt you forever with all those messy What If thoughts. Stay No Contact, stay mighty!

  • I have had that same feeling and I ended up deciding my goal was incorrect. You can’t actually get a thing out of your head. It’s like trying to resist when a person says “whatever you do, don’t imagine a purple hamster.” If a topic arises, our brains think of it, even if the topic arises because we are telling ourselves not to think of it.

    Personally, the best method I have for not dwelling on things (and I am prone to anxiety and compulsive thinking, yay PTSD…) is to have go-to healthy things to think about. CL’s is good — “I won’t ever make sense of this no matter how hard I try, because he sucks.” Then, for me, I would have to follow that with something I like to do or think about, like art, reading, a movie, music and dancing, games with a friend, etc.

    In my experience, deep down, I grieve losses, even when I lose someone/something I am glad I’ve lost. Grieving is natural and necessary. Trying to avoid it makes it worse for me. So, I have to allow some dwell time, probably cry for awhile, then pick myself up and get to the next thing – new thoughts, new tasks, etc.

    You will get through it, but the only way out is through. So, yes, trust that he sucks, and, also, trust that YOU don’t. You might feel weakened, but you are clearly mighty. You can do this.

    • Amiisfree, thanks for sharing your go-to coping mechanisms. I’m going to try them too. I’ll bet you’ve already helped a lot of us just by posting.

    • That is so true, Amiisfree! I had just started college (at 57) when I found out that my life was a total sham. That was 4 years ago and I’m still in therapy. Mine wasn’t mean – ever. Just had serial affairs going on with at least 3 women at the same time. If I didn’t have my classes (and the first one was ethics – can you imagine!) I don’t know what I would have done. I graduated Magna in December and jumped feet first in to my bachelors. Getting rid of him and going to school were synonymous with my sanity… I only wish I had cut it off the day I found out instead of doing the pick me dance one minute and breaking pottery the next.

    • Danette, my ex wasn’t overtly mean, either, just SUPER dishonest. And sneaky. You are doing great! Keep it up!

      And Fifi, if I can help in any small way, I am glad. Take heart and keep going. You are mighty.

  • Yeah, I would agree that much of the process is really grieving. It is hard to take in all those losses along with the dissonance over what the cheater was saying while one did not know about the cheating (and afterwards). We have to get to a place where we feel secure in the knowledge that what happened ACTUALLY did happen–i.e. they suck.

    • What “actually did happen”. Exactly right. I’ve asked myself so many times. What if I had done this? Or what if I had reacted this way instead? I tried to use tough love and demand him do a counseling recovery program and he wouldn’t. Wanted to do it his way. “Work on himself” without doing what I needed or the counselor was suggesting. The tough love completely backfired. He hates me. And our marriage is over. I always have the internal dialogue and I’m sure I will for years to come. Did I do everything I could? Did I overreact? If I’d let things go and got over it would our life would still be “normal” right now. Then I continue to remind myself. No. This ACTUALLY DID HAPPEN. And MULTIPLE TIMES. No matter how I reacted or responded. This actually happened. I didn’t cause this. And there can be no “normal” in a relationship with continued infidelity.

        • I read my first XW’s journal entry: ” I want to stop smoking, drinking, HAVING SEX WITH STRANGERS.” To this day , she denies any physical affairs ( ” just inappropriate relationships where the chemistry became sexualized. “)
          I will never get the truth and still wonder when it all started. Are my sons biologically mine?
          Same with my second XW and my daughters.

      • “Wanted to do it his way” is just another method of control over you, IMHO. And if he hates you now, it’s only because you didn’t do it his way, you didn’t let him control you completely. And in the end you’ll be better off for it.

      • On D Day (I’d found a load of mobile phone bills while looking for a receipt in his business accounts for a photocopier that was on the blink – at his request, btw – and they showed one side (his) of an intense, ahem, relationship with this OW I’d become suspicious of. The multiple daily texts and calls over 18 months started less than a month after we’d finished honeymooning – 5 months from wedding. Of course, he insisted they were ‘just friends’ and nothing had or was going on). Anyway, the day was intense and (because CL didn’t exist back then and I’d never experienced anything like it) he was gaslighting me like a pro-gaslighter. We went to bed at the end of the day (usually he slept in a different room – his preference, apparently didn’t want to ‘kill the romance by his farting’) and he wanted to actually sleep with me, for a change. I remember laying there with him holding my hand but sleeping like a baby and thinking – THIS REALLY HAPPENED – HE REALLY DID HAVE AN AFFAIR – ALBEIT ‘JUST’ AN EMOTIONAL AFFAIR (that’s as much as he would NEARLY cop to – except he insisted it wasn’t emotional because he didn’t feel anything for her – honestly, honestly master of the mindfuck – and of course, it did turn out to be a full-blown PA – but I went through the wringer a thousand times before I got confirmation of this). I realised I just couldn’t tell myself that I was ‘over-reacting’ or that I’d misunderstood and that it wasn’t going to get any better. I remember the feeling of utter revulsion and wanting to just kick him awake and out of that bed. Instead, I went downstairs and slept on the sofa. So began 3 years of torture while I was trickle-truthed and punished for thinking badly of him. I’m really glad to say nothing in my life had prepared me for what I went through, but on the other-hand (and why CL is a boon to mankind – no hyperbole) that trauma I suffered would not have happened so intensely and for so long had I an inkling about cheaters, narcissists and generally disordered types.

      • It’s not that the “tough love approach completely backfired.” It’s more that EVERY approach is an exercise in futility. The Cheater wants to cheat, feels entitled to cheat, and believes he (or she) has done NOTHING to feel repentant about.

        Also, it’s not that the Cheater completely hates you now. It’s more that the Cheater is giving into the rage that comes when the Chump cuts off the kibble supply and enforces consequences.

        That’s why so many of our Cheaters can rage at us, and then come back with some Sad Sausage tale of how we’re the one and only–except maybe for Susan, or for Marvin–but they didn’t really count! And, oh, Sad Sausage wants to stay friends with Fuck Buddy–but really, we’re the one and only. They are so Sad Sausage. Why won’t we feel sorry for Sad Sausage?

        It’s always about them.

        Trust that they suck.

      • I think the cheaters try to make us believe it is (at least partially) our fault. To make them look less guilty and like less assholeish. And if we can believe we are partially at fault we will ruin their public image less. But it truly is them and just them. Not us. We just get sucked into their charade and because we are kind, caring people, we try and take some of the blame for a while. We certainly shouldn’t and we are not the slightest bit responsible. They just suck.

        I am nine weeks past DDay. My cheater ex-fiancé tried to make me believe I was at fault for the demise of the relationship and “didn’t leave me for the other woman.” They were “friends” for years and stared “dating near the end of us.” Right. Of course it was my fault that I didn’t wear makeup every day, or slutty dresses for him, our relationship had an “expiry date from the start,” the list goes on. All excuses to make them try and look better for what they did. All lies, none thriftily. They just truly suck and they alone are the monsters responsible for their terrible actions and only them. I did think for a few weeks what I did wrong, what should I have changed. I played it out in my head. Then I stopped when I saw his true character more and more. It is him, and in your case it is the same. Hold your head high and at rust that he sucks, and you are totally awesome. We awesome people just got sucked into the traps of sucky people.

    • ^^^THIS^^^ Yes… believing that it actually DID HAPPEN. All the lies, all the gaslighting, all the cheating… in between the cards promising a lifelong love and marriage… in between the shared glances over the kids heads at Christmas as they talked about Santa coming… in between the laughter and tears… the horror of Mr. Sparkles lies, deceit, and sociopathic behaviors DID HAPPEN. He is not who he appears to be… ever. He is purely evil.

  • I still have conversations in my head where I describe in minute detail to my X the extent to which I hate him (with the fire of 1000 burning suns), that he is a worthless POS, that he blew up a family for his dick, yadda yadda yadda (I’m sure the neighbors think I’m crazy as I walk the dogs and have these internal conversations). I’ve also written some letters to him that I don’t send, just to get the emotions on paper (and there is evidence this can help–per J. Pennebaker’s work). Do all those things, just don’t break NC.

    You’re mighty, Aowlee!

    • Tempest,
      You help me with every.single.post. And we have the same divorce final date — I’m 2/26 also (1 week divorced). I am looking up J. Pennebakers’ work now. Thank you. You are mighty.

      • I would like to followup by saying that I used to write/journal my thoughts constantly, but my ex would find them and read them, so I stopped. It’s probably what kept me enmeshed for so long–not being able to express my thoughts even to myself. These people have no boundaries. Boundaries only exist for them as lines to be crossed.

        • Rachel–congrats on your new divorce!! Fucktard-free, and we can celebrate together in the future (or until our Xs are a distant memory, and we simply use 2/26 as a good excuse to drink margaritas).

          Infuriating the subtle ways these cheaters try to control us–even making you give up your journals. I hope you go back to them. Hugs!

          • Aowlee – YOUR ROCK, I am giving you a virtual big hug and massive high five, you are super mighty and yep dodged quite a bullet! I wish you a FANTASTIC trip to Greece and France, you got this and can’t wait to hear about your adventures on here and on the forum!

            CL + CN, thank you all for incredibly helpful comments. These past few weeks have been rough for me, and today was a major 2×4…

            My biggest enemy in my recovery has been and remains my own impatience… For giving my X too much mental space… I catch myself thinking stuff like “c’mon chumptitude, your divorce is final, just move the fuck on and get a life instead of thinking about the past so much… Can’t you forge on faster? Where is that freaking Tuesday? Where is that pie shop at the center square of Mehville with my fellow chumps?”

            My friends tell me often that I am great at taking care of everyone else, it is so surprisingly difficult to turn my caregiver tendencies where they need to go… Towards my self-care.

      • You help me with every single post too Tempest 🙂 As for the writing letters / journaling. It’s a splendid suggestion and does help to nail the circulatory thinking down. Unfortunately, when I tried this I could never resist actually breaking NC and sending the buggers to him! (What a waste of darned good prose – was my thinking! :-D). If you have more self-control than I had, it’s definitely the way to go – does really help. BTW – it was a still a waste of darned good prose cos ‘The Great I Am’ would either ignore entirely or reply without addressing a single point (bloody infuriating)!

        • Oh, I didn’t say I didn’t send *some* of them–I let X have it verbally and in writing numerous times between D-day and the divorce, but largely went no contact & would only send my missives when he gave me an excuse to do so.

          E.g., between my divorce February 2015 and August 2015, I had amassed a lot of evidence of X’s serial cheating (at time of divorce I had only known about 2 affairs)–more students, conference fucks, another long term affair just before D-day, Ashley Madison,etc. I kept mum until he emailed me berating me for looking up his address in the Ashley Madison hack, which caused him to get lots of spam about how to get his name off the list (hint: it can’t be done), and that “of course” he had not used his university email to sign up for such a website (riiiiiigggggghhhhtt). I used the opportunity to come out with both barrels blazing–told him everything I knew, that I would never forgive him and really never wanted to have contact with him again.

          It felt good, but he did interpret any response on my part as evidence I still cared (narc much?), and came seeking kibbles in his subtle, manipulative way a week later. That’s the problem with actually sending nastygrams to them–it does no good because you can’t reason with snakes, they interpret every piece of contact as a sign you still adore them, and it keeps the lines of dialogue open (which we don’t want). Best to say your piece once or twice, and then ghost them.

    • Thank you, Tempest. I still have those conversations in my head and I’d like it to stop. They end in tears for me and feeling somewhat ridiculous since Cheater can’t hear a word of it. But at least I know I’m not the only one.

      • Fifi–how far out are you from D-day and/or divorce? My inner conversations had been reduced after about 8 months after D-day, only to return with a vengeance after the Ashley Madison hack, and then after a confidante turned Switzerland friend (recently). Once you can go no-contact (including with Switzerland friends), the inner conversations taper off. Until then, don’t beat yourself up; you’re processing a major trauma.

        • Hi Tempest, I’m 18 months out from D-Day, a year from divorce. Mine was one of those that never looked back, moved the Hydra into our house a week after I left, and they’re now married. We had no contact except for divorce business, but when the house was refinanced last April that was the end of contact. I blocked him on my phone but knew deep down he’d never try to contact me, he was beyond done with me only a few years into the marriage and was just waiting for someone like the Hydra to be his escape hatch, so to speak. Almost every day I have one or more of those “conversations with phantoms.” I’m getting better at catching them before they go on and on. I’m sorry you’ve had to endure the “2 steps back” with Ashley Madison and the damnable Switzerland friends (poor Switzerland, bad press for them!). We shall overcome.

          • God Bless you Fifi! I had no idea! Wow…! You are MIGHTY!

            satan left for about 2 months with no contact and then ‘poof’ there he was again…doing awful, unimaginable things…I thought he had a brain tumor…then became convinced he was possessed…now I know he is just a disordered asshole with no soul…kin to your x…

            We got your back sister! Wow! You are mighty!

              • OMG yes we know they are real! We are so lucky to have gotten free of them!!!

                Love your heart Fifi!!!!

          • Fifi–the conversations will go with time. Your psyche and emotions need them now, so let the invectives flow (just not out loud at work!).

    • Oh man the disconnect between what I would like to say and what I am going to say is a vast, vast gully. Very-Expensive-Lawyer gave me great advice to say as little as possible. Do not come out guns blazing, do not tip your hand in regards to everything you know. Your goal is to keep him as much in the dark as possible. If he knows the level of research you have done, he is going to get defensive and things will get complicated. Your goal is to get out of this what you want without having to discuss any of the reasons why you are getting out of it. I mean, I used to tell people that their children were going to die for a living with an essentially straight face and calm compassion. I can divorce my cheater this way.

      I can do this but man does it feel like a wasted opportunity to just let it rip. I have a very long commute and I just scream at him in my car. Liar, piece of shit, waste of air, shitty asshole garbage person. I hate you. I wish I had never met you. You know I read your phone. You know your buddy at the bar told me everything. I know everything about what a garbage piece of shit you are and I’m glad your mother is dead because she would be ashamed to know what kind of piece of garbage you are. I knew I never should have married you and I hope you die alone and in pain.

      But then I remember… he doesn’t care. He doesn’t care what I think of him, because he has discarded me like he does everything. Meh – maybe when I have a signed agreement in front of me I will let it go just once.

      • CAGal

        I did let it rip after he postponed the first hearing because his lawyer withdrew due his rage. Then he was a no show for the second rescheduled hearing. The judge ordered a third with a default if he didn’t show. He showed up threatening to hire a lawyer. Right there in the hallway full of people waiting for court to begin I ripped him a new one telling him his kids would never respect him for all his lies and expecting to take my pension and pay his health insurance. I told him he wasn’t a man. I didn’t realize I was yelling. My friend was laughing. We settled. The coward never wanted a divorce. He thought I would cancel the divorce. What a loser.

    • I have written pages that were never sent. Writing is a good way to get it out, and then re-read it if (or when) you begin to forget or waiver. Trust that they suck.

      Aowee, you are mighty! Stay strong, stay no contact, and enjoy your cheater free vacation and count the blessing that you found out before the wedding.

    • Yeah Tempest, I know those one sided conversations well. Over the years they have distilled themselves down to a simple…. Hey,Cheater Ex, fuck you! Short, succinct and to the point.

      And Aowlee, you are awesome Girlfriend. Hope you have a wonderful time in Santorini and Paris with your friends and family. Douchecreep will fade from your psyche in time making room for the amazing guy you deserve! Now you have a real chance at genuine happiness.

  • Aowlee – I know you can’t see me, but I’m giving you a standing ovation!!! You rock! If you can’t get him out of your head right now, just change your thoughts to how you dodged that bullet. This douche nozzle blamed you for his cheating because of something you MIGHT do in the future. He has proven to be a Narc to the nth degree and you haven’t had to waste your youth, your children, your life being blamed for everything that is wrong in his life. You are so fortunate. Seriously, if you begin to think “What if I’d only given him a chance to . . . (Fill in the blank)” just think of the faces of your future children when you’d have to tell them that daddy is going to live somewhere else.

    If you ever waiver, just come here and read what being married to a cheater is like. I think all of us would have loved to have the opportunity you have had instead of looking back at our marriages in horror saying “What the hell happened?”

    Wishing you much future happiness. Santorini will always be there and just think, you’ll be there douche free! Bravo!

  • Ugh. I am exactly one month from D-day. I had been in a long-term (8 years) relationship with the Cheater. A few weeks before D-day, I had suspected something and had even confronted him (things just didn’t feel right). He would deny, get angry, shout at me, blame-shift — you get the picture. A few days before D-day, it was his birthday. After going out to celebrate and after my falling asleep, I woke up at 4:00 am because I heard the front door opening and closing. I asked what time it was and where he was coming from. He told me that he had gone outside to have a cigar (in 30 degree weather in January at 4:00 am?!?). Again, I told him I didn’t believe him. Anyhow, four days later, I came home from work early to catch him (not in the actual act, but with the “girl” — he’s 44 and she looked to be about 22). After telling me that this had been going on with her since “at least November” and that this was the 4TH TIME he had cheated on me, he packed a bag and left. Since then, I have been getting calls, emails, and texts — all with with constant contradictions: I love you and miss you and want to come back home — but I don’t know if I want this relationship; I want to take you away for a weekend because I’m so sorry for what I did, but I’m not sure if I can commit; I want to come spend the night with you, but I haven’t broken it off with “the girl”, because well, she’s moving away soon and I really don’t know what’s going on with us; let me come home because we both need each other right now, but let’s not talk about the relationship… Push, pull, playing with my emotions, psyche, and spirit. I’m utterly exhausted. I hope I get to mighty and meh soon.

    • aka–you will never get to indifference if you keep taking his phone calls and texts. Block him. block his emails. He is engaged in Olympic level mindfuckery right now and NO ONE, not even the biggest badasses in CN, is immune to it. I’m sorry for your ordeal.

    • aka that’s tragic. All that textbook cheater behaviour you have to experience, that same filthy dog-eared script he’s using that all filthy dog-eared cheaters recite from. Can’t the lies at least be original ones? If he were a film he’d be straight-to-dvd.

    • AKA-he needs a back up plan/safety net and it would appear that would be you. Doesn’t want to commit and doesn’t want to let go quite yet either, just in case. Like most defects he hates to be alone. Please go no contact and obtain an attorney if you have not yet retained one. This is a lost cause and you need to get on with your life.

      • Im divorced three months waiting for house sale to finish. He lives with the whore but wont let go of me completely. Im not plan b and neither are you.

    • AKA, cut that off now! He’s basically saying he wants to be able to have you and her, whenever he wants. But what is more disturbing is he’s a sociopath who doesn’t even bother to wear a mask. That’s a super scary person.

    • Same tactic for two goals: triangulation and Plan B.

      The “I love you, but I’m not sure about this” is about triangulating you with OW. He’s letting you know that you’re still in the running for his Twu Wuv. All you need to do is prove your worthiness. Yes, this is an invitation to the Pick Me dance. Don’t go there. Remember, he gets to go to his Schmoopie and tell her that she’s in the running, too, if only she proves her worthiness. The only one who wins the Pick Me dance is the Cheater. The only way for the Chump to win is to refuse to play.

      Because he’s telling you that you’re in the running, and maybe if you prove yourself worthy, you’ll win him as a prize, he’s also telling you that you’re Plan B. When things don’t go so well with OW, he’ll show up on the doorstep, tell you some Sad Sausage story, and expect you’ll take him back because You Won! Nope, you’re Plan B–good old faithful aka, who’ll take him back in no matter what because she’s a good person and loves him (aka she’s a sucker).

      No contact is your friend here. Unless there’s a reason to talk with him, block him from your phone, your social media, etc. Make sure you retain that attorney, and let him go through the attorney if he really needs to contact you about something substantive.

    • AKA,
      At 22 the OW is not as foggy as those of us who have invested years in a relationship. That’s why he’s not sure what’s going on, because the 22 yo OW is not sure about him! (Cognitive dissonance, but she probably doesn’t know what this is yet). Too much instability. Let him go. I wish I had let go with only 8 years invested (first d-day), rather than putting in another 12 years and having to start over in my 40s!
      Run.

    • It sounds like you’re on the right path AKA, you realize what he is doing to you and that it isn’t right. That’s pretty mighty at your stage. Go No Contact and keep it. NC is the path to the shining light of understanding and moving forward. Your brain sorts a lot of stuff out once it isn’t trying to cycle through the BS and lying that it is begin constantly fed by your cheater.

    • Aka, mighty and meh require what chumps are really good at–commitment and hard work. You have to commit to NO CONTACT because no contact is what allows you to emerge from the psychological and emotional abuse of living with someone who has been gaslighting you (lying, deceiving, blame shifting, and assaulting your perceptions). He has probably abusing you in many other ways that you don’t yet recognize, including bringing this young woman into your home. His behavior now–the “I want to come home but I don’t want to take care of your needs or really be a partner” pretty much sums up the best he has to offer. Once you commit to no contact, you are committing to your own healing, your own well-being, your own dignity. To yourself. So block his texts, his email, his calls. Take a social media sabbatical if you can but certainly block him on FB or any other media you both use. If you don’t have kids with this man, there is absolutely no reason to talk to him and certainly no reason to allow him access to you 24/7, which is what his having access to texting you gives him. A commitment to no contact means you think through how you will handle things when he reaches out to mindfuck you or when he shows up at the door. Protect your mind and heart. It may take you 6 months or more for no contact to reveal itself as the blessing it is, but eventually your mind will clear and you will be grateful that you didn’t waste more than 8 years. (I knew Jackass for 30+ but was only in a relationship with him for 18 months or so–and thank God that I didn’t waste another day on him).

      It’s hard work to do what I think of as the “relationship autopsy” without getting caught up in the traps of “if he would only listen to me” or “if I only knew the whole truth” or “if he would only realize what he threw away.” You wouldn’t expect a jackass to be sorry or empathic or truthful. It’s a jackass. It’s important to figure out not what he thought or did or believed but what you saw in him and what you missed in order to heal and fix your picker. That internal work is hard and requires self-honesty and clarity. You can’t get either of those while his voice is in your head.

      I think it’s likely that he’s been unfaithful for longer than you know. He’s just getting older and bolder, or some of his gloss is wearing off and you started to see what he really is. No matter. Just know that you shouldn’t be in contact with someone who thinks your value is as a cheap source of housing.

      • “Relationship autopsy-” so good LAJ.

        So many things fit in with this metaphor. But the first one is: why would I (or Aowlee) want to talk to the murderer who killed our relationship?

        The best I can hope for is that society might send Match Girl to the metaphorical chair for her post-D-Day deeds.

      • Asswipe is never sorry for anything. Never has been never will be. My daughter rarely contacts him because he has all but ignored her. Shes pretty so when shes around big daddy likes to show her off and get her to tote and fetch for daddy and she figured this out on her own. He askw me all the time about her and how shes doing. We text or call daily. I gave up early in the affair process on telling him he needs to communicate with kids or family. He does doesnt except for obligatiry ones. Too busy cant be botheted. Fuck him father of the year. Hus whore only wants to be facebook friends with them so they can see how happy she makes dad. They all have refused her requests. Stupid bitch. No contact for me will be heaven when i can get there. I know i have a long healing process but im ready to start it away from here. This aahole was my whole world. Never ever again!

    • Aka why are you allowing to be his 2nd choice? He obviously knows deep down that a relationship with a 22 year old is finite and needs a plan B to fall back on (you). If he spurned you ditch him like an old sack of manure, he is not worth much. He really shouldn’t be able to hurt you and then come back after having his fun.

    • Oh aka – my heart goes to you. ‘The Great I Am’ played the push me – pull me game. It’s horrible, really really horrible. Hopes up one minute, hopes dashed the next. It’s no way to live. I’m shocked at the shell of a woman I became. I was actually stronger on D Day than I was after 3 years of push me – pull me. Please, take it from one who wishes she’d done it – tear that sticking plaster off. It’ll hurt, but nothing like the hurt of repeated discards.

      Hugs

      • sticking plaster = Bandaid to those of us on this side of the pond ; )

        (love your writing, and your advice, Jayne!!)

    • Wow! Not only is this first time I’ve experienced all of the feelings and pain that come along with infidelity and deceit, but this is also the first time I’ve ever opened up online in a blog or chat forum to a group of people that I don’t even know. The comments, support, and empathy from CN was amazing yesterday and really helped me get through my day. But also, I will bookmark this specific page and include your comments and perspectives in my daily affirmation that he really does suck. Thank you!!

      • Jedi Hugs Aka! It will get better and don’t worry about opening up on the internet – sometimes that is the only place you feel safe.

  • I hope you are still going to go enjoy Santorini. If you’ve spent the money be a shame to miss out on a great trip. Take a friend.

  • One easy way to get your mind off of him is to just find a fuck budy. As a woman you have the power to get one within minutes of announcing it. I would suggest you be a little picky! I’ve met a lot of woman who have done that over the years. When they get tired of dating or come out of a serious relationship they just find someone who understands the situation and helps get their mind off of whatever it is they are trying to get their mind off of.

    • There’s a saying for that–the best way to get over someone is to get under someone else. (But don’t expect it to cure all your grief and anger; those emotions take time to process and to dissipate.)

    • Ha ha ^^^ Lothos, that’s awesome. Isn’t there a Betty White quote?? “The best way to get over a man is to get under another one?”

      That worked for me in my younger days, now I’m too tired and damaged to bother lol. I’m just putting my love where I know it’s best served, in my children and myself.

      • Yea, I totally understand. I’ve been on more dates than I care to admit over the past two years but several things are in common with all of them.

        1) They always tell me I am easy to talk to
        2) By the end of the first date (or start of a second one) they TMI
        3) The ones I really like (most not all) then end up looking at me as a friend because they don’t want to loose the ability to talk to a guy like they do to me.

        Number 3, has been a curse of mine since I was in high school and followed me into my 20s. Of-course it went away once I was married but now that I am divorced that curse is right back.

        When Number 3, comes up I just tell them plain and simple you already lost me. I rather divorce that kind of time and energy to someone who appreciates it and is willing to give it back to me on a more intimate level.

        Even in my 40s and listening to woman complain over and over again about men nice guys are still last when it comes to that department.

        OH AND TO THE POINT, yes in the TMI section I hear way to much stuff about boy toys etc…. the latest one I got this past week is a woman who is now working out just so this summer she can find herself a 20 year old boy to fuck his brains out all summer. Needless to say I walked away from that one!

        After she said that to me I sat there (needless to say the date lasted another two hours as we walked around Marshalls after eating) and I kept saying to myself wow, WTF and why am I standing here. I think I lost some brain cells after that conversation.

        • lothos, you sound like a nice guy, and easy to talk to. However, I think that you’re dating the wrong women and that you probably can learn to set better conversational boundaries. You might need some therapy here.

          TMI is a real red flag for me. Complaining about past relationships is a red flag. It sounds as if those women are using you to vent about their poor relationship choices, and then they plan to go off to make the same choices with the same kinds of men. You don’t need that.

          TMI tells me that they’re trying to push intimacy before the two of you really know if you like each other, and they’re asking you to rescue them. Nope. You need adults in your life, people who face adversity head on,deal with it, and move through it. Complaining about boy toys is all talk, no action. They’re trying to see if you’re okay with hearing this, and they may be wondering if you’ll offer to bail them out–or fuck them while bailing them out.

          The TMI makes the conversation all about them, too, which means you’re still dabbling in the Cluster B territory for your relationships. I don’t know where you’re meeting these people (match.com?), but maybe try engaging in some actual activities that you enjoy. Go clean up a nature trail. You’ll meet women who like to hike, aren’t afraid of germs, and who appreciate nature. Volunteer as an usher. You’ll see loads of plays and meet women who appreciate music and theater. It doesn’t matter what activity. The point is that there is an activity, and you can talk about that instead of their ex-boyfriends, what they didn’t like about the sex, etc.

          Try working with a therapist on this, too. If you were with a Cluster B for a while, that’s going to inform your future relationships. Thankfully, you’re breaking things off when it gets to the point where they’re revealing themselves, but it would be nice not to have to filter through them in the first place!

          • I would agree with you but this almost always happens on the first date and I don’t even talk about intimacy. I get the “You are easy to talk to comment” from all aspects of my life. This means even in the work place I get it! I also get it from other men (not just women). It is a curse I tell you ROFL!

            As for pushing intimacy, I never kiss on a first date. To me it is more of an interview of just getting to know them and ask/answer questions. If I like them I usually try and kiss on the end of the second date. I think part of the problem is I actually listen to what is being told to me instead of just hearing it.

            To answer your question, yes I been using dating sites such as Tinder, OkC and PoF.

            I think from now on when someone tries to talk to me I am just going to tell them to “Fuck Off” (JOKING LOL). Knowing my luck they will take it as an invite to tell me more about things I really don’t want to know about (or should not know about). Either that or I will start charging $150 an hour for my time.

            • I was thinking emotional intimacy more than physical. Oversharing is kind of a boundaries violation. You don’t share stuff with people that quickly! I do have one colleague who does so, but she’s an emotional wreck, and it was a while before I understood that her TMI–a product of her very many FOO issues–was a manipulative ploy. I don’t think she consciously knows she’s being manipulative, but it’s the same bullshit her mother pulls on her. It’s an attempt for her to get attention by being the object of our pity.

              At work especially, it’s just not appropriate, and depending on the strictness of company policies,you could get into trouble.

              Nice people who are good listeners are really open to this kind of manipulation, as you feel as if you’re the recipient of some kind of great secret pain and that by listening non-judgmentally, you’re now helping them ease their pain. In fact, they’d confess that pain to a potted plant, as it’s a way for them to focus the attention on them.

              That’s why I suggested working with your therapist. It’s important to learn whatever verbal and nonverbal cues you can use to cut this stuff off before it starts.

              Best of luck!

          • KB is on to something here. A woman with her head together wants a man whom she can talk to, who is a friend. But I waited until the urge to talk about Jackass had long faded away before I started to date. When I met the man I am seeing now, I didn’t even bring him up, except to say that the first man I dated after my marriage ended cheated and that’s a deal breaker for me. Like one sentence. I met this man doing an activity we both enjoy, and we had 4 months of regular contact in this activity before we even embarked on a friendship.

            If a pattern of behavior has bugged anyone since high school, that’s a sign you need to work on something. Your picker might be set on “sparkly,” For me, it was the nagging voice that only being in a couple is acceptable. My therapist called me out just the other day on something I said that was still grounded in that stupid belief. So some counseling or therapy with a sharp therapist might really help.

            • I had a Therapist for a almost 2 years once my x-wife left for the OM. He also went down the path of TMI and would tell me things that happened to him when he was a child in Israel (he is Jewish) when he was a boy. Some of these stories I really would not want to repeat. Needless to say even a Therapist has no power to the “You are easy to talk to” syndrome LOL!

              I should have charged him!

              • I have wondered all my life if I was the only person who was cursed with this. In my 20’s I got my degree in a helping profession just so I got paid for listening to strangers. My nickname was “the priest” because I could listen and not tell. I can be sitting on a park bench and have a total stranger sit down and tell me their life story. People will say “I have no idea why I told you that? ” Clients, strangers, supervisors, and yes, therapists.

                Are you able to shop without other customers approaching you for assistance?

                Sorry CN for hijacking this.

                Aowlee, you are awesome. Hopefully this is the last disordered fuckwit to cross your path.

              • That’s so unprofessional, and yes,you should have!

                It’s worth it to find a therapist who’ll focus on you, not on their own tales! Unfortunately, there are a lot of bad therapists out there.

                Additionally, even among good therapists, it’s not a one-size-fits-all or even that a good therapist will be good for you all the time. My TMI colleague’s husband died, and she went to grief therapy for a year, which was helpful, but then it was clear that the severity of her grief was tied into her FOO issues, and the grief therapist, who helped initially, was TERRIBLE at dealing with the childhood trauma. Her current therapist is great, and calls her on bullshit.

              • I will stoutly maintain that many good, solid, faithful women are actively seeking a man they can talk to. I just saw a stupid house buying show in which the wife says she wanted some feature because husband was never home and spent too much time on watching TV. She was a very beautiful women and there was her husband, rolling his eyes because she wanted him to talk to her.

                So those women are out there. And if you haven’t found them yet, it seems likely that they women you are attracted to don’t want what you have to offer. So that’s worth taking a look at.

              • Lothos and Chumpy it happens to me all the time too…always has…I used to wonder if I had ‘PUKE ON ME’ written on my forehead or something…?? then I got a job in customer service in my early 20’s and…even people on the phone WHO COULDN’T EVEN SEE ME would do it…so??? its in our vibes I think. Doesn’t matter where I am or what is happening, people just come up and start telling me things about their lives.

                …maybe its our calling? 🙂

            • You are so right LAJ. One of the main reasons I am absolutely sure that I’m not ready to date…. I am still sorting through the mindfuckery from X-hole, still dealing with fighting him legally for support and just him trying to manipulate me in general so I can’t refrain from talking about it or him. I hang with friends & family. No dating yet, at this point I have no interest and not sure when I ever will.

    • Yep, worked for me. I found a fellow chump who’s in the same position as I am. We understand each other’s circumstances and have some fun re-building our mutual self-esteem 😉

    • I would suggest you NOT find a “fuck buddy” unless you are sure you’re OK with it. This experience greatly damaged you. The last thing you need is more damage.

      I do think Tempest’s suggestion about writing him scathing letters that you never send is pure gold (and a lot more healthy.)

      • I made up a fake Yahoo email account. I used to write scathing emails to the cheater and then send them to that account. I got the relief of hitting Send without the mess of actually sending them to him.

      • Fuck buddies are a real good way to mess up your head, and people to get hurt. Sounds like a GREAT plan, but human emotions rarely stick to the plan. No one wants to be used, I doubt any chump wants to become a user. I would caution against it until you feel you can engage in a healthy relationship.

        • Exactly, we have been used enough. Looking to get used by somebody else is not going to make me feel better.

          (Yes, I understand not everyone feels the same way about intimacy.)

    • There is something to be said for this. Just prior to the 1 year anniversary of XH walking out and 7 months after the divorce was final – I reconnected with my never-married college sweetheart on FB. On the 1 year anniversary of the day my cheater walked out, I got on a plane, flew to former boyfriend’s city and had a “healing” of sorts. It was wonderful to be treated like a human being again – we dressed up for nice dinners in the best restaurants – had great conversations and were physically close. That trip did more for me than any anti-depressant – in fact, my IC told me it would help. He was right.

    • I’m at the point where I’d like to do that. I don’t know how, at age 63, to “announce it.” And it’s a little scary too. But it sure would be nice…

      • Let being 63 free you. I’m 64 and figure–what do I have to lose so long as my eyes are open and my picked fixed?

      • I though a lot about this thread while I was at the gym this afternoon. Betrayal is certainly the most intense emotional pain I ever experienced (though not in the realm of people I know who have lost loved ones to violence. It’s important to keep that in perspective.) It’s pain that is both situational and systemic. There is the sheer shock of discovering the infidelity, followed by the unravelling of much of the shared history–because once the first lies are discovered, everything the cheater said and did is up for rethinking. And then there is the “what do I do now?” or “can it be fixed?” questions that keep us in the DDay thinking loop. All of this mental agony grows out of the immediate situation of dealing with DDay and the cheater. But underneath all that are the systemic issues–what other less obvious betrayals have occurred and been spackled over? I think back to my marriage to the (non-cheater) substance-abusing XH and I wonder why I didn’t leave him when my mother was in critical condition in the hospital (in lots of pain,raving and incoherent) and he pitched a fit because I didn’t want to leave her to set the table and eat turkey with his son’s family on Thanksgiving. He had not a shred of empathy for my situation. I should have walked then. But we had just bought a house. I didn’t want to fail. Yada yada.

        I think of this as “systemic” pain because it’s all through my experience of both relationships. It wasn’t my XH or the Jackass that I needed to think about: it was about what I was willing to tolerate simply to stay in a relationship. And in order to stay in relationships, I had to stop looking at some many things, stop feeling so much, that once the gaslighting and craziness with Jackass began, I had YEARS of unprocessed pain and grief to get through. It had become part of my way of doing things to numb myself with food and work and just keep moving. And that is what, in the end, I had to change. I had to learn to feel things again, in the moment.

  • My cheater told me almost the same thing—after I discovered his 3 year affair, he claimed that he always worried about me cheating! Brought this up in marriage counseling and turns out it is a thing—it’s called projection. Cheaters think everyone will cheat.

  • Write those emails and texts that you want to send to him, and find a good friend to send them to instead, preferably one who’s been there, done that. (Warn her first so she doesn’t think you’re calling HER a pathetic loser.) This worked wonders for me. Got it out of my system, and usually with a bit of humor. (Once, an epic poem.) It’s the equivalent of writing a letter then burning it.

  • And to Aowlee….WOW!! You are definitely awesomely mighty.

    You’ve already done everything right, kudos to you for kicking his ass to the curb pronto!! And it’s true…luckily he pulled his bullshit and you found out BEFORE the marriage and kids. No kids means 100% NO CONTACT is possible, be grateful, some of us are forced to maintain contact because we bred with these soulless fucktards.

    Dodged the bullet is exactly right. The grieving will take some time, as well as the over-thinking but it will pass eventually and you will have peace. Be kind to yourself and go enjoy your freedom 😉

    • Every time asswipe pops in my head i think of things that terrify me and i turn his face into the creature from aliens and it pops out. May sound silly but it works. I turn him into the monster destroyer he really is. I have so many red flags now for future dating if i ever date again its scary and i doubt i will ever trust another guy ever again. Your lucky honey you found out before you commited “forever”. I hope others here can find love again if thats what they want. Im 60 i just dont care anymore. I want to be beholding only to me and look out for me.

      • KM, I’m right there with you. I’m 52 now and enjoying on focusing on mine and my son’s needs and have no interest in dating. I’m not angry at men, I don’t think they are all alike but I just don’t have the energy or the mental space right now for another relationship. I have much healing to do from the trauma of what I allowed myself to be put through coupled with the things I was forced to realize after the discard. Finding out that everything you thought you knew about the person you loved was a big fat lie changes you. It doesn’t just change your ability to trust other people, it causes you to question your own ability to choose suitably (at least for me). I know I need some therapy and I need time to process everything that has happened and focus on myself.

        • Speaking of being too tired to date…I asked an acquaintance (while I was still married) what his secret was for his long marriage. His answer, “When we both get home from work, we sit on the couch, look at each other & realize we are just too tired to date.” Love it.

  • So easy to say and almost impossible to do… Getiing someone out of yr head is very hard. I think you bravely managed to do one of the hardest parts and that is to physically remove someone from yr life. That distant allows for some peace but we all know the thoughts that occupy too much mental property. I think when you love someone there is a change in yr brain… Thoughts like roads lead to that person. If its been 5 years or 50. U plan dinner… The pathway in yr brain say…’ I gotta make dinner’ the connections start forming and you have now visualized yrself at home with your partner and they are happy that u picked up dinner. Kinda like all drains lead to the ocean. Your life is occupied by this person who ultimately your life pivots around and connects the dots.
    When the shit hits the fans those same pathways still lead to the asshole. They forgot to tell you they threw up a detour.
    It takes a long time to change those pathways. Stop setting the table and picking out the shampoo that they like. The ‘ what ifs’ Some of those lingering thoughts are just yr heart catching up to yr brain… Or the other way around. You need time to navigate to the new terrain in your head.
    Tincture of time, no contact and new shampoo. You will get there.

    • I think one can atill love someone deeply and once one has had that love one loves them no matter what even if one hates them too but from a long distance and no contact. Removing from the head is hard.

    • I think you bring up an important point, Clip. Some time back there was a thread in which we talked about the things we had to “take back.” I know, for example, that the new movie theater opening up near my own home helped because I could stop going to the one where I went with the Jackass. While I hardly ever thought of him, certainly the trip to the old theater always brought back living near there and going to the movies with him. It’s not that we have to give up the things we love; it’s that we need to change those mental pathways that lead to the jackass.

      • It’s true; one can “take back” an activity or place (like the old movie theater) by finding another. Rome triggers memories of the X? Go to Florence. Another way to “re-take” some experiences is to revisit the exact same old places, hobbies, etc. What we should aim for is counter-conditioning: the movie theater that made you sad could be come associated with a new, positive experience (watching a movie there with a new friend and buying the Twizzlers instead of popcorn). Admittedly, this takes time–we’ll probably be triggered the first time or two (or three) we attempt to counter-condition an old haunt, but it does get better over time.

    • TheClip, so so true!!! I never thought of it that way before, the neural pathways have to be re-routed. New shampoo, indeed. Thanks for this.

  • So sorry, yet another person is going through this. It is soooooo sad.

    Getting it/him out of your head no matter how you fight it just doesn’t happen in initial weeks/months/year… but over time the pain from thoughts associated with him will lessen.

    I walk/walked ALOT to exhale some of the toxins in my head making my body ill. I made up a chant/poem in my head that I would repeat over and over JUST to get the thoughts to stop for a little while. I am not a poet.. just happened when I was walking and overwhelmed.

    I will share:

    Let the river flow
    Sit up on a rock and LET IT GO

    For the current is too strong
    and it would be wrong
    not to let the river pass
    and watch the gulping bass

    If the river should try to claim you
    climb to a higher rock is what you wil do

    Let the river flow
    Sit up on a rock and LET IT GO

  • Aowlee, Girl you are AWESOME!! You dumped his ass when you found out and that is so very courageous!! I know a lot of people who went on to marry men like this, thinking the “wedding planning was getting to him”. Your engagement is supposed to be one of the best times ever, where you’re so excited to be marrying the other person, making arrangements. Yet, your ex-fiance was porking another woman. I mean talk about being gut punched and one of the worst forms of betrayal. You are SO blessed to have found this out before tying the knot. It’s a gift that was handed to you and saved your life.

    Of course you are going to think about what happened and that’s OK! It’s so TRAUMATIC!! You are grieving, trying to heal from this awful betryal which just happened. Thinking about it is part of the healing process and take as long as you need.

    And it will go away eventually, meaning after you’re validated your pain and the hurt, there will come a time, where you will look at this situation and simply realize this guy is scum and you will feel blessed that you didn’t marry that colossal lying cheating scumbag. Grieving will take as long as it needs to take, so please don’t rush it and honor the pain that your body is asking to validate, with compassion and love towards yourself.

      • I do unfortunately.These women were just happy to rationalize it all away, saying things like “The stress of wedding planning must be getting to him”, or “he’s just acting out” or “It’s merely a phase he’s going through”. These women all got divorced, as their husbands cheated on them. ChumpLady, so many women out there need you. And you are making a real difference in the world!

  • Put this on an index card, in your phone, on your screen saver:

    “some people suck. Some people don’t invest very deeply. Some people feign love and commitment for kibbles. Some people can blithely abandon their children.”

    Bingo. You, I., and the many thousands here in CN won the lottery and got hooked and hoodwinked with one of these pitiful wastes of good oxygen. My empathy and sympathy are with you. It will take a long time to shut down the channel. Be strong and mighty.

  • Yesterday was one year since my ex-cheater told me she cheated and moved out, all in the same day. It was a sucker punch, I didn’t see it coming at all. I still think about her but not in any fond kind of way. It’s more like I hate her. But the acute part is long over thank God. The sleeplessness, loss of appetite, weight loss, constant devastation, mustering everything I had to get through my work day. The sluggishness, overwhelming thoughts that consumed me and were uncontrollable, repeating the same things over and over again to my buddy. That’s all said and done now.

    Reading “The what-the-fuck just happened stage can last years” has really helped today. I felt like crap yesterday that I’m still thinking about it but I guess it’s normal. “It’s a monumental Oh My God life event.” I think for the rest of my life I’ll feel the injustice every time I think about it. That’s normal.

    • Michael,

      I hear ya. I acted pretty decisively when I uncovered my ex wife’s cheating, but there were a solid 18-24 months of getting over the trauma. Four years out (almost exactly), so much better but still deal with shit moments. Lack of sleep, lost too much weight and the anger from the injustice (as you pointed out) really got me. We had been married 20 years, I had been absolutely committed, two kids, etc. It was a loss and a shock.

      Give yourself a break, this is true trauma. So glad you have been improving.

        • Michael, maybe a bit to go, but who knows. Nice that the guarantee is that you’ll be better off (you already are) It does not mean it does not suck.

    • Michael, After 35 years, “my what the fuck just happened” is playing on an endless loop for 2 years after DDay (#4…) I resent how much headspace he consumes.
      Can’t believe how badly I allowed myself to be treated, how much gaslighting, lying, withholding, interspersed with intermittant wonderful loving times. My terrific ability to bounce back stems from FOO bootcamp, god, how textbook.
      I’m just realizing that his narcissistic sociopathic betrayal staeting at 19, will be with me for the rest of my life. Maybe I can learn to compartmentalize like he did, and find a tiny dark dungeon in my brain to put him in. He never deserved me. He will not break me.

      • Chump Change, Michael, et al. I am 1-1/4 yrs divorced and about 2.5 yrs since Ddays. (20 some months, 1000 wks and 10,000 days, or something). I am lucky to be on my own and it’s still hard to believe. Yes, I am content but my heart hasn’t caught up, even this late in the game. I am still reeling from the deception for 3 yrs (who knows how many more) and the loss of 36 yrs of memories. Still cannot seem to process that and I’ll never know the reasons why. Stuff we all struggle with.

        I have not healed as fast as I would have liked.
        I don’t like people much anymore and I used to be really friendly to everybody.
        I do think people treat you different when you are single. I feel, sorry Arnold, but they don’t respect a woman as much as they do a man. So, I’ve tipped my toe into the social world again, only wanted to meet other women and gay men-lol, and I spent 2 yrs on a girlfriendship. Boy, it ended upside down. Put me back about 10,000 steps. (ok, ok, so she is 86 and a bit senile) She was my friend and I was hers.

        I also had some issues with family members grieving the loss of their Dad. One niece turned on me. Very disrespectfully and, after traveling 1500 miles to attend the funeral, that is what I got back. I came home haunted for both recent experience and I am now, pulling my toe out of all pools.
        I think I just want to sit on a rock.

        Not to mention ever wanting to date again, I’m not sure I even want girlfriends in my life again. (yes, I have about 4 good ones and that’s enough for me – no male friends)

        You see, my best girlfriend, at the time, was bonking the X for three yrs while I got closer and closer to her.

        A double betrayal can make you re-think every relationship you have, especially going forward.

        Sorry, Debbie Downer tonight.

        • Hi SheChump- yes double betrayal is especially hard. My XH got involved with a female colleague of mine who I had become quite friendly with and trusted her with information about my marriage. I even introduced them! Well the FuckBook fest followed and then the rest. Nearly 3 years since that started and 18 months post divorce. They’re still together and revelling in their awesomeness. Meanwhile both my parents have died. I’m having to deal with a fireball of ‘complicated grief’ and get very frustrated that 1) I have to deal with this and 2) It’s going to take t-i-m-e. Ugh.

          I feel like Mad Max Rockatansky- “I am the one who runs from both the living and the dead. Hunted by scavengers, haunted by those I could not protect. So I exist in this wasteland, reduced to one instinct: survive.” Max Rockatansky.

  • Aowee – Sorry that you are going through this. Kudos to you for being so mighty and enforcing your boundaries.

    I’m sure you want to tell him how devastating and humiliating his betrayal and lies were, but the fact of the matter – and because of his comments to you on why he cheated – he isn’t equipped to show empathy or take responsibility for his actions. With that said, why say anything? But the best thing to do is keep on your no contact.

    This mental behavior that you mention you are going through will go away. Kind of look at it as your emotions are in jail right now and are causing you pain. Do your time and with good behavior, your emotions will eventually be set free to feel the great things in life again. Just takes time.

  • Physical “no contact” is one thing… mental “no contact” is a bigger toughie! Resources that can help – Check out http://www.melanietoniaevans.com
    This site provides tremendous resources on how to mentally evict the narc from your life. It has helped me s much in my own recovery. Im 15 months from D-Day, and I think about it less and less.
    Good luck to you! I can tell you’re already on your way!!!

      • I read a lot of MTE-and that article is spot on…but… it is hard to accept and not judge- even though it is the right course for self-healing and getting to Meh. It’s as though the Xs can carry on being their ‘happy’ selves whilst we have to attain some super human spiritual goal. Seemingly like another item on the sometime heavy Chump to do list.

        • Yeah, fuck the “don’t judge” line. Right up there with the “forgiveness is for yourself” nonsense.

          Hey cheaters–you violate laws, social norms, healthy family dynamics, and rules of decency. You suck. I judge that you suck. That’s not non-spiritual, that is upholding ethical standards. Imagine if after WWII, people had said, “Well, all these concentration camp killers have been captured. Who are we to judge? Just forget about those pesky Nuremberg trials!” [and yes, Ian, I’m aware I seem to be stuck on Nazi metaphors for cheaters ; )]

          • If there’s a ‘silver-lining’ to the Nazi’s, it’s that we’ve all got a ‘monster role model’ we can point to! 🙂 x

          • The whole ‘don’t judge’ and ‘forgive for yourself’ doesn’t jive because if I’m not mad it means I wasn’t worth being mad about, I wasn’t worth being above base instincts.

            These arguments when dissected point directly to making my need to be acknowledged as a worth individual smaller and less important than Ho Hubs need to be forgiven for being a total and utter waste of skin.

            Fuck. that. Noise.

            Tempest thank you for being a champion for allowing anger, embracing it- not letting it control a person, or excuse your own behaviour. Just own it. I feel way less like a crazy person when I read your disseminations on the topic.

          • Yeah, “don’t judge” is a total mindfuck. It conflates prejudice and judgement.

            Prejudice: to pre-judge members an oppressed social class (the poor, LBGTQ, people of color, women) , to whom its members are falsely ascribed various character flaws and behavioral choices by the dominant social class.

            Judgement: opinions based upon demonstrated social behaviors by an individual, and the acquirement of reputation and social opinion based on those behaviors.

            The Toxic Fraud therapist said one of my problems in relationships was my “incredible indignation”.

            The Buddhists recognize that all of the five negative emotions have a seed quality. I experience incredible anger. The seed form of anger is clarity.

            She also said that I have a “razor sharp mind”. It would seem that that quality of mind would result in “incredible indignation” when faced with invasive idiocy and ignorance. I admit, I have a ways to go in polishing the anger off the mirror-like quality of mind.

            But seriously, hasn’t this woman ever heard of the liberation theology schools, or any form of social liberation? Is it any wonder activists are righteously angry? The quality of justice is highly linked to clarity,and when justice and social harmony are disturbed, the result is anger.

            Anger can be a liberating force. Sure, feel it too long, you’ll get burned out with your own fire. Anger has its own place in everyone’s emotional ecosystem. I’m pretty convinced that wildfires are part of my emotional ecosystem. Some people are the Pacific Northwest. I’m not. I like my fire, thank you very much.

            • Heya Chef – great to read you, as always.
              But, being from the great PNW, will give you an awesome sense of awareness.
              Yep, we have fires – we need them to help the forest grow.
              Lots and lots of old growth forests that we are trying to save. The paths are incredible.
              (and yes, I used to buy these trees and sell them overseas – Douglas Fir, Old growth) ack on me. But, they paid well in Europe for it. Thank goodness the Spotted Owl controversy came out and shut it all down. God, I felt guilty by then!)

              We have mountains (all year long skiing) and the ocean to cool us off.

              Sorry off topic – but getting a plug in for the Oregon Coast!

              Hey – just trying to lighten things up – yanno how we all love the places we live.
              I’m on the Oregon coast and wish I could do a meeting with all of you.
              Do you allow dogs? hehe

              • I forgot they had fire up there. Maybe I am the PNW..

                Its so gorgeous up there, and LUSH and GREEN. Here in Colorado, not so much. Lots of brown. I miss the green.

        • Indubitably, Dubito! Some of what MTE makes sense, some is a little too woo-woo for me, but to each their own.

          I like Spartan Lofe Coach’s take on False Morality, sort of says the same thing.

          Bon weekend, dude.
          Meh

          • Fantastic resource Mehphista! I just viewed the YouTube video for this, it was spot on for me. Thanks for sharing this!

            • Memphista – love this!

              “Indubitably, Dubito!”

              That almost rhymes.

              I haven’t used Indubitably for years. ha ha – love it!

    • Thanks Tempest. I’m actually thinking of this. A bit of a drive for me, but I’m a road warrior. The dates are in the middle of the most popular time at Yosemite. So, I would assume you need bookings asap.

    • A bit to far for me as a Canuck but maybe 2017? This is a rebuilding (my business and my personal life) year for me.

  • Aowlee, you are awesome! Believe me, you did the right thing in not trying to reconcile with this man. I can tell you this from experience, because something similar happened to me. My ex broke off our wedding about 6 months before it was scheduled. It came out later that “he thought he saw someone he liked better.” I was devastated and flew home for the weekend (we were in college). When I came back he asked to see me, told me he just had cold feet and begged me to take him back. Even though something in my gut was telling me to wait, my head was fighting with my heart that loved him so much. I ended up taking him back. Fast forward 36 years and guess what? He discards me like so much trash. I find out later he’s “in love” with his married grad student. Guess what he tells me on the phone after he left? “I just saw something I liked better.” These people never change.

    It’s normal for you to go over and over in your mind what happened, but in time you’ll tire of the mental gymnastics. Pay attention to the things that bring you joy and do them as much as possible. For me it’s listening to music and going to concerts. I even took up playing a new instrument and started playing with a band. Feed the things that bring you joy and they’ll eventually crowd out the thoughts that bring you down.

    You might consider talking to a counselor in order to move ahead more quickly. It really helps.

    You will heal and you will be wiser and stronger. You will find someone who truly loves you and is able to commit because you’ll know what to look for. Congratulations! You’ve escaped a lifetime of pain and regret.

    • Lyn,

      From my now ex-boyfriend (not my STBX), I got ‘I want to see if there’s something better out there.’ Very confusing to hear that type of thing when the night before your lover told you that he missed you.

      I think that Aowlee is brave and very strong and thus will heal fairly quickly. Not all of us do, though. Even after much work, effort/lack of effort to ‘get over’ my first fiance/boyfriend (who broke up with me 25 years ago to marry a teenager he just met, who has now been married to him for a quarter century), I still grieve him, even though he often treated me very badly. (I wasn’t perfect either, though, which makes the relationship and break up confusing.) And now I grieve the loss of my family with my STBX and grieve the loss of my most recent boyfriend (who wants to check out the grass on the other side of the fence). I often feel as though I unintentionally drove away my last boyfriend by talking about difficult issues facing my family. I feel guilty and sad that I may have emotionally overburdened him and often wonder if I had not talked about my STBX (although it was difficult not to as STBX and I have young children in common and ex-boyfriend and I knew each other for decades) if he would still be here with me. However, I also feel that he was a somewhat dishonest flake and a bit of a cad. Also, realizing that, over a year, he never told me that there was a problem with me telling him about issues that faced my family (e.g., death, disability) but would not give me a chance, once he told me that he wanted to break up with me one year into our ‘relationship,’ even after I apologized for unintentionally burdening him, told him that several life-altering issues in my family were resolving and promised not to burden him with mention of these issues makes me think that I never had a chance with him. I am confused. I would do anything legal, including give up an arm and a leg, to restore my relationship with my ex-boyfriend, especially because I felt as though it was a great relationship in many ways and I feel as though I wrecked it. However, I have been working hard at No Contact, which is extremely difficult for me, for two weeks as I do not want to bother my ex-boyfriend and I want to maintain some dignity and self-respect following a break up for a change. The only times I have broken up with someone (only twice), I broke up with the guy because he had a severe sex addiction (cruised for prostitutes) or worked hard at cheating on me. I have been dumped several times in my life and often groveled for the guy to come back. I know that groveling is futile and just makes me look bad, so I am doing my darnedest, even though the skin on my knuckles is figuratively breaking from the ‘white-knuckle’ feeling I am getting from refraining from calling my ex-boyfriend, to refrain from contacting him. Even though our relationship was not quite perfect, I feel as though I will suffer immensely knowing that he has found a new lover/girlfriend/wife/mother of yet unborn children of his.

      At 50, I don’t want to live any more. A few weeks ago, I had to go to a clinic for additional screening for breast cancer as the initial screen was ‘concerning.’ (This situation occurred a couple of years ago, too.) I felt peaceful about and relieved by the prospect of soon dying from cancer. As long as my children were well-treated, I would be fine with dying now.

      • Hi RockStarWife- when you’ve been hit with so much loss, it’s understandable to want to check out yourself. I’ve commented elsewhere that I’m dealing with divorce and the death of both parents ( within past two years). Today is Mothers’ Day in the UK. The relationship with my mother was not good, but I kept trying. The relationship with XH was not good but I kept trying. I can add another few relationships in here where – I kept trying. I realised today that probably what I missed most about my mother and XH was the keep trying bit. I also realised that I have to accept that although those relationships are gone I can still keep trying – with, and for me. So I hope you can do that for yourself. Hell, 50 is no age- I’m nearly 60- which apparently is the new 40! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/meryl-hartstein/is-sixty-the-new-forty_b_8531980.html

        • Hi, Mikky,
          Thanks for writing. I am sorry to hear about your multiple losses, especially in such a short time span.
          I would love to think that 60 is the new 40, but prospective employers and men interested in dating don’t generally seem to think of 60-year-old women as 40-year-old women. (I don’t hold this opinion by the way, but based on what I have read and observed as a gerontology researcher, I think that a lot of people hold this opinion. I think that age discrimination starts to become noticeable around 40, increasing with age.) My 50-year-old STBX and my 46-year-old boyfriend seem to have no problem finding lovers, but in spite of maintaining a fairly attractive figure and trying hard to be kind to all, I started having trouble getting dates around 35, even without children.

          • Sorry RockStar – but fuck that. Everywhere I look around at my dating ‘pool’, are old big fat men with gray unkepmpt gray facial beards (lucky if they have all their teeth), bad nose hairs (making up probably for their lack of public hair – oops, pubic hair). I’m glad that I’ve always worked out with exercise (altho I’ve been lax in that lately) and I find myself losing MY pubic hair (where did it go? cool – no shaving anymore – ahem – NO, I’d never have done that for anybody) but it makes me examine every nose and lip hair. So, I pluck for myself. So far, no gray anywhere, at almost 60…but I bet it happens to my bush before my head. Now, THAT I might dye. Not that anybody wants to see it.
            Nor do I want them to.

            I am totally over meeting a man.
            However, one good-looking stranger bought me a $9.5 glass of wine tonight.

            NO NO NO – never again.
            He just wanted to fuck and I don’t have any clue how to fuck anymore, anyway.

            Sorry for being crass…but goddamn, I’d sure like a good fuck by a stranger, at the very least.

            No – I DON’T!!!
            NO.

            • Sorry, for that loud comment. I reacted too quickly and didn’t see your BC diagnosis.
              Rock Star. Many of us have heard the same thing, quite unexpectedly, because Cancer creeps up very slowly w/o symptoms.

              It’s scarier than hell to hear your doctor way the C word to you – and, I was alone when the doc told me I had Stage I.
              Husband at the time must have been in bed or something (ha!) when that appt happened.
              I was scared shitless.
              I know what you’re going thru, not knowing if you’ll live or die.
              Had this happened to me when I knew the Dick was cheating on me, yep, I was that depressed that I would have thought the same thing. Yeah, let’s let this ‘thing’ kill me. Easier than being alive, that is for sure.

              Anyway, I’m shaking you on your shoulders, yanno – throw your head around and toss your hair.
              You ARE alive right now, and you will find the strength to get thru this diagnosis.
              You have SO much to live for.
              You inspire me – how many others on this website??

              You will meet so many others thru the process, let alone how many send you God’s wishes…
              People ARE concerned because YOU are important in this world.

              Tell everybody what you have been diagnosed with. It helps so many others who really need to talk openly about it.
              When my Ma got her diagnosis of the Big “C”, it was all hush-hush.

              NEVER again.
              People will learn a lot from you and there are many people to help you thru the process.

              I’m raising my hand, to hold your hand.

              Scary times, indeed. So sorry.

              STRENGTH!

              • SheChump,
                I did not explain my story completely. After multiple screens, I was NOT diagnosed with cancer. The point I was trying to make that I would have liked to have died of cancer–and I have a fairly accurate idea of what that is like as both my young cousin and her parent are well into Stage 4 of their two different types of cancer. I wish that I could take the bullet for both of them.

              • Oh gosh – NO, RockStar! NO! The last thing you want to die of is cancer. It’s Annus Horribilis as Queen E would say. Nobody deserves to die that way. Besides, it hurts too many loved ones. You are NOT taking a bullet for anybody. Some people we can’t save, us chumps, including our loved ones. Please take care of yourself! Promise?

  • Yep, found out before the wedding. Bonus points.

    And if somebody is going to be having an affair heading into the wedding, it’s not going to get any better.

  • this is going to sound crazy, but the Pixar movie Inside Out helped me deal with my own head about the grief around infidelity. How happy memories turn sad after upheaval. Sadly the post infidelity stress was one of many factors that lead my 17 year old to harm himself and in his post care he asked me to watch this movie. This also seems to be the thing that shook my asshole spouse out of his perverse entitlement. It’s pretty damn hard to deal with your son screaming WHY DID YOU ABANDON US FOR THAT WHORE from the hospital. He still sucks but he is trying to make it up to his kid.

    • This isn’t crazy at all! I think TV and movies and books and music all tap into our emotions and help us sort things out and remember how to feel happy. I watched a ton of “Law and Order” in the first months after D-Day and in fact still watch 3-4 episodes a week. It’s on all the time and there are 3 versions! Looking back, what helped was how that show was about the worst things people do and the struggle to get justice, often imperfect. It was a perfect metaphor for where I was at the time and it was there right in my house, probably 10 hours a day. Sound nuts, eh? But it really helped, as did my music playlists.

        • HA! I watched hours and hours of true crime shows to remind myself that hardly anyone gets away with murder. Plus I figured I’d have a really hard time keeping the gleeful look off my face when I was being questioned. 😉

          • Beth! Me too! NCIS, Law & Order (all 15 seasons or more), CSI New York, Rizzoli & Isles, Crossing Jordan, heck, even Cagney & Lacey….I think I was fixated criminals getting their due.

        • “I had the urge to watch Dexter”……………
          OMG Tempest-I am your people! I loved that show and have been sad since it ended.

          I jokingly imagine asking stbx sometimes “Do I see plastic sheets in your future?” Ha Ha Ha!
          (But then I would actually have to speak to him right? No thanks!)

  • I’m struggling with getting him out of my head too and I’m 3 years out from DDay but I had to interact with him up until 4 months ago and will still occasionally have to since we have a college age daughter. I’m trying to be fair to myself – I spent 27 years unknowingly living with the mental and emotional abuse these narcs/sociopaths put us through. I think I’ll be dealing with the after effects for some time to come but I certainly hope that it dwindles faster than I expect.

  • I’m 2 years and 17 days into NC. It gets better. Just keep coming back to Chumplady for reinforcement. I swear she saved my life. Good for you for seeing him for what he is after the first time. I was a chump for over 10 years.

  • I got my fucktard out of my head by journalling. All. The. Time. My journal reached 100 pages and by then I’d said and explored everything I possibly could so I stopped. Now I hardly think of him at all. Meh.

  • Aowlee,

    You asked:

    Will this mental behavior just go away with time?

    Yes; time heals wounds.

    If no one else has said it to you yet: welcome to the club nobody wants to join.

    You made it. You’re here. You got Chumped. It sucks.

    But – the good news is you’ve found Chump Lady. Chump Lady is wise and mighty. It would appear that there are as many wreckonciliation websites out there as there are Cheaters. Apparently almost every Cheater thinks they’re special and once they’ve cheated they love to write about it. You could have ended up on one of those websites.

    These Cheater Apologist websites and books peddle hopium. (First one’s free – tell your friends.) When a Chump is main-lining hopium, we fixate on all the things WE did wrong or would like to say to the cheater. Hopium addiction is rampant in our culture. Hopium feels good because it’s a way to avoid feeling the crushing agony of detoxing off of a Cheater.

    You have already evicted him from your physical space. Sooner than you might believe Aowlee, you’ll wake up to find he’s been evicted from your mind. In my case it’s creeping up on four months since I saw my STBXW. The chest-ache, vomiting, and mind movies are done. (I’m now nursing a massive hopium hangover that is soothed by an abiding hatred of unrepentant Cheaters.)

    Aowlee, “you’ve taken your first step into a larger world.” A world where you get to decide how people treat you. A world where your finely-tuned Cheater-dar can become your newest life-skill.

    The reconciliation-industrial-complex (RIC) is deeply invested in making sure you break No-Contact. There are obviously reasons to break no contact, e.g., children or financial separation. However, all of those matters should initially be negotiated in writing. Otherwise, you are simply letting a lying-ass liar lie to you about their alleged intentions. Don’t fall prey to this. If you need to negotiate this exit, get a professional third-party to assist.

    (It took me 10 weeks to go No-Contact. I too had things to say to my Match Girl. I might as well have said them to a stranger on the street; it would have the same outcome. Namely: nothing.

    Stick around. Read the linked post in Chump Lady’s answer. The pain you are in will subside, and it CAN be lessened if you follow some of the experience-based advice you’ll find here.

    So sorry he hurt you Aowlee. It’s likely the most pain you’ve ever experienced. Be gentle with yourself.

  • I’m nearly 10 months out and I still haven’t evicted my cheater fully from my head, but every day I find new things to fill my brain with. I do it by staying busy. I’ve painted and renovated a lot of my house. I’ve gone out and about by myself a lot. I’ve joined friends for trivia and started dating again because even though I’m not looking for a relationship to dive into I figure I need to get reacquainted with how this whole dating thing goes these days. Nothing serious but not sitting at home.

    There is absolutely no reason to tell him all the things you think he needs to hear. For one it wouldn’t mean anything to him and it allows him to feel like all you do it think about him. No Contact is your friend and the shining light to the truth. Write it all down, journal it, put it on paper and get it out of your head and you might feel less and less inclined to think about it.

    Yes, this whole thing sucks Aowlee and I’m sorry you’ve had to join us here at CN but give yourself the time and space YOU need to feel how mighty you truly are.

  • Hi Aowlee–

    You are MIGHTY! Great for you for kicking him to the curb just before a wedding. Wow! That took guts on your part. A lot of people might have gone through the wedding and hoped things would get better, but you faced your reality head on!

    I agree. Don’t let him know how you feel. He doesn’t care. The words will fall on deaf ears. He didn’t care how you’d feel when he was fucking someone else, so why should he care now?

    Keep No Contact, and make sure you block him. Sure, right now you’ll still have a head full of cheater. This is pretty traumatic! It’s normal to think about it! But over time, you’ll have less and less reason to think about him and more things that are happening to you.

    My cousin extricated herself from a cheater about 8 or so years into the marriage. Her mom never liked the cheater, as he addressed the mother by a pet name she didn’t like, despite her telling him that he could call her either by her given name or “mom.” See? Entitlement! Anyway, a few years later, she married her current husband. They have a great life together, and are clearly good for each other. They’ve been married for over 15 years now.

    She has no room in her head for her XH, and I doubt that she had thought of him at all until I told the family that I was divorcing a cheater.

    So, No Contact and time. Living well is the best revenge.

  • D Day for me was March 2009. Had a crazy wreckonciliation to October 2013. Divorce finally final December 2015 (hurrah). I STILL mentally tell him what a complete arse he is virtually every day on the drive into work. I STILL think the trauma suffered because of him is the worst trauma I’ve ever suffered (worse than the death of people I deeply loved, worse than miscarriages and the stillbirth of my son). If the film ‘The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind’ were based on reality – I’d be down that doctor’s office in a trice – yes, please erase ALL of that – I can’t believe in any of the good stuff so I don’t want to keep it. (BTW – he was my second marriage, and I’ve had long-term relationships before my first marriage – I have no problem remembering and enjoying the memories of any of my previous loves – NONE of them were cheaters, though a couple of them were as weird as a bag of fish).

    • Jayne, I agree it was the worst pain I’ve ever experienced…worse than a miscarriage, or losing people I loved, or going through cancer. We learn a lot from going through this, but it hurts like hell. On the plus side, I’m a lot stronger now, and I value myself more than someone else’s opinion of me.

      • Thanks Lyn. I think the reason it’s so much more painful is that these people we gave the gift of our love and time to did what they did deliberately. People we loved died, but we knew they didn’t choose to die and we knew they loved us. Miscarriages, stillbirth and cancer are tragic medical problems, they are not deliberate acts of cruelty (even if at the time we may have wondered why God didn’t love us to have allowed these things to happen).

      • I agree as well, X-hole walked out 6 days after my breast cancer diagnosis and my decision to have a double mastectomy. The pain and destruction he inflicted was far worse than the emotional turmoil of dealing with my health. Took me about 2 months and then I found CL and chump nation and I am so grateful…. finding this place was a saving grace. I thought I was crazy and making things up in my mind until I started reading here every day.

        I still read every day, I don’t always have the opportunity to comment as much as I’d like but I never miss a day.

        • I’m so sorry you went through that NCStevie – what a complete bastard, I hope his balls drop off – slowly and painfully.

          Hugs to you x

          • Nothing makes a Narc’s mask fall off faster than their supply being ill. Yup, wanna get rid of your Narc without all the drama… just tell him you have cancer. For a year I could not be around so much because I was caring for my parents. Did he do one thing? Even have a ounce of concern when I juggled our lives and theirs? NOPE, he went and made himself busy with some cake supply.

            • Not funny but I had a sneaking suspicion that if I got sick he would abandon me. Didn’t understand why I felt that way. He just put me down for my bad memory. I also worried what would happen if I got breast cancer as my generous “chest” was so terribly important to him. He even grabbed them when we separated saying he missed them -ughhh

  • Aowlee….all good advice. I’m almost 2 years post separation, 3 years D-day–we were not married but together for 14 years–but I still have triggers especially when I see him and the whore together. He moved out and in with the bitch while I was at work and I never heard from him again except for the stupid letter he left–which was all BS! While I still have the thoughts/triggers….they are NOT nearly as often as they used to be, but gentle reminders of how much better off I am without that lying cheating Narc. I look back at all the times I caught him in a lie as well as when I discovered the affair, and in all those times, it was always my fault. I believe the reason we have these moments is to learn from them and to protect us from it ever happening again because we are GOOD people!!!
    Stay strong–it gets better everyday!!

  • Folks, I can tell you from experience that NC works WONDERS for freeing up mental real estate. If you find yourself dwelling, picture the harsh crap your cheating ex said/did; for me, that frees the real estate right up again (but then, I’ve got the kind of temperament where once you screw me over and I decide that I’m done, you’re basically dead to me and I extricate you from my life so that I can move on).

    • I’m of the same temperament.

      Just wanted to add No Contact also means getting rid of pictures, videos, memorabilia, smells, anything that triggers images of that person in your mind. You may have to shut down your social media. You want those images to fade. Hardest part for me was deleting all of our engagement and wedding pictures which cost over $2000.

  • OH HONEY.

    It’s only been 6 weeks. You are definitely still trying to process what happened, make sense of it, and on top of that handle the mechanics of canceling a wedding. You are doing GREAT. Keep moving forward. You’re on the right track!

      • Thanks Michael. It’s almost 10 years old and my hair is different now, but it’s still me – still my cheshire cat grin! (I don’t like photos of me – but this one I do cos it’s my smile!).

        • Gorgeous Jayne and you can’t beat a beautiful smile. 🙂

          My beautiful smile is all I have going for me these days !! ;(

          • Maree – a beautiful smile is everything. The lady I support has the most gorgeous smile. She has just turned 80, but when she smiles (sadly arthritis challenges her real smiles so she doesn’t smile as much as she should) she honestly lights up the room! Easily knocks 50 years off her as well 🙂

      • Aw thanks Karma Express 🙂 And I can testify that both Karma Express and Tempest, having met them both in York, are completely lovely babes, inside and out 🙂 xxx

  • The support and advice I have found on this site (both before today and now directed at me) is so overwhelming and amazing. It is truly inspirational to see so many mighty people that have risen from the ashes and survived. Knowing that there are people like CN out there makes me certain I will trust again one day. And all of those dickwads that screwed all of us over are missing out!

    • Glad you’re here. Stick around it gets better. And the trust thing will work itself out as long as you don’t harden your heart. Not everyone is like your cheater.

  • I can’t begin to tell you how much this sounds like me, Aowlee. I had imaginary conversations in my head – ALL. THE. TIME. I had to make myself stop or I would have made myself sick. For me, spending time with the Bible and on spiritual things helped me get through. Philippians 4:8 was my mantra. Every time I found myself making up crap, I reminded myself to focus on things that are TRUE. What I was making up in my head was not true, so I gave myself a mental shake and made myself stop. At first, I did this every 30 seconds or so. By now, maybe once every 2 – 3 days? Progress!! Here is a copy/paste of Philippians 4: 8-9 from The Message. Good Luck, Aowlee! We’re here for you!

    8-9 Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.

    • I found my thoughts going the wrong way when I was driving so I found a playlist with songs that moved my thoughts to reinforcing my mightiness. So when I started having a fantasy about talking to Jackass, I turned on the sound system. That works too.

  • Really struggled with this. i think it was probably a full year after the divorce that I finally stopped thinking, “I’ll say this if she says that…” 99% of the time she’s gone from my mind, but yes, once in a while there’s still a moment or two where I think, man, I’d like to rip into her for this or that. Truth is, she sucks, always will, no matter what she’s got or does she’s a head case. I’m better without her, have a good relationship now with someone else, and have had 2 1/2 years to realize zero contact (unless for my son, and then it’s abrupt), is the only way to really heal.

    AOWLEE really nails it though, once you cheat, you’re out.

  • Aowlee

    First CN can we get a virtual standing ovation for Aowlee??!! How incredible is it that she already kicked this cheating asshat to the curb!?!? You are so mighty Aowlee that I am in awe; as I am sure most here at chump nation are!

    You invested yourself in your ex-fiancé so it is to be expected that he will take up a little (or a lot) of real estate in your brain for a while and you are early in your journey. Maybe not what you want to hear right at this moment but healing happens at each individual’s pace. Please don’t beat yourself up for not “being over it” immediately.

    The mental stuff will go away with time. I can tell you that going 100% no contact hastens the time period quite a good bit. When I say 100% no contact, I mean block his number or change yours and don’t give it to him. Block him on email or discontinue your old email accounts. Block him on social media or give it up all together. And never agree to meet with him!!

    Some folks suggested a journal to get your thoughts out there or writing emails that you never send or having conversations with yourself. I lean towards the conversations because anything you put down in writing could be sent but that’s just me. Anyway, stay the no contact course and you’ll be well on your way to meh. Take care of yourself physically and emotionally and don’t avoid the grieving process. It just delays the inevitable.

    God speed mighty one!

  • “The reason he did was because he believed I would one day cheat on him. You know, a preemptive strike sort of affair (because that’s what grown ups do).”

    WOW. This just completely boggles my mind – yet doesn’t surprise me one bit after the goofy assed wtf shit my stbx came up with.

  • Aowlee, god bless you child you dodged an unholy bullet, and you did so in large part because you are so f****g strong. Like many, I was married to my ex cheater for 25 years before I realized the truth–that he had been leading a double life for decades. It is hard in the beginning, but you are SO MIGHTY, just keep going and staying no contact, care for yourself and allow yourself to grieve and then move on. You WILL recover, you WILL stop thinking about him so much, and you WILL go on to a great life. Just keep him in the rear view mirror and look ahead. Now, 4 years down the road from D-Day for me, when thoughts of my ex or his AP’s come to mind, I think “I DON’T CARE” and move on mentally. Cause I have a great new life and am so much happier and better off without a liar and a cheat. You will be too.

  • I’m 3 years out from DD. I can promise you 100%, it gets better. I’ve worked on building a new life and yes, I’ve had bad days but overall, my life is much better now that I am cheater-free. I think you have to decide that that cheater is not going to get the best of you. You’re doing well ditching that freak before you married him (wish I could have done the same.) Move away from him and don’t contact him. You’ll stop thinking about him as your new life and new people fall into place. You have to work for it though because it’s not handed to you.

    No contact is the best way to heal. I have to interact with mine (very very rarely) due to our daughter and occasional financial exchanges. It’s so rare – maybe 6 times a year. And even those exchanges are business like. Also, keep looking at this site, it’s been enormously helpful to me. You aren’t alone in this. Someday he will be like a person you once knew and are so glad you no longer know.

  • The seven stages of grief are shock, denial, anger, sadness, guilt, bargaining and acceptance. When a loved one dies, we go through the seven stages of grief to heal. It can take four years to process this grief. When cheating occurs, a relationship dies. The trust is killed. I believe that one’s mind processes the grief in layers because we can only handle so much at a time.

    I first had to process the loss of what I thought I had. I thought I had a husband who was faithful to me and he certainly made an effort to appear that way in the community. How could my husband have cheated on me with another?

    I then had to process that I didn’t have what I thought I had. Okay, he cheated but this just had to be a one-night stand. It had to be just sex that meant nothing. We could fix this with a talk. We could work this out. He would not admit it; there was neither sorrow nor remorse on his part, just pure rage at being called on the carpet for this actions. There would not be any fixing this or working this out because XH is a narcissistic psychopath.

    I replayed the entire relationship from start to finish in my head. I realized that this is not something that just happened in the last year, but that this – cheating – has been going on throughout the entire relationship. The D-Day that caused my divorce was not the first time he cheated on me. I believed that the man who presented himself to me in the idealization stage truly loved me and was incapable of cheating on me, despite any evidence to the contrary, but this was not so. He certainly insisted throughout the marriage that there was never anyone else, but this was a lie. I have had to process that he never loved me, used me to pay for his life and also to have an image in the community as a faithful, loving husband. The man who the community saw as my faithful loving husband was a man who financially exploited me, emotionally abused me, physically abused me, lied to me and cheated on me. When the neighbors saw that he had moved out, they were all so concerned. “Is he sick?” They figured if he wasn’t there with me that he must be in the hospital.

    I am now processing the fact that the D-Day that caused my divorce was not just a one night stand but a long term affair. Through revisiting and reprocessing information, I have determined that the affair went on at least 9 months, maybe a year or longer. I am now thinking that this was more than just sex, that he must have had feelings for her and I am wondering how many times they had sex and where.

    I believe that there is just so much to process and that it all takes so much time and this is why they stay on our minds for so long.

    • Same story here–one year affair with a friend of ours 5 years ago. He just discarded me now and is with ns. I now hear he was hitting up other women around town. All of the same abuse as you aND he is well liked in this toen–mask firmly in place. The reconciliation just gave him the time he needed to steal half of our retirement savings and refuse to work so he wouldn’t have to pay spousal support. Put your financial ducks in a row, trust that he sucks and start your new life. I wish I had never reconciled with him, another 5 years wasted fir a total of 34.

  • This is a good topic. By coincidence I was talking to myself today in the mirror and thinking all the stuff that I would like to say to the POS. I am still a chump in process to do something soon! iT is horrible the only way I can take these conversations away is working and being busy. my job is so demanding that I do not have time to think about the crazy stuff. But As soon I get home the talking in my brain starts. tHis is so unfair we have to go thru this before, during & after. English is not my 1st language and sometimes I take
    screen shots of what you ladies said so i can say to the POS some day 🙂 but then I have to delete them because I am even afraid of the digital print. They left us crazy. cOngrats for doing what you did Aowlee, enjoy the trip. And post a beautiful pic of a sunset when you come back!

  • Aowlee:

    I am right where you are, sister! It’s been 11 months or so since my D-Day (he only got one), almost 6 months since our divorce was final. He re-married to his OWhore 60 days after our divorce was final and we stay NO Contact except for every other weekend when he decides to play “Super Daddy” for 48 hours to our daughter. The mind wreckage cheaters cause us affects us physically, mentally, emotionally, sometimes even financially (if we are so wrapped up in our thinking, sometimes work is the last thing we can do)…it sucks, especially for me- right after D-Day, him moving out, our divorce I was home on medical leave- had nothing but time on my hands and nothing to do back then except dwell on my thoughts…it nearly drove me insane, but if not for my kids, my friends, my career, I probably would have.

    I play scenarios in my head, think about what to say to him, how to react to him, etc. and in the end I do just what everyone here at ChumpNation and my instinct is to do: SILENCE.

    I do pray to be delivered from the negative thoughts, feeling he brings to my mind. I do rebuke thoughts of him as much as I can. I do know that no matter what, he sucks. He will always suck. He has always sucked. I, however, don’t.

    You are amaze-balls, Aowlee!!!! Keep moving forward, have a wonderful time on your “Freedom trip”!!!

    Molly

  • “You’re going to be twitchy”…that’s the fucking truth! I wouldn’t get what that meant if I hadn’t been cheated on and kicked to the curb by her after 24 years and 2 kids…but yeah Twitchy. After 2 years and over 6 months strict no contact it’s been a hell of a ride but has changed me into a stronger and more cautious man. I will not get hurt like that again.

  • Aowlee,

    Wow, your decision to act so quickly was gutsy. Seriously. There will come a day, some years from now, when you are able to look back and go, “Damn, I dodged a bullet.”

    That day is not today. It will take some years and some therapy to process the grief and the betrayal. Eventually, the urge to say anything to them does die.

    No contact is your best route. Really. Don’t feed the asshole more kibbles. Its intermittent rewards. Its keeps them sniffing around longer, like the badly trained dog with the mentality of a three year old child.

    In the meantime, all the things you have to say are important TO YOU. You need to express those things to let them go. It does help.

    Here are some ideas, maybe one of them will help you:

    -write a letter you never send to the asshole. CN has given a variety of creative methods, see those posts.
    I am a big fan of paper. Its not ever going to get on the internet, or accidentally sent via email.

    – write a statement of grievances. Then host a one woman reading of your grievances with a form of nature as audience: a houseplant, your back yard, a tree in a park. You can even make some artistic representation of the asshole that you can vent your feelings on: kicking, stabbing, lecturing. If you have supportive people in your life, make it a theatrical monologue. Invite people over for a reading and roast of the effigy. Have a bonfire, and burn the cheater in effigy.

    – Cheaters escape many forms of real world consequences for their actions. I set up a “prison” in which I designated a pillow from my couch as my ex, and would put him under my table which was “jail”. The pillow stayed there for as long as I wanted, I could imprison my pillow arbitrarily, pull it out for a beating, etc. Create a creative form of consequences for the “cheater object”.

    – Sit in a car with the windows rolled up. Scream, cry, vent, say everything in your heart and mind as loud as you want to.

    -Tell the wall/chair/lamp in your home all about shithead cheater.

    – Create symbolic rituals to sever your ties to the cheater. Cut up pictures, burn things, burn a candle you call your relationship, make an altar to your relationship and destroy it.

    There are endless possibilities to channel all this energy. This energy is yours. Own it and allow it to move through you in creative pathways. Ritual and art/creativity were great containers for all my crazy emotions. For a while, my sadness was so profound, I created a ritual that I repeated every day for a month sitting and sobbing in front of my altar. Eventually, I did come out of that deep grief. I am grateful for all the years of training in my spiritual practice that allowed me to create a transformative container and value my own energy and process.

    I hope you enjoy your trip to Santorini. It is magical and gorgeous.

    • I love these suggestions! Thank you for sharing them. I’m going to send them to one of my friends that is going through similar heartache, although hers is more trying to figure out if she is the OW unknowingly.

  • Michael, I purged my house of anything douchebag, including my bed. My 27 years of shit gone. I went away the first weekend to visit my family. While I was gone, my son changed the locks, then my son, daughter and their significant others completely repainted and put flooring down in my bedroom. Made me cry with delight when I returned.
    Additionally, all things him were removed, pics , years of baseball cards loads of shit. My daughter drove some stuff clear to His new nest and left shit on top and around his car.
    It was like a delousing exercise for all of us.
    Great mental and physical release project.

  • I relate to the obsessions but only on the OW type of level, which is probably worse because she doesn’t have all that much to do with his cheating. It’s been years and I still OCD about running into that whore! I rehearse things I would say to her, come up with new ones to say, obsess about what she would say,,, THIS ISN’T NORMAL, right???

    • MB, I personally think that’s very normal after going through what we have gone through. Hell, I used to rehearse in my mind what sort of conversation I would have with my ex (before we were divorced) if I was 10 minutes late from coming home because I stopped for milk or something. I’d have whole conversations with myself about what I would say and what he would say. As far as the OW, I do that too, but mostly there’s no conversation, it’s just me spitting in her face. ha ha ha – I’d never do that though, but it’s nice to dream. Then on the other hand, I switch gears and say to myself – she did you a favor girl! You should give her a big ass hug and THANK HER!

      No worries for you. Those thoughts will go away when you are completely healed from this ordeal.

      • Kimberly, I did the same thing, rehearse in my mind the conversation with my H, always trying to avoid that negative/angry response over just about anything. I realize now that I was emotionally abused. I always thought I was strong and independent but I lost myself. The good news is I have been living alone for 18 months and I am getting back to me, thanks to CL, CN, and a great therapist!

  • Dear Aowlee,

    When I was reading your story, it felt like I was reading my own narrative. I called off my wedding three months before the big day as well when I found out that he was sleeping around with multiple women, including his ex. Breaking up was easy , but the path that follows was hard to walk. I went through some dark days where my emotions would cloud everything around me , and I would find myself crying in a fetal position. One thing I was always clear on, just like you, that there is no going back,. NO SECOND CHANCES. He told me’ I made a mistake’…. and I said to him, NO HONEY ! YOU MADE YOUR CHOICE AND NOW I AM MAKING MINE, and i walked away. There is so many things that I want to ask him and say to him. Like Why ???? why pretend to love me, why put a ring on my finger, why let me buy my wedding dress ! When this relationship meant nothing to you. But I have been no contact for over a month , and i think it is SO IMPORTANT. You can not heal your wound if you allow them to keep scratching it. I would love to know how you are doing now ? My email is caramellatte1988@gmail.com. I would love to talk to you ! I am looking for support to untangle the mess. How did you make sense of everything when you realised that your fairy tale was actually your biggest nightmare ? I still find myself with so many questions. Thanks to CL and CN for all the support.

    Much love xoxo

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