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How Pretty Did You “Pick Me” Dance?

pickmeI’ll read here in the comments, “I was the champion pick-me dancer.” Or “No one perfected the pick-me polka like I did.” It seems many of us are vying for the chump crown.

The crazy thing about the pick-me dance is that we thought it was an actual contest we could win. Oh, I’ll just be so winsome, I’ll just improve myself in a few thousand ways, that I can STOP terrible things from happening! Control is such a seductive commodity, that’s why chumps are so invested in believing the problem is them. I’ll FIX it! I can WIN this!

People who truly love us don’t make us compete for their love. That’s a heartbreaking realization, which most of arrive at only after we’ve worn out our tap shoes. (Or lost the contest. Or worse, “won” it.)

So, today’s Friday challenge is to tell your fellow chumps how you pretty you danced. The point isn’t to mortify you (I’m waaaay ahead of you there — FOUR D-Days, people.) The point is to write it down, look at it, and go, “God, I’ll never do that again.” And give some newbie chumps the courage to realize that the pick-me polka is humiliating and pointless. Triangulation is not the new dance craze, it’s the same old manipulative shit. Get off the floor, chumps.

Ask Chump Lady

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  • My backstory is here:

    Summary: after 15 years of marriage my wife requested an open marriage and put me in competition for her attention.

    For our actual 15th anniversary (in December) I went all out — rented a swanky loft via Airbnb, took the entire day off from work, had her picked up at work and delivered to the loft for an afternoon of adult fun, ordered her favorite Indian food for us to enjoy as we lounged away the evening.

    I found out 2 months later that while I was in the lobby waiting for the food to be delivered, she was making plans with a secret boyfriend to have sex in our house the following morning, after our daughters left for school.

  • I think I danced through a few pair of dance shoes over the years. We’ve all done it with hopefully the same outcome, picking ourselves.

    After winning my children would comment on how well we were getting along (infatuation stage) and suddenly the complaints started (devaluation stage) until the next DDay (discard stage). It’s the wash, rinse, repeat cycle over and over as they tweek and add finess to their toolbox going further underground with lies and manipulation.

    His cycle however was quite different. He was always stuck in the infatuation stage. He called it the thrill of the chase after our final DDay. There was no fixing that. Divorce works.

      • “Divorce works.” Does it EVER! My only regret is that now he demands our kids dance, and has to devalue one to make the others feel like special flowers. Fucker.

          • My kids wont dance for him and he hates it. Especially my daughter shes had his number for a long time. Bless her.

            • Yes, Kar marie he too wanted to make the kids dance. Chutesandladders, the Limited was pitting two of my children against my oldest. He stated I was enabling her by helping her financially. She was in a bad place and he told the other two she was basically a fuckup. I stood by her regardless. Now that he’s been out of the picture for a few years by discarding all of them they are now closer than ever. I I am so fortunate they see him.

  • OW had lost her high end corporate sales job because she was caught (in a work email) being in an affair with a government purchaser. H1 spent a huge amount of his personal influence to get her another job which would leave her commuting from her home in Seattle to this job in SF. We lived in DC, but he insisted that there were no decent jobs in DC (for retired military, yea right) for him and the ONLY thing he could do was to move to SF, but rest assured…he and OW had broken up, the fact that their jobs were in the same city was just happenstance.

    So he packed his new SUV (I called it the scrotumobile it was so testosterone poisoned) with his new bike and new golf clubs and he drove 3000 miles to his bachelor apt where he bought a leather sofa and a big screen TV.

    His plan was to come home when it suited him to and play house and be a wonderful husband and father very part time then return to his real life in CA where he did whatever the fuck he wanted.

    And I went along with it.

    But when he left, I made little photo albums and videos of us so that he wouldnt forget our sweet selves…me, out children, the mixed beagle/basset dog and handicapped rabbit…we were so sweet, you see…if we acted perfect when he visited, maybe he would pick us !!!

    I really had no way to verify any of his “I live alone and dont date” story from 3000 miles away and I was assured that OW was never there, but why would I question him? If I did then maybe he would threaten to not pick me.

    He was trying to arrange the apartment but couldnt get all the details right, so he asked me to get a certified chack for his first months rent from the bank, which of course I DID, since I was a chump…golly, good thing he had a wife to help set up his apt so he could screw women in California.

    • There were also so many little moments of doing just the right thing to make his life better to show him how great I was. One day I was so distraught at the thought of not being his wife, I grasped at anything I could do that was really wifeish …I found a pair of pants of his that were ripped. I mended them, washed them, ironed them (with purpose and intent that was otherwordly) and put them back in the closet as pristine as they could be…only the BEST of wives could tend pants like me.

      • “Threaten not to pick me” I got stuck on that way longer than I can believe. I refused to question anything because I didn’t want a lie and I certainly didn’t want the truth, plus he got very defensive about me always questioning him. I needed to relax. So I went into an awake coma with my eyes wide shut

    • Oh Unicornnomore, The scrotumobile! Perfect name for it. Thanks for that. Mine had a pickup truck for his cross-country work funded sexaramas. I used to wash the pickup inside and out and even change the oil. He was always running late before his next “trip”, so I had to pack everything out there so he could spend the last possible minutes picking out the music CDs he needed to pass the driving time. After his death, I gave the scrotumobile to his daughter, but kind of wish I had pushed it off a cliff instead.

      • You get decency points for giving the truck to his daughter. I gave his vehicles to the kids but I got stuck driving his last car…I told my oldest kid he could have it if he got his shit in a bucket. He drove one damn car from DC to Montana & back and guess who cleaned 5000 miles of dead bigs off it? The last rage he ever had was over a car. fucking thing

  • I took him back after a one year affair with friend of ours. It was then that he proceeded to destroy our finances to the point that I will likely never retire and all of the other abuse escalated. 4 years later and he abruptly discarded me for another woman he had waiting.

  • I tried to be the Cool Wife (TM) who was fine with her spouse going out to bars without her, staying out all night with flimsy alibis, texting and chatting with unknown people….giving him the space and freedom that he claimed he didn’t have…so he’d see how lucky he was to have such an easy going wife who didn’t cramp his style. Except, he took me for granted, expected me to follow the rules and be the adult, and kept screwing around because he was a Special Snowflake.

    Lesson learned the hard way.

    • I was a cool wife too!! Taking care of absolutely everything with our children, our home and finances while he had the best of both worlds. What a chump!

      • Yeah… me too. I was so evolved. Other wives might not trust their husbands, but living like that was not for me! So he went out without me 5 nights a week, or spent hours over at the renters house next door (all those college girls), I was the Wife, and I could be cool about it, no worries here.
        That’s what happens when you go straight from being devalued by your parents, to moving in with a Narc! I had no frame of reference, who was I to ask for time and attention?

        • Yeah, me too. I didn’t want to me the nagging wife who told her husband what he could and couldn’t do. Years of him having super close female friends. Going out for lunch with them and whatever else he’s done over the years. Yep! Devalued by your parents leads to no frame of reference as for my time and attention needs being met.

          • “Devalued by your parents leads to no frame of reference as for my time and attention needs being met.”
            I swear the worst and yet best parts of this site are when I read something from a fellow chump and the lightbulb goes off in my head. Thanks Martha.

            • Nottodaysatan (and everyone): Me too!

              I was the cool wife – go out to the bar? I’ll stay home. Can’t fall asleep with me? I’ll sleep on the couch. Leave your wedding ring on the counter? I’ll polish it for you and put it in the drawer.

              But you love me, right?

              I’m so ashamed.

              • Mr. Sparkles had 4 wedding rings by the time we were done… the first was an Irish band we exchanged on the beach a year before we got married.

                He “lost” that one so we replaced it… that makes band #2.

                We got married and he replaced wearing band #2 with his wedding band #3.

                He stopped wearing his wedding band #3 because he “lost weight and it was loose”.

                We went out and bought another wedding band… #4… he wore for about 3 months.

                When he moved out, all 3 bands had been on his nightstand for so long there were dust rings around them.

                Don’t be ashamed. You loved. He didn’t.

              • I was the independent wife who TRUSTED him. I was NOT codependent.

                They took advantage of our trust. I had friends I met up with and had a few drinks with after my classes and never once thought of cheating.

                We talk of boundaries. Yet WE HAD THEM.

                What we also HAD was lying cheating assholes.

                Why should one chump feel ashamed, pathetic, or like an idiot. Shut that shit down it was all in them.

                They took advantage of our vulnerabilities our love and loyalty. They preferred strange because they are disordered. The pick me dance is because we attached MEANING to their words. They are pathological liars.

                There he was present at his children’s births, saw the liove I had for his grandmother cutting her grass and planting her flowers every year. The dedication and sacrifices were worth it because we thought the playing field was level. It never was.

                Newbies should know the pick me dance means you’ve attached meaning to what you HAD. Their actions state clearly they are unable to attach meaning to anything unless it is of USE. Fuck that shit. Get out and count your blessings you know enough and can never trust them.

                The OW? Pass the leash because they now have what YOU decided to pass on. An asshole who can NEVER be trusted. Live you authentic life. Put that shit in the rear view mirror.

              • DoingMe I LOVE this thank you so much for writing it – i’m printing it out so I can keep it in my purse and pull it out and read it when I feel bad about what I did

            • Me, too. –> “Devalued by your parents leads to no frame of reference as for my time and attention needs being met.”

              • “Doingme says
                Why should one chump feel ashamed, pathetic, or like an idiot. Shut that shit down it was all in them.

                They took advantage of our vulnerabilities our love and loyalty. They preferred strange because they are disordered. The pick me dance is because we attached MEANING to their words. They are pathological liars.”

                I agree. We trusted people who were incapable of being truthful. No one knowingly marry’s and devotes their life and energy to someone who lives a secret life, cheats, and abuses your trust. We don’t blame the victim of murder, or the woman that’s raped so why take on a semi victim mentality because you believed the lies of an indecent person? Those type of people are incapable of love and a true conection. We can get up and love again, but these people don’t know how. They will forever be seeking that new thrill. It is a vicious circle because it always gets them in the end. But we chump need to keep it moving and not get stuck. Live, love, angd laugh well. This shit doesn’t define me!

            • Yeah, I was super cool. Female friends, out late, no problem. All those worried untrusting wives. They were so not cool——-

        • FreeWoman, that is so familiar (and Martha and AOoK too). Always the cool wife, always understanding, never controlling, always picking up the pieces and taking care of everything and yup, Narc father, self absorbed mother so absolutely no experience in demanding anything from anyone and actually having it happen.

          • Me, too. Arrive home at 5 a.m. from a graduate student party? Oh, I’m sure he was just discussing the mind-body problem with the students. Fucktard.

          • I think when we tell ourselves we are being the “cool spouse,” we are actually noticing a compromise we are making with our own values. There is nothing “cool” about being OK with a partner who is outsourcing his time and attention to someone else. 5 am? Not cool. On the cell phone texting half the night? Not cool. Not there for the kids? Or to help with the house project? Not cool. You’re sick and he/she goes out anyway. Not cool.

            • LovedaJackass: Great comment and totally on-point. I was so “cool” that my ex felt she could flagrantly use online dating apps ‘for the thrill of the attention’. Going out for ‘girls nights’? No problem here. Hated my friends and family? I was mind-bogglingly understanding. After all, she was the poor wounded victim of her damaging family upbringing. Not her fault that she was so emotionally abusive, right? Hell, she had be doing the pick me dance from the very START of the relationship.

              Glad I finally stopped trying to be ‘cool’, AKA compromising on self worth/respect.

        • I was not devalued by my parents, on the contrary, was raised in a loving family and with lots of trust put in me. I started making money and becoming independent very early, earning income twice as much as my parents did in a post-soviet country and then helping my whole family financially (till now). I don’t know where my low sense of self-worth comes from. But the fact remains that I have been a pleasing doormat for my dear cheater of 12 years, twisting and bending into whatever he wanted and yet never able to satisfy his growing demands.
          1. He complained when I was 7-months pregnant that my frequent toilet trips at night woke him up. That created a perfect setting for his excuse that he needed to “concentrate” on the big conference that his colleagues from other global offices attended in our city and so he “absolutely needed to have a good night’s sleep being a moderator at the conference” and he packed his bag and went and stayed in a hotel (alone?!!) for a week – I had no family in this place as I was from another country. This was 9 years ago. I cried my eyes out for 5 days and nights. When he came back smiling and happy, I accepted him into my wide embrace happy that he still was picking me. Not a word came out of me. Just happiness.
          2. He always insisted on having 3 types of fruits in the morning for breakfast. Needless to say I did everything around the house (plus my work), so I guaranteed his 3 types of fruits every single day. After one shopping session (no car, carrying all the grocery bags, plus my 8-month pregnant belly around for about 30 minutes of walk from market to home, and then to the 6th floor with no elevator) I discovered I had forgotten the third type. Guess what I did! Went back to the market to pick up that third type of fruit plus some more. And guess what he did that day! Made a big scene that he was not going to put up with more of his sleepless nights so he suggested that I moved out to his family house in another city (!) and wait until my term came there. Alone. So what that I had a job to go to every day. A mikki mouse job! Everything I did is Mikki Mouse, and in those cases when it’s not (well, it’s hard to deny big achievements) then I have to be grateful to him for his support that allowed me to develop!
          3. I had a planned C-section and he went on planning a business trip around those dates. Well, what the heck, his mom was going to come from another country to be with me. What’s the need for a husband? During the delivery of his first baby? None, really. And here is some icing on the cake. He then planned a nice skiing trip in Austria. Around the business trip dates really. Not a specific ski trip, really. Just a few more days. Our son lived his first 10 days with no name because the father was not around to take care of the documents. I have no rights in the country of his residence and thankfully don’t live there anymore.
          4. After I moved to Canada with our 3-year old son to live with his mom (because of his country’s bad political circumstances), he decided that his visit every 3 months would be sufficient. Never happened. It went from 2 visits a year to 1 in the summer. And I was waiting, and waiting, and waiting. I was making beautiful cards with my son to his daddy, telling him how much we love him, sending him cute things our 3-year old said or did, trying to create and maintain a bond through insisting on regular skype conversations. So desperate. When he came for his next scheduled visit just before Christmas 2012, for 20 days of stay after 6 months of separation, there was another surprise waiting for me. He announced he was going to Mexico. He desperately needed to feel the soul of the Maya’s, to understand if the world was going to end, he was in such a depression! He just finished reading a book by Paolo Coelho “Aleph” – and gave me to read it – I highly recommend it to middle-aged men in mid-life crisis – the greatest BS that I have ever read. In the hindsight, this book was recommended to him by his fuckedupsoullove (but later on her), and he tried to convince me that he needed to travel as the hero of the book to discover himself (and reconnect with the soul-mate as the book goes and as had happened). So he absolutely had to go to Mexico for 10 days. Nice timing. I could not go with him because I still did not have my residency papers in Canada sorted out. So he knew there would be no threat on me insisting on a joint trip. But this was the first time my hunch kicked in. I found a printout of a hotel booking for 2. Confronted him. He gave me a nice lie that all hotels these days have double beds – and I believed him. Despite his constant secretive telephone conversations, his whispering behind closed doors, his passwords everywhere. He then continued to gaslight me and made it sound so that I was the mean one, the one that does not understand the movements of his soul. That he really was suffering from depression, he was forced to continue living in a war-ridden country to take care of his properties, support his family financially, and so why was I so petty I could not let him go. Alone. He cried in my arms. Shuttered. I hugged him, told him how much I loved and supported him and asked him myself that he should go. He went. 5 years later I discovered he went to see his ex – the main OW – the soul connection – there were multiple other women with this serial cheater. But back then he came back from his 10 days of straightforward fucking and pretended that he was a happy husband. And I was the happy pick-me-dance-wife.

          I can go endless on this pick me dance theme. I am a champion chump here.

          I always thought that if I become perfect wife, create the perfect home, the perfect conditions for him, so that he is fully cared for – then he will appreciate me. He will love me. And the more perfect chump I became, the more perfect cheater he turned into.

          We like to say that they are typical. Nothing individual. But we are typical too in our chump-dom.

          P.S. I still have not confronted him. Too many complications.

      • Oh yeah, another Cool Wife here! Cheater Narc had almost no friends of his own, so when he started going for drinks after work, I actually encouraged it! I should have realized he hadn’t suddenly developed healthy social interests, at his age!

        • This. I totally encouraged “drinks with the guys,” and even hanging out with female friends because I was just so happy to think that he’d actually found himself some friends. Same for the obsessive “running” late at night (so he could “help” with the kids first…), he’s finally found something he can do to be “happy” and feel good about himself!

          “…suddenly developed healthy social interests…” So well said, KarenE, and I was such a chump!

          • What is it with these guys, absolutely no social skills at all but such crude cheater skills. It is very strange isn’t it. Mine had no friends and still has no friends but he can find one woman, glom onto her idealize and devalue in a rinse and repeat cycle. I think because he has no social skills, and no other source of supply, he just keeps up this cycle until she (me) finally says f’ you and leaves. Mine went back to old OW. Really they are defective people or barely people as all the research says.

          • At first I was encouraged he was getting some friends. Really thought being his best friend would be enough for him, because he said so!

            Then HIS mom wondered aloud if I ever even knew him. That hurt at first, then I realized it was because I believed the lies.

            KarenE, changelanes, kaycan, I’m joining your CoolWife club. Thanks!!!

      • “I was a cool wife too!! Taking care of absolutely everything with our children, our home and finances while he had the best of both worlds. What a chump!”

        Yup, I was a cool wife too, and I’m actually a husband, working, taking care of everything with the kids, doing the cooking and cleaning, paying the bills and her debts.

        What a chump!!!

        What a bad investment.

    • Another CoolWife checking in…..yep, that didn’t work. For awhile, I beat myself up thinking “if only I’d not been the CoolWife, if I would have had better boundaries, he would have been a better husband…I was too lax.” But actually, I don’t think it would have mattered. He would have still done whatever he wanted, I just would have divorced him sooner.

      • Ditto, checking in here as another Cool Wife. I thought he was a decent person, so I had no reason to be otherwise. Prior to finding out he was a lying whore monger, I never once “spied” on him. His phone, his mail, his money, his time, never questioned it or looked at it. I don’t fault myself for that in any way now, either. I can act like an adult with no one monitoring me so I extend that to others.

        It’s funny , one thing ex and whore liked to accuse me of was being insecure, jealous, and controlling. You have got to be kidding, losers. Every time I have ever been Jealous or insecure in a relationship it was because the husband, bf , etc. was a turd who was acting in a way to CAUSE it. Always. So jealousy is actually a giant red flag.

          • Hey, another CoolWife here.

            How’s this for “cool”?

            For the last 5 or so years of our marriage, I actually took the initiative to bring women into our bed…. especially when we were on vacation… because it was something that my fucktard husband actually LIKED. It wasn’t because I was into it, or because I’m bi-sexual. (maybe I was “bi-curious” at first, but the curious part wore off after the first few times). I did it because after I did it, he was nice to me for a while. Can you imagine how beat down I was to think that that was OKAY? He knew it too. I told him over and over that it was just something I did for him, not something I enjoyed. That didn’t stop him from encouraging it to happen as often as possible.

            Course, now I know that during those 5 years, he was actively involved with prostitutes on a regular basis. The one-off sexual escapades he had with other women when I was present wasn’t all that exciting to him, obviously…. it was just more of the same, sex with strangers. The whole thing is so gross.

            UGHHHHHHHHHHH so glad to be DONE with that piece of shit.

            • GTT–I’m sorry. Mine insisted I do the same when he returned to the marriage from a major affair (unbeknownst to me). I paid lip service to being open to the idea, thinking he’d come to his senses. He then mentally used my refusal to open up the marriage bed as an excuse for continuing to fuck people behind my back. He was entitled.

            • You aren’t the only one who went down that road… I was addicted to the brief flash of connection and acceptance that happened after having a threesome. Any other type of sex and he was pretty much “meh” about it. We only had one threesome, and I put my foot down when I realized it made me feel like abject shit. (He’s the only person I’ve ever been with and I was raised Evangelical. You can guess how great I felt in retrospect.) Did he accept that it wasn’t for me? Not really. He just said that I was lying to myself and didn’t trust him enough to be myself with him. How about I made a decision that turned out to not be something I wanted in the long run? Didn’t know when I agreed to do that that I’d signed up for a lifetime of threesomes. Oh, and now I’m paranoid that if I’m ever in another relationship I’ll be expected to do it again because, after all, I tried it once already with him. I don’t want to lie about my sexual past, but I’m really stuck on this point.

              • KT, you have nothing to be ashamed of. If you reach the point of wanting to share your sexual history with someone else, you can say, “As you know, my first marriage was very difficult. I worked incredibly hard to save it. Once I even reluctantly agreed to a threesome to please my husband. It had two outcomes. I learned that my agreement to a threesome didn’t solve our problems or make him happy; and I learned that I do not ever want to be part of a threesome again.” Anyone who doesn’t understand that point of view is not worthy of your time.

                Personally, however, I do not think you are obligated to share details about your sexual past with a new partner. You owe a new partner any pertinent information about your sexual health and a honest discussion about your expectations. That’s it. Telling someone you don’t want to share every detail about every past relationship is not lying–it’s setting boundaries. Of course, you need to extend the same courtesy to your new partner and not request a detailed sexual resume.

                You were in a bad relationship, and you got out of it–that is something to take pride in!

              • You don’t owe anyone information on your sexual history at all. If a person truly cares about you they won’t ask, they won’t care. If you find someone worthwhile you will probably share that info at some point anyway because it’s a part of you. If you volunteer it and they are cool with it, great. If they screw with you over it, you just found out they are not good enough for you. Only a douche uses your sexual history as a basis for your worth. Fuck those people.

              • I really like what Eilonwy said about setting boundaries. Her whole post is dead on and I need to remember it myself.

        • Anita, THIS IS IT: “I can act like an adult with no one monitoring me so I extend that to others.”

          I never in a million years expected to be taken of advantage of in this particular way (or, in any other way). He’s a parasite.

          STBX’s double life has no overlap with mine (because I don’t live in the bar or consort with prostitutes) so his “friends” have no idea that he’s duplicitous.

          I’m struggling right now to let go of the need to out him everywhere. HE’S SUCH AN ASSHOLE and I feel like I’m angrier now about it than when it happened (six months ago).

          • Roaring – D Day was March 2009 for me, on top of the shock and the grief, I was also furious – but nothing compared to the steady build up over the years since when I’ve finally joined up all the dots, all the ‘little nastinesses’ all the strange ‘cheating flags’ that were there before the one I found out about. The divorce was final September last year (all final final – ie laughable settlement paid – December last year) and by then it wasn’t his affair that made me angriest, it was the disgusting way he treated me. He and I broke up in 2013 and I’m still angry – I really didn’t deserve his version of ‘love’ and I pity the poor sod after me. He’s a misogynist who gets his jollies by how ‘clever’ he is at fooling women. I wish it all back on him.

          • Roaring–you’re doing amazingly well for only 6 months out. I’m 1.5 years out and still mad as hell, both at the rampant infidelity/double life and that he tricked me into putting up with his crappy behavior to me because “at least he is faithful.”

            What changes? I went from wanting him to die slowly and painfully, to merely wishing him instantaneous death.

            • Yes, he was a mean asshole, but he was MY asshole. Only to learn that he was the asshole of a lot of women. Im mad and expect to stay as such for a while.

              • Tempest and unicornomore – I said these exact 2 things to my therapist shortly after D-day: “I put up with his abusive behavior because I believed at least he would never cheat on me” (that was all shot to hell) – and “I always new he was an asshole but at least he was MY asshole!”. Oh the spackle!

            • Oh Tempest! This: “What changes? I went from wanting him to die slowly and painfully, to merely wishing him instantaneous death”. Yes, I would like him to die or gouge his eyes out with a spoon!

            • Tempest….ladies….it has been FOUR years for me….4…and I am still angry and when I read obituaries in the paper and those people are his age…I wish it was him. So don’t think the anger has a time line…. there are days I’m great….there are days like this past week I wanted to to take a gun to the head of his penis and pull the trigger and let him die a slow painful bloody death. Angry much??? Oh you betcha. And I embrace it….my anger shows me that I cared….it meant something and I am human. Unlike these miserable fucktards.
              So…..the timeline…..can be as long as it is. I am not divorced yet either…..that mother fucker wants my antique tea pot collection.
              And I am the bitch who says your whore will have to drink her tea out of your penis before she gets my tea pots!!!!

              • Hang on to those teapots, Tracy!! Per my name, I’m quite fond of teapots myself (and since the bitch got your curtains, justice demands you get everything else you want).

              • I spewed my own tea right outta my nose! Go get em Tracy! Sometimrs we gotta throw down the gauntlet, push up our sleeves and say “come on you fucking pos cheater, you want those teacups for you two-bit lazy eyed whore sack? You come take em from me. I. Double. Dare. You.”
                I get it. Totally. No fucking way I’d give them up. What a total prick. You throw down girl – he’ll back off when he sees you mean it. He’s completely offensive for even asking let alone demanding them.

              • I agree. It’s just another facet of devaluing. They fuck over our trust, monogamy, faith in mankind and then seem to have the audacity to fuck us over materially.

                I don’t think it’s audacity, tho. I think they’re just like a bulldozer of asshole slowly plowing through whatever lives they’ve used up – they don’t actually know how to be different.

                It helps me to get a reality check: trust that he sucks. STBX just sucks at being a person. Even though during these last six months he’s assumed enormous proportions in my thoughts, in life he’s just a small pathetic loser living in a rundown house that’s overgrown and falling apart, drunk every night, trying desperately to fool everyone…

                I just wish this divorce and settlement negotiation was over. I’m tired of thinking about him so much.

          • I don’t know if I was trusting, or like you Roaring, I just never thought another adult needed babysitting. He was in AA, sober, talked a good program and I believed him. Sadder, I believed IN him. God, when I look back, I was frikking Pollyanna… flitting around, believing everyone was trying to live up to the best in themselves. I was a lamb, baaing happily on my way to slaughter.

            Going to meetings is a great cover for cheaters. And a great place to find willing affair partners. I never suspected a thing.

            In the last few years of the marriage, I was working full time nights, going to nursing school, running an entire household single-handedly, and trying to be a good mom to my boys. All on 3 to 4 hours sleep a day. I was so harried and tired, I wouldn’t have had time to check up on cheater ex even if I wanted to. He used that to the max. Then when I still didn’t get it, he came out and told me (I LYBINILWY). I didn’t react the way he wanted. Just looked at him and said …Really? Hmmmm. That’s all I said. Decided right then and there we were done. I was within a month of graduating. I needed to get through school and pass my state boards. Right around that time he really ramped up the abuse. That’s when he came out with the little speech about thinking about killing all of us. The only pick me dancing I did was one trip to see a marriage counselor, once. When the guy wouldn’t address the fact that having a girlfriend while being married was wrong, it was the last straw. Done, done and done. Started quietly getting my ducks in a row. Took the kids and left as soon as I managed to line up the resources and get a restraining order in place. Graduated second in my class, passed my state boards and thumbed my nose at the asshole.

            From then on out, Pollyanna was gone. I will never be that trusting again. I wish I could say we all lived happily ever after but cheater ex had to get in his last little bit of revenge. Still dealing with the fallout.

            • God bless you Tessie. I think about you a lot and always pray you are safe and well. And healing. You are a superhuman source of strength for all of us. You keep coming back and giving and helping those of us taking up the rear (no pun intended).

            • Roaring and Tessie- a million times to infinity, yes. Pollyanna, AA as a cheating ground, sucks as a person, pathetic. All describe Mr. Big Time. And his obsession with his dick (I think it is the only thing he is actually proud of) is truly insane. He has had more women see pics of his dick than playboy subscribers. Seriously. He does have talent and worth apart from his cock, but he can’t see it. Disordered, cruel ass. His desire to torture me and use his mom (who still lives with me) to do so, and torture her in the process, has shown me who he truly is. I can’t wait to chow on some popcorn after his mom finally leaves my home, and watch the fiasco. I am funneling rage and channeling zen the rest of the time. Stay strong!

    • Another CoolWife only his specialness included all of the above plus also included never missed gym time and a job that took him out of town overnight 2-3 times per week while I worked outside the home and did all the work at home with 2 school age kids, I will never make myself that small again so as to fit into someone elses’ life and abandon my own needs.

      • I will never make myself that small again so as to fit into someone else’s’ life and abandon my own needs. THIS. This took me a long time to get and even when I did know it took me a long time to make practical. Honestly it all seemed so selfish. Then I realised if I dont live and control my own life that some other narc will. I have had to learn to make my life about me. I am a nice person just a no fly zone for other peoples conflicting agendas. Love you CN!

        • You said this perfectly, thank you. I agree 100% with you. This is exactly what we all need to know. Almost 9 weeks out and now I see clearly what I should have done a long time ago. It wasn’t me, it was his craziness. I like your first sentence and I will never diminish myself again to fit someone else’s issues. Stay strong and happy!

      • Here is something I put into my Chump quotation file: ” I will never make myself that small again so as to fit into someone elses’ life and abandon my own needs.”

      • Rachel,

        Your words are so emphatically clear to me now. Like many chumps I invested my life into “our” marriage and “our” retirement. I was supporting his education and career moves while completely unaware that the whole time he was biding his time to dump me as soon as our youngest turned 18. Might have been nice to have been able to develop my career and interests instead of his.

        My pledge for the rest of my life “I will never make myself that small again so as to fit into someone elses’ life and abandon my own needs”

      • Long Post Warning: I remember also being the CoolWife. PumpkinEater (rhymes with cheater as well as his name) made friends with Pumpkin (aka OW) after he met her at his brand new MMA gym (mixed martial arts for those who don’t know) and they quickly became training partners, while I was pregnant with our third child. At this time, we were forced into moving house due to the sale announced by our landlords and we/I decided that we needed to buy a large enough place to fit our growing family of five.

        CoolWife me didn’t hassle Cheater, (oops, I mean PumpkinEater) about the casual nature of his employment at a local hospital. Only check in with him from time to time as to whether any full time opportunities would arise. There or any other hospital. The response was always the same. Crickets. CoolWife me didn’t bug him about the almost daily attendance he committed to attending gyms to strengthen his already strong physique, until child three was born. He was getting our mums to mind the other two children (3&1yo) so he could get to the gym while I was nursing the newborn still in hospital.

        Then anxiety struck. He was becoming so invested in his gym commitments that he was spending $3k on an annual gym membership without discussing this with me. He was rearranging his working schedule around particular gym classes he wanted to attend and was only really home to sleep or do weights in the back yard (which increasingly resembled a gym). I’d just started back working 2.5 days per week and was still coordinating everything. Every. Thing. Being gas-lighted the entire time. So, one weekend as he’d announced his intention to go to the gym, or to go to meet his club mates (read Pumpkin) and watch a fight, I broke down and pleaded with him not to leave me AGAIN, alone with our three small children. I held this expectation that he should be home with us as much as he could, because we were a family. I was gas-lit about that too. Oh, my this makes me so angry and disgusted writing about him here…

        On Fridays, I went to work and it was agreed that he’d stay home with the kids each week. Even more ammo to gaslight “oh, the kids are easy”. So he began hosting Pumpkin (OW) for coffee each Friday morning. He’d mention it to me at nights and the two older kids (now 4 and 2yo) would talk about her lovingly too. They were being groomed. I’m told that Pumpkin loves them. She’d buy them little treats, but she was never there in time for me to come home from work. The Friday coffees turned into Friday lunches, where she’d bring along groceries and cook together while the kids ran around the place. Happy families on Fridays with Pumpkin, while CoolWife was working. Made me sick, but I was CoolWife, non possessive and progressive that my husband had a good friend. Ignoring red flags out of all the effort I put in to just keeping my head together and the household running (while still finding time to breastfeed the little one).

        I would hear about the stories PumpkinEater and Pumpkin had to tell about Pumpkin’s boyfriend. Pumpkin’s boyfriend did not like my husband PumpkinEater one little bit. He wouldn’t hold doors open for him. He wouldn’t invite him out for beers after training! Oh, the injustice of it! It’s apparent that they were having troubles, so Pumpkin was manipulating PumpkinEater in to feeling sorry for her troubles.

        I, had the pleasure of hearing all about this each Friday night and most weekend evenings.

        Two months before d-day, I think i only said this one time. I politely asked him to reconsider how much time he was spending with Pumpkin. If I’d brought home a male friend for coffee and then lunch during the days he was working, then what would he make of that? Again, Crickets. Blank stare came into it too. Then, I got the comparison made that it was just the same as having my girlfriends with small children over. Constant gas-lighting.

        I organised and catered his 40th birthday dinner party. I invited his mum to come. He got annoyed (it’s my party!). I organised the kids’ babysitters. I later found out that he had a good bitch about me when he dropped them off before the dinner. I was virtually ignored that evening, and he held court. Pumpkin, I’m told, had just split up from her boyfriend, for being such an asshole. So PumpkinEater spent much of the evening “consoling” her.

        Four days later, he told me that he couldn’t do this any more. My youngest was due to turn one only a couple of weeks later. The other two were also pre-school aged.

        That was almost two years ago. I danced pretty for a few weeks, but realised that it was no use. And boy, did he notice the change! He did not like me one little bit when I got organised! Oh, how that hurt, but what motivation I felt to get everything sorted out. I organised everything. Sale of the house, finalising all bills, enrolling eldest in school, moving to live with family, divorce proceedings, mediation, custody schedule as well as a favorable settlement for the kids and I.

        He still tries to make the occasional request of me, but my boundaries are up and firm, and he’s learning about them slowly – that is, when he lifts his head from his training and eating his Pumpkin. When he stops and looks around.

        I’ve never told him how he made me feel. I’ve communicated via my actions, but that’s all.

        I’m thankful that I’ve found it within myself to be happy again and to move forward since that time. It was so dark for a while but though none of my friends have experienced anything like this, they all have my back and I have not lost one single friend through this. They are all disgusted by him, and its now his legacy. My kids love him and I acknowledge that they have a right to. But they will learn. One day, I will tell them everything.

        ChocLemonGelato has always been my favourite gelati pairing. It’s a nice handle for me and it makes me happy. Thanks for listening, if you got this far.

        • Way to rip off the Band Aide and kick it into gear! Super mighty feet on nothing but fumes and righteousness indignation. Fuck him. His karma bus cometh…

        • He did not like me one little bit when I got organized. THIS!

          Mine didn’t like me much either when I got organized. Fortunately I went straight from his ILYBINILWY to ORGANIZED. I told him to lawyer up, made him go to the bank with me and separate all our finances within the week. Then I started looking for a new place.

          While I think he was relieved at first that I wasn’t going to fight this, as soon as he realized that he lost his administrative assistant, handywoman, gardner, financial analyst, cook, house cleaner, etc things went down hill. He still tries to get me to do stuff for him claiming he doesn’t have access to the online billing sites, doesn’t know who to call, doesn’t have time (oh yeah, like I do). Two weeks ago, he asked me to change his email address for the gas company because he didn’t have access. This was good boundary enforcement practice for me. I said: “That’s funny, someone requested email billing and it wasn’t me because the last bill we got was by regular mail.” That shut him up. Hasn’t asked me for a thing since.

        • I’ve read here long enough to say to those who are lurker and wondering if they have a cheater or not: if you hear the words “training partner,” “racquetball partner,” “running partner,” etc., applied to someone of your gender, you’ve got trouble. Honestly–how does anyone with a spouse and kids have time to “partner” with someone other than the spouse.

          • Or a new friend who needs his expertise and help and is so grateful that she starts showering him with bountiful gifts for no reason.

            • Or the new female friend that is in a bad relationship and just needs a shoulder to cry on and my husband just happens to be that shoulder at 2 a.m. “But hon, she is a friend that NEEDS me.”

              • The OW had an abusive husband for a DECADE but the poor little delicate flower couldn’t get up enough courage to file for divorce until AFTER she slept with my husband and got “accidentally” pregnant. That’s not a red flag when she said her mother told her to do ANYTHING to keep a “good man” and my h was the “nicest person” she’d EVER MET! Now he’s “conflicted” because it could be real, real, true, true, deep love! Or the evil, heartless, cruel wife that didn’t want enough sex and that stopped loving him YEARS ago ? I couldn’t have been that bad if he’s still conflicted… I told him to choose her and I’ll pick myself. Because I can’t make him happy anyway.

        • Oh god tell me about the ‘coffee mornings’ when he was ‘freelancing’ and hence working from home– and I was working in an office on the other side of the city. It took me a year to work out that those ‘touching base’ 10am check-in calls to my DESK PHONE (note, not my mobile, or by text, but to my desk phone, in an office on the other side of the city) were just to make him feel confident that I was THERE, at my desk on the other side of the city, so that he could have his ‘together time’ at his former colleague’s house about 5 minutes walk from our house.

          I love what you said about getting organised and letting your actions do the talking. Because we’re so emotionally hurt and we want emotional help, we reach out with words, words, words — when really, the actions (No Contact, Ducks/Row, Serving the Petition, etc) are the only things that really do the business.

    • CoolWife here too…

      When DDay hit, he conceded that I had been clear about my zero tolerance rule about infidelity before we married… That was my cue…

    • I was a Cool Wife too. I think it’s actually entry-level chumpiness, where they test your boundaries to see what they can get away with. The rare times that I did complain about him going on dates with his high school girlfriend (because she needed to “talk”), or the pics of him with topless women that he brought home from Bike Week, he accused me of being jealous and insecure. And that was the best way for him to shut down the conversation as I strove to be even Cooler…

    • Another “cool wife” here. He lived his single mans life. Had all his activities and interests and a multitude of female friends while I worked, looked after the kids, house, bills. I never once complained he was never home. He would always find time to go for “coffee” with one of his “friends” but could not spend a day with his family… Face palm to head here… then after he left, I danced so pretty even to the point of when he moved to a new house, I went out and bought him a heap of stuff for his (and the OWs) new house. A coffee maker, kitchen stuff. Invited him over for dinner to have dinner with the kids while I cooked and looked after everything… boy did I dance well… Lesson learnt!

  • I became an amazing cook, took care of the home, the kids, the finances, climbed the corporate ladder to ensure we had a nice life, forgave his many temper tantrums, lived through 3 Ddays, the last was right before our 20th anniversary, while I was in grad school trying to improve myself more. I am in great shape, do yoga, eat well, look much better than the skanks he chose to boink instead of appreciating me, all while taking his abuse, letting him rage on me and tell me what a bad wife, mother, person I was- and even went to MC numerous years because I was determined not to fail.
    It was impossible to please him or keep him from cheating. It is just who he is. Thank God that is all over now.

    • I think this leads to how mighty we have become too, as trying so hard to be the most amazing wives, mothers, breadwinners (some of us) that we actually do become so over-the-top achievers, but the downside is knowing when to stop. I still feel like I am not enough unless I am growing my own food, keeping a perfect house, working in the church, etc…It’s like there isn’t a stop button. I found myself pulling out all the stops when I started dating again, like I still need to prove myself, but I am, and always was, enough.

      • I am enough! Never will I compromise myself as I did for 35 years again. I am happy not trying to be so perfect for someone who didn’t appreciate or value me.

      • This is how I feel too. It’s never good enough. I always have to be perfect in everything I do. Take hobbies for example: when I was a kid I briefly got into learning calligraphy. I recently got it into my head that I’d like to give it another shot (Youtube videos would make things easier.) Before I knew it, I caught myself researching how to start a business creating wedding invitations and all the styles of calligraphy I could potentially learn. Keep in mind I’m very successful at my day job, work for a great company, will be finished with my MS in two weeks, etc.

        The only thing I can think is that it comes from my FOO issues. This is why, if my marriage implodes, I’m seriously considering never bothering with a relationship again. I just don’t know how to put good boundaries in place, and my efforts might be better spent making a great life for my kids than throwing them at someone who may or may not reciprocate. (If I’ve proven anything, it’s that I’m terrible judge of who will reciprocate. Also, a part of me feels like I don’t need/deserve reciprocation.)

  • Well, let’s see. While he was spending our funds on renovating an apartment where he eventually moved in with schmoopie , I spent almost all my redundancy payments (DDay came while I was losing my job) on his therapy, plus buying expensive lingerie to spice our sex life – ’cause he said that I sucked in that department – buying new spiffier clothes, doing my nails and hair and so on.

    I also spent money on house refurbishments and pretty gifts for him to make him see how much I loved him. Because nothing says “I love you” louder than expensive shit like BluRay DVD’s and Robbie Williams concert tickets. Since I was unemployed, I was doing all housework, cooking, shopping and taking my two boys to all birthday parties, sports trainings and play dates, so he would have time to rest (and continue to fuck schmoopie behind my back).

    Luckily for me, this craziness lasted only for a couple of months (while I was also losing weight like crazy) because I threw him out when I realized I was accomplishing absolutely nothing apart from destroying myself. Shortly after that we got divorced and, after trying unsuccessfully to co-parent with the fuckwit for another two or three months (when he naturally turned the mindfuck volume higher) I discovered Chump Lady, got my shit together and went no contact. 5 months into NC already and feeling much, much better. Got a new excellent job, I am spending money on my therapy, am taking theater classes I absolutely loooove and generally taking good care of myself.

    So I guess that self preservation won the pick me dance in the end. Dear Cheater, fuck you very much!

  • When Affair #1 happened, I could almost understand how an immature, clueless guy might go looking for the adoration in another woman’s eyes that he wasn’t seeing in mine any more. Our relationship had deteriorated over the previous couple of years, and I SO didn’t want to see that the main reason that had happened wasn’t even the ‘little kids, work stress, no time’ stuff that hits many couples, but his negativity and meanness.

    So I pick-me danced, big time! Did all the things the RIC say the betrayed partner needs to do; I waited for him to decide whether he wanted to stay married or not, while he still screwed OW; I understood his need to grieve that relationship once it finally ended; and mostly I made the marriage once again a very very good place to be – single-handedly.

    I arranged our date nights and our meeting for lunch once a week. I went to the sex shop for toys and the nicest department store for lingerie. I found us a couple’s therapist and booked the appointments, and then I let go of my need for some resolution to the pain and distrust his affair had created, when he declared he was done with couple’s therapy (it was getting uncomfortable for him). After quite a short time, I avoided bringing up the affair, and overall I loved him to bits, as I had always done, only more and better. Heck, I even managed to spackle over his threatening me physically when I asked for reassurance!

    It took me a while to realize that he wasn’t going to make any efforts or do anything to help me through this. It took me MUCH longer to realize that he wasn’t thinking ‘wow, that was a close call, I really appreciate KarenE sticking with me while I acted like such an idiot’. Nooooooo, he was thinking he was hot shit and could do anything at all, and I’d put up with it. And mostly he was thinking he was ENTITLED to the affair AND to my stepping up so much afterwards, AND to his not doing shit all from his side to improve our relationship.

    But all this gradually sank in. And when DDay #2 arrived, I caught it early and turfed his ass out the door.

    • Good job for turfing his ass out! This all sounds so very familiar. Ex-cheater told me: “It feels great to be loved by two women”. No shit? These assholes are all the same.

      • Me too! Man, today’s thread is firing on all cylinders.

        STBX told me that the threesome he had on a business trip several years ago made him felt loved and valued and that that “intimacy” was missing from our twenty years together. He told me he was entitled to feel loved this way.

        Apparently this encounter opened the doorway to webcam porn, prostitutes, Craigslist ads, and trying to buy a teenaged Asian whore.

        On D-day, incredulously, I asked him what the names of these special lovers were, the ones who loved and valued him so much he was blowing up our lives.

        He couldn’t tell me because it had not occurred to him to ask them.

          • Roaring +2! Wow!! I had to laugh because it’s just insane.

            And unchumping, “being loved by two people feels great.” Yuck. Heartless. And just so not the point of living. But it’s nice (and horrific) to hear people admit it bc we ALL know that’s what they’re thinking!!

            • Heartless indeed. But then again what would you expect from a soulless backstabber? I was speechless when he said that to me, couldn’t utter a single word. As it all sank in I became more and more angry. Anger still hasn’t left me, I am just channeling it differently nowadays. Using it as fuel to push me where I want to be, and that is as far away from ex-cheater as possible.

              • @ Unchumping that would piss you off for sure!! I just had a thought. We should get justice, chump lady style, and get a brand that says “I am a kibble lover” and stick it right in the middle of their foreheads. Enough said. Then we would all know to avoid them. We could make it painless. (But then it wouldn’t be much fun?) We could call it the cheater rodeo. We could hog tie the cheaters and then brand them. It could be pretty entertaining. There could be clowns, snacks and plenty of alcohol. I, am in no way, implying that chump lady is endorsing this method though. Ha! Oh how your fantasies change after you go through this crap.

              • Kay: Love your fantasy! No pain, no gain they say. Good fantasies involve cheater pain. Always! 🙂 So I vote for tattooing “I am a kibble lover” on their foreheads. With a burning hot iron.

                I actually read somewhere that it’s natural during the trauma healing process to daydream about painful revenge methods against your perpetrator as long as you don’t become consumed by them or put them into practice. And thanks to Chump Lady and her page we can safely talk about these fantasies, support each other and make the transition to “meh” smoother.


    • “Negativity and meanness” …”I even managed to spackle over his threatening me physically when I asked for reassurance!”

      Yes, our husbands were bros. Unbelievable meanness and constant berating and criticism. I was offered no reassurances at all…he said “You want a guarantee and life doesn’t offer guarantees!” (Just FTR, my tires came with a “guarantee”, my marriage supposedly came with vows and a covenant which are supposed to be better than a guarantee).

      He told me – in a moment of relative calm in the kitchen – that I “deserved to be beaten” with the inference that he would likely choose for dismiss his right to beat me since he was a great guy and all, but I should consider myself lucky. It is a bad sign that so many horrid things happened in that era that I nearly forgot the “beaten” comment.

      And once he decided to return home (he never told me why he returned) he demanded reassurances in a minute to minute basis.

    • KarenE, while we’re dancing, I guess that we delude ourselves into thinking that we can convince our cheaters to think about what they’re doing differently and subsequently snap back into being the person we thought they were at the beginning of the relationship. After all, we’ve been molding ourselves into thinking that things (in the marriage) are okay and fine and hunky dory for so long, that they can do this too. As chumps, we delude ourselves… we view the breakdown of our union as representing failure.

      What we come to learn after all the heartbreak and nastiness, is that the failure is on them, the cheater, to be a decent human being. They also finally failed at holding up their mask.

      Then, the anger. The band-aid gets ripped off. Cheater wonders why you stopped dancing.

      We all come to realise the freedom after the dust settles, but what a rough road to travel!

      • ChocLemonGelato, you hit the nail on the head with ” I guess that we delude ourselves into thinking that we can convince our cheaters to think about what they’re doing differently and subsequently snap back into being the person we thought they were at the beginning of the relationship. After all, we’ve been molding ourselves into thinking that things (in the marriage) are okay and fine and hunky dory for so long, that they can do this too.”

        I still can’t believe STBX would CHOOSE to live the life he’s having. I’m incredulous, actually, and I keep waiting for the shoe to drop or for someone to explain it so convincingly I can finally say, “Oh. I see.” and really know it’s not about me.

        Although I’m pretty judgy about some things, until D-day, I really did believe people are essentially good.

        Now I’m not sure. Not at all.

        • Roaring, I’d reckon that there’s an amount of pride involved when they make their choice. Maybe, they’re deluding themselves. That could explain a lot.

          I’m like you. I’m quietly very judgemental. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut, but I also know that everyone is fairly judgemental. They just say they’re not, as a disclaimer before saying something judgemental! ?
          I believe that certain people are inherently good. I’m also keeping most at arms length for now.

  • Married 18 years. The last five I pick me danced like crazy not knowing why he was so distant. I made sure the house was spotless, laundry done, the bills were paid, he got home cooked meals, desserts, regular sex and I kept my needs very, very small, but it wasn’t enough. He actually complained last year that he was wearing the same shirts over and over again and these shirts were getting worn out because I would launder them and put them on top of the other clean shirts in his drawer (he was too lazy to reach under the top row to get a different shirt). So what did I do? I rotated his shirts for him. My therapist got a real kick out of that one. Turns out he’d been hiding a 30 year porn habit, was chatting with women online, lying to me, gas-lighting me, trolling Craigslist and God only knows what else. *Sigh*. We’re separated now, one month, it’s not easy but I’m slowly getting my dignity back.

    • OMG! Laundry rotation! My STBXH complained too about his shirts not being put in the closet the right way as he liked things rotated. Geesh! He even complained early in our marriage that I did the laundry wrong, folded his shirts wrong, didn’t like how I put his socks together — after the shirt rotation comment, I just left the shirts hanging up on hangers near the laundry room and let him go get them and rotate them in the closet. Jerk! Who rotates their shirts in the closet?! A control freak!

      • Wow…… I had forgotten this. My whore fucking ex had the same complaint. I remember him going into his closet one morning and saying to me “I keep wearing my favorite clothes all the time because you keep washing everything. People must think I only have like 5 shirts” And I looked at him, and laughed and said “Are you seriously COMPLAINING that I do laundry TOO much?”

        And I laughed at that. He was so good at taking little jabs at me, at purposely complaining about EVERYTHING I did, that I LAUGHED. If I wasn’t so beat down, I would have never washed a lick of his clothes again after that remark, but no, it took finding out he was a sexual predator whore fucker to snap me out of the abuse cycle.

        I bet he’s not complaining about clean clothes now, I never notice a whole lot of prostitutes standing in line at the dry cleaners making sure their client’s collars are starched correctly, Asshole.

        • This talk about laundry reminds me that he had a lot of clothes and I would take his shirts to the cleaners. Then one day he asked me to wash them and iron them. (like 12 shirts) This took like 6 hours of my day on top of parenting, cleaning etc. After that he expected me to do that all the time to save money. I had a hard time saying no but it was a nightmare. I just said nope and continued to drop the laundry off. He was really pissed. Not as pissed as I was feeling like his slave.

      • Laundry! So much pick-me dancing with the laundry our entire marriage. First year of marriage he complained (in a constructive “I’m just trying to help you” way of course) about which direction I hung up his dress shirts. He wanted the buttons facing left (I have no idea why) so for 14 years I made sure I did it the right way.

        He got testy if i didn’t get all the clean laundry put away but heaven forbid I be putting away laundry in the evenings (after a full day of work) when he wanted me beside him doing whatever he felt like doing. Since he got up earlier than I for work in the mornings we frequently had sock drama. He couldn’t find matching navy/black/whatever socks in the dim light and would stomp around sighing heavily until I would jump out of bed and help him find what he needed. I always managed to. Always. Rather quickly. If I got a thank you it was a begrudging one that was really no thank you at all.

        He was super particular about ironing his shirts. I would try but it was never good enough. He didn’t even WANT me doing it. Sometimes if he was stressed or running late I would offer to help with the ironing and he would be like no that’s ok. I’ll do it — all huffy like because if I were more competent I could actually be of use to him. I would practically beg him to LET ME IRON HIS CLOTHES so I could be a good helpful wife. Oddly over the years he got less particular about the ironing and then eventually deemed me good enough at it. Guess what small household appliance I told him he could take when he moved out? 😉

        And yes he liked his undershirts folded a certain way and made sure I knew about it. But if I ever brought up his “instructions” he looked at me like I was crazy and making stuff up.

        • Yes, This! At Peace my ex wouldn’t let me iron or wash his clothing, he insinuated that I couldn’t quite get the folds ironed quite right and then he would say, it’s okay I can do it…really!?! Iron your own shirts wow, what a concept!

          He was like the movie ‘sleeping with the enemy’ only so much more extremely careful not to show that monster behind the mask, cowardly, passive agressively manipulating his punishment so underhandedly when I noticed what he was purposely doing to punish me, I felt terribly humiliated and embarrassed and fell all over myself to get back into his good graces and beg him not to be mad at me anymore. 30 years I molded myself into a pathetic ball of insecurity, fear and ingraciating groveling-no one respected me, not even my children.

          Fast forward 2 years since divorce and my children jokingly have said I don’t think we’ve ever met mom! Wonderful to meet you! I have authentic friends, lovely family and a life of peace. I still fall into the insecure self doubt but now I know how to self soothe and bring myself out of it. Living authentically me ?.
          I truly feel sorry for my replacement, but when you act without integrity, you just might find yourself married to a monster!

          • Overcomer – Did you ever understand or figure out why he was mad at you and was trying to punish you? This is the part that I never understood…

          • Kellia, if I may jump in here, I really think it’s self-hatred, turned in the direction of the spouse. They can’t show hate to themselves, now can they, it feels painful. So they turn it around onto the closest convenient person, and even better if that person starts groveling and trying to ‘improve’!

            • FW, I think you are absolutely right. It makes sense, because if they could mimic our humanity back to us and fool us and use our humanity, love, empathy and compassion against us, they could definitely project their self-hatred to us too.

        • Oh my…I think I may have briefly met your x OCD asshole AtPeace! On the second (reluctant on my part) date this asshole ACTUALLY told me he PREFERRED his shirts hung up with the buttons facing left (!!!) so he could just ‘lift’ them off the hanger and ‘proceed’ with HIS day…(entitle much asshole?) …this inhumans are all the same!!!

    • Sounds very similar to my situation, he was not happy with the way I folded his socks and underwear. It got to the point where I finally realized it was a control thing. No matter what I did, I would never fold his stuff or put it away correctly so I refused to do it anymore. After the 3rd Dday, he used that against me, like not folding his socks and underwear was a betrayal, much like him going on a cruise with another woman, he actually said that. It helped me see what a crazy nut he was.
      I hope things get better and you stay strong. It takes time to untangle, but life is lovely on the other side of crazy.

    • The dignity will come back and you’ll find yourself again Disillusioned.
      Maintain separation and No Contact, No Contact, No Contact!

      • agree, no contact really helped me too, you deserve peace of mind and have dealt with gas lighting long enough

    • Oh, the magic powers of laundry in a cheater’s life! Cheater narc works in IT, so the dress code was pretty low for years, I just whipped his shirts out of the dryer. But for any special occasions, I ironed a shirt for him, with great love and care. Job interviews especially – ’cause there were LOTS of those (constant switching of jobs, sometimes his own decisions, often pushed out). Then he got an important position that required both being out of town from Monday morning to Thursday night, AND looking more professional. Considering I was doing all the household tasks and childcare while he was out of town enjoying nice hotels and restaurant meals, I figured he could iron his own shirts, or take them to the local cleaners. He ironed for a few weeks. Then one weekend when we were both exhausted, I actually sat down with a novel for a half-hour, while he was ironing. I could see him sending me meaningful looks, but didn’t just jump up to offer to do this for him, as I usually would. I remember thinking instead, ‘If he actually asks me to do it, I will be happy too. Because then I’ll know he recognizes I’m doing something nice to help him’. There had just been too many nice, caring and helpful things I’d done for him always, that he disparaged, ignored, and said meant nothing to him. He didn’t say anything, and in a few minutes I got back up to get back to the grind.

      Later, during one of the long conversations in which he tried to get me back by justifying his affair and his general misery (me, me, me … so attractive!), he mentioned that day, said something like ‘that’s the day I knew you didn’t love me anymore (implying that he was then justified in fucking the woman he WAS ALREADY INVOLVED WITH).

      Really? Really?

      Never mind the absolute misery he made of my life, and by extension the kids’ lives, about how I managed the recycling and the dish sponge! O.M.G.!!! You’d think these things were essential to national security, perhaps even to the destiny of the planet! I explained, I discussed, I plead and begged and cried. He WOULD NOT LET UP. Until I just stood up to him and refused to be bulled any more. But then of course he resented that ….

      I just wish I had realized earlier what I was dealing with. I had no idea there were people like that, so uncaring, so unprincipled, so selfish, who could look perfectly normal and fake their way into our lives.

      • KarenE, “‘that’s the day I knew you didn’t love me anymore (implying that he was then justified in fucking the woman he WAS ALREADY INVOLVED WITH).”

        This should be a topic on CL.That’s the day I knew you didn’t love me anymore. How I hate that sentence and what it meant for my life.

        Mine said this to justify his cheating because don’t you know that something, besides lack of integrity, was his reason for cheating. Asshle.

        In my case, he took me to a beer festival, oh yeah for me, I don’t drink specialty beers but he does. He also invites another couple to go with us. Later he tells his brother that “we were going away to have a “romantic” getaway”. To a beer festival.It was hot and it was outside and it was no fun for me. Then while we are having drinks at a bar and grill later on, we see a really big guy that we knew from our town, and he was talking to a younger woman at the end of the bar. x turns to the other couple and says” how does HE get a girl like that”. I was upset with that and he knew it. Later on in our room he hits me up for sex, no romance, no nothing except sex. I say no. And wouldn’t you believe, that is when he knew that I didn’t love him anymore (that I wasn’t going to be a damn doormat anymore). He proceeds to be distant and cold and then he starts to text ho-worker non-stop for a month before he leaves me bread crumbs to find him out. So much mindf*ck and all done by my loving and “faithful” spouse. Asshole.

  • I feel like I was doing the Pick Me Dance even before we got married. After finding letters from a “friend” that he went to visit in England — her telling him, “If you come visit me, we can spend the whole night together and have sex.” I read the letters while he was there and when he came back I asked him if there was anything going on between them. He said, “No. Of course not! She even got married while we (he went to England with a guy friend) while we were there.” Two months later came the first Discard when he started his new job out of college. I ignored these two big red flags and TRIED HARDER to be a better girlfriend and that set the stage for our entire 20 year marriage. Me always trying to be the best wife and mother I knew how to be in order to win the Pick Me Dance. He rarely picked me. It was always his job, “healthy female friends”, his hobbies and himself that came first in his life. I got the scraps of time leftover. Total Chump.

    • I could have written something very similar. I remember before we were married and my ex rang me one Friday night to say he was going to the movies with a work “friend”. She just happened to be female.I went to see him the next day. Got there, he was really funny with me. She rang while I was there. He was very brief on the phone. I said to him when he got off that I think this “work colleague” liked him. He just said to me “Go Home!”.. I said what??? He said Go Home. I don’t want you here. I just left. I didn’t speak to him for a few weeks then somehow he managed to circle back around and come back… should have told him to fuck off then but Chumpy me didn’t. I tried harder to be a better girlfriend. There are so many instances like this. I just tried harder…

  • My cheater was a garden variety closeted gay man who had a staunch christian facade to maintain. He came out of the closet long enough to confess to cheating with men spanning an 8 yr period, I wasn’t totally oblivious to there being an issue in my marriage but, whether I lost my temper or remained totally calm, when ever I confronted cheater with my concerns that he was not into me so he must be doing someone else. The response would always be the same. First denial, then feigned confusion over such accusations, sometimes he would get all reserved and claim that he is stressed at work and thank me for bringing his distant behaviour to his attention. But mostly he would contain his denial phase triggering in me a need to justify myself which usually resulted in my raising my voice. He would then turn the issue around claiming that the real problem was my anger and my own inability to communicate what was really bothering me. He would then walk off claiming, until I was able to clearly communicate what was really bothering me he could not help me. On the odd occasion that I pushed back against this and identified that it was actually he who was unable to identify the real issue and communicate, indicating that it was his secrets and disengagement that were the real problem. I then faced a new dynamic ‘the cold blank stare’. which created a whole new anger issue that I will not go into, but often the argument would end with me apologizing and in the days that followed he would make the off hand comments of, “clearly you are struggling”, “do you need to talk to someone” or “you got your period, that’s why you were acting like that the other day”, which added to the weight of my guilt infused internal dialogue. That had me practicing every dance step I knew in the hope of finding that one that would fix everything. This cycle of crazy lasted years. It had a huge impact on my physical and psychological health and when D’Day hit like a freight train, yes it hurt like hell but I knew in an instant that my dance career was over.

    • Yes, push me until I break and then accuse my anger of being the problem. Different characters, same tired story. Is there a cheater school where the cold dead stare is taught? Whenever confronted with situations that just were not adding up, my X completely iced me out. See, it wasn’t his cheating that was the problem, it was the way I “reacted” to it, even before I knew he was cheating!

      • Yes me im the problem. Loving caring and honest are not traits of the cheaters. I think the how can i fuck my spouse over school is appropriate at cheater university.

        • Yes, this. It was my anger that was the problem not his behaviour. It was always me and then when I’d correct something, there would be yet another problem that, of course, was me.

          Looking back I don’t know how I missed that pattern but I did. I am so glad he’s gone.

          • Asswipe started “correcting” my behaviour after dday a little before. Saying i never acted properly. I guess cause he controlled the whore and was flawless and perfect. He always loved me for me or so he said. He needed total control over his women and i wasnt making the cut! Funny hiw fir 27 years i was great til i wasnt. The whore let him control her til she got thise talons in deep. They are broken up yet again all my fault of course but even at a distance shes controlling him. Fuck them both. Match made in heaven i guess. Not!

            • Same here. OW acted like she worshipped the ground X walked on. He could do no wrong. Since X’s ego was the size of Texas, he ate it up! That is the weird thing. A true narcissist is a master of manipulation; she knew that playing to his ego was the way to his heart. Being a mere mortal, I was out of my league. I was simply unable to compete because I didn’t know how, and did not what to know how, to act like I thought X was the most fabulous person who ever walked the face of the earth. “Vanity, vanity, all is vanity…” That phrase should be on both of their gravestones!

      • For almost 20yrs we had only argued about 5 times, before BD I had never ever cursed at my husband, yet when I asked him why he didn’t talk to me if he was so unhappy, he told me that he couldn’t because he knew I would be too emotional. DUH who the fuck wouldn’t be emotional when being told their husband is leaving for a money grabbing whore from Thailand!!!

        After BD I cursed him up and down and around in circles for several months, never held back once. Told him to go to fucking HELL. Hopefully God will forgive my “abusive” language so that I don’t have to meet him down there in the hot place. lol

      • The “cold dead stare” is the prerequisite class for the “Cold Shoulder for hours” class, which then allows entry to the graduate-level class in “Giving the Cold Shoulder when around other people on vacation, so that spouse knows you have devalued them, but no one else has a clue.” My X graduated Summa cum laude (pun intended) in Cold Treatment.

        • Big hug. I lived through that A LOT. wtf was wrong with me???? I know now. But knowing you are being treated abusively because your gut is screaming at you, and having other people around you who have no clue, was/is pretty shattering. Fuck these assholes.

            • Definitely abusive. I would get silent treatment and the “cold dead stare” and not even know why much of the time. I had to play the guessing game while pick me dancing. I remember the physical reaction I would have to the cold dead stare sometimes. My gut churned and I just felt cold all over. I think I felt it as much as if he’d physically hit me.

              • A physical hit would have been preferable, IMHO. There were countless vacations where I was, at some point, subject to the cold shoulder treatment, and often because he was mad at something someone else had done! I did get very mad about it, and spent one vacation on the bathroom floor of a Chicago hotel because I was ready to exit the marriage because of his nonsense, yet again, on yet another vacation. The apologies would ensue, promises to never do it again (typical abuse cycle). The next year…yup, same damn treatment on vacation.

                Now when I go on vacations, I actually have fun. I fucking love being divorced!

              • Ha! I got the silent treatment so much I just thought it was him lol. I spackled the hell out of it too. I was like ” poor baby, you must be so tired”. It never even worked. I bet it made him so mad in retrospect. I tried harder to make him happy if course, but I was thinking, he’s so tired. It actually makes me laugh. Glad you are having awesome vacations Tempest. 🙂

              • Tempest, there was a thread on here (I don’t know if it was before you came on the blog?) about the worst cheater vacations. I think we need to resurrect that thread. Man, I still have nightmares about the last “vacation” I had with shithead ex. Just the worst! Oy!

              • Sounds like a perfect idea for one of next week’s columns….. I’ll look through the photo albums to see what vacation memories I can spark.

                And of course, we need the “you thought it was a good vacation but here’s what was happening during it” (Florence trip where Hannibal was arranging his sexual harassment meeting), versus the “Why did I come on vacation with this fucktard, and did I bring my Visa card to get an early return flight?”

              • One more thing (I’m feeling chatty tonight). On FB yesterday my friend posted these pictures of people before and after 3 glasses of wine. It was hilarious and really revealing.In the pre-wine pix, people look really straightlaced and justsort of pained. After a couple glasses, it’s like you can actually see who they are at their cores. I think it’d be just as revealing for all us chumps to look at photos of ourselves on cheater vacations and post-NC vacations. No doubt you’d see similar differences. I know I did. Here’s the link in case anybody wants to see it:


        • Tempest

          The master of the cold shoulder, love it!

          Before DDay the limited kept asking why i wouldn’t kiss him.

          All the behavior was there. The wedding band off, anninomous coming uo repeatedly on his business line, wanting my signature to buy a home and the cold stare.

          He was in his spring cycle of dating.

          I have been happy now for a few weeks. This is MY spring. His back went out, he’s not working, and still dating while living with her. The cycle has started minus me. He doesn’t make money for five months out of the year. Since he left for his better life he has gone into debt buying new cars, going on vacations, and proving to her he is worthy. He wanted me to pay all hls his bills in the spring and summer. I refused. To shiny new cars and no money for gas. LOL

          That’s not,,karma, it’s stupidity.

          • I actually was silent a lot through the marriage. It was because of his abuse, neglect, and eggshells. He used anger to keep me quiet and then was angry when i didnt speak. He has made me feel he was getting the silent treatment. I was silently angry. Is this the same as abusing him because he says it is

            • No it wasn’t abuse it was self preservation. It’s all in the motivation — he used the silent treatment to control you. You were silent out of fear, confusion, self-preservation I’m guessing because the same thing happened to me. And then him accusing you of the abuse is just further abuse. In my experience there was literally not any right response. No matter what I did or said or didn’t do or didn’t say it was the wrong thing. Because his goal wasn’t to solve a problem or resolve a conflict it was to control me and make himself feel powerful.

        • Tempest, mine also graduated Summa Cum Laude in “Cold Shoulder Treatment.” During our 11 year marriage, I was dancing without knowing it. Every alternation between the silent rage and poor sausage channels, here I was, trying to make his life better, trying to absorb more and more of our menial family life tasks so that he could focus on his stressful, oh so demanding, career.

          Like many, I saw his temper getting worse with age, but thought “at least he is not cheating, we have a comfortable life, and our kid is growing up a global citizen, etc.” Until Dday and the ensuing hell of divorcing him…

          Now, almost 2 years past Dday, and a few months after my divorce was finalized, I am starting to realize that my most effective grey rock techniques are civil versions of his cold shoulder treatment.

          He recognizes the pattern, and it drives him absolutely bunkers… That fact, in and of itself, is one of the sweetest forms of karma I can imagine.

    • Thankful, my X is also a garden-variety closeted gay man, with a very similar history. Lots of trickle truthing about how he was “a little bit bisexual,” had “subliminal sexual fantasies about other men,” and had “same-sex attractions” that he never acted on. No biggie!

      When I finally realized, duh, he’s gay (and the impact of how much that explained about our sex life dawned on me), I called him on it and the rage hit. I was angry, bitter, resentful, I was crazy, how dare I accuse him of acting on something that has no significance to begin with (because everyone is a little bit bisexual, don’t you know).

      And yes, another Cool Wife here, tried my best to be supportive of his sexuality, even considered but thankfully never offered to have a threesome with another man.

      Then when he insisted that my “obsession” with the supposedly non-existent issue of his sexuality was driving a wedge between us and he needed other outlets, I supported his “need” to spend 4-5 evenings a week at the gym and 8-10 hours at a stretch playing tennis at different clubs around town during the weekends. I offered to take up tennis so we could play together, but no, I would have hated it according to him–besides, who needs the wife around the club when you’re busy in the steam room with your buddies?

      I could go on, but like so many here I made my own needs so small for so many years that I pick-me danced in a contest in which my gender was not even allowed to qualify to win.

  • I knew something was up, really up, for a good year. I knew we should have more money in the bank, but I let it go because I knew he was going through something. Throughout our 17 years together I initiated physical intimacy 95-98% of the time. He was knocking me back more and more, not just sexually, but the intimacy wasn’t there. No hugging, touching, snuggling on the lounge. I sent him to the doctor’s to get his testosterone level checked. Finally he told me that he didn’t want me approaching him for sex, he would approach me. After a week of this I finally took some power back and stated that I had never tried to rape him, he could continue to say no, but I was not going to not approach him when he wouldn’t approach me. It wasn’t till after D-day I realised how emotionally manipulative and controlling it is to be the recipient of the advances. If you are a decent person, you don’t push when someone turns you down. Then if they approach you, how can you say no, because if you do then you get the ” this is why I don’t initiate sex, because you always knock me back”. I realised that he would often approach me expecting me to say no, but I would say yes as I was so starved for affection.

    I found the poorly written love letter to the Ukrainian scam artist on Monday 11th January, 2016. I almost didn’t say anything because I thought it was only a letter, but I did say something. I asked if he had cheated physically, I asked if he had sent money, he said no to both. I was willing to have him come back into our bed because I truly thought it was a one-off. He refused and slept in the other bedroom, telling me it was over. I finally checked the history on the computer, so many dating sites. He tried to hook up with so many people. Luckily no-one, that I am aware of, took him up on his offer. He had sent money overseas to scam artists, he had spent so much money buying credits on Close to $20,000 in one year that I know of. I got into his secret email and read what he wrote to these women. Such disrespect to me, saying he was divorced or separated, emailing/talking to them while ignoring me, including on holidays. Planning to meet up with one the day after we spent a weekend away for his birthday.

    What truly takes the cake for me is that in that first week, when I was numb, he stated he wanted $70,000 from me as settlement for renovations done on the house as he needed a “return on his investment”. AND I CONSIDERED IT!!!! Luckily my STD testing was all clear and now so is my mind.

    • What truly takes the cake for me is that in that first week, when I was numb, he stated he wanted $70,000 from me as settlement for renovations done on the house as he needed a “return on his investment”.

      OMWord.. My STBXW also said she wanted her “investment” of about $8K Deposit back in the car we bought before she left. I was WTF. I paid for ALL the cars thru the years, the house, camera(s), renovations to the house, the swimming pool, her fuel, I PAID 99% of the expenses and living cost for 15 years and she wants 8k back. I just laughed at her…..

      P.S She didn’t carry 1 cent towards the house , the cars (and services), the fuel etc…. Not 1 cent in 15 years.

      But no surprise.. now she wants more money in child support than her salary for 2 kids (she is a teacher). I must pay for the kids, she doesn’t want to pay (she would rather shop)

      • It is so validating, in an awful welcome to the club way, to know that someone else copped that same part of the script. The raging sense of entitlement and devaluation of the chump’s contribution is mind blowing. I have worked full-time through the entire marriage, we couldn’t have children, I cleaned the house, washed, ironed, did yard work even though that was supposed to be his job. He cooked. He worked away a lot and I stayed faithful, loyal, loving. They are unreal.

      • Just substitute lostntx for your name. Our stories are exactly the same including the # of years I supported the family. She was a “teacher” also. Managed to teach a total of 6 years out of a 23 year marriage. She also wanted more in child support than she was making after finally getting a job. It took her 6 months to get a job after we separated and I told her to leave. Stay strong and fight her. I stood firm on what I knew was equitable by our state. She wanted more and I stuck to no. I managed to get a child support at what i would pay if she was a teacher again and not a bar hop. Not my problem she doesn’t want to teach. Also got 50/50 custody of my girls. She did get 1/2 of my retirement and 401K. That sucks but i can’t do anything about it. Our state doesn’t recognize adultery as cause allocation of assets. I still pay all of the kids expenses as well. Yeah, I worked full time and did all the house stuff as well. I have a lot of free time these days!

        • lostntx man I feel your pain.

          I’m fighting her believe me. Costing thousands (could have been divorced 8 months ago, but she is dragging heels).

          And she must carry some cost of the children too. She just WANTS and thinks because she is the mom, she doesn’t have to pay for them too.

  • I took him back after the first affair. I was super sweet and always cheerful. Dinner was on the table no matter what time he decided to come home. The house was clean, the lawn mowed, the snow shovelled (even when I was pregnant). The kids were always fed, dressed and waiting for him to drive them to whatever activity they were participating in so I could “have a break” (and he could show the world what a great father he was). No effort ever on his part. All show.

    I worked jobs that were flexible enough to allow me to keep up the other work. I was so busy dancing I didn’t have time to think. I kept myself seriously in denial that I had married a fucktard. I could do it all. He had to see how wonderful I was.

    Fast forward five or so years. I became ill and asked him to step up to the plate. Nope. He became serious with OW, (there were many other fuck buddies throughout the marriage I discovered much later) did a planned discard while ruining our finances and monkey-branched to OW before he dumped me and the kids.

    I am having difficulties divorcing him – go figure- even though he has been out of the house for a year. Going no contact has freed me from the narc prison. For the first time in 20 years I am me again 🙂

  • I had some pretty snazzy moves on the pick me dance floor. It started when I swallowed shit sandwiches like they were after dinner mints before dday. He went out to bars after work and lamented with his fellow colleagues about up coming lay offs. Every. single. night. for. 3. months. I didn’t “know” about the affair for sure but my gut sure as hell knew there was a problem.

    After dday though, that’s when the tap shoes were worn full time. I willingly took the blame for his cheating and did whatever I could to make the marriage a happier place to be (for him…not me). This included but was not limited to:

    Right after dday when he “chose” me (his words-not mine) he needed to “Break up with OW.” (again-his words not mine) They had to go out for lunch and only god knows what else. Then he came home and told me they cried together while he told her that “this is what he wanted” and she cried and said “how do you know it will be better?” Then he thanked her for saving his marriage. Lucky me, I got to hear the play by play when he returned and I think he might have even shed a tear while he was telling me. I wanted to vomit.

    I went to a going away party held for him after he found another job. I had to go and stand by my man, but guess who else was in attendance? They sent no less than 40 texts back and forth to each other all night and at the end, I sucked it up, went to the car and “let them say goodbye to each other.” I was so cool right?

    Then there was the routine, every day stuff like:

    Sex on demand
    Getting up at 5:00am with him every day for three years to make the king breakfast
    Preparing savory meals in the morning or crockpot before I left for work so he could have dinner/lunch. Keep in mind that I worked 60 miles from our home and spent a little over two hours a day commuting plus my 8-9 hour days at work.
    Doing all the laundry and other assorted household chores, including the outdoor stuff like mowing the lawn so he could relax on the weekends.

    Yeah I won alright. Luckily by year three I found chump lady and started to hang up the tap shoes. I found the courage to leave a cheater and gain a life and when I fled that house (like it was on fire) I left the tap shoes behind. The Owife wears them now, I’m happy to say!

    I won!

    • Ex’s whore “saved our marriage” as well. Pretty impressive for some one who can’t even maintain a long term relationship, much less get married. I laugh when I think back on that.

      • I laugh too! Although I would say my biggest laughs probably come from the moment I realized that the pick me dance has to be strong with the Owife! She gets all those wonderful memories of being dumped by him initially, and having him thank her for saving his marriage and then having him crawl back when I kicked him to the curb.

        Dance pretty sweetheart. So glad you won that contest!v 😉

  • I tried my best for 3 months to rescue the marriage. I did everything she wanted. A was friendlier than ever, didn’t argue about finances (she wanted to spent money, not me). I went to freaking dance classes with her, she wanted to dance, I bought a car (which she wanted, and not me). I bend backwards on all her request..

    I became the doormat. I’m ashamed of that… but when she moved out, I felt so much relief…. felt like world’s pressure was removed. I will never be a doormat again.

    • Don’t be ashamed of having pick-me danced, SDK. Honest people make an honest effort to make their relationships work. And at least when we’re done, we can look back knowing we did everything we could. It is ALL on them.

  • I danced before the affair cause he was stressed out from two jobs. His choice not mine. Money money money. I had a few years of menopause which made me tired so tired. Two hours sleep barely for years. Then female corrective surgery which extended the hormonal party. Took awhile to recover from surgery. I begged i pleaded for help understanding and support got nothing. Blew me off. The most i got was occasionally if asswipe didnt fall asleep directly after dinner on the couch was get cleaned up fuck night. No romance anymore what so ever. I stopped dancing before the affair. When affair was brought to his attention i told him you have known me 28 years i will not be in competion with her. Nothing to learn here but learn both of us did. Except for four incidents where i freaked out ive been calm and nice a ruse to obtain my goal. He got scared by my four freakouts cause he never saw that side of me. One in particular was exceptionally bad. He told me he choked the whore unconcious and thought he killed her for something she did to hurt me and hit her repeatedly apparently she loves that stuff. He started a huge fight calling me awful names He charged at me across the room to grab me from throwing something at his head. I told him you ever put your hands on me i will call the cops after ive taken you out with a baseball bat! He was scared never saw me like that. So i guess in a way i did dance. The your not fucking me over anymore dance and the calm i get what i want dance. Soon i will be doing the happy fuck you motherfucker dance as i drive away to my new home. Bastard. Then no contact dance!

    • Don’t forget the grave dance!
      No matter how many years it takes, I will be ready with my Twyla Tharp inspired routine!

        • Yep, I know where the jerk off is buried. Might want to take me a little road trip this summer. I have this long standing fantasy of going to Cheater ex’s grave and writing ” This man murdered his 14 year old son in cold blood!” on it with a weed killer like round up. Within a week it would appear, I’d be long gone.

          The only thing that stops me is that it would be poking the rattlesnake like family of his, and they might just try to look me up for a little revenge of their own.

          It’s a good fantasy, though.

    • You need to leave now. Like in ten minutes. Go get your purse, keys, act like u r going to the store, and never come back. Not ever

  • When my Pick Me Dancing began, I didn’t even realize there was a competition going on. My ex started picking fights with me nearly nonstop. It seemed as if one day all was ok with us then he simply woke up one morning in a horrible mood that never again went away. I asked my pastor what he advised, and naturally his counsel was for me to be the best, most godly wife I could be. So I turned up the love and patience, and all negativity went into my private journal. After so many months of showing my husband nothing but kindness and understanding while burying my inner turmoil and heartache into my journal, he mentioned one day that he’d read my journal and the look of disgust in his tone and on his face told me everything. Nothing I’d done had softened him towards me whatsoever. When he announced he was leaving I thought he’d move in with a guy friend. He went right to her house. Before then, I couldn’t fathom he was cheating. Hindsight says how could I have been so blind?

  • It actually makes me feel physically sick to even begin to think about the way I acted. I guess the last straw was when I offered to take up cycling (his hobby and excuse for his time away to have affairs). I didn’t want to be a cyclist but if it meant that we were sharing his interest and spending time together then I could make the sacrifice. His response – I don’t want you in that part of my life. That pretty much said it all.

  • I was actually very lucky. After D-Day while I was still reeling from the discovery, I started lacing up my pick me dancing shoes, but by the time I got them tied the dance floor was empty. She bolted to be with schmoopsi. It hurt like hell at the time that I didn’t get a chance to compete for her affection, but it was actually a blessing.

  • I offered my cheater a kidney! ‘Cause nothing says “Pick me!” like giving up an internal organ. A few weeks after D-day, cheater’s oncologist says he thinks his multiple tumours in both kidneys are cancer. So I told cheater I would have given him one of mine if it had come to that. His response? “It’s not enough.” So there, Schmoopie, you can have him–tumours and all.

      • His response? “It’s not enough.” OMG CL is right, you win.

        I told H1 “If I could give up my left arm is it would somehow make you happy, I would do it” but that was metaphorical/symbolic as no one was actually going to sever my left arm from me, but you offered a real organ that someone might have been willing to cut from you. Dang

      • As a coping mechanism, my friends and I have fun with the “It’s not enough” response. So what, he wanted BOTH kidneys? Did he want a lung and a spleen, too? And what if I had given him a kidney before we split–how would the division of marital assets have gone? “I’d like my kidney back, your honour.” Laughter really is the best medicine. Because the reality is so freaking ridiculous.

        • Yes, “it’s not enough” boggles the mind, especially after KE nursed him through several illnesses and treatments. Entitled little mama’s boy.

  • I never did the Pick Me Dance after I found out about the affair – I was exhausted from doing the Pick Me Dance throughout our entire marriage. I didn’t relaize that’s what I had been doing for almost 20 years, but it hit me right between the eyes on D-Day and I just said Fuck. This. Shit.

    I had blisters on my heels and my soul from dancing as fast as I could to be picked over his crazy mother and father, frat brothers, friends, work and even strangers. Especially work. While he was having his affair, I actually said to him that I felt as if work was his mistress. (I’ll bet that made his heart race for a couple of seconds. Busted!). Then when our child was born it became a twisted duet of me and our son dancing to get his attention.

    Nope, when D-Day hit, I saw him for the pathetic piece of shit that he is. And it felt good to spew the venom that had been building up over all those years. I felt like Jane Fonda in that old movie about marathon dancing called “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?”. Utterly exhausted. So I decided to pick me.

    • Uneffingbelievable – What a beautiful statement you made at the end of your post. “So I decided to pick me”. I really liked this, because you chose to finally love and believe in yourself. Something that your ex had never done.

      • Thanks, Kellia. For the first time in my life, I stopped telling myself I wasn’t good enough. I’m good enough for me, and that’s what really counts. I realized that if the cheater approved of me, that would mean I was a narcissistic, low rent, lying turd – just like him. Decided I didn’t want his approval any longer. He was beneath me.

        • Omg, I cannot tell you how reading your answer has caused me to have an epiphany! I love your perspective in that if the cheater approves of you, then that means we are just like him. WOW! Getting approval from our exes, would mean we want approval from pathetic lowlives. That’s what we’ve been pining for all this time?! Nah, don’t want it. I am good enough for me. Your statement is so life changing for me, thank you, as you are amazing!!!

          • I’m so glad I could help, Kellia! The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from Chump Lady and Chump Nation! There are a ton of wise souls here and they are very generous with their wisdom. Wishing you the very best!

    • Same here in the Pick Me dance our entire marriage. No idea why I was never good enough. I often asked for him to tell me what it was he needed, what he wanted me to do. He said he shouldn’t have to. I should just *know* — if it were real love then I would just inherently know how to make him feel loved.

      That feeling of complete and utter exhaustion. But saying no. No more of this. Lifted a weight I didn’t even realize was there until it was gone. And while he’s only been out of the house 2 months, and things are hard, and I cry A LOT, I am truly at peace.

      • AtPeace – it’s so early on for you. There will be sadness and rage and bitterness – but always, ALWAYS know that you are a better human being than he will ever be. Just keep telling yourself he doesn’t deserve you and be thankful you found that out so you won’t spend one more day with a person who is incapable of real love. ((Hugs to you)).

      • Good for you, AtPeace. You’ve had a preview of what life will be like more and more. You don’t realize how bad it’s really been until you’re out from under it for a minute or two. Glad you’re here.

  • Dance? I was MC Hammer and Miley Cyrus rolled into one. He enjoyed the show. It was pure entertainment for him. Motherfucker didnt even tip.

      • Tempest, thank you. That was truly awesome. I’ve been feeling very weepy and down today but that made me laugh out loud. Thank you for posting it. It’s really cheered me up.

        • I’m glad it cheered you up, Chumpella. Psy is never going to end up in the Music Hall of Fame, but we have to admit the song is fun!

          Did anything happen today, or just another one of those cheater-caused cyclical sadness days? Hugs to you!

          • Tempest, nothing in particular, just one of those cheater-caused cyclical sadness days I think. It’s been 6 months since D-day and my divorce should hopefully be finalised in 6 weeks, In the meantime the sparkly turd is off doing what he is wont to do with the home-wrecking OWhore. It makes me sad to think of all of the good years that I have wasted on him.

            But we always have Psy and MC Hammer to cheer us up and WE know happiness is an inside job, whereas they are always looking for happiness externally.

            Hugs to you too and thanks.

  • After D Day 1, I was determined to show my Ex that I could be the cool, sexually adventurous girl. We went to a strip club because he thought it would be a hot couples activity. All I could see were grown up sex abuse victims- no offense to those working in the industry, but that’s what I saw.
    At one point, our marriage counselor suggested a couples weekend conference in Atlanta. We went. He spent more time planning which strip clubs we would go to on our lunch breaks based on their distance from the retreat location than he did in learning any of the material. i still remember wondering to myself wtf I was doing sitting in at a strip club at 1 pm on a Monday afternoon while he was going off to get a private dance and how this would save my marriage.

  • I am not going to compete here.I’m just going to put in my two cents. I danced like crazy after she asked for the divorce. She said there was no one else. I believed and tried so much harder. I got lucky. Everyone was telling me there had to be another guy. So after one month I decided to check her phone. My eyes were opened immediately. At that time I also found CL and CN. I realized what was happening and finally connected all the dots.
    The part that hurt was that about 8 months ago my daughter told me that her mom told her that I was doing so well during the pick me dance phase but suddenly gave up and she couldn’t live with me not trying. l had found the truth and found CL. You saved my life. All of you did. The pick me dance was going to kill me.

    • “she couldn’t live with me not trying”. That is DISGUSTING on your ex’s part. YOU were supposed to live with everything SHE had done, but she couldn’t stand your not making those extraordinary efforts anymore. The entitlement is so strong here! I’m glad you’re free of her, Marked! And I hope your daughter knows why you stopped trying.

  • I did the pick-me dance for most of my entire MARRAIGE…..(face palm). After Dday, I did the RIC thing and danced even harder…..when to Victoria’s secret for some fresh new lingerie and nighties, which I wore around the house even while *cooking*, so when he got home from work I would look sexy for him…, I’m so glad I’m not in that situation any longer. He doesn’t deserve my period panties, let alone lingerie. #goodriddance

    • @LiningUpDucks–‘he doesn’t deserve my period panties, let alone lingerie’…..

      epic mic drop

      This is one comment I will remember to my grave 😉

      • Howling on the floor over period panties…roll,roll,roll…indeed, he does not deserve even them…haw haw haw haw haw…roll,roll,roll

  • At least in your video there was reciprocity. I knew it was a no-win situation so didn’t dance too hard. Said
    “if you want to text her, text me, if you want to go to lunch with her, go with me.” He did neither. I set up all the discussion about wreckonciliation–during the whole 2 weeks we tried it. Funniest thing—we both said we weren’t dancers however I would actually get on the floor every once in a while. Last time I danced, I literally fell on my butt. Should have recognized that as a foretelling of the future.

    He’s also so unaware I could have done a lap dance wrapped in saran wrap and he would have never noticed.

    • HNA–I’m glad you didn’t do that lap dance in Saran Wrap! Chumps need to throw out the Saran Wrap (and the Total Woman book from which the idea came).

  • My cheater had moved out for a period of time. He wanted time to be a “better father, husband.” So I trusted him that indeed he was working on that and figuring out what he wanted. I asked him many, many times if there was someone else and he said no.

    So, during that “trial separation” which is code for cake eating I did my best to figure out what had happened to our marriage and my role in that. We went to MC where he manipulated the therapist and downplayed his role and blamed me. It was a crazy making and painful time but I wanted to save my marriage and, as I said, chump that I was I didn’t think he would have an affair.

    He moved back in (I’d won!) and was just as miserable as before but boy did I dance to make sure his needs were met. He still drank with loser friends, swore around our daughter, and generally acted like an entitled prick. Finally I found the real truth on his cell phone.

    After he confessed to an affair? Out. No more dancing. I got him out in 3 weeks and lawyered up hard. That’s when I really won. I got my life back and cheater moved on to another unfortunate woman.

    It was a dreadful time and so humiliating. I don’t think you ever have to prove your worth to someone, especially a common low-life cheater.

    • How these subhuman cheaters manage to cast themselves as high-minded and on a spiritual quest equivalent to that of the Dalai Lama, in order to disguise their tawdry, sick desires, never ceases to amaze me.

  • I did the pick me dance backwards and in high heels (Ginger Rogers reference for you kids out there)… in other words, I let him lead, no matter what direction. He used his business as a way to meet families, become close to them, then slept with their wives. I don’t know how often it occurred, but I do wish I’d chosen a litigation route so I could have had his client list deposed….ahh hindsight. For me, the most humiliating lesson learned has been that it simply doesn’t matter to anyone but us chumps…the stbx’s built the process, friends and family just want us “better”, the legal system all but encourages them to just do what they want. There are no consequences UNTIL THE KARMA BUS COMES ALONG. And let me tell you, even the smallest indication that they have been served their very own shit sandwich will brighten any chumps day. So keep an eye on the bus schedule fellow chumps….

  • I only danced for a minute by saying “do you think he loves you (like I do)?” Then I saw her pattern from everything she told me and I gave her an ultimatum. “Choose.” Her response, “I don’t know what (who) I want,” was my que to dance harder. I responded by closing our joint accounts and transferring everything into my personal checking, took her off the insurance, changed the locks. That got more of a response than anything else I did during that time. Oh and I also threw whatever she left behind into the dumpster.

    Hurt like hell but I knew the game was rigged. And the only possible winner wasn’t me. It was time to bow out.

    • Michael – Very well said, that the game is rigged and we are programmed to lose. Just like at the Casino, the odds are against us, because the cheater has decided so. No matter what we do, we will always lose.

      • Yup, ’cause even if we win the ‘pick me dance’ and get to keep the cheater, we lose … ’cause we still have the cheater in our life. The only way to win is to walk away!

    • Yes michael once i got to the cool bummer wow shrug stage of indifference asswipe knew i had given up on anything about him and he started a sorta of pick me cake eating dance. Most amusing. I dont know what i want is his standard answer. Seriously what is he? 10? I know what i want i told him and its not this. Funny how as soon as he thinks when he buys the house that im gone for good never to be seen again. Plan b is moving uptown and free. Hes started his dance but im not fooled. Keep dancing motherfucker cause i know that he knows that i know the best thing that ever happened to him is going uptown! The whore can have him. By his own hand hes damaged goods. No deposits no returns.

      • Mine was similar. A few weeks after I went radio silent, she started to ring my phone. But I blocked her number so it went straight to voicemail. She never did leave a message. She started ringing our mutual friends and they also ignored her. She even rang my Dad once. All the while still with the OM. She wanted to know how I was doing – which was an excuse to crack the door and get a foot in. Besides being completely stressed out knowing my wife was running around with another man and my divorce was coming after less than a year, I was doing pretty well. But she never knew that. She also wanted to know who I was seeing, which was no one. I was in no mood to date someone else at the time.

  • D-Day for me was 20 years into our marriage. I was a very trusting wife married to an insidiously abusive man who took advantage of my trust and went to great lengths to hide his serial cheating. He kept me off balance with his lies, gas-lighting, blame-shifting and belittling. Whenever I dared to question him, I paid for it…emotionally.

    I danced the Pick Me without even knowing about other women. I was snared in the cycle of abuse and so brainwashed by him that I didn’t even know it. My dance routines included the “Please Him”, “Don’t Rock the Boat”, and “Walking On Eggshells” and the “Please Don’t Leave Me” (complete with the grand finale move of me as a bubble-blowing-snot-sobbing heap on the floor and him stepping over me without so much as batting an eyelash).

    Once I discovered his affairs, I stopped dancing. I cautiously gave him the benefit of doubt that he would cease his activities with other women, but at the same time I began forming my exit plan. Once my eyes were open, I watched his actions rather than listening to his words.

    My last dance was “Talk To My Lawyer”…

    • Over and out, the ex also literally walked over me as I was on the ground in the fetal position sobbing, too. I only did the pick me dance for 2 weeks and I thank God all the time that it was such a short period of time. I love being divorced.

  • I did the pick me dance in college while me and Mr. Perfect were dating. I watched him sneak around dating multiple women, each of us actively trying to outdo the other in being kind, funny, helpful, good in bed and so forth. I remember one night I learned he was going to a sorority dance (bleh) with a girl who lived in my dorm building. My room overlooked the only entrance you were allowed to use after 10 pm, so I sat by that window late into the night waiting for him to escort her back to the building rather than over to his apartment for the night. I sat there all night long … waiting … Sadly, I patiently put up with all the lies and sneaking around and kept my eyes on the prize … and I WON 28 years of more lies and sneaking around. What a fool I was. No more.

  • Fat Bastards excuse after D-Day #1 was that I spent too much time away from home at rehearsal. So I stopped performing for the better part of a year.

    I gave up something I loved, that had been a very large part of who I am since I was 17 so that I could spend ALL my free time with him sitting on the couch watching TV, and listening to him complain about how hard it was for him to adjust to married life.

    When D-Day #2 happened that’s when really started dancing. We’d been married less than 4 months.

    I learned to cook the fatty, deep fried, bacon grease laden Southern food he gorged himself on. I stopped complaining about the data overages on our cell plan. I gave up my friends and my activity in the Pagan community. I sat silently while he ranted and raged at my son and I for sometimes 2-3 hours.

    We did the things he liked – we watched wrestling, we went to the stock car races, we ate fast food 3-4 times a week or more. We hung out with his pretend daughter and her cheater husband, and with his other friend, or with his cheater brother and the brothers baby mama who was clueless.

    I stopped checking his Facebook and Instagram, I stopped looking at the phone records and his twitter, because he said I had to learn to trust him again. I worked 12 hour days and picked up overtime while he sat on his fat lazy ass at home not working. And the whole time my gut was screaming at me that I shouldn’t trust him.

    The sex had started to dry up almost as soon as we got married. After a year of marriage the sex was gone completely. He said it was because he didn’t feel “romanced” by me any more. So I started planning nights out for us, I sent him sexy texts and love quotes, I told him all the time how much I loved him and wanted him.

    And got nothing in return. No kissing other than an occasional peck on the lips, no hugs, I got told “Get off me woman” whenever I tried to initiate sex. I got told I’d gained too much weight since we got married, that I didn’t dress sexy enough, that I should wear my hair differently, wear more makeup and high heels.

    The more I danced, the more I was expected to do and the more I was expected to change who I am.

    I found his flash drive full of proof of his cheating and his porn addiction a month after our second anniversary. The e-mails and text messages and online dating profiles dated back to a week after D-Day #2.

    That was the day I told him to pack his shit and get the fuck out of my house. I danced a little bit the first couple of days after I kicked him out, but by the end of that first week post D-Day I started to realize that I could breathe again. My son could breathe again and was happier than I’d seen him in almost a year. My home was calm and peaceful.

    I started looking back through the e-mails we’d exchanged in that week and I could see the emotional manipulation tactics as if someone had taken a highlighter to them.

    That was when I sent him the -Fuck you, I’m done with this shit, never contact me again – email, blocked his emails and phone number and blocked him on all social media.

    It was 5 months yesterday since I kicked him out.

    Best fucking decision I’ve ever made.

    • gepster,

      He sucks. You rock.

      Yay, us! Five months tomorrow since I’ve laid eyes on Match Girl’s lying eyes. gepster, we are winning over here.

      I can’t remember (sorry, so much good advice in Chump Nation) who turned me on to BIFF and Bill Eddy.

      I have been devouring his: Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing, by Bill Eddy & Randi Kreger

      If you are still divorcing, read this book. Read it now.

        • I was almost certain I had you to thank for Eddy, Chumptitude; I didn’t want to misattribute such a life-changing recommendation to the wrong Chump. Thank you.

          • Ian, so glad BIFFs have been helping you. I got the ref from CL’s resources page, so CL deserves your thanks more than me :)!

            • Chumptitude,

              Ah ha. So, Chump Lady leads the way again with Eddy and BIFF. It’s almost like she’s some kind of Druid prophet. ? The only “Amazon-“Chump I wanna be know is the Chump who reads books about winning a contentious divorce with a high-conflict spouse. I’ll check-out Carnes too.

              I am not untangling the skein-of-fuckupedness for wreckonciliation, but for victory. Know your enemy.

              This pick-me post reminds me why I’ll
              never get into another romantic relationship again.

      • Thanks for the link Ian, I’ll check it out. I’m very fortunate that there were no joint assets. The house and car are mine, I owned everything well before I met him. We were married less than 5 years and between that and the cheating yes not eligible for spousal support. I can walk away clean and he can’t touch a nything I have.

  • I scheduled and attended marriage counseling, started working out everyday, lost 40 pounds in like 3 weeks, stopped drinking, really tried to be more “present” in the relationship and family than I ever had before. In retrospect, it was very hard to be present in a marriage where I had to work 70 hours a week at two jobs to cover for her dishonesty and abuse with money and sex, all while trying to finish a Master’s degree with four kids at home to boot. I tried to become a porn-star in the bedroom because she said she “wanted to be with someone who could perform.” (WTF was I thinking?) I actually tried to force myself to be happy and make her love me because her new “friend” was so confident and happy, while I was “far too serious” all the time.

    She said once we both worked through our individual problems, we could start to date again and could rebuild our marriage because she still loved me. (Like you really want to date your wife when you know she is fucking other men and women.) With the very next sentence she said I could expect to receive an explaination of benefits from our insurance company because she had decided to go back on birth control because she was having problems regulating her periods. I had a vasectomy 15 years earlier.

    It was obvious she was still dating others while keeping me as the safety net. For three months it was all about her orgasms and getting her cake, giving her kibbles wherever I could. A complete mind-fuck from which I am still recovering. I can’t wait for Tuesday.

  • Danced for years when I just thought it was all about him and me. My one, one point of pride is that immediately after DDay the music stopped and I never tap danced again.

  • He kicked me out of our home, and while I knew there must be someone else, he would not admit it, so I decided to pretend she didn’t exist, either. Then he’d invite me over for sex, jump out of bed when he was done, and then ask me if I have any money. I did and I gave him some. It must have been hysterical for him to compare my 56 year old body to her 26 year old one. He tried over and over again to get me to reveal sexual fantasies because he knew I wanted him back desperately. Thankfully I only pick me danced for two or three weeks, but it was the most humiliating time of my life. I finally got him to admit there was someone else and from that point on, no matter how painful it was to turn off emotions, I decided I would not lower myself to try to get him back any more. It’s really helpful to remember this shit from time to time. Even he has forgotten how awful he was to me. Asshole.

    • Which is exactly why cheaters keep up the parade of lies–once their misdeeds and machinations are known, light bulbs go off in the chump brain and they no longer have power over us. Performing the pick-me dance when you didn’t realize you’d entered a dance competition is a total mindfuck; like dancing during an earthquake.

      It does pay to remember how badly they treated us, because memory papers over the rough edges of our lives, and makes us more susceptible to putting our hand on a hot stove again (“well, I didn’t remember it hurting too much”).

  • From reading this thread, it feels like I am an exception to the rule. I did not do the pick-me-dance. I had always felt and said that if I were cheated on, I would walk. For the two weeks it took to get a straight answer on whether he was getting some on the side, I was also trying to get him to MC. The minute he admitted that there was an OW, I was done. No MC needed. I put what I needed to do for a divorce into motion and after a year and a half, we’re almost done. Absolutely NO REGRETS.

    • Better Alone, before I would have walked immediately myself. But, in this marriage there was a third party. My sweet, beautiful preK daughter. That is the absolute only thing that kept me in for a while. Right or wrong, I don’t regret trying to work things out for her sake. Otherwise, it would have been syanora, motherfucker! from day one.

    • I ended relations upon discovering the infidelity, too, but now realize Hannibal Lecher made me do the pick-me dance unwittingly, and against my will. There were a few instances throughout the marriage where he said things that made me feel as if I was being compared to someone else–sometimes favorably, more often unfavorably–that raised the hair on the back of my neck. Since it was just part and parcel of his generally critical nature, I didn’t twig as to what was happening. Hindsight doesn’t need glasses.

    • Better Alone, I ended our relationship right after DDay, I had been very clear about my deal breakers…

      My X tried to guilt me into staying “for our kiddo’s sake.” Sure, like the best way to build our daughter’s self-esteem is for her to grow up watching her mom stay in a relationship with a lying cheating coward…

      I set up an appointment with a divorce lawyer the next day.

      • Perfect Chumptitude. That is exactly how I felt regarding my children. Add to that the fact that my kids knew months before I did, left me no choice. I used to say that I didn’t want my daughters (20 and 18) to think they could let a man treat them that way and further along I also realized I didn’t want my son (14) to think his father’s behaviour is ok either. Especially since it is my son who witnessed his 50 yr old father sexting to the 22yr old Thai girl before Xmas 2014 and when he confronted his father, was told that he was too young to understand, that it didn’t concern him, and to mind his own business. DDay for me was Valentine’s day 2015 and what had happened with my son end of March 2015. Nope, there was no way I would let this go. The truth shall set all of us free! 🙂

  • My husband of 30 years commuted half way across the USA every Sunday night, returning each Friday night…to his big corporate job…for 29 years. I trusted the bastard completely, naively, thinking he was a solid, midwestern religious guy. O used to join him for corporate events when he needed his eye candy. I always got the sneaking uncomfortable feeling that his colleagues were curious, too curious about me and my life at hime, working and raising the kids, alone most of the time. I recall one woman asking me “how can you put up with him” and I just spackled that to mean he was a tough sob in the boardroom. I was the constant, faithful wife, never looked sideways at anyone else. I had a comfortable life, basically as a single parent.

    When I finally uncovered the awful truth of his dalliances, I just quietly made a plan for myself. I did wait several years, but I had everything lined up when I did leave. And I left quietly. People didn’t even know we had split until he chose to tell them, or,they guessed.

    I guess staying those extra years was not so much a pick me dance as it was love for my boys and wanting to see them independent before I walked. Whatever I did to keep Cheater fooled into thinking I was oblivious…that as necessity, not a,competition. I didn’t want to keep him anyway. Let someone else wipe his bum when he gets senile.

  • I danced for years, but did not realize it.
    I was gaslighted after the first DDay (I accused him of cheating after odd behavior and after reading some email messages; he denied, she was infatuated with him, etc) MC it was, though I had to drag him. Eight months later, I was pregnant with our first child, and I thought all was good again.
    So, the dancing– over the next 10 years I was the one who did most of the chores. etc, I found babysitters so we could have date nights. At one point I commuted 2 hrs one way, and I still was the one looking for babysitters ,etc. Ex was a professor and had potential folks to ask, but never did it. I thought it important that we have quality time alone. I bought nice benches and put them in the yard so we could have a moment alone in peace and quiet while the kids ran around inside the house, etc. By the last three years, I was the one who always suggested vacations and weekend’s away, and I was the one who always initiated sex. What did he do? He made homemade meals that took 3-4 hours to prepare and clean up. I desperately worked to keep a connection, he worked to avoid contact with me.

    He kept claiming he was unhappy with work, so I suggested (!) he take a temp job away from home which would lead to his dream job.
    It did, and he also took advantage of the year away to have an affair with a married coworker, unbeknownst to me. He came back to visit and wanted to end the marriage. No word of AP, just unhappiness (although during his time away. Talked daily, emailed, video chatted, and even wrote old fashioned laters) I danced for 3 months: letters, “discussions” via email, etc. he finally admitted there was someone else, though he was still convinced she had nothing to do with the end of the marriage.

  • I danced the dance as hard as I possibly could. The thing I’m most ashamed about: She moved in with the OM the day after I found out. She would still come home on the weekends and I would do her laundry for her. One day, there were a bunch of size Medium Men’s T-Shirts in the pile. I don’t wear a medium, and she didn’t wear men’s shirts. I dutifully washed and folded them and didn’t say a thing.

    • When i threw asswipe out and even tho he was here 5 to 6 days a week. Business on the property i did nothing except help with the business since he was paying all the bills. Do his laundry no. If i had and there were womens clothes in the pile out the side door they would go and my puppies would have shredded them. I enforced my boundaries and told him fuck you. He would “borrow” stuff from here she needed for their house and id never see it again. I pitched a fit and scteamed this aint a walmarts fucker buy your own shit she makes ten times the money you do! Fucking bitch wanted my stuff piece by piece i suppose what a whore. He says whats the big deal i will bring it back never did. He kept doing it finally i said the next time something goes missing from here im going out and buying the most expensive replacement i can find. After the weed whacked got borrowed and not returned. I went to hime depot and bought a four hundred dollar one on his dime. The borrowing stopped. Never again will i believe never! No big deal fuck him!

        • I guess he thought i wouldnt have the nerve to do it. He was dead wrong! Then i sang him the told ya so song and did the dance. He never borrowed another thing. He borrows fucking bug spray? She shops she should have bought her own. I had my truck rekeyed and a kill switch put on my classic car in case they needed to be borrowed. Dumb ass! But the borrowing stopped and i have a fantastic weed whacker! I promised him i would replace with expensive and i always keep my promises!

    • Baja, that is awful. She really counted on your being a good little Chump. Hope you have recovered!
      I found a green gauzy shirt in my messed up bed one day when I came home. I set it on fire in the front yard with some lighter fluid, take that OW neighbor! So nice to watch it burn. X came home and freaked out at ME, and called the cops, when they came I just rolled my eyes and said What? I don’t know how that black pile got there….LOL. Childish but satisfying.

  • I started running. I ran every single day. I lost about 30 pounds and looked better than I had in years. I ran two half marathons hoping he would see how incredible I was. I thought if I looked better he couldn’t possibly leave me. I changed my hair. I changed my clothes. I did things sexually that I wouldn’t otherwise do. UGH! When I think about this now…….I really want to punch him in the throat!!! He totally took advantage of me. I didn’t question him, I had to trust him ya know. Haha! Right! I didn’t put ANY demands on him for his time or energy. He did his own thing and didn’t participate in my life or that of our children. WOW…..what a douche! Boy do I really dislike him.

  • My routine started years before the affair, as he unleashed his torrent of narcissistic abuse on me. You see, he operated at such a “higher level of stress than most people.” So he didn’t want to hear about my day at work, or how I accidentally almost ran a stop sign. Because all of this would result in him exceeding his stress threshold. I cleaned, I bought groceries, fretted over getting the “right” brands, I cooked so he could complain about how it wasn’t good, because he was the good cook but wouldn’t do it on the regular. I took care of the dogs, balanced the checkbook, tried to get him to stop spending. We had a savings account that only he had access to.

    I desperately wanted to have sex, to connect with him. He only wanted sex at 2 a.m. or 2 p.m. when I was at work or asleep. (Yes this was before the affair.) After D-Day, I spent so much energy comforting him. Because he was so heartbroken, you see. I had SO MUCH MORE LOSS THAN HE DID. His betrayal, my sister dying, putting my dog to sleep. In the span of 7 weeks. But gosh, that poor baby, he was just so sad because he LOVED her. And she wouldn’t leave her husband for him. But that didn’t stop him from continuing to fuck her and lying to me about it, “Oh we’re just talking.” Shuffle off to Buffalo.

    Wow, as I write that out, it’s just a really good reminder about how incredibly crappy the whole thing was. I should have left him about 8 years ago.

  • For my first round of Pick Me Dancing, I of course went to the gym, lost weight, went on a sexy vacation with him, ended up getting pregnant at 40 – so yeah INCUBATED ANOTHER HUMAN for him and all the while having crazy sex non stop. I gave up working so I could spend full time being his pregnant, house-cleaning, perfect home making love bunny.

    All it did was make him realize he could cheat on me and get treated like a king.

    Then AT THE SAME TIME, I’m doing the “Pick ME Over BOOZE” dance, trying to make him come home from work instead of drinking by always making “Plans” or having some “Reason” Why he needed to COME THE FUCK HOME.

    Planned endless “Date nights” with him to make him spend the night in a bar WITH ME instead of the bimbos. He solved this conflict by staying with the bimbos after work until 9 or 10 pm, then finally coming home to me, so I could go out to the bars another couple hours with him them come home and fuck his drunk ass all night and the next morning.

    Eventually, he just cut me out of the loop and stayed w/ the bimbos all night or all weekend for that matter.

    Then I stopped dancing. THEN he tried to GET ME TO DANCE by endlessly calling me fat, ugly, boring, no fun and bad in bed. He used to say “I bet you couldn’t even get me hard anymore, don’t bother”. I fell for that (humiliatingly) a few times then I was like: forget it.

    I spent my nights watching re-runs of Fixer Upper and planing my escape.

    I am free now and I could not be happier.

    The next dancing I do will be on your grave, buddy.

  • I got lucky on this one… I had no Pick Me Dance. See.. he asked me to leave with intent of having OW move in to my home to take my place (he more or less said that in later days to come). BUT… while I was in the mist of packing up, the OW dumped him for her OM, LOL.

    He pleaded with me to come home all for just shy of a year and a half. While I moved out into my own apt. I did see him on and off for 10 months.. I just had to get hit over the head again and again and again and again to really believe it all. In that 10 months, I did learn she was not the only OW and that it was likely all along and I did discover others one that he cheated on her with, OMG.

    Ah.. but while he was “Picking me” he had side dishes that I discovered after NC. Oh Well.

    The hardest thing for me to come to terms with in all this is now that being out of it, I can see my life was truly an illusion and I don’t understand how I allowed myself to be sucked into all that.

    Thus, I am a Chump, a chump I am (was).

  • Towards the end of My Best Friend’s Wedding, Julia Roberts confesses her love for Dermot Mulroney and tries to kiss him. Dermot’s fiancée, Cameron Diaz, witnesses this and takes off. A comical chase ensues via foot and then vehicle: Roberts chasing Mulroney who is chasing Diaz. At one point, Roberts calls her gay buddy to update him on what’s going on, and when he hears that Mulroney is pursuing his fiancée, he tries to talk sense into Julia Roberts. “Who’s chasing you? Nobody. Get it! There’s your answer.”

    Do you know what my husband changed to win me back when I first asked to split? Nothing. He didn’t take me out to dinner or out dancing or plan a special date for us at the Renaissance Fair. He didn’t prepare meals I liked or surprise me with little gifts. He didn’t do housework so I could have a break with the baby. He just ignored my complaints and kept doing all of the same stupid shit that had made me want to leave him in the first place. He occasionally tried to make out with me or get me to sleep with him.

    Months after requesting a divorce, I finally caved and said I was willing to work things out. That was when I got, “I’ll keep that in mind” and I later learned he had just started things with the OWhore. Thus the pick-me dance began: I was super-nice to him, wrote him notes about how much I loved him, made food and special treats for him, told him how to use the medical/vision/dental insurance he was getting through my new job, tried to seduce him (but respected his boundaries when he said no), stopped complaining about his sloppiness or him being late for visitation, and so on. I put up with him plastering Facebook and his phone with pictures of the OWhore and gabbing about all of the great dates he was taking her out on and how amazing she was.

    One day, he came over for visitation and I tried to joke around about, “When are we getting back together?” He harshly said to me, “NEVER!” He said I was “repulsive” and “disgusting.” He held up our infant son and said, “Do you see this here? [meaning our children] If it wasn’t for this, I would have NOTHING to do with you.” It was a barrage of verbal abuse. I had got him a white Sobe and a Milky Way candy bar (his favorites) that day and left them on the coffee table. I ran to my room sobbing. He ate the Milky Way, drank the Sobe, threw the garbage on my apartment floor and left. That’s what my pick-me dance got me: abused and discarded.

    Going back to My Best Friend’s Wedding, that is the problem with the “pick me!” dance. Who’s chasing you? My then-husband was chasing his OWhore and I was chasing him, but no one was chasing me. He never chased me.

    All I know is I will never again be in a relationship with someone who won’t chase me.

    • Mine had a nerve to tell me ” I respect you as my child’s mother but NOTHING else”. It hurted as hell but woke me up instantly. Since then no more dancing …

      • This is CheaterSpeak, Nina. The only thing thinking on that ex of yours is his dick. That same reason was one of ex’s too, who was with me (and the kids) for 28 years; yet he had plenty of opportunities to bounce. I wish I’d known about his whoring around sooner.

      • Nina, they respect nothing except themselves. Certainly not their kids. It hurts though. I know!! It’s weird how intellectually you can look at stuff, but when you are the one involved it just hurts. I’m so sorry. It’s horrible.

  • This is the saddest thing because I am pretty sure I was dancing for years before I even knew he was having an affair. Five years ago I was hearing about how it was my fault that he wasn’t happy. We were on vacation in BVI with our son when he first told me he didn’t love me. I spent those nights sobbing in our bedroom, begging him to hold me, but he wouldn’t. Instead, he would spend his time on the deck, looking at his phone. I now know that he was already well involved with her. But I was thinking, what is wrong with me, why doesn’t he love me. I was just like TunnelLight. I spent so much time comforting him because he “wasn’t happy”, trying to get him to love me and trying to get him help because he had “issues”. He wouldn’t touch me for years because he didn’t feel well. We would go to mc and he would blame me- saying I was sleeping when he tried to touch me in the middle of the night. On Mother’s Day, the day before he left me for the first time (there were four times over four years), he was so mean to me that I couldn’t stop crying. Then he left the next day, again saying he “wasn’t happy.” A few weeks later, he started dating me, but always had to be back early at the motel I thought he was staying at. Turned out he was living with her and dating me. I didn’t even know she existed. Then he came home, told me about her for the first time, and needed to be detoxed! I didn’t even know that he drank! And not only that, he was heartbroken and sad. He missed her. I had to help him get over her. Referring to her, he said: “Even a word can get you hard.” He said she wanted to have sex everyday. He also told me I should watch porn by myself because I was so unskillful (hence, the no sex). That same year, on my first birthday after the first D-Day, we went to NYC for my birthday. He had just confessed to having the alcohol problem (huh??) and was going to inpatient detox the next day. I spent the day encouraging him to drink so that he wouldn’t go through withdrawal (huh?) and when we got home, I found a love note he emailed to the OW about how much he loved her! Then he left again and came back five months later and needed to be detoxed again!!! Just weeks after he came home the second time, he had a heart attack. He went to cardiac rehab but was kicked out because his blood pressure was too high because (I didn’t know) he was drinking again. Unfortunately, this is only a very small part of the story. That was just the first few months after I found out! Basically, he would say how much he loved and missed her and I would talk him into coming home. I was also a snotty sobbing heap because I continued to trust him while he was gutting me. I made doctor appointments that he would cancel. i got him into two bpd (borderline personality) therapy programs because he is clearly crazy, but he didn’t like the counselors. He had “issues”. They didn’t understand him. We went to a new mc, who he also lied to. For five years after finding out about the OW I begged him to come home. One time, he went to FL (where she had moved) for month to “break up with her”. He stayed so long because her daughter didn’t like him and he wanted to be a “good guy” and prove to the daughter that he was not a lying, cheating piece of shit (oh well). I finally stopped begging last May when I found a burner phone he bought at 7-11 to keep in touch with her. Something snapped and I stopped dancing. I sued his ass for divorce, I got a (tiny) court order for temporary support and I got a settlement agreement. Now I am waiting for the final decree. But , in a minute,i can go back to that empty, hurt desperate feeling when I danced to save my life.

  • At least two years of dancing. Paying her moms bills, laundry, taking care of our kids the neighbors kids, cleaning cooking and working a full time job, homework lunches. i was fool!

    I thought I was going through a mid-life crisis. She said I wanted sex to much? I won’t even go there? I was going to therapy, lost 30 lbs., found a new job. I was sleeping like 3 hrs. a night. Then it all came together, the lies and deceit. She was seeing her co-worker on the side. She chose not to due MC, and she chose him over me after 25 yrs.

    It’s been a year now, and I’m up to 4 to 5 hrs. of sleep now. Put on 10lbs healthy pounds.

    I’m still navigating NC with X-Teacher Cheater – one teenager left others off at school and we talk all the time without interference of X.

    Waiting for MEH and Tuesday to come!

  • I feel lucky that after discovering my wife’s affair we “worked on our marriage” for only three months. Dacing any longer would have killed me. She was supposed stop contact with her douche-tastic boyfriend, we went to couples’ therapy and I DANCED *insert thumping disco beat here* (everybody put your hands in the air! git out on the floor!).

    This was the most anxiously painful few months of my life, auditioning for a part I already should have had. I had panic attacks, wow are those awful. I am not lying, it was the worst few weeks of my life. Eventually her non-contact seemed fishy, checking our cell phone records revealed she was indeed calling him, and that is when I asked for a divorce.

    I now do a na-na-na dance

    • Git out on the floor!!!!!!!! Hahahahaha. Oh man, I’m so much happier when I dance by myself. When I demanded no contact with OW when I agreed to “work on it,” he asked me if I was demanding that so I could hurt him as much as he hurt me.

  • If I could thank my brother for anything as a teenager, it would be for witnessing his girlfriends do the pick me dance for him.

    When I had my DD I knew it was over.

    • Calamity Jane – This is so interesting. Can you expand on your brother’s behavior please. Do you mean to say that he had cheated on his girlfriends, and these girls did the pick me dance afterwards, but your brother never accepted these women after all that? Is that why you knew after your DD that is was over, meaning that you knew your ex would not be accepting you, no matter how much you picked me dance? I’m so curious about this.

      • No. He had plenty of women. The one gal that he did every thing he could to get her back, including marriage, he cheated on her horribly after she took him back.

        I shiver.

          • Poor anyone who thinks the dance pays off. It only delays the inevitable in my humble opinion.

            Interesting enough, he has been loyal to his current wife of 20 + years. But, I just realized the other day, he still has that possibility. He still does not try to know another person for who they are outside himself. Because of CL and CN I now have much more understanding of him and those like him.

            Nevertheless, I do believe in grace. When the veil is lifted and you see yourself and others with understanding, love and deep sorrow for the harm you have done because of your selfishness.

            Bottom line, if a chump wants to dance, they should dance with themselves–first.

        • I meant, yes. He never picked the women who danced. He enjoyed the show. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

          • CJ I too believe in grace and that people can change, but if they truly have a heart change, you will know it. They will do the hard work and really want to make repeat ions to there. But Once you allow the habit (sin) of cheating to deal with stress, problems etc. it becomes rooted in you and until you turn away, it controls you. Often cheaters just perfect their cheating skills, and do everything to appear oh so loyal, cause you know, in their first marriage, their cheating was your fault. But now this is who they REALLY are. Until they are caught and revealed to be the asshole that they are. But NOT our circus, NOT our monkeys. ?

  • What I cannot figure is why there are so many of them & why the stories are the same…it’s like some worldwide Zombie Apocalypse, except w cheating instead cannibals. What IS this?

    My ex went to war & came back a zombie. Never recovered, never the same. He’d dive under tables or come out of a dead sleep at noises for years. And he became a true son-of-a-bitch (apologies to his mom; she’s great.) Mean, critical, drank too much, controlling, stingy…maybe I spackle, but I remember pre-war being different.

    Walked on eggshells, which is another kind of dance that the whole fam does; after I found out, I danced a while, thinking he lost his mind, or maybe his soul, & might find it, but eventually I had to go. Pick-me is the most soul-stealing, life-sapping dance of despair ever invented.

    I wish I’d dropped the hammer the first instant-what’s happened since was a train wreck. And I still miss someone-I just can’t figure out if that person died overseas or if he ever existed. Losing one’s narrative for half your life is ultimately the worst.

    • “Pick-me is the most soul-stealing, life-sapping dance of despair ever invented.”

      Well said, PSJM. That’s why we all cringe looking back. Even when you win you lose. What is that saying from the movie War Games? Something about the only way to win is not to play.

  • I remember an incident early in what I thought was a relationship with exH. I worked a job with regular day hours when we were first living together, he was in Sales and worked odd hours. I got up early and made coffee and got ready to go to work before he had to be up. The last thing I would do before I left for work was to make him a cup of coffee the way he liked it, and go in to wake him and say goodbye.

    Rarely in my life have I had anyone bring me a cup of coffee while I am still in bed. It is a small courtesy, but one I would appreciate. He thanked me for the coffee, and said he would see me later that evening.

    When I came home from work, the coffee was still on the bedside table, untouched.

    This may seem like a small thing, but I thought that if he really appreciated the effort, he could have at least poured the coffee down the sink and rinsed the cup. That way I would have never known. By leaving the cup, he let me know he really did not appreciate the effort. So I did not make the effort any more. After a few days, he asked me why I was not bringing him coffee in bed, anymore. I told him. He said, “But I want it.” I said, “Then you should have appreciated it.” From that point on, he had to get his own coffee.

    If only I had acted this way consistently and over every issue, I may not have wasted 20 years in a marriage to him. He never appreciated any of the things I did, until he lost them. I don’t really believe anymore that he could change in a significant way because I truly believe he is a Narcissist. He can put on a new mask, and act differently for a limited amount of time, but there is no lesson learned, or true behavior change, ever. In his mind, from the very beginning, all my talents were very useful. However, none required any reciprocity from him. He was always very surprised that I did not live to serve him, joyfully. (Oh Joy — dirty laundry for me to do! Great — I can shop, make the meals, and clean up the kitchen all by myself, again! How exciting, I can do all the “work” to have sex that leaves me unsatisfied, again! How lucky for me — another night at home doing chores while he is “out with clients.” )

    I am not a child, and I don’t expect the world to be perfect. I didn’t whine about my life, but I didn’t see marriage as any great and wonderful thing for me. I wanted a partner, someone to share the difficulties in life as well as the pleasures. I did not sign on to be what some of you call a “wife appliance.” The cheating was the final straw — but the lies and attitude were what really killed the marriage. No amount of dancing was going to change the fact that I was merely a partner of convenience. He could change partners at any time, without any great feelings of loss or remorse, evidently. The sad thing for me is that there seems to be a never ending stag line of single women who can’t wait to get to dance — thinking that they will be Special and that he will be Prince Charming. In reality, that delusion is what causes us to dance and causes others to want to dance in our place.

    Learning to be happy with yourself, just as you are, is much more satisfying. We may want a companion, an other to help us face the world, but we need to be appreciated and we need to appreciate the other. Without that reciprocity, there is no joy. Dancing should be a joyful activity.

    • “He never appreciated any of the things I did, until he lost them. I don’t really believe anymore that he could change in a significant way because I truly believe he is a Narcissist. He can put on a new mask, and act differently for a limited amount of time, but there is no lesson learned, or true behavior change, ever. In his mind, from the very beginning, all my talents were very useful. However, none required any reciprocity from him.”

      Thanks Portia. That sums up what took me 30 years to learn.

  • This whole post is why it sucks to be cheated on by a fuckwit. Seems to me that we spend years being a wonderful spouse, giving our very best and then some to our selfish spouses. Then they stroll in one day and give us the “I love you, but I’m not in love with you”, in other words, I found another source of kibbles! We were always so eager to keep our needs small hoping that in our later years we would finally reap the rewards we worked so hard to attain from a loving, caring, appreciative spouse. But NO! We then get the speech or worse! If you try to reconcile all the advice you get is aimed at not rocking the boat, let them have their space so they can “get over” their lost Twu wuv and be patient with them till they are ready to rebuild the marriage! Really?? So again we have to keep our mouths shut and our needs small AGAIN till the cheating fuckwit realizes what a gem we are! It could take up to two years according to some reconciliation sites and your cheating fuckwit could backslide! I don’t know about all of you here at CN, but I had to look at the other side of the coin. I came to the realization that I actually had a choice also! I decided I wasn’t going to wait on some idiot to decide I was the best choice. I already knew I was a great person. I had a proven track record and if my cheater didn’t appreciate my years of sacrifice then I would appreciate myself and my value. I accomplished that by divorcing fuckwit and taking the assets I had helped build throughout my years of hard work, love, loyalty and sacrifice. I let fuckwit have what he thought he wanted so bad with Schmoopie! Guess what? Not four months after getting the woman of his dreams he was back on my doorstep begging and singing my praises! Too bad, so sad, go the fuck away! I went through nearly three years of pure Hell because of his affair with the great Schmoopie. She can have him! I’m done!

  • In the days following D-Day when I was still stunned and fumbling, my ex told me that I had 1 week to decide if he could come back home or not because any longer and he couldn’t promise that he wouldn’t give in to the temptation of his latest conquest again. So, yeah, no dancing here. Byeeeeeeee.

  • Well, in some manner of speaking I guess I did the dance. But from the first inkling of suspicion & well before Dday I embarked on a ‘Me First’ journey of self improvement, which was as much about lining up ducks as collecting proof & starting an emergency fund.

    First & foremost, I was mad as hell. Here I’d accepted less satisfying sex for years because 1) he started having E.D. issues & 2) He was a prude who scoffed at my more experienced, wilder side. But this was the man I loved & vowed myself to, the father of my children, etc. So while I fantasized about better partners, I committed to accepting that disappointment.

    The revelation that I’d been sacrificing for Dr Jekyll while he was fully indulging Mr. Hyde had my blood boiling. Literally. My blood pressure was thru the roof. So I made myself the priority, went to docs, therapist, & got fit. He could kiss my shrinking ass. And did he notice any of these changes? Nope! Mr Hyde had taken over completely. He was too busy admiring himself in the mirror, buying new underwear, & sampling various sex parlors both at home & abroad. Hiding his Viagara from me but always taking a tab or two along whenever he had an ‘errand’ to run.
    So, everything I did prior to confronting him was in preparation to leave him. But when Dday came, Dr Jekyll stepped forward & HE did the pick-me dance. I agreed to give him a chance for the sake of my family. Granted, he made some efforts, probably more than most, but Hyde was always lurking in the background .

    When I agreed to reconcile I did so with the declaration of ‘me first’, before the marriage. The marriage counselor disapproved. Tough shit. And at one session when ex gloated about how good I was being (translation: to have eaten the shit sandwich rather than throw him out), and how great I looked, I threw my hand up traffic-cop style & said ‘Stop right there. This wasn’t for you’.
    Poor baby spent another two therapy sessions on that one. How could *I* be so mean & selfish?!
    So, I guess I went thru the motions. But with no OW to compete with & an H terrified of being left & exposed as a scumbucket, the shoe really seemed on the other foot.
    I wouldn’t admit it then but I can now: I always had a foot out the door & wreckconcilliation just bought time for two things: to be absolutely sure it was over, and to add more ducks.

  • Oh my, Unicornomore, what a shitbag. And HA! at no jobs for him in DC. I remember when my ex suggested buying or renting a place there to ‘save money’ on hotels w/ all his work travel. My little neck hairs stood up on that & I quickly nixed it. At that point all I knew was he was acting pretty checked out & I thought – why make it any easier for him, as well as – hell no I might want that money in a divorce!

    • ChumptyDumpty Brava!!! I am on the same boat the D-day got me by surprise and I am doing what You did. fOllowing CL advise went to doctor, copies etc. I feel now more confident after the D-day & reading CL. I am so piss off that I am not afraid of anything. Once I found out I cried for a week in secret he went traveling I dressed up nicely and drop off a resume and boom!! I got a better job with a better pay. Ahole is so busy with his teenager life that doesn’t notice that I am getting more money. I got my personal acc. and I am saving @ this point I am just practicing my “FU day” and wishing that he joint his whore in the future so he can get hit by Karma bus. tHe whore just knows him while he travels and she is fed with good food courtesy of corporate card. Once she sees the other side and the financial debacle he will be the double Chump. I have to act “cool” for a while and it is draining… hAppy a Friday CN you all are my therapy xoxo

  • After D-Day1, where my ex-wife admitted to an emotional “connection” with her co-worker, I went into overdrive trying to put things right. Flowers, date-night, booking MC etc etc. After 2 months of MC, where all I got in the sessions was “she’s frozen”, I eventually worked out that she’d been f*cking her co-worked for the best part of a year, including a weekend away in Paris — supposedly with her “female” co-worker.

    My pick-me dance was feigning trust: you want to meet your girlfriend for supper, go to the gym 4 times a week, bookclub, evening work project meetings — week after week. I feigned trust, thinking that if told her that I wondered where she was, and whom she was with, she would bolt. And I sat at home with the kids, wondering if she was f*cking her co-worker. It ate me up. I lost 35 pounds in a month.

    After D-Day2, in our last MC session, where I thought I could make it work and suck up the sexual affair, she told me “My parents always tell me how unhappy I look. You see, life with you just isn’t fun”
    Nothing like kicking a man while he’s down. Cue, the rewriting of history, and an unloading of all the events where I made her unhappy, over 16 years. She told me that she had to do whatever she had to, to make herself feel better. Apparently, f*cking her co-worker did the trick.

    My lightbulb moment came one Saturday afternoon before we separated, where I realised that the pick-me dance was futile — you can’t make someone love you.

    • So true, you cannot make someone love you. My lightbulb moment: when I realized he was making me question who I was to my very core. Telling me that I wasn’t loving him enough, he didn’t feel loved. What the hell? I’m actually a deeply loving, empathetic person.

      • It took me 27 years to realize asswipe never loved anyone. He has no idea what it is to really really love. No feelings no empathy no compassion. He has that obsessive initial love phase but when it fades then its damn. I never realized it. He is truly fucked in the head! A complete total pod creature.

    • Well said, NorthLondon. The most hurtful thing about all of this, is that you think you are unlovable. Why else would someone treat you like this? Like your feelings, your self and worth, are less important than the dustball under the bed?
      I don’t think I will ever be with anyone again because of this fear.
      He in the mean time has moved on to his third instant soul mate.

      • Patsy, I felt exactly the same way. Infidelity strikes at the very core of your identity and shatters your self worth. Maybe because we trust them completely (unlike the cheater/liar who is incapable of trust, because they project their own poor character on us). So when they betray us, our trust is shattered. And the idea of making ourselves vulnerable again in such a way is terrifying. But I’ve come to understand that if I love myself, then I feel loveable. And that if i ever meet someone new then I hope that i will always have that love of self, which will protect me, and I hope allow me to trust them enough to make myself vulnerable again. And allow me to feel loved and to feel loveable again.

  • For me, a certain amount of pick-me dancing was a necessary part of the process, I guess. Because of it (in part), I walked away knowing that I had done every honorable and reasonable thing that I could to try to save the marriage (for the kids). Also, it gave the X his clearest opportunity to well and truly demonstrate, once and for all, beyond any shadow of doubt, that his character is bankrupt. So, no regrets & no regrets… I did more than my fair share, and I learned for certain that I had nothing to work with–he was not going to be a unicorn.

    The tricky part is not to get stuck too long in the PMD. It *has* to be a one-strike-and-you’re-out type of deal. False ultimatums are counterproductive.

    • I completely agree. Chump Lady wasn’t around after D-Day#1, so I did the best I could with the information I had. Someday, I will explain to my children that I did everything I could to try and keep their family together, but I couldn’t do it alone.

      A side benefit of doing the Pick-Me-Dance was this: I got my shit together. When Ex was listing my shortcomings, I’ll admit, there were a few things that were true. I spent a lot of time thinking about those accusations, digging deep to figure out where they came from, and doing the hard work of changing those things about myself. I became a better person, wife, and mother as a result of that hard work.

      After D-Day#2, he alluded to some of those same faults. And I realized that he was full of shit. When pressed, he could not give me a single example of a time I’d exhibited those “faults” over the past 5 years.

      The day he moved out, I poured myself a glass of wine, turned up the music, and danced while making dinner.

    • Cuckoo4karma: what little pick me dancing I did also showed how bankrupt his character was – made me sure I was doing the right thing by filing. Confirming this indisputable fact gave me direction and strength to carry on.
      His loss. My gain.

  • My pick me dance moves with stbexh
    1. Phony Harmony Foxtrot – side stepping conflict after partner repeatedly storms away
    2. Tardy Tango – partner is late again helping a friend who needed him more than you
    3. Ambiguity Jitterbug – partner has checked out of marriage so must work harder
    4. Bosses Boogie – explaining that partner has the flu and not sick because he was drinking all night
    5. Makeover Mambo – hairs, nails, gym, attitude, personality – anything to get attention from partner
    6. Ego Stroke Salsa – make sure your partner knows they are the best at – whatever
    7. Whatever Waltz – the partner can go out, whenever and ask often as they chose, you’ll be there
    8. I love you, but I’m not in love with you Quickstep – the dance is always changing at your partner whim
    9. Unicorn Twist – No matter how quick you dance or out of breath you become, there is no change
    10. Divorce Quickstep – once begun feels exhilarating.

  • I tired to become the perfect “Martha Stewart” wife. I made home-cooked, several course meals nightly, ready for him when he walked through the door. I screamed at the kids to clean up EVERYTHING when he was on his way…didn’t want him to think taking care of our three kids and running an in home daycare I wasn’t keeping up with my wifely duties. I complimented him on everything daily. I had sex with him whenever he wanted, however he wanted. I started doing all home repair by myself because I didn’t want to bother him. I increased the spending money he got weekly to the family’s detriment (he used that $ to secure a secret phone to cheat with). I took the kids everywhere and never asked him to help, because of this he missed our son being announced for homecoming court. He was too tired. I let him buy whatever he wanted for the motorcycle even though we couldn’t afford it. I went on 6 hour long motorcycle rides so we could be together even though my lower back cannot handle it. I started wearing makeup daily and wearing nicer clothes that we couldn’t afford. None of it worked. And I actually thought it would. It was the biggest waste of 11 months of my time and made me feel lower than a piece of crap. Doing pick me killed my self esteem and it took YEARS to build it back up.

  • I’m not gonna say I was the best dancer, but i did foot rubs after he came home from work every day for a short time and, OMG, still dry-heaving 4 years later.

    • I’m sure I was judged poorly by my lack of foot rubs, too. So glad I didn’t do them.
      Could not bear to touch him at that point.
      She can have him and his sore feet.

  • Here’s my pick me dance. He wanted me to prove that I wouldn’t leave him. So I got a tattoo on my wrist (for all to see) with his name. I’m not even a tattoo person. Hurt like hell. He didn’t appreciate it- he wanted more proof. so within a month I started lazer treatments to have it removed . 7 bloody, painful treatments later -it’s still there! I would have a bandage on my wrist and then a scabby open sore on the tattoo and he never said anything about it. My teenagers would be like ew…and he would just give me the blank stare. He had no emotion or sympathy for me. So fuck that. I’m moving out this weekend and plan to get a new tattoo over his name next week. Ouch!

  • That was kinda beautiful, Portia.
    Ever hear Pink’s song “Glitter in the Air”? :
    ‘There you are
    sitting in the garden
    clutching my coffee
    Calling me Sugar

    That gets me deeply everytime I hear it since I left the ex. He wasn’t a coffee drinker. May have made it for me a couple timed in 25+years if I asked, but I really can’t recall.

    The guy I’m with now isn’t a coffee drinker either, and is far from perfect. But he went out & bought a nice brewer. In the mornings he asks playfully ‘does baby want coffee?’, proceeding to make & bring it to me in bed.

    It makes me think about that song, & how such a small gesture can mean so much.
    So, I totally get it. I’ve actually told myself it’s silly to be moved to a tear by such a simple line in a song. But it’s the culmination of longing for just a little bit of sweetness over so many years.

  • Despite the fact that I weigh less than I did on my wedding day, have never had children, and at close to age 40 would still get carded for real on occasion… I of course got the accusations of “you are old” and “you are not ever sexy for me” lobbed at me. From my beer gut, balding, hair-backed STBX. He would also say things like “if we win the lottery, you can get your boobs done” or say I should go on make-over shows. So on the one hand he wanted me to want him to fuck him all the time, but he would devalue my appearance on a pretty regular basis. It was fucking insanity. Like I said – people are shocked that I’m in my 40’s. I told someone the other day that I was getting divorced after 12 years of marriage and she was like “There is no way you are old enough to have been married for 12 years.

    .. One of the things that he really wanted was to walk in the door and have me greet him in sexy lingerie like I was just sitting there waiting for him to fuck me. So in the midst of my Pick Me Dance, I came home on Friday after a long day of work, and put on lingerie and “fuck me heels”. I poured myself a drink and I kind of waited around a while for him to come home. Of course I have no idea when he’s coming around because he never bothered to tell me. He rolls in and I’m doing the whole sexy thing and we try to have sex and he kinda has a hard time getting it up/can’t finish. I didn’t think anything of it… I think we chalked it up to his medications (because even though I’m old… he’s the one on blood pressure meds, thyroid meds, cholesterol meds, and something else… but I’m a fucking old crone with my perfect health and tight abs).

    I realized after DDay I-don’t-know what that he couldn’t get it up because he was probably off fucking his Ho-Worker before he came home and didn’t have enough refractory time. But he couldn’t not fuck me because I was doing exactly what he said he wanted.

    • CaGal- He would tell you to get when a boob job when he had a beer gut, balding, and was hairbacked?! Unbelievable how pathetic these losers are. How about he get lyposcution of his beer gut, hair plugs and laser on his back. Then again he prolly thought he was “the prize” and didn’t have to change a thing. Go figure.

      • I know right. Thing 654 that used to drive me crazy about STBX. We would watch TV and he thought nothing of being absolutely brutal about a woman’s appearance. He made it clear that he found fatties disgusting (and of course the message being that I should not get chubby). Meanwhile he eats like crap, drinks too much, and his shirt and belt size gradual have gone to large, to XL, to now XXL over the course of the marriage. But he’s so special and awesome that apparently I’m supposed to be overcome with passion for him regardless of how he looks or takes care of himself. You now that I really think about it, I wonder if his picking on me about my appearance was a bit of projection. He had to dug at me letting me know all the little ways I could improve, when in fact he knew it was he who needed to do the improving. I didn’t even care that he was a little round, I just wanted him to give some care to his health and appearance.

        Doesn’t matter now sucker… go be lazy, unhealthy, and obese on your own time. Not mine.

        • I’m with ya cagal! Nimrod used to be a runner. Lmfao! He has gained 80 lbs since we’ve been married, does the comb over from top of ear and uses more hairspray than I do. And the beer gut! Yep! Metabolic syndrome, gerd, sleep apnea… Lazy as hell and actually proud to be an alcoholic. Doesn’t matter now fucker. Go be lazy, unhealthy, fat faced on your own time. ☺️ Not mine! Amen

        • CAGal, what you said really resonated with me. My ex was in pretty good shape except for a short period where he packed on about 20 pounds (which he worked hard to take off). But he wasn’t ripped or pumped or have abs of steel or anything. Still, he was absolutely brutal about other people’s weight and would feel very free to comment in public. Like, we’d be at the supermarket and someone heavy would walk by, and he’d raise his eyebrows and say something about how they should lay off the donuts or take about half of the stuff out of their cart. He’d do the same thing when we were watching TV. I told him this upset me and it was really cruel, and besides, he knew NOTHING about those people and their stories. Yet he continued to do it. What a complete asshole to think he had the right to criticize total strangers! Now that I’ve got a couple years of NC under my belt, I see this for what it is: a pattern of objectification of others, and the horrible way he treated me was just another form of objectification.

          As awful and soul-crushing as that relationship was, I am determined to take away as many positives as I can from it. I’ve got a growing list of red flags to protect the integrity of my own boundaries, and how people talk about others, especially strangers, is one of them.

  • After D-Day, and the revelation that ex had been cheating on me with the same women I suspected 12 years earlier, having affairs and group sex, etc etc, I contacted ex to tell him that I had an epiphany. It was like this big deal, a big reveal and I asked ex to call me that night so we could talk.

    When he called, I told him that I realized that his cheating and lying for so long was MY fault– because years before when I insisted he was cheating, and he lied and insisted he was not, I should have realized the truth anyhow, and I should have “let him go” so he could be “free” to live his life with the women he chose. So in the end I APOLOGIZED TO HIM for MAKING him stay and lie to me for close to 15 years.

    His response was nothing. He literally had not a thing to say. He was completely silent and I asked him, “well don’t you have any thoughts? Any reaction?” All he said was he “could not process it.”

    As it turns out, that may have been one of the few true things he ever said to me. He couldn’t process it cause he is such a shallow hollow sociopath. He probably was rummaging around his kitchen looking for a hot pocket during that conversation….UGH UGH UGH SO EMBARRASSING I AM SUCH A CHUMP.

    • Kelly, that is really creepy. Stone cold sociopath, and you are so lucky to have him out of your life and your kids’ lives!

  • Let’s see… I’ll just topline the best of the best:

    – paid off the car his STBXW was driving because he missed so many payments it got re-possessed and she had the kids, so I didn’t want her (the kids) stranded…

    – subsidized about $70K in “child support”… he had 5… clothes, summer vacations/camps, braces, etc.

    – put a 4BR roof over his head (and subsequently my stepchildren, his addicted brother, and his only friend from childhood)… it was a revolving door

    – first caught him cheating in 2008… phone/text/hotel room receipt… spackled with MC… put computer software on his computer in 2009… jackpot of online personal ads, Craigslist hookups, deviant stuff… more spackled MC… finally just gave up internally and focused on my then 3yo son… my integrity wasn’t worth giving up my son for this Narc…

    – But, he got tired of me not looking at him with “loving eyes”… so found someone 10 years younger, just freshly divorced from her own cheating husband, and with two kids near the age of our son… (RIGHT, he’s not a pathological)… so he left.

    – Funny thing… I miss the man he now pretends he is with her… but I don’t miss the man I know he is behind her back on AFF…

    No shame here… just regretting I had a wishbone instead of a backbone for so long.

    And, hoping my best years are still ahead… I’ll be 50 in September.

  • I’ll admit, I started tapping my feet to the music, but I was so taken aback by his lack of remorse, insulted by HIS failure to dance and try to woo my back, and horrified by what was beneath the mask, that that’s as far as it got. I was not interested in dancing for that beast.

    • Me too ExpatChump. I briefly considered buying the dance shoes but he wasn’t willing to drop MOW and I wasn’t willing to participate in a 3 person marriage. Buh-bye. One of the last conversations we had before I left included him saying that he was hurt because I didn’t fight for him. W.T.F. MOW left her husband and married mine. I can’t think of 2 people who deserve each other more than those two cheaters.

    • Me too. ExpatChump. He did none dancing. At first it hurt that he didn’t “come and get me”, i.e, woo me back. Then I realized, what is wrong with me that I would even want him to. It’s hard, but so glad he’s gone.

  • I begged him to stay even after he told me about the affair.

    I tried to seduce him even after he told me about the affair.

    A week later after I’d kickd him out, he said we should go out for dinner as a family “for the kids.” and I went along with it. He came to pick us up after getting his new van (which was repo’ed four months later lol) and when my daughter excitedly exclaimed how we were going to be the first to ride in it, he frowned. It was all downhill from there.

    I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t look at him. I could barely keep from crying. The boys were oblivious and ex was pissed he bought me food I wouldn’t touch. He took us home and older daughter and I cried after he left.

    After enough humiliation to last a lifetime packed into two and a half weeks, I said enough. Sometimes I was in new sexy jammies when he dropped off the kids, sometimes it was clear I was waiting for them to go so I could go out (and sometimes I just dressed up to make him think I was going out even if I wasn’t) and sometimes I could even be sort of nice.

    But he knows I’ve frozen him out and nothing he could ever do or say will change that. I’ve had to do it before and will likely have to do it again to protect myself. But while OW apparently feels secure enough with her prize and position and is declaring their endless, undying love that was meant to be all over Facebook according to a mutual friend, all his important papers, college deploma and our wedding pics are getting moldy out in our garage and older son mentioned this to ex a couple weeks ago. His reply, “Oh. So that’s how important I am around there.”

    Lol wut?

    • During the pick-me dance when I overshared with my ex (I now undershare), I told him I had spent $50 on an online “Save Your Marriage” book. He said, “Well, at least I’m worth THAT much.”

      That, of course, led to me trying to reminisce with him about the things I had done for him over the years (not just spending $50 on a book) … remember the birthdays? Remember your 50th? He said, “Well, I liked THAT one.”

      His is a simpler world … he’s found his level.

  • One time I was on the phone with him while he was on line in the pharmacy picking up Viagra so he could have sex with her! And I kept talking to him and asking him to come home! What was I thinking?! Wasted years of dancing.

  • I was that ‘cool’ wife too — and kept everything running smoothly.

    It was during a period when EX moved out because he needed ‘space and time to think about things’ (but had really moved in with OW#2 in a house they purchased together) — when his sister died suddenly. Yes — there I was standing beside him during all parts of the funeral and even told him I would be there for him regardless of what was going on between us. For 80% of the friends EX was openly living with OW#2 but he had neglected to tell his family and, of course, me of this very salient fact. What a show it must have been for the Switzerland friends. None of said friends stayed for the post funeral coffee and sandwiches – which oddly ticked off the EX. Gag…I even hugged and thanked OW#2 for coming to pay her respects.

    The pick me dance was being overly accommodating and letting him ‘figure his sh** out’ — instead of being firm with what was good/best/healthy for me.

    Fast forward to DD#2 and it was really a no-brainer to pull the plug.

  • My D-Day was end of June last year. I picked me dance intensely for maybe 3 months but I also filed for a divorce during that time frame. He kept both me and OW in limbo – would tell me he’d already ended things with her but guess what? He spent Thanksgiving with her and her daughter instead of with his own daughter.

    In January, OW sent me a series of texts in which she said he always came back to her and she always took him back because she couldn’t help it. I finally stopped my pick-me dance in January and conceded ‘defeat’ to OW.

    Today I am just done finalizing my marital settlement agreement and we should probably be divorced by the end of the month. I will be semi laughing all the way to the bank. The OW can have him and his broke ass – I’m on my way to a fresh start.

    My friend has a ‘used toilet paper’ theory. He is like a piece of toilet paper that I used to wipe my ass. I’m not going to take a used piece of toilet paper back. OW can have my used piece of toilet paper if she wansts 🙂

  • I love all the comments here today.

    I’ve been really cranky this week – moved into my new apartment on April 1 (STBX is still in our house – letting it go to hell – rat infestation, fence fallen over, garden overgrown) and felt awesome (altho had to also have a biopsy that day, on the tumor introduced to my cervix by his genital warts).

    Anyway, two weeks on, surrounded by my stuff collected over twenty years, I’ve been so ANGRY at this situation.

    But all these stories today – we all really did try. We did the best we could with what we had. And what we had was minimal. I’m so glad to have found Chump Nation and Chump Lady.

    This site saves me every day.

  • I drove a rental car from Boston to Miami with my sullen cheater. I booked everything, of course. I kept a smile plastered on my face the whole ride, even as he stared at his cellphone like a teenager and spent much too much time in the bathroom at every stop. I knew he was still in contact with the OW, but I thought I could charm him back into his senses.

    I should make that trip again with someone whose company I enjoy. Savannah was lovely, even in the company of a dipshit cheater.

    • LilyBart, too bad your car didn’t have a James Bond “eject” button to launch that mofo out the roof and have him go splat on the freeway!

  • In hindsight I realize that I did do a pathetic attempt at the dance. About six months into his affair, he tried to tell me what was going on, but was unable to articulate about the affair. Denied there was anyone else but blameshifted our sad state of marriage to me as well as his unhappiness. I was in shock as to his cruel words but he said things would go on as they are and not to worry. I set up MC and he attended without investment just waiting for me to fail as I poured my heart out. Even took me on trip where I tried to be fun for him. I tried to please him, but was told he wasn’t sure he could feel that way about me anymore. I chumpily never thought he could be cheating. He continued the affair until 18 months later when I discovered it. Within days of Dday#2, I lawyered up. He was furious. No dance for him.
    In honesty, many years before Dday#1(in disguise), I stopped thinking he walked on water and stopped the ego kibbles. I had none left to give as I never got compassion and empathy in return.
    He made one feeble attempt to reconcile which lasted a few days until I was informed “there were emotions involved” with AP. I was shoved off his plate immediately. So much for his knowledge he had “a lot of work to do to make this right”. I knew he would never do the work and was not going to attempt reconciliation even if he gave her up. He also said the transparent conditions I requested were ridiculous and unfair.
    His is the emotional intelligence of a toddler. Always was and always will be. Such a disordered person.
    I keep having to remember how shitty he is as my heart has yet to catch up with my brain, but I know meh is on it’s way to me. Glad to not be walking on eggshells and dealing with an arrogant asshat.
    So much of my life wasted.
    But finally free and fighting the Good Fight.

    • Liveandlearn,
      Resonating here, loud and clear. One of the most irritating facts of my experience is that dh has never fully owned affair (emotional on his part). We had problems in our marriage, he said. Unsaid, “I’m keeping a secret special friend from you and it’s destroying our marriage.” He rewrote our history. He took his love for me out of the equation. I stopped doing the Pick Me dance years ago but I kept him and the marriage for the sake of the children. I’m living vicariously through Chump Nation.

      • Abookaddiction: I teach child psych; children are not benefited by being in an intact home with parents who are no longer functioning as a marital unit, and where one parent is downtrodden because of the other’s behavior, IMHO. Even if you can keep up a mask of civility, children notice how parents treat each other. Modelling is a much more important learning strategy than anything else, so unless you want your children to grow up feeling comfortable with being disrespected, not fully knowing whether their emotional footing is stable or not, ending a marriage that has already ended is preferable. Truth breeds greater resiliency than uncertainty. You, and they, deserve better.

  • I did not do the full-blown ‘pick-me’ dance with cheater wife. I was so incensed that I was working to pay all the bills while she was spending her free-time online with her BDSM friends.

    Instead, I demanded she get a real job with real money. I shut down her social media. I became the marriage police /warden. I demanded she change how she viewed me (less contempt, more gratitude). I demanded she shut down her narc bullshit. I picked up a bunch of apartment brochures and threw them at her. I volunteered help her find someone to move her cheating ass into an apartment, setup a wireless router, and let her live the rest of her miserable life fucking however and whomever to her heart’s desire. But I’m sure as hell not funding it.

    In short, SHE was responsible for dancing pretty for me if she is to remain married to me. With topics like today, Chump Lady continues to reinforce my backbone. That’s why I’m BetrayedNoMore.

      • Yes, I’m still married to her. She’s done (and is doing) everything I’ve asked/demanded of her. I’m cautiously optimistic.

        • I hope and pray you are correct in your assumption. You will never be successfull in playing the marriage police, there are just too many ways to go deeper undiscovered. She may have a job, but I will bet you still finance the majority of the expenses. More than likely this bitch is giving you the most amazing sex evewr until things quiet down. There’s an old saying that’s very true. A criminal has committed a crime at least 10 times before they are caught.
          Be very careful!

    • Betrayed…just be sure to cover all the financial basis. She could be conniving enough to be skimming finances from your bank accounts or racking up debt on credit cards while making you think she is behaving…after all, you probably did not say anything about what THOSE boundaries are? Check her credit reports to see if there are new open accounts and balances…and the status’s of the old ones. Tell her that you want to see receipts for groceries and purchases (she could be getting cash back each time she grocery shops). The longer she is with you, the more she stands to gain should a divorce happen.

      Good Luck

  • yeah, isn’t it just great to hear that they have “strong emotions” for the OW? Like we were nothing. In my case, 35 years of nothing The best part about no contact was not hearing about schmoopie dicklips. My walls don’t sing yet, but they will.

  • My pick me dance was quite pathetic. Although at the time, I had no idea that was what I was doing. Since he got scammed on POF, I was playing the pick me dance with a girl (half his age) who did not exist! In July of 2013, I had filed for divorce 2 weeks after he moved out to his apartment to be with “Francesca”, his bride to be. So, I thought we had a chance and in August of 2013, we started chatting and I called my attorney and put the divorce on hold. He made all the classic excuses:

    “Once the house sells we can have a shot, the house is an albatross”
    “I can’t sleep in that bed, in that room, just to many memories of all the times I was ignored and rejected”
    “If you want to have a chance to save this marriage, you can never say no to me again”
    “If I want to go somewhere, do something, you can never say no”

    He put on a great show one afternoon of crying that he was broke and could not buy groceries or pay his cell phone bill. Chump that I am, I paid the bill and we went grocery shopping. He made me dinner at his apartment with the food I bought. I was so fucking uncomfortable because all I kept thinking was, this is the apartment he got to be with “her”. He told me how he had taken at least 8 payday loans (probably not the whole truth). On the first of every month, he had to pay them and then take more loans just to survive. I did not take the bait on that one.

    One Sunday, we went to the beach and all he did was check out the 20 something’s and I started to get the first vibes that I could not ever compete with his fuckedupedness. I spent the night at his apartment and was so mortified. His attitude was lets just cuddle and I was to have no expectations of having sex. Yet, he insisted that I give him a 2 hour massage, which being a chump, I did.

    It was so fucking bizarre. He fell asleep and I just laid there until the wee hours sobbing quietly and feeling so confused and hurt. I left at the crack of dawn. I just wanted to go home and sob as loudly as I wanted to. He had left his car at my house and when he woke up, he called me to come and get him. He was so pissed that I had left. In his words, I had once again rejected him by leaving. I had told him I was leaving, I did not just disappear. He could not grasp that I was very uncomfortable at that shit hole apartment.

    I found out in the divorce discovery, that the very next day, he went to Western Union and sent more money to Ghana. So he had the balls to be pissed at me for leaving and yet went and sent more money. I swear I was going to puke when I saw that. He was keeping me in the wings just in case. He already knew he was being scammed and was still sending money while keeping me on for kibbles. Almost 3 years out and I could scream at my stupidity. It still makes my stomach churn.

    Later, he used that against me, that we could never reconcile because I would not just get over it. He just walked out one day after 23 years. Left me to get the house ready for sale, pay all the bills, deal with landscaping, packing his shit ( yes, I was a chump). He did not pay for one fucking thing. He borrowed money from both of his brothers for his half of the mortgage. The final straw for me, was when I asked him what are we doing? He said he did not know. If we were to keep talking, I could have no expectations of him. Just go with what he wanted. I think back on those early days and I just cringe at how I behaved. I bought his bullshit of it being all my fault. Even now, I would like to scratch his fucking eyes out for the way he lead me on. He has rewritten the narrative of our life together. He still claims things he said or did are not true, even though I have the emails and texts. Once he found out it was a scam, he was suicidal! Over a fake girl he had been texting for a month? He would send me emails that he was going to just kill himself. Of course, I fell for it. Poor sad sausage. I really could just vomit. GRRRR. He still says, I have no heart and no compassion. I am a dark soul who is set to live a miserable existence. FUCK that noise. I wish him nothing good and a pox on him. His dating profile is still on POF, claiming he is an intuitive soul, wants to feel alive with passion and wants a woman with a sense of humor like himself. Fucking gag me. Fuckwit. I got half his retirement, joined Crossfit, quit smoking and lost 82 pounds. I went from a size 30 to a 16. My kids will not speak to him and he does not get to see my grandkids. He is a fat pig. Who got the better end of this deal? Me, that’s who. I am no longer married to a 57 year old selfish fucking child.

    • Velvet69–whatever you did to try and salvage your marriage at first, you turned out mighty in the end! You got the better end, indeed. Mine also left me to pack up his stuff, because it was “too painful” to return to the house, but didn’t even bother to pay for packing boxes. I had to run around and find them (well worth it to get his stuff out of my space, but still entitled behavior on his part).

  • I danced for about 6 months total, trying to please him and ignoring him going out and carousing while I worked and took care of our then two year-old. I took his cruel BS as well, while trying to do a “180” (ugh). I also acted totally OK while he was off on a weekend with her after I had a seizure and still needed to take care of our two year-old. I made sure the house was clean. I did his laundry (I even found a women’s sweater that was not mine in it one time–so gross), I made sure our kid was well-taken care of (I even managed to fully potty-train her and get her to brush her own teeth during this time).

    I am not sure what possessed me to do any of it. It seems straight up crazy to me now; however, I was so traumatized by my husband’s radically different behavior after what I thought was a loving marriage that I didn’t know what else to do. I realize now that it’s a typical reaction to the trauma of adultery and to forgive myself for it, when I should have been totally throwing his butt out and filing for divorce.

    After about 6 months of that I packed up my stuff and kid and moved 500 miles away–right after I exposed it to all of his friends and family. After the required waiting period, I filed for divorce. I have an intermediary who takes messages about kid stuff, so I am completely no contact with him and I feel much better. I still hurt a lot sometimes, but at least I don’t have to pretend to be a crazy stepford wife while taking an insane amount of abuse and enduring the soul-crushing experience of adultery.

    • PigletWiglet – This is it, when you write: “It seems straight up crazy to me now; however, I was so traumatized by my husband’s radically different behavior”. It’s like the moment they are no longer into us, because they are into the OW, then they start the rejecting behavior towards us. They refuse to relate with us on any level. They don’t want us anymore and they show it with abuse, cruelty, anger, rage and discarding. It never fails each time.

      • Yes and it’s totally baffling. He would literally say “I love my family” as he walked out of the door every morning. Every.Single.Morning. I thought I had won the lottery. Looking back, I can see that I spackled over his glaring faults–the chronic unemployment being the worst. But still, hey, he always said and (until the affair started) showed he loved me. My thinking was, “so he’s not perfect. At least he loves us to pieces.” Yeah, not so much. He’s been absolutely awful in the divorce. But I don’t have any direct contact with him, so it’s not really so bad because I never see or talk to him, and even his emails are filtered by my friend or my lawyer.

        The thing I most struggle with now is how to not expect ANYTHING at all from him. Zero. Deep down I still want an apology and I still want him to make amends. It is hard for me to accept that it will never, ever happen. At all.Ever. Like it is the next step in “getting over it” and it seems like it will never come.

        I just try to “have compassion for myself”, which I try to do by looking at my situation as if I was a stranger. I would certainly have compassion for this situation if it happened to someone else. And I wouldn’t judge them as harshly as I judge myself for it.

        • Forgive only yourself pw. I finally forgave myself. I will never get that apology. Asswipe is only sorry he got caught!. Big hugs!

  • I did the Queen of Denial Dance. I did the Lower Expectations Limbo. I did the Twist and Turn My Anger Inward. But once I knew in my heart there was an OW, I got the fuck out.

    I bought his bullshit for so many years. I bought into trust being so important that questioning anything was wrong.

    When he had to work overnight.
    When he had to work at his boss’s house, so he wouldn’t be interrupted. Of course he was collaborating on this work with an attractive female co-worker or boss.
    When he was out of town on business and raged at me for expecting the courtesy of 30 seconds of his time to answer a text within a day.
    When he insisted on personally paying for gifts and dinners for female co-workers, even though he should have been able to be reimbursed by the company as a business expense. And lying about it.
    Gently caressing a female co-workers neck as he leaned over to say hello at a party. Right in front of me, and he knew it upset me. But I was the one who was irrationally jealous about his deliberate triangulation.
    When we rented our old house out, and he made a ridiculously generous with a female co-worker on it.
    Getting the silent treatment and separate bedroom for months on end.

    I could go on, but there was so much shit I stuffed down over so many suspicious activities that just didn’t seem normal to me.

    But I finally saw an email with the (probably only the most recent) OW that made me drop the denial and realize my gut had probably been right all along. So I didn’t stick around for one more lying blameshifting gaslighting abusive word out of his mouth.

  • Fortunately, my “Pick-Me” Dance didn’t last very long- less then a month, but I still kick myself in the ass for even doing that much:

    March 2015: D-Day
    April 2015: He told me that he was “done” with our marriage and made plans, arrangements to move out as soon as possible
    Saturday, May 2, 2015: He moved into his slut-shack.
    Thursday, May 7, 2015: He came over to the house to see DD, started crying in the kitchen telling me that he loved me, that he was sorry he hurt me and that he wanted to work things out. He also mentioned that he was showering at the nearby truck-stop because he didn’t have enough money to get the gas turned on for his slut-shack for the water heater, but certainly he wouldn’t put on such a show in my kitchen just for hot water, would he?!?!?! I thought to myself, nah, not The Evil One, silly me!!!!

    From that night and for the next couple weeks he was back in my house, eating my food, sleeping in my bed, getting spoiled by me with lunches out, truck parts for his Shit-er-ado, me getting up at 4:30 AM to sit with him and cook him breakfast before work — something I had rarely done, ever when we were together, did his laundry, and above all else- (I can’t emphasize this enough) never questioned him, confronted him, or challenged him, or ever held him accountable for all of the shitty things he had done!!!

    Friday, May 22, 2015: My GTFO day to him (told you it didn’t last long)…I let go the Mother’s Day debacle in which he over-drafted our joint checking account $200.00, came home with new sunglasses from the flea market, and got me NOTHING for Mother’s Day– not a card, not a road-side flower bouquet, nothing..I let that go…he stayed in my house for a couple weeks, gave me nothing for bills, food, etc., I let that go….

    Then I got to looking around at his Facebook friends(he still hadn’t added me back as one of his friends- noticed some of his FB friends were strippers, that he had “liked” a couple strip clubs in the area, most of his friends were single females that he was overly-friendly and flirty with even though we were “working things out”…

    In short, that Friday night, I confronted him on all of that bullshit and he responded with, “How about I get all of my shit out of the house and go back to my house?! Is that what you want?!?!” To which I responded with, “Clearly, you do!” and with that, I packed up what he had brought back over, he put it all in his Shit-er-ado and peeled out of my front yard, screeching his tires on my street, and I didn’t shed one damn tear about it.

    He truly, truly sucks and I have nothing to feel bad about- I was a loving, devoted, faithful, committed wife to him for 13 years and he didn’t appreciate one minute of it.

  • I was pick-me dancing before I knew about the MOW, as Jackass went into massive gaslighting and blame-shifting prior to his exit and I was convinced I needed to “fix” myself to get the relationship back to what it had been (or so I thought) a mere 30 days before. I did a lot of reading about vulnerability and becoming more confident (which, looking back, is pretty laughable) etc. Then of course I found out there was the MOW and all the talk about “finding himself” and “figuring out what he wanted” and relocating (5 minute walk from Schmoopie) was about where to get the best cake. I still did a lot of pick-me dancing in my head as, in spite of good advice from my therapist, I couldn’t quite let go of the notion that he would be back.

    What I learned:
    1) If someone doesn’t like me as I am, I hope the door won’t hit him in the ass on his way out.
    2) If I see something in my life that isn’t working, I fix it for me. Right now, I am working on managing finances. For me.
    3) If a relationship seems to be floundering or foundering, take a step back, instead of starting the pick-me dance. Are there two people working on this thing? If not, I hope the door won’t hit him in the ass on his way out.
    4) Am I doing all the work? All the giving? The bulk of the driving or paying or caring? I hope the door won’t hit him in the ass on his way out.
    5) If I am in a relationship with someone who betrays me or belittles me or abuses me in any way, hope the door won’t hit him in the ass on his way out. Then bolt the door.

    So many great lessons on the blog, from NO CONTACT to DON’T PICK-ME DANCE. But once of my favorites is reciprocity.

    • Awesome…LovedaJackass!

      I’m copying these 5 check points! I with you on this..definitely warning signs – male/female.

    • LAJ, that’s a terrific list .. borne of hard-won wisdom. After pick-me dancing through several relationships (including enduring a sexless partnership, then the humiliation of groveling for sex trying to win back another), I won’t allow myself to be devalued so terribly ever again.

      I would change one thing on that list, though. That a big, heavy door WOULD slam hard and pinch their asses black-and-blue on their way out .. just because they’d deserve at least that much for being so cruel.

      Big love to CN, how I appreciate your background stories and the tales of your mighty-ness.

  • Well, it’s all rather tragic really. My husband went mysteriously absent the day after I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. He was gone for two and a half weeks, not answering phone calls/texts. I didn’t know at the time but he’d gone to stay with the OW, who I didn’t even know existed (they’d been carrying on for about 9 months at that point). Anyway, the day he arrived back home I went into full on pick me dance mode. I was one week past my first chemo, completely bald, and had had a port inserted into my chest that very day. So it was a challenge. However, I decided to cook him his favourite dinner, had a scented bath, put on my nicest outfit and did my make up and put on my wig. When he came through the door I threw my arms around him and welcomed him home. I was mistakenly under the impression at the time that at the cancer had scared him and wanted to show him there was nothing to be afraid of. Little did I know the real reason for his disappearance – to shag the OW while I was in hospital. He was an absolutely detestable little shit, now I look back. So glad he’s gone.

    • We hear about some pretty horrible Cheaters on this board, but this guy has to be in the top 10.

      • Tempest, I dream about having a Tony Soprano in my life. Someone you could go to take care of the little messes that come up. I know a few people that would look stunning hanging by their heels over that gorge in Patterson, NJ. And he likes ducks!

        • Tony soprano would br great. My i want daryl dixon. I wouldnt have to say a word the arrows will fly. Im gonna get my own crossbow. For target practice of course.

        • Hanging by the heels over the gorge in Patterson, NJ is for minor offenses; the worst cases get to serve as compost in the Pine Barrens–of course, that’s Tony Soprano speaking, not me ; )..

          • Now you’re, eh, Tony’s talking, Tempest. They can spend eternity in the Pine Barrens with the Czechoslavakian who is an Interior Decorator! ; )

  • I didn’t really dance…I left but lived in stunned shock while he didn’t change a thing. In fact, after discovering on D-day that he had secretly spent all of our savings on his dick, I had him immediately stop his subscriptions to on-line porn sites. Two days later he was subscribed again. I found out because the bills started coming to MY gmail account. He was shameless. Now that there was no need to hide, he put it all out there – rubbing it in my face.

    It’s taken six months to realize the depths of depravity STBX lived in while I was clueless and now I’m furious.

    But also relieved. STBX is a sick mofo. Really sick. Reading everybody’s stories today has clarified what these jerks are made of and it’s sickness. Soul sickness.

    Early in the process, my adult daughter asked me if I’d rather have my pain (at that time I was curled in the fetal position sobbing hysterically on the floor of the shower) or live like STBX.

    Even then I could see I wouldn’t trade places with him for anything.

    To have to lie to everyone you meet. To never know if or when your secret desires will be exposed. To have no friends. To know that people in your family know you’re a piece of shit. To be so obsessed you risk more and more for sex in increasingly despicable and dangerous situations. To never enjoy normal activities because you need to be drunk all the time. To be aging badly and painfully. To have limited income and education and no way to make up for 54 dissipated years.

    I KNOW I should spend my days praising all the gods for my freedom from this loser – I’ve wasted way too much time focused on revenge and incredulity.

    I get why “meh” is detachment. I wish I was there.

    • “To have to lie to everyone you meet. To never know if or when your secret desires will be exposed. To have no friends. To know that people in your family know you’re a piece of shit….”

      Sing it, sister! (And no, we would never choose to be them, even in all our pain, fucked up crazy mofos…)

    • You’ll get there. Thinking about these losers becomes a bad habit. And someday you’ll just stop.

  • I am a piss-poor pick-me dancer.

    Been (re-)reading Camille Paglia all week. I needed de-programming from the inculcation I was subjected to by Match Girl.

    I will no longer kowtow and be a slave.

    After I refused to rescue MG from the gas station three months ago, I have been given the gift of the silent-treatment.

    Now I dance to the beat of my own drum. Enjoy the silence. (Thanks FMT.)