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Dear Chump Lady, Please kill my hope

i-view-each-and-every-one-of-your-glaring-iqnDear Chump Lady,

Three years ago, I found out that my husband had had a three-year affair. When I found out, he told me I was the “love of his life” and he’d made “the worst mistake of his life” and he wanted to stay married. At that time, we’d been married 15 years and had two children ages 8 and 6.

We went to counseling for a little bit. I thought he had stopped seeing her immediately. We stayed married.

Last summer, I found out that he had had an Ashley Madison and match.com accounts during his 3-year affair—neither one had activity on it because, I think, men have to pay but he had set up his profiles (what a fun read). When I questioned him on why he had these accounts, he told me, “He wanted to see what else was out there.” Nice.

Last Sunday, I found out that he had been seeing the same woman for the past 6 months (Did it ever stop from 3 years ago? I’m not sure). They’ve been meeting at an Embassy Suites near his office (that she pays for) because he thought I might have hired a private investigator (paranoid much?). When I asked why he had re-started the affair, he told me it was because I “never got over the affair from three years ago.” He said I never gave him the forgiveness he needed. He said that he felt our marriage was doomed and that I would eventually leave him. I thought we were moving forward.

Admittedly, I was not perfect and was still hurt by his 3-year affair and then finding out during the Ashley Madison hack last summer that he’d been on that too — maybe I’m slow to heal (maybe I need some bloodwork done to see why I don’t heal faster from being repeatedly stabbed in the back…)

He’s never going to change is he? No matter how much I want to believe that and continue to drink the Koolaid, he’s never going to be different.

But, it is so hard to give up hope in the face of all his promises.

Please talk some sense to me and take away my hope.

MissedRedFlags

Dear Missed,

Let’s just make a list, okay?

  1. A three-year affair. Which is really a SIX-year affair because it never ended.
  2. An Ashley Madison account.
  3. A match.com account.
  4. Openly admits to wanting to date while married “to see what else is out there.”
  5. When busted, he blameshifts this mess on to YOU for not “forgiving him.”

Let’s take this point by point.

1.) A three-year six-year affair is not a “mistake” singular. It’s thousands upon thousands of willful decisions to deceive you. It’s sociopathic. Normal people don’t have double lives nor can they maintain them. To do that you either have to have zero empathy (as in your synapses don’t fire), huge reserves of entitlement, and super powers of manipulation.

Try to imagine being him for a DAY, doing the shit he’s been doing behind your back. You’d break out in stress rashes, wouldn’t you? You’d being dying to have a heartfelt conversation and spill your guts. You’d grind your teeth and suffer constant anxiety and second guessing. You would not CONTINUE UNBOTHERED FOR SIX YEARS.

To behave as he has behaved is deeply fucked up. And it’s who he is. He’s got a lousy character and he’s really okay with being a total fraud. Not much to work with here.

2.) Ashley Madison? Oh great, he wants to hang out with other fuckwits like himself.

3.) Match.com? Oh great, he wants to deceive single people into thinking he’s single.

4.) He wants to see what else is out there? Oh, and he’d also like to stay married to you? That’s known as CAKE. He’s openly telling you he has absolutely no interest in fidelity. He’d prefer to shop. Indefinitely. (By the way, that’s your cue to do the Pick Me Dance and compete for the awesomeness of his indecision.)

5.) This is all YOUR fault? Really, you couldn’t forgive him? What does he think staying married to his sorry ass and raising his two kids is? A death sentence?

You never GAVE him forgiveness? What exactly did he do to earn it?

And let’s say that’s true. He believes you’ll never get past it. Then the honorable, sensible thing to do is END IT honestly and divorce you with a fair settlement. He didn’t do that. Because the point is CAKE.

Now, let’s look at his promises.

When I found out, he told me I was the “love of his life” and he’d made “the worst mistake of his life” and he wanted to stay married. 

Apparently being the love of his life entails tolerating his constant quests for other loves of his life. Is that okay with you?

He made the worst mistake (singular) of his life? So… what? Is he going for the gold here on catastrophic, clusterfucky, super mistakes? He just thought he’d compound those mistakes? Mistake after mistake after mistake after mistake… Until the whole mistake collapses in on itself like a black hole, sucking everything into its gravitation pull? And we’re all pulled into his wormhole of fuckupedness and spit out into an alternative mistake universe?

Worst mistake? No. The only mistake here is staying with him.

And now you’re writing to me to kill your hope. To stop believing his lame promises. Listen, Missed, you better kill your hope before your hope kills you. Think of it as a showdown at the Not-Okay Corral. Only one of us is getting out of here alive, Hope! 

Let that someone be you. If you stay with him, you stay with the knowledge of exactly who he is — a serial cheater. You’ll have a marriage with a man who looks elsewhere and blames you for it. Who subverts “forgiveness” as “free pass to do whatever the fuck I want to.” And if you object? You’re not being forgiving enough.

That’s soul death. Don’t choose it. Call a lawyer instead.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • This sounds like my story, but different details. “Love of his life.” Check. “Can’t forgive.” Check. Can’t trust 100% after all the lying, women “friends”, triangulation, gaslighting. Check. It’s all my fault. Check. Stabbed in the back Check. Get a fricken lawyer and dump this piece of crap. CL, is right. HE WILL NEVER CHANGE! I wish I would have moved on YEARS ago and not wasted anymore time on my ex as HE DIDN’T CHANGE. He just kept figuring out ways to hide his deception. Get a lawyer and get out of this so-called marriage. ((((((HUGS)))))) to you, MissedRedFlags.

    • OMG, this is EXACTLY what my cheater did to me! Coming to terms with the fact that they can’t and will never change – no matter what they SAY – is the hardest thing to do, but with the support of CL and CN, I am learning to accept that fact and begin moving towards a cheater-free future!

    • I stayed with a loser for 14 years after he cheated on me while I was pregnant and begged for a second chance. After 24 years, and a double life including a five year relationship revealed last year, he says, “I married the wrong person and spent 20 years making bad choices to cope with it” My fault.

      Get Out. Don’t waste another precious minute

      • I think that’s the biggest mindfuck these losers try to lay on you, and unfortunately one of the most effective. “I love the whore, wah, wah, wah.” Nah, if you ” loved” the whore, you would be with the whore, no matter what. You LOVE the fucking cake. Not the low rent easy lay whore you bang on the side. When you try throwing one of these mother fuckers out of your house, see what happens. They don’t want to go. That surely is True Love.

          • My XH POS cheated the first time (had 1st Ddy) when married 7 years. I forgave, powered on through it and moved on with the marriage. Two years ago DDy #2 exploded (think 4th of July fireworks finale) and over the next 6 months information rolled out that was unbelievable!! The divorce was filed and complete at 6 months as well. The marriage was at the 46 year marker, but honest to God, I couldn’t fathom another minute as his wife. He lived a second life of serial cheating. I don’t have a clue who the man is. The behaviors continue and worsen as they age. My message to all is do NOT waste another minute on these FREAKS. If they cheated once, there is a VERY HIGH probability it will happen again….like 90 plus percent.

            • Blown Away – same timeline with a serial cheater with a double life. “I don’t have a clue who this man is.” No kidding, WTF happened to them? Well, not my monkey, not my circus anymore, thanks goodness.

              • I ran into X’s long-time hair-stylist today and we talked about X.
                Yep, he had not only changed his personality, but his looks had exploded and not in a good way.
                She said, as I had noticed, his hair became really weird, and he had a lot of it – like he’d been electrocuted…and he wound up in her chair and just wanted a small trim. I didn’t know who he became then, but very unkempt. And, this was a fastidious man by nature.

                The lady told me came in and it was obvious to her he had been drinking. This is at 2pm.
                And, she said – he just wasn’t ‘right’.
                I remember him having a martini after work every night – as his office closes at 2pm but you don’t drink and go get your hairdresser to cut your hair when you’re drunk and not listen to her? He didn’t listen so she trimmed it, like he wanted. Still electric hair.

                I dunno why this made me feel a little better today, but to have somebody else validate what I was seeing with my own eyes, that was a practical stranger, point this out to me….I know I wasn’t mentally unstable. He was. Most people won’t tell you anything about what they thought of your X, and sometimes I’m dying to hear. The important things….he’d been going to her for 21 yrs. So, I trusted what she said and she said he was acting weird. Go figure! But I did – I KNEW he was getting very weird. Now it makes me wonder why he was drinking so early in the day. She said she couldn’t smell the vodka martinis on him but she knew he was drunk.

                Just wow – I guess I overlooked all that but he was up to 3 martinis before he ate, every night. But, who was counting?

                The one thing I didn’t want to hear from a ‘friend’ was…..’I’m not surprised you’re divorced, I’m just surprised it took you so long”.
                I dunno but – so Long ‘friend’.
                Bad thing to say, for some reason.

        • ““I love the whore, wah, wah, wah.” Nah, if you ” loved” the whore, you would be with the whore, no matter what. You LOVE the fucking cake.” – this is completely true.
          Now (5 years after the event), narcissist is saying ‘it meant absolutely nothing’. Tell that to my broken heart. How can something SO damaging, ‘mean nothing’???
          I lived his infatuation to her. I lived his adulterous monogamy, and his rejection and contempt. I lived his saying ‘I am treating you this way because you are a terrible wife’ (whilst knowing exactly what he was doing). His saying to me ‘I don’t know what I want’.

          Now, it meant nothing???? As deep as a teaspoon, these people.

          Best not in your life, for your own sanity.

      • My ex cheated on me, too, when I was pregnant with our second child. Only a crappy, disordered, sociopathic, narcissistic, jerk would cheat when his wife was pregnant with his child and they also had another beautiful one year-old child together.

    • I got the same story too. The AP even asked him, and he relayed to me; “is awakening dreamer ever going to forgive you”.

      So, so unfair. And the trust wordsalad I got when he was gaslighting me. I’ve actually forgotten. The specifics of what he said at the time because my memory is still recovering from the trauma of the last year/15years.

    • Yesterday was the three year anniversary my x woke up after 28 years and didn’t want to be married anymore. You guys know the drill, I paid for the divorce, I did the pick me, etc etc. it was REALLY REALLY ugly.
      Yesterday he had his first round of radiation. 3 years to the day.

    • Missed RedFlags I Totally understand your issues same story for me but mine had a 20 year relationship with someone he met while I was pregnant with his son the kicker is i met her too he met this person while playing recreational tennis and little did I know this same person he had this long time relationship with. After he all of a sudden cant take this she decides to Bow out after all this time?? I have heard the gamit of things they were made for each other , we just got along, she got me i got her, soulmates?? the thing is was their only thing in common was drinking & sex oh he provided a job for her and supported her very well all the while i was doing my motherly & wife duties all along plus he used work & his soccer sport to take her away many many times . It too me 6 years to discover all this 9 months of therapy which im still in to try to figure this out, he says he wants to give our marriage a try ?? i can identify with everything said here 🙁 the entire situation has at times made me hopeless. Its awful to be purposely hurt betrayed and just deceived i hope you find the strength to pull yourself away sweetie (((((((((HUGS)))))))))

  • It is hard, if not impossible, to forgive someone actively still wronging you. As CL points out, this is not the real problem here. It is blame shifting and a way for him to distract you from the real problems…his cheating and lying. Not much to work with here.

    • Here is my favorite Chump Nation sentence for today: “It is hard, if not impossible, to forgive someone actively still wronging you.”

      If someone has wronged you, that person should be focused like a laser beam on restoring your trust. And that mean no blame shifting, no denial, no gaslighting, no lying, no cheating. And it means listening to the chump until the chump doesn’t need to talk any more. Most of these cheaters can’t do real remorse or make true amends. That’s the very best reason for not giving them a second chance while you live with them. If they move out and then shape up and show they have 1) become responsible adults and 2) figured out how to engage in reciprocity and 3) demonstrate a changed character over time, then maybe I’d buy their remorse.

      Missed, the “biggest mistake of his life” was getting caught. You know that because he didn’t stop the affair for good. And of course he want to stay married. That’s preserving CAKE. Sex at home, sex with Schmoopie. Access to kids and the marital home. No need to divide assets. He has the image of the family man along with the fun of cheating. He gets to be central to two (or more) women. The Schmoopie is paying for the hotel. Not a consequence for this dirtbag in sight.

      Get your ducks in a row. That means keep your head down until you have copies of all financial transactions, bank accounts,mortgage papers, home deed, etc., stowed in a safe place (at work, at the house of someone you trust) so you can get them no matter what happens. Make sure you have the originals of the yours and the kids’ birth certificates, social security numbers, passports etc. Gradually put precious heirlooms in safe locations if you think you will want or need to move. Make sure you have photos, copies of photos, and jpeg files. Run a credit check on both of you to see if there is debt you don’t know about. Then do the research to find the best possible family law attorneys in your area. Often you can get a free or low cost first consultation and listen hard. You need an advocate. You should also find a good therapist who understands disordered people.

      Get your support system together. Who can you count on to help you? What things in your life comfort and sustain you in hard times? Are you in good physical health?–because betrayal is terribly hard on the body. In my view, the man you are married to is your enemy. He shows not one sign of caring for your physical, emotional or psychological well-being. I can’t kill your hope. But I am not sure what you are hoping for.

      Stop listening to what this guy says. Look at his actions. What do they tell you?

      • LAJ – did you just lift “LASER FOCUS” from Penguins coach Mike Sullivan? That’s one of his go-to cliches, ha ha. 🙂

        So many of us yinzer chumps out there, as we saw yesterday. Maybe there’s something about our region, culturally, something in our heritage that breeds codependency and chumpdom. I know I learned it at home…and my mom learned it in HER home… all immigrants of eastern European descent, my grandfathers were typical mill/mine hunkies (and abusers/alcoholics), etc. Just thinking out loud. LGP

        • Ha ha, maybe. I read a lot of sports coverage. And of course–Pens fan. We need a yinzer meet up.

          • I have never posted a comment before, however I’ve been reading daily for about a year and a half. I would totally be in for a Pgh meet up!

  • This guy is too disgusting to even comment about. Please just leave this turd and move on to your life without him in it.

    • Man oh Man oh Man. Let’s have a retreat and I want to hear CL talk for hours. She just yanks you right back to the BLASTED TRUTH. I just exercised, and the whole time as my dogs sniffed and peed….my sick mind was going…an email…just to see how he is. Is he alive? (Day 21 of No Contact).

      And I came back and found this brilliant, brutal, beautiful gem…just waiting for me….like the antibiotic I needed to stop this bacterial sickness of not accepting the truth about THE CHARACTER OF CHEATERS.

      TRUST THAT THEY SUCK.

      Say it out loud. Write it on your forehead with a Sharpie. I have my pen out now.

      • 21 days? You’re just a pup. Please hold on. It gets much better. It still hurts (2 years out NC), but I truly have no desire to even think of her and would despise hearing from her. Be strong.

        • Thank you Marked711~ Boy, who are you telling. I have tried to go NC at least 20 times? 30 times? This is the best I have ever done! I hope it gets better.
          I am white knuckling it right now.
          Taking it moment to moment! I am staying strong. Thank you for the encouragement.

          • Whenever you are wanting to break contact, write down in a journal what you want to say. Pour your heart out and spare nothing. Keep writing until there is nothing left inside. It needs to come out, but don’t break contact for your emotional needs. He doesn’t care about your emotions, your pain, or your loneliness. He cares only about himself and engaging with him on this level will only feed his ego.

            I read what I wrote last June and I feel sad for the grieving woman I was and when I read from last month I am proud of the self-sufficient woman I am learning to be. I still get sad, lonely, and feel the loss of what I thought I had, but each day it is less sad, less lonely and I am grateful for what I do have. I am more than I thought I was and he is less, so much less, than he should have been.

            Stay mighty. You can do this.

            • Finally got around to watching “Luther.” (No spoilers. Still watching.) (Love me some Idris Elba. And Ruth Wilson from “The Affair” is in it.) Typical BBC short seasons and love the cinematography. Anyway, after comparing Match Girl’s psycho answer last week in which she accused me, among other things, of blackmail and violence, I am no longer innocent. Luther doesn’t seem that far fetched. If (when) Match Girl and Match Stick do implode, she’s triangulating and riling him up to be a weapon pointed at ME!

              Protect yourself, chumps. D-Day is just the beginning.

            • Annie Get Your Gun , you are beautiful. Your words hit a chord with me tonight. Thank you! I am more than I thought I was and he is less, so much less, than he should have been. Staying strong and trying to find me. Divorced for almost 5 months after 25 years marriage. Work in progress!

              • What I know beyond a doubt is that I would not be as far along as I am mentally and emotionally if I had not stumbled upon this web site looking for answers on why he betrayed me and checked out of our marriage. I found symptoms of mid-life crisis and how they mirrored depression and wrote them down in my journal. I look back at those symptoms and no longer care what his excuse was or why he did it. He is a true Fucktard and a sane person cannot explain fucked up retarded (In the true clinical definition of cognitive impairment and limited emotional and intellectual development) behavior.

                I was looking for help for him, and I found it for me. I am forever thankful because what I now know without a doubt is that he sucks.

        • Yes, hold on. Worry about you. Put yourself first. Sometimes I’m not sure how many years now, but I think the great 3rd Gaslighting Anniversary is late August. Jackass and Scmoopie were apart for awhile (she separated or got divorced) but there are signs things are back on. Meh. They deserve each other. I can’t even imagine what I saw in him, and that was a 30 year friendship as well as…well, whatever it was that I got involved in. Certainly not a “love affair” or romance or actual dating….Once you see the sickness of the dynamic with a disordered person, there’s no going back. It’s like eating tainted food and throwing up and having diarrhea for three days. You never touch that food again.

  • You deserve so much better MissedRedFlags…I was devastated after my wife cheated and left me after 24 years but 2 years later I am in such a better place. No more wondering what’s going on with her “weekends away with the girls” bullshit, no more stress just living with her. It’s scary to split up but it’s amazing how calming it can be after the storm passes.

    • Absolutely agree. After two years of living without that scum bag, I cannot believe that my life is so much more peaceful and calm. Why couldn’t I see it before instead of wasting all that time hoping. Give it up! Get a life! I promise you that it is there….a much better life!

      • “Give it up! Get a life! I promise you that it is there….a much better life!”
        It really is! God once you get that cancerous growth cut off and out of your life it’s amazing how much clarity you gain. You really do emerge from the fog and can see how you were played. I can almost taste meh, I’m light years ahead of where I was when the hurricane hit. My daughter still lives with me and attending college, my son is going to move back with me for a bit as his relationship is ending and it’s all ok as I’m surrounded by genuine people that love me and care about me, no a partner choosing to sleep on the couch because “she sleeps better there” with her iPhone welded to her hand 24-7. It’s a horseshit existence living with a cheater. I don’t miss her at all.

        • Yeah, my cheater did the same with the couch. Didn’t want to “wake me up” after he went to the bathroom. Funny how that iPhone was always tucked up against his private parts. Probably had it set to “vibrate” when the OW texted him. LOL. Saw him get out of bed in the middle of the night (around 1:30am) to check his phone. Asked him about it and of course he had some lame excuse about “work”, blah, blah, blah. Sorry. Work people don’t text in the middle of the night. Sooooooooooooooooooooooo happy to not have to live with the lying, etc.

          • Me three for the couch thing!!! My cheater would get up to “use the bathroom” and not come back (he would go downstairs to the couch). I thought nothing of it until our puppy (who slept upstairs with us) would get up every morning at 6 am. Every morning. Turns out thats when his skank got up and would call or text “good morning”, the buzz from the phone would wake up the pup… Phone records enlightened me to this habit, as I kept wondering why my pup had no problem sleeping in once we moved…. So unoriginal, these cheaters.

            • Even the pup gained some peace once he left lol! My ex always kept the dogs kenneled at night she had every excuse to and I just went along with her reasoning blah blah but after she left I tossed the kennels and let my cairn terrier sleep on my bed. We are both much happier lol. I got my daughter a shih tzu after her cairn terrier passed away to crash with so it really all worked out..Happier dogs and happier life!

            • Count me in on the couch thing. Before he left he used sleeping on the couch as one of his reasons for being unhappy in the relationship. This despite the fact that he chose to sleep out there every night. More twisted cheater logic.

        • Me too with the damn couch! My lying POS XH “fell asleep” on the couch every night. Sometimes he would come to bed at 4am, sometimes he would be there when I got up and went to work in the morning. I have no idea how he functioned at work. And again, cell phone and laptop glued to him at all times. Beware of the COUCH SIGN!!! Normal people sleep in a bed!

          • For myself I resorted to sleeping on the couch to get away from the ex and her cheating dramas, that’s when I gained some power back. I let her enjoy that cold cold bed, she asked me a few times if I was going to sleep in the bed again, no farkin way. Its important to know your worth. Beds are nice but I would have slept better on cold floorboards!

    • Same for me too. 28 years married, 1 day divorced (as of yesterday). Let the adventure, and the new milestone marker begin! (Ian can post a picture of sexy blonde with hands held up in a “V”for victory here and it would not break my heart)

      • Well that went off the rails quickly. Lots of blondes with the victory arms, but they’re all stock-photos with water-marks. And then I thought a blonde holding two pistols above her head. That’s when it all went bad. I guess I haven’t been single long enough to know there’s a whole “girls with guns” thing.

        Anyway Annie, CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DIVORCE!!!

        Here’s a few of the better photos! (BTW, imgur has a built-in meme maker)


        She might be exercising not celebrating.

        Not sure why she’s jumping in the rain.

        I’m divorced at the beach!

        Not sure I’ll get asked back to do this again.

        ?

        This only took me fifteen minutes on a Friday night. Really.


        Her arms are making a v right?

        So happy you survived the mindfuckery shitstorm of that fuckturd you divorced, Annie! You’re mighty!

      • Yay, Annie!! I’m on day ten of FINALLY being divorced and I’m LOVIN’ IT — cue McDonald’s music. 🙂 Congrats to all of us chumps that are no longer involved with a cheater and getting a life!

        • Yeah us! I texted my sister minutes after it was final. She asked me how I felt. I replied that I wasn’t sure yet. Here is her reply, “Makes sense to me I love you. This new chapter you’re going to write will be awesome. Cant wait to see it and continue being a part of it. You are everything to me and I’m proud of you.”

          Isn’t she awesome. I’m proud of all of us chumps. It takes mightiness to drag ourselves up after such a blow. At first, it is seemingly fatal. Then we slowly stumble forward past buckling knees, nausea, and pain that is so sharp and directed it is pure torture. But we begin to walk straighter, stronger, and taller than we ever thought we could. When there’s a trigger and I falter, it’s no longer the arduous effort it was to get back up. It’s just taking a deep breath continuing on.

          • Annie!!! CONGRATULATIONS!!!! 😀 I am so happy for you! You deserve it!

            Oh BOY!!!! HUGS!!! AND MORE HUGS!!!!! WOOT WOOT!!!!

          • I asked my sister last night if it was bad karma that I’d just wished my sad sausage was dead (it fit into a TV show I was watching, sort of…), and she said, “No, I’ve thought about actually killing him.” I appreciated the moral reassurance from my real soul mate 🙂

            • Mine had an extreme surgery and will continue to have major cosmetic surgeries to complete his vision of self. For months I worried that he might die from it. I hope it is acceptable for me to admit here that lately I half wish he would. <— Not my usual character and so I really, really, am looking forward to Meh. Just wish I could forget about him altogether.

  • Dear Missed: 15 years and two kids, I get it. We all do. It’s super hard to believe that someone you invested that much time in, created a family with, loved and forgave is such a monumental jackass. But he is.

    I picked me danced for two years, praying that he’d “wake up” and see what he was losing. Got the same bullshit of I wasn’t forgiving enough (all while he was openly still with her…during his one sided open marriage…the condition he placed to even try to save our marriage).

    Listen, Missed, get your proof, kick him out, divorce him. Once he is gone from your life, you will be the one to wake up from the fog and realize how much shit you had to put up with. These fuckers don’t operate in a vacuum: they degrade you, guilt you, make you question your worth on a daily basis. Make you feel that there is something wrong with You, all in the name of getting their needs met. Once you have him out, you will see how small you made your needs to accommodate the Entitled One. How much your kids have done without.

    Once you realize that, and start building your own life for you and the kids, you will realize how mighty you always were. You will discover a core of strength you didn’t know you possessed and you WILL move on and be much happier for it.

    Prayers and giant hugs for you and your kids! Be an Amazon and delete that weak little Peter Pan out of your life!

    • They make you question everything and make you think you are crazy!!! TRUST ME – GET OUT NOW

    • This — “These fuckers don’t operate in a vacuum: they degrade you, guilt you, make you question your worth on a daily basis. Make you feel that there is something wrong with You, all in the name of getting their needs met. Once you have him out, you will see how small you made your needs to accommodate the Entitled One.”

  • Me. 4 years ago. Did the pick me dance…for 4 years. He separated from me. Now with ns.. He gleefully got ready for a date 3 days after the discard while staying in the office. And still wanted kisses and hugs from me even up to 3 months after. Cake eater!!! I shut that sh#t down! We are now low low contact until the house sells. Trust that he sucks and you will not win. GET. OUT.NOW.

    (((Hugs)))

  • This con man describes his long lasting affair as ‘a mistake’, as if it were a one time tryst. It is actually a long series of mistakes to meet her over and over again for YEARS! So much so that it becomes unavoidable to develop an intimate bond outside the marriage, they shared so much time together, make no mistake that he must have also been declaring his love for her as well!

    • Yeah a mistake. What criminal admits to their crime? Same shit. They are guilty and will never admit it.

  • He cheated again because he didn’t think your forgiveness was satisfactory? As soon as I think I’ve heard it all, I discover that I haven’t. These people are a special kind of stupid.

    • And that unsatisfactory forgiveness is based in what? Forgiveness is based on repentance! I don’t see any of that here. As I reminded my pastor post D-day, God offers forgiveness to everyone but not everyone responds with contrition, you know the often forgotten, other half of the equation. If he ever brings us forgiveness again, please ask him what contrition he has achieved.

      In second thought, why bother? Get away from this monster now and go No Contact, the path to the truth and the light! I guarantee six weeks of No Contact will CHANGE YOUR WORLD!!!!!

      • AOoK–didn’t you get your post D-day memo? Forgiveness is to be based on just how FAB the cheater is; no apology, no remorse, no contrition needed! You get to bask in the warmth of their wonderfulness for eternity (or until the discard, whichever comes first).

        • What and silly me went and divorced him? Gosh, poor me, missing out on all that fabulousness. Had I only stayed in contact I am sure I would feel the need to bask again.

          Instead I applied a liberal dose of cheater block! No Contact is the sunblock of cheater exposure. It comes as a level 8 for new chumps not sure they know what to do, moves up to a 15 for those with kids who whittle it down to email only, then up to a full coverage 30 for those who only have to handle special occaissions, and 50 for those who never have to interact with their cheater again!

          • Oh, the bliss of 50 No Contact cheater block. I will never, ever have to see his face again.

              • Moi??

                (but lest newbies get the wrong idea–I really am soft and nonviolent at heart. I rescue betta fish, for crying out loud.)

            • As attributed by the ultimate narcissist and soon to be headless Marie Antionette, “Let them eat cake.”

              • You’re so right, Kar Marie–save the betta fish and let’s put cheaters in little cups in Petco. Stamp the cups “Toxic” and allow people to use them as mosquito repellant.

    • A year ago I was in the same state of mind. Now: meh! Stbx (I filed) last week blameshifted ‘if you would have dealt with my uncertainties differently (meaning: the whole double life before and fucking around after DD), we could have made it’. I answered – from the bottom of my heart – ‘I am so so glad I didn’t. I resent fighting for a man that keeps on letting me down’. Dear MissedRedFlags, in your heart you know, it is the pain over the loss that keeps you there, let it go, the pain will go with it.

      • Grace,

        “I am so glad I didn’t.” Me too. I always struggled with this one. What kind of person does not fight for someone they love? I felt I should fight for him and our relationship. I could literally kick OW ass and leave her sniveling on the ground. At the same time, I didn’t feel that he was worth fighting for. He betrayed my trust and I wanted to kick his ass and leave him sniveling on the ground. He has me by 10 inches and 100 pounds, but a swift kick to his bad knee to take him down and another to groin would be a great start. Sorry. I just had an angry relapse.

        Ultimately, I’m glad that my wreconciliation didn’t last too long and I let him go.

  • Sounds very familiar…the only thing my staying the year after DDay, let me see that those “few” women were actually hundreds…he never stopped the entire time just went deeper under ground…my XH said, ” I thought you would leave me and I didn’t want to be alone” even though I never said that and was in counseling and thought we were actually doing good!! He ended up being a total sociopath serial cheater….still is doing it even now we’re divorced. Will not ever change, and seriously he doesn’t want too, he’s too special for just one person, I know this as I’ve read it many times in his messages to his OW, “I’m special and unique!” Not.

    • Hundreds! HOW DO THEY DO THIS. My life post-X is so quiet, calm, limited socially, deeply happy, and *fun*. But fun because it is shared with a very select few.

      Half the reason I have been NC/LC for ? A year? Almost a year? Over a year? Is that he had many triangles going on, and I didn’t want to stick around and find out at what level.

      The other half of the reason for NC/LC, has been the pure horror of potentially
      finding out someday that it wasn’t just the many I suspected, but hundreds.

      I don’t know how they live like this; I would never sleep. CL’s words today are like a wildfire for me, just pure raging truth. I’m totally ok with hope being burned away from this part of my heart.

  • Missed, do yourself the biggest favor possible and shut this crap down now. The longer you pour your efforts into a no-win situation like this, the more you are reinforcing a negative self-image, one that convinces your psyche that no matter how hard you try to do something (anything, not just “save a marriage”), you will always be ineffective and doomed to failure. Divorce Minister has labeled cheating as Soul Rape for a sound reason – by voluntarily surrendering your agency here, you are teaching your subconscious that you are a failure and not worthy of love, from others, but more importantly from yourself. The Pick-Me Dance is a tough habit to unlearn, and it invariably bleeds into other aspects of your life where self-assurance is crucial. Good luck to you.

    • Wow. +1

      Wiser, you just illuminated my understanding further with this truth. Our psyche taking a cue.

    • Wiser – This is the most important truth I have read here. Reading your post, I realized that continuing to tangle with him sapped my self-assurance in every aspect of my life – my work, health, appearance, social activities, friendships, willingness to try new things, travel and meet new people. I would counsel anyone to get that Property Settlement Agreement signed as soon as you find out. Don’t fall for wreckonciliation or do the Pick Me Dance. Don’t get sucked in when s/he panics after you file. You will just destroy yourself while s/he keeps up the same behavior. The longer there are no consequences for them, the worse they become.

  • WORDS verses ACTIONS.

    Looks at CL’s list and see if the items on it match up with him saying “he told me I was the “love of his life” and he’d made “the worst mistake of his life” and he wanted to stay married.” I don’t think so.

    However, his actions do match up with “He wanted to see what else was out there.” So stop wasting your time being the only one invested in your marriage and give him his freedom to explore his options without the baggage of a wife (that he obviously doesn’t want to be with). Your life will be hell for a while but isn’t hell now? And the additional 3 years you gave it already prove that if you stay, the next 3 likely won’t be either

    I know what I have written is tough to hear but I have been in shoes similar to yours and the sooner you realize that you have to step up and leave, the better off you will be. Take care of you – no one else will do that for you, especially your husband (he’s already proven that). Oh, and get tested for STDs ASAP and don’t have sex with him again.

    • Also, line up a job. Look into some sort of education/certification. Many degrees are available online. Coding, accounting, nursing, cosmetology, child care, military support, or transcribing will see you through the toughest times. If you already have a job, keep a foot in that door.

  • My ex said and did most of the exact same things as in this letter. He claims he cheated (over and over) because he “didn’t think I would ever forgive him”, because I “said awful things to him” (I did compare him to my cheaterpants father. Once.)”, because I was “going to graduate school and didn’t pay attention to him”, because, because, because…

    “A three-year six-year affair is not a “mistake” singular. It’s thousands upon thousands of willful decisions to deceive you. It’s sociopathic. Normal people don’t have double lives nor can they maintain them.” <– This. All of this.

    It doesn't matter his "reason" for cheating. If he was invested in your marriage, he would have cared enough to work through and address any *actual* problems you both may have had.

    Listen. The Pope himself wouldn't have enough "forgiveness" to offer your cheater. Cut your losses, get a good, supportive therapist and a bulldog divorce attorney. Later on, you can find someone who loves you and for whom there wouldn't be any "reason" good enough in this world to cheat on you.

    • The cheater handbook.”You are the love of my life.” and “I knew you would never forgive me.” Check and check. Still can’t figure out how I was supposed to forgive him when he was still cheating! Words, just words, all designed to keep confuse, deceive and deflect.

      • I heard the same things. The other thing I heard was my limbic system screaming “Danger! Danger!” every time I saw mine after D-day. My limbic system was more convincing.

    • Yes, Chumplady, thank you for breaking down what a multi-year affair is. It is not a lapse, not simply a mistake, or “I could not help it” (as my ex said), it is an astounding series of thousands of lies to maintain. It is one of those times where you cannot separate the behavior from the person because it takes some sort of “unique” personality in order to pull it off.

  • Oh, and another thing. I was dancing the Pick Me Dance for our entire relationship, but didn’t know it. Now I’m doing the Fuck You Dance and enjoying partnering with myself and gaining a life!

    • I love the Fuck You Dance!!!!
      And I’ve come to realize, I’m really good at it! Perhaps we need a Chump Nation Fuck You Dance Off?

    • Martha, you slay me! Allow me to suggest some other dance steps:
      You Suck Salsa
      No More Cakewalk
      Ta Ta Cha Cha
      Bye Bye Boogie
      Out of Limbo
      Table for One-Step
      She’s a Hora
      Twist in the Wind Asshole!

    • I was also doing the “pick me Dance” throughout our entire marriage and now Im doing the “Fuck You” dance…the day I learned he was a serial cheater, I called a few specific people I knew he would never want to know his darkest secret just because I knew if he were alive it would piss him off. That day I also took the last photo of him off the wall (cursing all the way to the basement with that fucking photograph). When he comes to mind, I often just say or think “fucker”…and I probably WAS the love of his life and he is still a “fucker”.

    • Awesome Martha – I propose the Chump Slide as a version of the “Fuck you” Dance (to the Cha Cha Slide Melody):

      This is somethin’ new
      The Chump Slide part 1
      And this time we’re do the dumping
      Dumpin’
      Everybody clap your hands
      Clap clap clap clap your hands
      Clap clap clap clap your hands

      Alright we gonna do the basic steps
      File to the left
      File to the right
      Don’t take it back now

      One lawyer this time
      Right foot lets stomp
      Left foot lets stomp
      Cha cha real smooth
      Now turn it out

      To the left
      Take it up to the court
      One hop this time
      Right foot lets stomp
      Left foot lets stomp
      Cha cha now y’all
      Now it’s time to get judgy

      To the right
      To the left
      Let your lawyer take it now y’all
      One motion this time, one motion this time
      Right foot two stomps
      Left foot two stomps
      Slide to the left
      Slide to the right
      Criss cross, criss cross
      Cha cha real smooth

      Lets go to court
      To the left
      Take it back now y’all
      Two motions this time, two motions this time
      Right foot two stomps
      Left foot two stomps
      Hands on your knees, hands on your knees

      How low can your cheater go
      All the way to the floor
      Like s/he’s never never stopped

      But you bring it to the top
      Cuz’ you’ll never never stopped
      Get judgy with it
      Ooooooooh yeah (come on)
      Cha cha now y’all
      Turn it out
      To the left
      You won’t take it back now

      Five motions this time
      Right foot lets stomp
      Left foot lets stomp
      Right foot again
      Left foot again
      Right foot lets stomp
      Left foot lets stomp
      FREEEZE

      . I later realized that while I have shortcomings like every other human being, I also have many good points. I’m worth having as a friend. I’m worth being treated with respect. And, I do have better friends now. People who actually get that reciprocity is a part of friendships/relationships.

      • JannaG, I love your post. One of the outcomes of us having this devastating experience is the chance to reexamine ALL of our relationships. Are we surrounding ourselves with good people? Maybe some of our friendships can be examined, too, as we learn to expect reciprocity in our relationships. After this trauma, I am adjusting to being single again and really valuing certain friends more as I strive to spend less time with certain other friends.

    • Great Essay by CL and Great Comments by CN.

      For all those modern open-minded folks out there that think CL/CN is nothing but a bunch of bitter, vindictive losers who weren’t good enough, I’d like them to read this thoughtful essay and articulate, rational, honest, empowering collection of comments.

      Truth!

    • After 4 years of manipulation for cake and proclamations like “I have fallen” and “I was weak” (unbelievable, as he “chose” to seek an affair on Ashley Madison, Craigslist,etc) and requests to pray with him and to renew our vows (both had me dumbfounded), he has rewritten our history into a “loveless marriage” where all I ever did was control him. Fucktard. Wish I had found Chumplady sooner and divorced him sooner. He couldn’t be troubled with actually filing.

    • Yup – same story here. The ridiculous I made a mistake, when the whole time a completely vile double life was led – not a clue on my end. Con artist, everyone including me thought he was a great guy, husband, employee, father, kids volunteer coach – makes my skin crawl all the things I uncovered after the first tip. Barely divorced before he moved across town, remarried and replicated the life we had with current chump so he could image manage with an entirely new group of people. Only a matter of time until the house of cards comes down on the third marriage – Red Flags much? Incapable of change. Run fast and far and let a lawyer handle it all.

    • Divorce is terrifying, the thought of losing everything, destroyed family, broken children’s hearts, financial insecurity, loneliness, loss of the life you thought you had. You are trying to save your FAMILY which is the most important thing in the world to you and to you probably worth all the suffering you’ve been through so far.

      But your husband does not feel these same fears for your family, or love for your family. He is using your dedication and love for your family to extract the elixir he needs to make his dick feel good. Think about that. Think about what kind of monster chooses his penis over his family, his own children’s precious hearts and lives.

      That monster lives with you. He is hurting you and your family every day. He is not your family. He is evil and you need to protect your family from HIM and the pain and suffering he brings into your lives.

      Be Brave. You must. Fight Evil! It is the hardest thing you may ever have to do, but you must do it. It will hurt. But you will rise from the ashes, strong and free and wise.

      You cannot change him, he cannot be cured with counseling or medication or prayer or demonic exorcism. You cannot cure Evil.

      • Powerful and true….Nailed it. HE IS NOT YOUR FAMILY. That is the key and what is so hard to let go of, because someone who is familiar can feel like home.

    • ‘ You could never forgive me’ …….Look Fuckwitt, I ain’t Nationwide. My policy does not include ‘Affair Forgiveness’

      Dont recall reading that in the fine print Motherfucker.

    • Try to get cake from me and he gets the axe. He may have his cake, but not from me. Never from me. It’s guillotine time (Hammer Time tune).

    • The ” loveless marriage” and the “you will never control me again” are classics. What is that all about? Just image management I guess.
      Evil creeps is so true, just v v hard to get your head around. Distance really does help to see what rubbish they spout.

    • MRF – One of my therapists said of my long-term serial cheating EW, “She was a decision looking for a reason.” Your husband decided a long time ago that he was going to cheat, and began looking for excuses (in his mind) to do what he had decided to do. They don’t have to be good excuses (as if there could be), or rational. That’s why you end up shaking your head at them when you hear them give the reason(s), and go, “What? That was the reason?”

      Know this, it was not because of you or any purported shortcoming of yours. That’s just a device he’s using now to try to draw you into thinking you had some role in what he did (and did for a hell of a long time, by the way). It keeps him from having to accept responsibility for what he did. To do otherwise would require him to accept what a disordered monster he really is. Who wants that, especially if you are an entitled narcissist? He could never admit that to himself, so you MUST have had something to do with it.

      I’m from Texas, born and raised. I know horseshit when I see it. Trust me, what he’s telling you is just that. Don’t step in it (meaning accept ANY responsibility).

      You had no role in what he did, and don’t assign one ounce of that responsibility to yourself. That is not your burden to bear. He was never who you thought he was. Lawyer up, go no contact, get out, get the life you deserve – the one you always deserved.

    • Please read JannaG again and again and again. THAT is the truth.

      MRF, the final killing of the hope is to accept – truly, truly ACCEPT – that actually, you don’t matter that much to him. You are an appliance. A thing of use.
      To truly truly accept that actually, you have no connection. He is not connected to you. He is just limited that way: you are [shrugs] safe, and she is [shrugs] exciting. IT IS THAT SHALLOW.

      This is deeply painful to accept, but once you do, you can do what is absolutely vital for an addict (you) – no contact. File, and don’t see or speak to him.

      I was a completely and utterly terrified and destroyed person. He isn’t a bad person. But he (his way of being – this pussy then that pussy, looking for the next love) is NOT RIGHT FOR ME. His lack of emotion (other than self pity) and empathy hurts me. You actually have to get away from that to have a chance.

      Then Janna’s post kicks in. Life is so much better without being mentally and emotionally abused. There are people out there who like you for you. Who can listen, who say what they mean and mean what they say. It is not all bad to spend time by yourself, developing a relationship with yourself and your higher power, and learning authentic relationships with safe people, developing your own career.

      Its OK. My kids (older than yours) have got to see him for who he is without any of my input – and prefer my family life. They still love their Dad, but they can see he isn’t alright. The karma bus works in mysterious ways.

      • Absolutely great post! “this pussy then that pussy” actually gets really disgusting really fast if you think about it. And you HAVE to think about it. You deserve better.

    • Once again feeling ever so grateful to have had the walkway-spouse type of infidelity. Cake eaters are just the worst. I didn’t realize it at the time, but the deafening silence and the lack of second tries–that he wouldn’t “fight for us”–such a gift.
      What a public service CL provides, to fight against delusion.

      • Hello Miss Sunshine,
        Yes, I too had a walkaway spouse. Two weeks after D-Day he went on a pre-planned 6 week overseas work trip (the the OW was also attending) and was also visiting his Mum who lives in Europe and once that was up he never came home, never faced me, I never saw him again. He wrote me an email to say he was leaving me to be with the OW. My Mum and I packed up my house ourselves and left his belongings in the garage and I moved interstate once the lease was up.

        At the time I was destroyed. I lost 15 kilograms in 6 weeks (33 pounds) and could barely function. But day by day, I got through. I had a lot of therapy, support from my university and work and also a great family. That was 10 months ago and I have since started a new, better life.

        I now realise that it could have been worse, much worse – that he could demonstrated behaviours to keep both me and the OW going. I wanted him to come home at the time. Him not doing that was the best thing to have happened to me. That he could have prolonged cake and messed with my mind.

        At 34, I feel chewed up and spat out. I am grieving over if I will ever meet a suitable partner and try for children. I am grieving that I stayed with such a creepy dude for 6 years. Yes, I saw red flags, which I brought u to him and he always had an answer.

        I never imagined my ex was capable of such cruelty and mind-fuckery. It’s hard to process, but it’s important to face those things in a safe space so that our cheating exes don’t diminish our futures. Nothing about cheating is “accidental.” People who cheat hurt their spouses and families intentionally. Here’s to continuing to fight against delusion.

        Best of luck to you.

        • Hugs, NeverLookingBack.

          Take the time to grieve and process. Glad you’ve found this community. You already have come so far–enough that you see the gift in not having a cake eater in your life. Good for you!

          You’re a very young woman. You have a full life. You are intelligent and perceptive. Learn from this experience, and trust that you will open your heart again, this time wiser.

          We’re here for you. You really will be ok.

          My xH walked away into a seemingly happier life, leaving me to find one of my own. After a few months of me begging, pleading and insulting, I went dark, and he did, too. He never had any intention of coming back home, and it took me a while to figure out that nothing I could do would change that. The early days were quite painful and lonely. I gathered myself up, got help here, filled my time with raising teens, work, travel, and good friends. It is about 5 and a half years after D-day, and now I am in love with a man who is perfect to me. I am so grateful that I am not married to my xH any more. I now see the severance as a gift. Of course I wish he’d been a different person, but he’s not, and I am free and so much happier. Maybe he is, too and that’s fine with me. I don’t want to worry about the father of my children, ever. That’ll be OW’s job now, and I don’t envy her, really.

          But, really. You’re doing a great job just 10 months out!! I was not nearly as collected as you seem to be. Well done! Keep going! You got this.

        • So so sorry that you went through so much pain. I too lost weight but have put it back on. Part of me wishes I was skinny again. People say these experiences are like bereavement and I really think that’s true. It takes the average adult two years to go through that process so assuming that’s right it’s reasonable to think you will be 36 or so. That will seem old from your perspective but it seems young to me – certainly young enough to meet somebody else and have a baby.
          Wishing you all the very best 🙂

        • Neverlookingback,
          Does he ever contact you in anyway, or is he just completely MIA?
          His behavior is shocking and aberrant, grotesque.

          • There’s a subset of cheaters who really do just up and walk away. I read this book in the early days: http://www.runawayhusbands.com/

            You can also Google Walk Away Wives.

            They call it “ghosting,” in its worst form. It is very weird and aberrant, but it happens. Mine did it–not the ghosting, but the total discard and abandonment with no wavering. I’m thankful. Didn’t need the mind fucks. I would’ve fallen for it, for sure, would’ve hung on and slowly died. This way, the Band-Aid was ripped clean off, and I could begin healing. The silence and loneliness are smothering at first. But it’s better, really.

            • Gonna have to agree with you, Miss Sunshine.

              I haven’t seen the cheater STBXW in close to seven months. There were a couple of months of sporadic texts and emails. Less than an hour total of phone calls, and that’s it.

              As of February, it’s been all lawyers all the time. I read about the hoovering, and I wanted that. Now I am grateful I didn’t have to suffer that at least. One and done on the cheating.

              Now I hate her with a passion. Searing rage drives me. I would never in a million years forgive her or take her back.

              But the only – THE ONLY – way I got there was no-contact.

              No-contact; no-contact; no-contact!!!

              • Ian. I know the hate you have. I seriously hate my STBXW. I don’t care that she is blowing her AP… what pisses me most off ? Is that I’m bleeding money, she is using the kids as a meal ticket. And she has no intention of settling in the divorce.

                So my lawyer is going to court (which is probably going to rob us 50% of 15 years savings). But she doesn’t care (it’s not her money). She is fucking the kids college funds up , but she doesn’t care. I’m paying 2/3 of her rent , more for kids, and the car. She almost has no expenses (thanks to the courts hey).

                And that is what pisses me the most off. Wasting money and time, and she is blowing her AP, no care in the world because I’m paying for “the kids”.

                • Howdy, SDK.

                  You are one of the “lucky” chump guys I was referring to the other day. You get the privilege of paying for your wife to blow a dude. Awesome!

                  Sorry she’s such a whore.

                  I think what you’re referring to about her “blowing him” is what I call the “mind movies” (no doubt I stole that). But yes, I don’t think about her nasty vertical smile any more. Or what she’s doing with it. I just hate her.

                  Some people here get divorced quickly. Some not so quickly. But when it’s the cheater dragging her feet just to spite me, it’s hard not to hate.

                  In spite of that, I am well on my way to gaining a life. And from your posts I can tell you are too.

                  Have a mighty day, SDK.

              • Ian, not sure why I can’t reply to your reply. Always like your post

                >You get the privilege of paying for your wife to blow a dude.

                I know, I feel like such a “winner”. I want to scream.

                >Sorry she’s such a whore.

                Don’t be sorry at all.. its the truth!

                >But when it’s the cheater dragging her feet just to spite me, it’s hard not to hate.

                You know what, I didn’t hate her when we started divorce. I could be civil, friendly etc. Now with her dragging heels, wasting money and time… my hate went thru the roof. I despise her with a passion. She can fck the other guy I don’t care… but she is wasting [my] money.

                >And from your posts I can tell you are too.

                Thanks man. Yea.. life could be better (when she is done).

                I hope you can kick her to the curb and win all the way!!

    • Oh honey, you are not an idiot. You are a loving caring human being who just wants a normal loving relationship There is nothing wrong in that. He’s the idiot for not valuing you and for betraying and breaking the most sacred trust one person can have with another. He’s broken, not you. Please believe that he sucks.

    • Telling you that you are the “love of his life” after being caught cheating sounds like manipulation on his part in an effort to maintain cake. Prior to finding out about XH’s affair, he would say “You mean the world to me.” He would say it very fast and it sounded insincere. At one point, I made my voice sound like a parrot’s and said, “You mean the world to me. RAAK. RAAK. You mean the world to me.” I then told him that it really didn’t sound like he meant it. He said, “Okay, I won’t say it anymore.” And he didn’t.

      • I’m so falling over with this exchange with your X.
        It reminds me of me; something I would have said.

        When I would call him to report on the dogs’ winnings at a dog show far away…his answer was SO FRICKING PHONY!
        I could just tell.
        You don’t live with a guy for 36 yrs and not know it’s fake.

        I wish I would have squacked back at him too!

        Raak Raak – “Great!” when my girl won Best of Breed. RAAK
        SO, not like us to not scream and yell.

        Raak. I like that as a new motto.

    • Dear Missed,

      Even more painful for me than finding out that I was getting divorced…..was the day I went to the attorney and filed the paperwork to have him served. The pain I was in….the desperately wanting to believe that this was all a mistake…the feeling of being so miserable I wished I could crawl out of my skin.
      I wouldn’t wish that on anyone….not even my ex (on my good days 🙂

      You have to hire an attorney and file. There are advantages to filing first (even though you desperately don’t want too….I know).

      1. My attorney said that it is because imagine you both have to paint a picture. Whoever draws/files first, gets to set the landscape…

      2. You can somewhat control the timing of things.

      3. Ask for EVERYTHING at first. You can always negotiate down….but ask for it at first.

      He is going to be furious! (Mine was and he WANTED the divorce!!) That is no longer your problem.
      He didnt care about your feelings….DO NOT CARE ABOUT HIS!

      So sorry you are going through this. ((hugs))

      • One place i was lucky with asswipe i didnt have to worry about his feelings he never had any ever. Stoic as the days long. If he had feelings he would never hurt others deliberately or at least be honest. I always heard ….dont take this the wrong way…….but…
        asshole!

    • Aside from not acting like a chump, you need to find a life that doesn’t start with an internal dialogue about your asshold husband. Where’s your independence; what do you like to do aside from making a home for a deadbeat liar?

      • This is very true, but it is not easy to just stop “making a home for a deadbeat liar” after that being your main purpose in life for 3 decades. That sounds so pathetic and I am struggling with baby steps towards more independent life focus and purpose. In addition to the disbelief, rage, hurt, pain … many of us really have to craft a new self-image. I try to remember the girl I was 32 years ago … I am unrecognizable now compared to then. No going back of course, but remembering my original strengths, weaknesses, goals, and so forth is where I am starting mentally. I just keep telling myself this will all be very much for the best in a few years. One foot after the other …

        • Dixie, early on, I remembered too the goals and strengths and all of that. But what helps me most on a daily basis is remembering and reminding myself *what makes me HAPPY*.

          I strongly recommend remembering *everything* that makes you HAPPY. Keep that long list in mind and it will grow longer still.

          This morning I have been thinking a lot about how this is my first summer fully apart from the cheater, and how odd it is that the six years I spent with him feel now like they never happened at all. I don’t know how this “amnesia” has happened — probably partly EMDR and mostly NC — but I’m really grateful for it, and try to keep my list of happiness front and forward.

          Your decades with him were valuable. Nothing erases that, really, even no matter how anyone (they, or we ourselves) try to say it wasn’t meaningful. It all was. And it’s terrible that betrayal was a part of those years. But you have to know that you yourself are of highest value, and that what you did was good. There just is nothing we can do, about someone else’s poor choices or reasoning or broken promises.

          The promise here now is in you, and you’re golden. Cry oceans when you need to; it’s a cleansing and purification and release. But when you are spent, know that the promise now is all in you, and that you are golden. (((HUGS)))

          • Thanks, Lucky. I appreciate your kinds words and advice. I will start working on my Happy List! 🙂

        • I dated XH for 7 years and we would have been married for 30 years last year in December but the divorce was final last June. In trying to craft a new self-image, I vacillate between my teen-age self when I met him and my mid-50 self now. A year out from divorce, I have no interest in dating. In my job, I work with the public and have the opportunity to meet women, men and couples. When I meet men, I do not feel any type of interest, but rather a mixture of fright and revulsion. When I see senior couples, I feel sadness. I have read that bonding with others is often superficial at best after long-term narcissistic abuse and I seem to be experiencing that.

    • ON DATING

      I have no idea why, but for some reason dating fresh out of tangling with a narcissistic sociopath sends your brain SCREAMING to have contact with the very person who kicked your teeth out. I would strongly advise against it.

      Please no judgement! But in an effort to dull my pain, (I was a zombie, truly) I went out with a hot, silly younger man. One of my girlfriends dragged me to a bar, and one thing led to another.

      I am 44, he was 27 ( I know!) but I thought well….men have been doing it for centuries. I thought that tanned young flesh, silly and horny as hell would do the trick.

      It doesn’t. I was completely NOT interested in sex (my body still longs for Maggot…it is like slavery) and his familiar, wonderful expertise. (had better stop smoking THAT pipe.) Not a kid. Not someone who does not know me. (But did Maggot?)

      My point is…it does not work. Maybe it is too soon, maybe it works for people who have no souls, but it set me back. The young man was 100% single, earnest and sweet but it was agony.

      I don’t think we should sacrifice our lives to this shit sandwich for years (GOD NO!) but the sad reality is…we have suffered a brain trauma and it takes time for it to heal up.

      For others it may work. But for me….it sent my limbic system into overdrive…almost a panic to talk to Maggot. The longing to be in bed with him was….wild.

      Would we ever go crawling back to the diner that gave us food poisoning, begging for another rancid chicken pot pie? Would we phone the person who beat us up in an alley to steal our purse? NO…but it is the best evidence of the mind fuck we have been through. We want to see and be healed by the freak that hurt us.

      ABORT DATING MISSION UNTIL BRAIN IS HEALED.

      • Agree with this 100%. The damage we’ve sustained requires a long-term healing process, and I suspect we inflict further harm if we try the “get over by getting under” solution. All it does is jack up the chemistry that’s already jacked up by what we endured in the toxic partnership. Like, don’t pressure yourself to date or engage, not right now. It’s not necessary, even if people around you seem like they would feel more comfortable if you were only partnered again, or happy.

        Depending how far you are out from bomb drop, divorce, NC, any of that — this is a huge loss and a massive bereavement. Even if people around you don’t understand why. That was your heart that got ripped out, your body and intuition that got fooled, and your dreams and future that got torn away. It hurts and you have every right to grieve it as a widow, as long and as formally and as deeply as you need to.

        We run the real risk of picking another toxic partner or dynamic if we don’t take this time to process, grieve, rage, heal, and rebuild. No matter how old or young you are, you have time. We have time. It’s not necessary to partner up, even if that feels like it would solve the scares and hurts and real financial insecurity.

        It’s not the life anyone would have willingly chosen or planned. I’m sorry for all of us in it. But please be patient with your healing and know that it’s the very most important thing.

        I went the opposite way, when I saw a guy for a little while, some time after I went NC. I’m 47 and he was 60, older than anyone I had ever dated. He was good to me, but my heart wasn’t in it and he understood. My head is so screwed by X and my body still yearns only for his, and no other. Slavery is a great word for it. But NC has been very helpful in teasing apart that beloved body from all the relationship crime it committed.

        There is a guy at a local shop I frequent, who looks dead-on like X did in the first year of our relationship. That messes with my head and I am always bewildered when I see him. Then afterward, something kicks in and lets me know again, X was really bad. That other person is probably not bad. But now is definitely not the time for me to explore it.

        The sadness will ease up as you process more of your grief and disappointment and hurt, and slowly begin to absolutely love your own beautiful company. Keep examining and putting things away and crying when you need to. And the rest of us will keep listening and responding. I don’t think any of us are doomed to life alone or superficial. Good people will come along as we make room for them, in our own time. (((HUGS)))

        • ON DATING – SO REAL
          I know you’re right is many ways. It’s hard, it’s really is a journey to heal! It sucks!!! I pretty sure I’ll be better off waiting.(I say that but keep trying FAIL)..I can see glimmers of the new me coming out…..I’m a good guy and I was an awesome guy when I meet my wife 26 yrs ago…. Lost myself in all the lies of trusting her..

          Tuesday will come

        • GOOD MORNING LUCKY!
          That was so well said and well done. I have been working on changing my brain chemistry through vigorous exercise to break the bonds of that slavery. Do you think I can? I HATE IT that I only want him. He was a lion in bed (ALL THAT EXPERIENCE…A MALE SLUT REALLY) and it was exciting. I hate to admit that.

          Is it just time I need?

          Lucky…I do not want to waste anymore time on this clown. I want to be free! What do you think? I don’t want to be a celibate nun for his lying cheating ass!

          Chris 1731…

          Well…I may be an internet beat down for this…but I have found that for men…it is really different. (Flinching from blows). I MEAN..in terms of finding someone. If you just put that photo of you up, you are going to get hundreds of responses on online dating.

          I don’t mean your heart healing different! I know that is the horrible part.

          But there are a lot of women out there looking for a decent and honorable man.

          Millions of them!

      • Im still in process of my divorce from a narc. The idea of dating again is the most overwhelming thing ever. My therapist explained how I am essentially going through a chemical addiction withdrawal from my Narc. Now the problem is going to be trying to find someone sane and normal who I can connect with, without feeling that crazy ‘high’ that you get from a narc relationship. It’s a lot to process! So I am going to focus on the whole healing thing and figure I will start to know when the time is right to try to get out there and meet new people…

        • You’ll know when the time is right. Fortunately, if you give it a whirl and it turns out the time is *not* quite right, you’ll know that, too!

          I have to say, for me, the first “normal, sane” experience — while very kind and full of calm positive chemistry — felt somewhat boring. Something big was missing, not just the familiarity or years of loving, but rather that edgy not-sure-what-to-expect-here feeling I always had with X. And that was how I recognized that the time *wasn’t* quite right yet, for me. Because that edgy uncertainty, for the last year of relationship, made me continuously physically sick. Who would want to repeat anything like that!

          I do make the most of new interpersonal situations; I’m friendly and pleasant and maybe even warm. But I don’t invite anything beyond the existing moment. That in itself feels pretty healing, freeing. This healing time is for you, however you want to work it, and however long you want and need to.

    • I’ve been in wreckonciliation for the last five years, and all that really means is that I’ve willfully ignored any and all obvious signs that my idiot husband hasn’t changed. Something happened the other day, something so small in light of all the other things I’ve turned a blind eye to for the last few years. I watched him delete a text. That’s all, and I’m sure he would have had an easy answer if questioned. But something inside me just snapped, and I took a long hard look at what our life is right now. He’s gone EVERY night till dawn. Every. Single. Night. When I get up to get the kids on the bus is when he’s arriving and heading to bed. We haven’t even really slept in the same bed in… ? Is this really the life I’ve traded for, simply to have the kids have both parents in the same house? Do I really want to live like this, paying all the bills, cleaning, cooking for him, and waving goodbye as he goes out night after night? He thinks I’m completely ignorant, when in reality I simply have a stranglehold on my self respect. I just discovered this site a few days ago and it’s been a HUGE eye opener. Although I can’t seem to figure out how to get into the daily forums…

      • Chumpiest–if you click on Forums in the top R corner, it should prompt you to start an account; a password will be sent to your email.

        And no, you don’t want to live like that much longer; you deserve better. Line up your financial ducks, a good lawyer, and kick his partying ass to the curb.

        • It won’t actually GIVE me the new password. It sends the email, and tells me to follow the link, but there’s no actual password in my email. I don’t know if it’s because I’m on my kindle? I don’t want to use the computer because I’m not especially tech savvy and I don’t want him to somehow find out I’ve been on this website. And you’re right. I have a rent free paycheck coming up this week. I’m going straight to a private detective to see what the hell he’s doing with all his nights. Wandering around Wal-Mart, yeah right. I’m about ninety percent sure it has more to do with that coworker he has “such great chemistry with!” Who the hell tells their wife that? Does he WANT me to drive myself crazy wondering?

          • …that coworker he has “such great chemistry with!”

            That pissed me off more than anything. Mind you don’t react or you’ll land the “histrionic jealousy” label.

            The coworker problems were THE WORST, and NEVER stopped. I’m torn between saying I hope you find him out, and, I hope there isn’t anything to that coworker. That he is just yanking your chain and being a dick.

            I don’t know why they do this, really, but actually yes, I’m pretty sure they do want us to drive ourselves crazy with wondering. So, good that you find out the truth, whatever it is, and I just said a prayer for you, for your heart’s protection. This is all such bullshit.

            • I really and truly hope they catch him with his pants down. We’ve been together fourteen years. After the first year came the rumors and explanations. And the proof, and more explanations. And the telling me I was insane and it was all in my head. Six years ago I finally had undeniable evidence and kicked him to the curb. Then took him back because he was making the whole separation thing so difficult for me and especially the kids. I’ve spent the last five years burying my head in the sand and telling myself that when the kids are just a little older I can try again. But the thing is, living with him, it’s a complete mindfuck. Because I love him. Every once in a while, I feel like maybe it’s all okay now. And then more rumors crop up, or some nineteen year old coworker bakes him a pumpkin cheesecake. Or like the last several months, when he doesn’t even attempt to spend any of his nights at home. I’m sick of it. I’m sick of knowing, but then every once in while fooling myself. The kids are older now. I finally have a job that makes it possible to live in a single parent household. Hell, I’ve paid almost all the bills here for forever. I just want to rip the bandaid off and take a good hard look at the reality I’ve known about for years. And then I want to sit down and have a calm conversation with him about what nights he gets to keep the kids, and let him know he’ll likely have to move back in with his mother, because even though he works five days a week he hasn’t the first clue of how to spend his money on actual bills.

      • Dear Chumpiest,

        You have one brief moment on this earth. That is all we get.

        Don’t eat any more of his shit sandwich.

        You should be eating a Monte Christo Sandwich, on a Parisian sidewalk, with a glass of sparking water, and the mild sun shining on your shoulders, as you debate whether to go to the Louvre and go shopping or go back to your 5 star hotel for a delicious nap.

        To quote U2: You are living underground, eating from a can, you’ve been running away from what you don’t understand.

        He is showing who he is….day after day. Those days are your life that you can never get back.

        I have a brutal male friend who said to me, when I was debating emailing the cheating meth maggot:

        “Your “relationship” is an obscene joke. I pity you that you think that is love. You are wasting more of this precious gift of life on someone who does not value you enough to treat you with basic decency.”

        Did that sting? Yes. But it stuck and it got my attention like none of the caudling from my well intentioned girlfriends. Much like this CL.

        You know you would not want any of your children to accept such shit treatment.

        WHY SHOULD YOU?

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