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Embrace the Chaos

chaosI remember once upon a time when my life was going to Hell, a friend wrote me a cheer up email and ended it with a quote from Bob Dylan — “I embrace the chaos.”

I laughed. When you’re in a free fall, you’re going to go splat on the pavement whether you “embrace” it, or not. Really, when life is shit, it feels more like chaos is trying to embrace YOU than the other way around. But I loved the quote. The lunacy and the hubris of it — Hey! Chaos! I not only accept you — I EMBRACE you! Bring it on!

There is a real peace that comes from understanding that you can’t control everything. As we say a lot here at Chump Lady — you only get to control you. And let’s face it, most of us aren’t even very good at that.

I’m a big believer in acceptance. Manage what we can, let go of the rest, and the wisdom to know the difference. So, I get rather puzzled when people criticize the site for being all “black and white” and intolerant of “uncertainty.” Sure, I believe there are some moral absolutes — “don’t commit adultery” comes to mind — I’ll cop to that. But I’m neither tolerant or intolerant of uncertainty. You may as well say I’m intolerant of gravity. Chaos is a force of nature. To live is to be uncertain — unless you’re Rand Paul or that Long Island psychic.

And chaos has an element of creativity as well (which is probably what Dylan meant). From the mess comes reinvention, recreation. I believe my life is a testament to that.

So to make living with “uncertainty” some sort of virtue, and to speak of it in New Age terms (to be Zenner than thou?) strikes me as weird. No, strike that, it strikes me as spackle. I think the argument goes something like this:

“My spouse cheated on me. I can’t know for certain if they will ever cheat on me again. So I accept that uncertainty. You angry, bitter folks over there — you think you have this figured out. That by leaving a cheater, you’re CERTAIN it will never happen again. You’re certain it’s wrong. You’re certain you know what to do if you’re cheated on. And you’re certain you can prevent it from happening again.” (To which, I wonder — hey, if we’re so certain about everything, why are we so angry? I mean, we control all outcomes, what is there to be pissed about?)

It seems nutty to me — I can’t be certain if he’ll cheat on me again, so I accept all uncertainty.

I’ve discussed this mental gymnastics before — to reconcile you have to live with the knowledge that the person you’re intimate with has betrayed you. You cannot unring that bell or unfuck that whore. That’s the shit sandwich and there is no avoiding it. So you tell yourself, okay, well I can’t control everything. Any number of things might happen if I reconcile — life is uncertainty! Those who bail do so because they can’t master the mental Zen art of dwelling with uncertainty.

Let me tell you, Unicorns, there’s a hell of a lot of uncertainty in divorce and single parenthood. We embrace the chaos over here.

The difference is we have a choice — not to live without uncertainty — but to live without a cheater. THAT cheater. The one who cheated on us — not some abstract cheater in our futures. Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.

The point is, we have confidence in our self-knowledge — what we did that was chumpy, what was spackle, and what was bad luck. We have faith in ourselves. We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives. We understand chaos and we’re not looking to manufacture it or invite people into our lives who embrace the fuckupedness.

We have deal breakers. We refuse to live amorphously without them. (Maybe I have a boundary, maybe I don’t… it’s a work in progress… it’s “uncertain.”)

We understand that we don’t control everything or anyone. We only control ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fucktard” and spinning the wheel. Yes, life is risk, but we manage risk. We weigh our investments. It’s okay to walk away from the casino. Sure, sometimes you pull the slots and hit Unicorns. But usually the house wins.

This column ran previously. 

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  • Welcome reprint-after 2 years of faux conciliation, I had the moment of clarity: I want my life back. The uncertainty that accompanies staying with a cheater breeds anxiety, fear and loss of self. They don’t change, so the energy expended on constantly spackling is WASTED. We don’t get that time back. Shake the shit off your shoe and enjoy A. A lighter shoe and B. A loss of its stink : ). Separation/divorce papers being finished up as I write this. Looking so forward to being free!

    • You can feel good that at least you tried. But I think you finally woke up to the reality that many of us are in. We tried, saw it wasn’t making any difference, and made up our mind to be done. It’s a great feeling, though very painful at the same time (giving up hopes and dreams and all). Be strong and “Get ‘er done”. Good luck.

    • Hey Smart Is Hard….SAME! Two more weeks and it is OVER…this past year since most recent DDay has been every day off dedicated to lawyers, therapy, packing and moving…luckily an amazing neighbor is taking me and my two labs in while we wait for our town home to be completed….June 30. I feel ya, and I already feel lighter and better. It has been hard….and it has been worth it. Cheers to you! Cheers to me too! And thanks CL and community so much for the needed support.

  • Saw an old friend at the weekend. He was always a dirty dog, hooking up with women when he had a partner and 2 children. 10 years had passed, he had a new partner now and a new baby, he told me he had changed. Then proceeded to try it on with me ugh!!

    It was a beatiful reminder of a cheaters nature.

    • What a classy guy, he has a new partner and a newborn, and his dick is calling the shots. This guy clearly has no brains and is operating at the level of rats, who just go around and do it with anything that moves. I feel bad for his kids who have a sleezeball spermdonor as a father.

      • For some guys the almighty screaming penis calls all the shots. That and their wallets. Screams im an old man, pick me! I guess the penis does a pick me dance.

        • “the almighty screaming penis” too funny!! There is that old saying, there is not enough blood in a man’s body to operate his brain and his penis at the same time. haha

          • “the almighty screaming penis” too funny!!

            I laughed at this too!! Hilarious with the imagery and all.

            • Screaming pick me!!!!! All you bitches out there pick me!!!! Cum one cum all the greatest show on earth!! A cartoon of an old penis with whiskers, a cane, bifocal glasses, pot belly, a mad look and a sling for it made out of viagra pills would make a great cartoon. I can draw but im bad at cartoons. Someone on here perhaps a cartoon drawer? Too sick? Naw! That cartoon would be hilarious. Caption for cartoon….i used to be with this….. or…. a screaming old penis in its natural habitat! Im gonna stop now so i can recover from laughing! I guess i still have a slightly sick sense of humor asswipe didnt get that.

            • Too funny. My sociopath “sex addict” STBX husband actually BROKE his own dick. Too much activity by himself and with his prostitutes, AFF hook ups, and girlfriends gave him a permanent venous leak. And he blamed me of course.

              Every time he injects that expensive magical potion pentamix by needle directly into his penis to get it hard or inflates the pump he planned to get installed, I hope he sees, and feels, the karma bus.
              With me behind the wheel.

              • omg Sunrise, that all hurts me just to even *think* about — and I’m female! But, I am also laughing my ass off.

                BROKE it? Gosh, man, KNOW WHEN TO QUIT.

              • Sunrise – Did I read that right? That he BROKE his own penis. How can you do that? You mean someone sat on it and it bent in half and now he’s lost all sensation? Anyway, he prolly didn’t know how to use it right. For chrissakes, breaking his own body part…

        • Honestly, I don’t think it’s a screaming penis, like as if he’s in pain or something if he doesn’t lol!! you can see it all over him, that stuff is normal and expected behaviour. Almost like he’s not a man to the rest of his scumbag friends if he doesn’t. He does it cos he allows himself to do it. Poor new woman and kids.

          He was quite proud of his wedding ring too!!

  • I don’t know about anyone else but making the decision to leave a cheater after almost 27 years of marriage was full of chaos and uncertainty. I won’t lie. It’s one of the things that kept me stuck for 3 years post dday. I was afraid of that uncertainty because it felt like an abyss.

    Since I do have the perspective of staying with a cheater however, I can tell you that I prefer the uncertainty of forging out on my own, over living with the uncertainty that this person I devoted my life to is going to continue to stab me in the back.

    I guess it all comes down to what kind of chaos you prefer. It’s, hard to believe but eventually that great unknown of leaving what you know becomes a source of comfort. It’s where all the new possibilities live! It could be a new job, a new home, a new love or new friends, maybe all of the above.

    I’d much rather live with new possibilities than a cheater!

    • Uncertainty is a chaos in and of itself. One year out of 27 years together and I admit that the chaos is very painful. Hoping to reach meh and some sort of peace.
      Can’t see it yet.

      • You will. I promise. 32 years of monogamy (on my part), 2 DDays, and 2 years of separation before I said enough because it was clear he was unwilling to do the hard work to make things better. Was the uncertainty difficult? Yes, I’m not gonna lie. But it was uncertainty I CHOSE rather than the uncertainty of living without trust or honesty. I got a divorce, started working full time, started teaching graduate level courses, bought a house and got my six dogs moved. There’s still uncertainty and chaos (fixing up and selling my old house is a huge undertaking right now) but I feel in control of myself and my destiny for the first time in many, many years. I am at peace with myself and the decisions I make. That is enough.

    • Also 27 years married, and 3 years stuck and now almost two weeks separated. Looking forward to what you describe! 🙂

      • Be patient with yourself, Raging. Healing and crafting a new life is both liberating and a marathon. Sometimes even the setbacks are healing because they allow us to process what has happened, and wrap our heads around the depth of the betrayal. Congrats on the separation!

        • You nailed it, Tempest! “Healing and crafting a new life is both liberating and a marathon”. Such a perfect description. After 25 years of marriage and 5 years of false “wreckonciliation”, I divorced my sex-addict, cheater. I packed 28 years of memories, sold my house, bought a new little house and started over. He left the country without paying the sizable alimony he was court-ordered to pay. Liberating is not waking up to the reality of living with a cheater every day. Liberating is wearing what I want, having my new little house with a beautiful garden and low utility bills. Liberating is knowing my kids (both adults now) are away from his manipulative shannanigans. The marathon is in starting over with a brain that has been traumatized by a cheater. The marathon is in going back to graduate school at almost 50. As you said, the setbacks help us process the depth of the betrayal. Almost four years out from divorce, the reality of the chaos I chose to live in is become clearer.

          Thanks for nailing this insane experience in perfect words!

          • You, rock, My.walls.will.sing! Graduate school, beautiful garden, and no more manipulation–sounds like paradise!

      • Raging,

        I didn’t realize you were so newly separated. It’s hell and I’m so sorry you have to go through this. I realized half way through Sunday that it had been a year since my final dday. I felt it a victory that I did not wake up realizing it or marking it as some of life’s tragic milestones. But I did grab my journal and documented what I have accomplished in the past year. I couldn’t believe all the little things (learning what 2 stroke oil was used for. I mean seriously, can they just call it weed wacker go juice) and all the big things (finalizing my divorce). I also decided to create a few goals for the upcoming year.

        After I was done, I went back and read some of my earlier writings. I’d forgotten that I created a list of things I wish I’d said to him but never did or all the stress and heartache he caused, even while he was still living with me. All of this helped me realize that what Chump Lady said about the pain being finite was true. I didn’t believe it at first. I’m still in pain, but more of splinter in my butt pain than the gaping chest wound pain. Once I remove the splinter, I will be at meh, but not today. Today I will live with the certainty that at least one person in this world will never have the opportunity to betray me again. I can live with that.

        • “Today I will live with the certainty that at least one person in this world will never have the opportunity to betray me again. I can live with that.”

          THIS!!! Thank you.

      • Raging,

        Are you the same “Raging” who’s been posting since at least 2014?

        You’re fucking hilarious. Sorry you’re suffering.

        • I am.. my sarcasm keeps me sane. Glad you ‘get’ my attempt at humor. I’ve posted by Raging since I’ve been browsing this blog.

          Thank you for taking time to reply to my comment, and for all the help and support I get here every day from all of you.

          • Second that–love your humor! I”m sorry you’ve had to suffer through attempted wreckonciliation for years. I hope you’re enjoying some peace now that evil ho-wife is out of the house.

      • Raging … I am 30 years married, 2 years of that as limbo chump, and now 7 weeks separated. We’re practically twins! This is definitely no fun. Please hamg in there because each week gets just a tiny bit better. Really.

    • 26 years of marriage here and divorced for a year now. Attempted wreckonciliation during the state mandated year of separation. I fully agree that that the marriage was full of chaos and uncertainty and I can trace the red flags I ignored all the way back to when we were dating.

      Cheaterssuck, I agree with you => It’s, hard to believe but eventually that great unknown of leaving what you know becomes a source of comfort.

      Being divorced is not easy especially with a kid who spends time with both parents and is subjected to the continued lies and triangulation attempts of the cheater. I’m learning how to deal with that and I’ll get through it eventually. Cheater-free = priceless!

    • “I’d much rather live with new possibilities than a cheater!” Oh, yes….Any day!

      Hey all……36 years here and still counting. Separated for over 3 years, BEST thing ever, to TAKE my life back, but it does take time & REAL effort and there is a ton of pain along the way. Thanks, Nation, for all your help!

      Getting close to being able to go ahead with divorce now. Couldn’t before…..Long story…….But am truly enjoying being cheater-free! The ‘uncertainty’ of my life now pales in comparison to the HORROR of existence with a cheater. I will take this ‘uncertainty’ over that any day!

      All for now…..Am heading out to enjoy my cheater-free life and all the amazing new possibilities!

      ForgeOn!!!! xxoxooxox

      • “‘uncertainty’ of my life now pales in comparison to the HORROR of existence with a cheater. I will take this ‘uncertainty’ over that any day!”

        So well said!!

      • “The ‘uncertainty’ of my life now pales in comparison to the HORROR of existence with a cheater. I will take this ‘uncertainty’ over that any day!” YES!!! Exactly ForgeOn! Good luck with the divorce. It will be the next “best thing ever”/

      • I love this post and your user name too. Good luck on the divorce.

      • Hey, all y’all…….Was out living my ‘cheater-free though still married life’ and just now saw your encouraging words!
        Love ya!!!!… we all ForgeOn!!!!!! {{{{HUGS!!!!}}}}

    • Agree. 35 years married with him cheating the last 8 years and I am almost divorced now. I didn’t pull the plug because of financial uncertainty, I didn’t want to break up my family and I didn’t remember life without him. Life with him was chaos and I desperately tried to control it and him. Now one year out with no contact I am beginning to get on my feet. The chaos and uncertainty I was living with for many many years is gone because he was the chaos. I don’t know what life will bring at this late age but I’m no longer being tortured. And if I had to use two words to describe the hell I’ve been through over the last eight years it would be uncertainty and chaos.

      • Oh I “embraced the chaos and uncertainty” – after DDay 1…DDay 2…DDay 3……….Guess what, it didn’t work!

        She eventually always defaulted to who she really was.

        Reconciliation with spouses whose character is flawed or disordered = Insanity

        “Insanity is *doing the same thing* over and over again, but *expecting different results*.”

        *You will NEVER be happy with a cheater*

    • I agree! I have experienced a turning point in my divorce process where the uncertainty of doing everything on my own and everything new changed from being really terrifying and overwhelming to being completely invigorating. I can’t wait to see what the universe sends my way!

    • Great perspective, CS. I also find that discovering (or rediscovering) bravery, satisfaction, accomplishment, courage….all of it…feel pretty darned good. (Even if I’m always late to dinner 😉 )

      The only thing I miss, for now, is somebody else to do some of the chores and errands, but hey…. who cares?

    • Just finalized our settlement agreement today. It is highly favorable to me in every way. I should feel victorious I suppose. While I am grateful that he is too stupid to know what he is signing (it would be untrue to say he is being generous or decent … he is just math-challenged and too lazy to research anything on his own), I just feel sad. I would take fidelity and love over his money any day. But apparently that was never an option and it took a lot of decades of my life to realize the truth. So onwards towards peace and future potentials. But definitely sad today.

      • Big hugs to you. I was sad too still am i only hope ot gets much better in the future.

      • DC, I was sad too at the end of the day we finalized our settlement agreement. So much so that I fell apart and called my attorney the next day to give more to cheater. Say what? – yes, chumpy me did that because I felt bad for him. Thankfully, my attorney told me to give it a week and call her back if I still felt that way and she would take care of it. Needless to say, I didn’t call her back or change the agreement in any way. Once I slept and it all sunk in, I realized that it was silly for me to still want to take care of him. I agree completely with you – I would take fidelity and love over money any day. Hugs!

        • Oh ByeBye, this sounds exactly like something I would do!! I’m so glad you were willing to share this! I will hold fast and be strong. Many people have congratulated me for my courage to kick him out and file, and now I have my sanity and self-respect.

      • Hi, Dixie Chump –

        The finalization of my divorce was sad too. I grieved for about two weeks, then made a steady climb upwards. It’s okay to grieve what you thought you had. You took your vows, family and marriage seriously. It meant something to you and therefore it’s a loss. I think it’s healthy to feel sad, even though the divorces in these cases are necessary. Be gracious to yourself. This is a hard part of the journey, but a step towards happiness and peace.

        • I kept those vows, that promise, i hold my head up knowing i kept my end of the bargain. Even now post divorce six months ive no desire to date none. Maybe that will get better with time maybe not. Guess i just aint ready in the meantime im just happy being me and healing nicely.and if i never date again that will be just fine too. The whore couldnt understand that right when he moved out i just didnt go find someone else. One im not a whore and two only a bonified cheater herself would say that.

          • OW couldn’t understand why you didn’t immediately get another guy?

            Some women NEED *always* to have a man. It isn’t even learned helplessness; in some cases, it’s just manipulation, grift. During a separation a few years ago, I had a close look at the women friends around me, and I ditched almost all of them. Because they mewed and batted eyelashes when moving house, or fixing a toilet, or when the electric bill was due. And I watched men they *barely knew*, fluster and blush at this friendly female attention, then muscle the furniture, puzzle over the plumbing, and hand over $100 bills like they were Kleenex.

            I couldn’t fathom this, having rented moving trucks and hauled couches out of them and into houses *by myself*, bought and used a $10 auger, and paid my *own* damn bills.

            “You watch all this,” I told my young daughter, in one instance. “Just notice the differences in the ways they and we get things done.” My child looked on in consternation, and said, “Why does she act so weak? She’s strong! She could do it herself. It’s gross.” And all that was spot on.

            I never learned how to be that dependent on anyone, especially men. But X was a giant and he was great at doing all the manly house and money things. I loved that, and we did those as a happy team, and he loved that I would work right alongside him. Unfortunately, I hadn’t understood that manly things also included secret prolific cheating, and so many lies.

            I still miss him for a lot of reasons, but the truth is, I learned a great deal of life know-how from him, that made me even more competent in life basics. It’s sad, because the only thing I really *need* a man for now, is love. And I have more than enough of that, too; I actually think having a man in my life would dilute it. Sometimes I also think my independence or competencies are too “masculine”, and that this was maybe why he cheated, looking for a more “damsel in distress” type. I’m not the least masculine in appearance, but I carry myself like a queen: with presence and authority, command. And :/ my own toilet auger.

            So, no. I haven’t run out and got me a new man, either. Will keep steady on my own for a while, thanks.

            • I agree. If its got a carburator i can fix my own damn car was beside him doing everything and i dont resemble a man either. The whore kinda does but where she acts so gurly i look gurly. Ah who knows what fools these cheaters be. Assholes the lot of them. Yes i was supposed to hike up my skirt push up my tits and go to a bar to snag me a man like that whore did. Any man would do she took mine so i need to get another what an ass. I would like another man in my life one day maybe but but i dont think i will trust one so im ok with that. Asswipe actually told me he would want to meet the guy to see if hes good enough for me and he better not hurt me or asswipe will fuck him up. Seriously? Really? What planet do they come from? Again where the hell is daryl dixon when you need him?

              • Kar marie!!!! 😀

                Again where the hell is daryl dixon when you need him?

                LOVE this!!! hehehehehe! Thank you for the laugh! 😀 Although it would be nice to have him standin armed in my driveway when satan drives by!!!! What a HOOT that would be!

                Hehehehehehe! 😀

            • Truth.

              The only thing I miss about Mr Fab sometimes is the torque.

        • Congrats Dixie Chump! The finalization is sad. I also would have preferred fidelity, love and marriage, but my marriage ended just short of 41 years. My Ex was also lazy and challenged when it came to finances and it was all in my favor. Too bad though for him. One of the many things that was part of his break up with Schmoopie was the fact that she wanted him to take me back to court to gain some of the assets he had signed away! He refused and she was pissed! I guess he didn’t bother to let her get her dirty paws on the settlement which explicitly stated that the agreement could not be changed EVER!!!

          • Same here. I got almost everything. If I could have, I’d have kept and burned all his clothes to. He’d have left buck-assed naked. It’s so much easier to accidentally cheat that way. I was very sad the day we settled. Now I’m just going in and out of rage.

            • Annie–speaking from personal experience, the rage doesn’t disappear easily. “How fucking dare you!” is the thought I have most often about my X (followed by internal language that would make a sailor blush). I’m 22 months from D-day, 18 months from divorce, and only this week did my hatred become inert–it’s there, and strong, but I can’t be bothered to fire up the rage as often; too many other interesting things to think about.

              The rage is deserved. It’s warranted, helps keep you emotionally distant from X, and thus (I would argue) an intelligent and healthy response to what was done to you. A few months ago, I started to envision my rage as this little hurdy-gurdy man monkey on my shoulder. Sometimes it just observed the environs, sometimes it hissed and spit peanut shells at people. Then I “installed” my rage in the guest bedroom (it needed that much space). Consider your rage its own little entity.

              • Thank you for that and the advice when I’m ready to put it away.

                I’ve hardly ever raged. Anger for me has always been a flash until I see how pointless it is and just simply express my feelings and let it go. I’ve always felt anger was such a waste of energy. It took me a year to finally feel it and I’m rolling with it. My journal and here are to only two places I can fully express those feelings. There’s no one at home and work is not appropriate. Besides, I would end up suspended pending a psych eval. When I post about hitting him over the head with a shovel, I often think, “Well shit, he’s such an asshole I hope that some one else doesn’t kill him because the police always look at the spouse first and some of my comments are certainly probable cause.” But then I shrug and let it fly anyway. It’s therapeutic.

      • Dixie Chump. I so know what you’re going through. One of the hardest days of my life was signing the papers for Dissolution of Marriage. But, the absolute worst day was when the papers arrived, all finalized. This was definitely something I did not want by any means, but I was forced to for my sanity. I cried for 2 full days after the divorce was final – I sure didn’t feel like celebrating. It was just too damn sad. All that history just thrown away, and for what? A little strange pussy.

        • Thanks everyone. So nice to share with people who truly understand. 30 years is such a waste, but wasting 30 more just could not happen. I will be glad when this is done. Roberta, i know exactly what you mean about spending your adult life looking out for someone else. So many times I almost softened my stance, but then I remembered all the lies and betrayal and let myself get good and mad. Onward, fellow chumps, onward!!

  • “I’d much rather live with new possibilities than a cheater” — bingo!! Love this quote.

  • Chump Lady, I love this statement! What a good summary! At this point I’d rather get cheated on my ten new people than one more time by my former spouse! “Fuck the Devil you know. The world isn’t all devils. Maybe there are more out there, maybe not. We don’t know. We’ll jump off that bridge when we come to it.”

  • I was married over 20 years and leaving my cheater was the single most difficult thing I have ever done, but I did it anyway. It wasn’t because I am not a forgiving or kind person or that I think people need to be perfect. Rather it was because this person that I loved betrayed me, lied to me, manipulated me and my family, and showed a shocking lack of remorse. Betrayal really is black and white despite what we tell ourselves.

    I have no idea if I’ll be cheated on again but that’s not the point. The point is that THIS person cheated. THIS person lied. THIS person risked family and health. Now what am I going to do in response to that?

    I don’t want that kind of person in my life, especially as my life partner. I can’t imagine it. I would much rather take my chances on my own and forge a new life than drag along anyone who has that kind of darkness in them. They need to figure out their own demons (and they rarely do) and I need to be free of that.

    • Thensome – No post can say it all, but this is as close as it gets for me. I was married twenty years too, and came to see it the same way.

    • Exactly Thensome. It is so much better without that darkness in our lives. At least there is a chance the lightness can come through now. Your said it beautifully. Thank you for making my morning!

    • Thensome; Nice post. It turns out EVERY relationship is built on trust. We trust our employer will pay us when we work in advance for it, we trust the mailman will bring our mail on mail days, that the government will pay our tax return, etc.
      Life is pure hell when you have to question whether the closest person to you will not to break your heart, humiliate you, give you diseases that could affect your future, break apart your family and devastate your kids. It doesn’t seem fair we didn’t get a vote in the decision to blow it all up, but this is what we face with a Cheater in our lives.
      You are so right, let them figure out their own demons!

  • CL, I think the bloggers who are betrayed spouses are terrified. It comes across as anger. I think they know if they come here they are going to read their stories and they’re going to see their futures and Thet don’t want to. Some of them accuse you of doing this for money. Ha ha. Still, you are a writer so why should you not make money on something you do and do well. Someone who has had over 1 million hits on their blog is doing something right. I just hope that those betrayed spouses do manage to find happiness. I hope they do it with their cheaters but I also know they will probably eventually come here.

    • Doing it for money—lol, that should give CL a chuckle. If she’s made a quarter an hour for her tireless efforts to date, I’d be surprised. What she does is a public service.

  • Autocorrect. Just have to proofread better. 10 millions hits. Sheesh!

  • Cheaters gonna cheat. I trust they suck. Life is hard enough without the person you think had your back morphs into snarling pod person. I know now asswipe will not be a better man for that whore. He wont be a better spouse, father, brother, friend not in his nature now hes shown his true self. Some of us get better with age, those who stick knives in the better halfs do not. I know im the better half let the whore have him and his 50 shades of stupid. Great post!

  • Chumplady, what a great post! You are wise beyond your years. And I agree that we can live with uncertainty for minor things, but we cannot live with uncertainty for major fundamental values, like will he be faithful, or will I get an STD. Why be uncertain and gamble your life with such fundamental values. They are values because they offer certainty and reliability, trust. And as Churchill said: When going through hell, just keep going!

    • This. Really, once the cheater brings home an STD for you, that should be signal for you to leave. Particularly because one of the STDs can actually lead to actual cancer, which can actually kill you.

      Can you imagine? S/he cheated on me and all I got was this lousy sexually transmitted cancer.

      I stayed a few more years anyway. Dumb. Never again.

  • “ou angry, bitter folks over there — you think you have this figured out. That by leaving a cheater, you’re CERTAIN it will never happen again.”

    To which I always say, “I can’t be sure that I’ll never be cheated on again, but I’m now 100% that I won’t be cheated on by THAT GUY.”

  • I read some of the comments on the other site and what strikes me is their surprise that their comments on CL about reconciliation were not warmly received? Well duh! It’s a leave a cheater, gain a life site. When I floundered around on reconciliation sites, trying to “stand” for my marriage, I didn’t want to be told: “dump the bastard.” When I’d had enough, I came to CL because I wanted to be told: “dump the bastard.” Enough said. People will figure out eventually, what road they want to take. But don’t call me a bitter bunny because I want leave the cheater!

  • “Embrace the chaos.” This is all you can do when you are single-parenting a toddler. While you are making dinner and your child is busy flooding the bathroom sink, unfolding all the clean laundry, eating dog food, whatever… Pour yourself a big-ass glass of red wine, buckle up, and enjoy the ride!

    This too shall pass. These will be the memories that you and your kids will look back on and laugh!

    • Hugs to you today, Kaycan. I remember those days well! I do laugh now, but I was SO tired then. My youngest, who seemed to have little need for sleep, had an obsession with sharp things and also electrical outlets. Constant vigilance to keep them from killing themselves. P.S. Same child is now happily married and completing his Ph.D. Don’t you love happy endings?

    • You get to savor and inhale all those beautiful toddler moments that he tossed away. That he gave up. How crazy is that? You get to appreciate what he didn’t want. You totally win.

      • “You get to savor and inhale all those beautiful toddler moments that he tossed away. That he gave up. How crazy is that?”

        It is crazy, isn’t it. I went on one date with a guy who told me he was divorced with 2 young daughters. They were 5 and 7. I asked him how it felt to be a father, since I didn’t have children yet. And he responds with: “Oh, I’m not there for the BULLSHIT, the day to day bullshit.”. To which I replied, watching your daughters grow is not bullshit, I’m sorry.”. He didn’t agree with me, and I decided right then that I never wanted to see this guy again. He was shocked when I turned down his request for a second date, but I thought he was an asshole.

      • Asswipe has purposely developed a bad memory and i would get texts while he was living with the whore “ah, refresh my memory about such and such” after the first couple it dawned on me what he was doing telling the story of his life to her friends. Big daddy! My response, fuck you, you threw that all away, cant remember, too bad, he even tells stories about my family pretending they are his relatives. What an asshole. He tells stories about my dogs as if they were his calling them his dogs. He told me im gonna depend on you in the future to help me remember. He told the whore that! Maybe i should give them both lessons in life with karmarie. Guess the ho wants to pretend like she was there. In what universe do these assholes exist! Pod universe. Be gone pod back to pod land and leave the humans be! Be gone! Mind boggling! To coin the soup nazi NO CAKE FOR YOU!!!! cake eating bastards and bitches i hope they stay together save other people from them but they wont they are both cheaters.

        • Isn’t that just pathetic? It’s sad, really, that he doesn’t feel that he has enough to impress her with his own family members, but has to borrow yours and pretend they are his.

          My therapist explained that my x had to “cannibalize” my life in order to appear more interesting to OW. So my bff and husband became his dear friends, and my goddaughters’ antics were stories she knew by heart! He even texted her photos of them in which I was cropped out. I don’t think she knew my relationship to them.

          It did jive with his compulsion to give her absolutely everything that we had ever enjoyed together, thus ruining a huge supply of sweet memories I had been treasuring. I’ve talked about this a few times because it still just shocks me. Eventually I will process it and put it in a drawer.

      • I have a library full of memories in my head of my kids for which I am truly grateful, now more than ever, that I pull off the shelf in my mind and replay over and over. It was tiring having such a disproportionate share of the responsibility for the kids, but it was the greatest time of my life.

        I’m guessing that the “day to day bullshit stuff” this asshole Kellia refers to are things that involve showing up and going what grownup parents are supposed to do – and should find some joy in. You know, like getting up in the morning with your spouse and helping get the kids dressed, fed, and ready for day care/school (rather than sleep in and get ready for work after everyone is gone); pick them up after work, make dinner, do homework, give baths, blow dry your daughter’s hair. Some may consider that “bullshit stuff,” but that’s where most of the living is done and lasting memories made in the early years.

        I took my son and daughter to day care/school every morning. Were mornings harried and scattered sometimes with me running show? Yep. But we sang songs together every day in the car on the way. We laugh about it now.

        My EW told me after D-day that she resented me for how much more time I had gotten to spend with the kids growing up. Resented me? I just shook my head. I told her it was no plot on my part to steal time – 90% of it was just that I got up out of bed and showed up (that, and I didn’t spend years staying late after work fucking my boss in my office or the motel across the street). THAT was the bullshit stuff, and she traded memories she could have had of our kids for those of her APs. I did win.

          • Yes, you did win. She lost her children and slept late and “worked” (hah!) late – oh how she lost. You are one mighty dad! Your children are blessed to have you.

            • Second this! Good men and good dads are very admirable and IMO nothing is sexier.

        • no kidding. My STBX used to get up in the morning for sex chats while I would get the kids ready for the day. He left for a date on our son’s first birthday and didn’t even get to have cake and sing happy birthday to him. It hurt like hell for so long but thank you for reframing it. I was there, it will never happen again and I was there and he wasn’t

  • My paperwork is in the mail somewhere, it’s a done deal. Fear of the unknown is part of the package. ….no getting around it. After two months of seperation I have found some certainty in the chaos. ……

    I’m certain x won’t be waking me up, dragging in at 3:00 AM.

    I’m certain ALL my paycheck went in the bank.

    I’m certain the mysterious credit card debt is over.

    I’m certain the mountains of crap I throw out will not return.

    I’m certain the toxic bull shit has come to an end, never to return.

    I’m certain meh is around the corner.

    • Congrats on the paperwork NarcBait, and I love the idea of a certainty list :)…

      I’m certain my financial health is better today than it ever was while I was with my X.

      I’m certain my work success is of my own making.

      I’m certain of the respect and trust I get from and give to my family and post-divorce friends.

      I’m certain that my 50% of my time with my kiddo is way saner than our 100% time together with my cheater X ever was.

      I’m certain that he sucks.

      I’m certain I’m closer to Meh than I was yesterday.

      • Narcbait,
        That list is exactly what I do when leaving any situation, whether it’s a cheatin’ marriage or a bad job. Very healthy approach…I call it “feeling gratitude for what I have”.

  • My experience taught me that as I tried to climb the Mount Everest of Forgiveness, someone was busy ahead of me…planting booby traps and land mines. Now at least, I am CERTAIN about the impossibility of reaching the summit, descend off that mountain and SEE where all the explosions already happened, and make good use of those craters to navigate back down to safety. Trying to crest that mountain with him meant certain death…it was just a matter of time…because my climbing partner was also the Guide who was covertly trying to kill me…while encouraging me that I MUST make it to the top.

    • This is very insightful. Becoming certain that this person did not value me took a whole lot of uncertainty about what shitty thing he might do next out of my life.

  • Life with a ClusterB is known as erratic and dramatic. Staying in that will erode your soul. Leaving is also chaotic with some drama but you can leave the erratic behind. Eventually the drama and chaos settle into manageable bits. I know there will always be unexpected things like births or deaths that come into my life that will cause a little of both but choosing leave someone who intentionally brings that into your your life and leaves that mark wherever and whomever they are involved will, as they say, will cause inevitable harm. Look at the site Safe Relationship Magazine and read Women Who Love Psychopaths. Also, those thinking of dating may want to read and go through their book and workbook, How To Spot A Dangerous Man.

    • Informal, and Chumplady saved my sanity. They offer phone counceling sessions, retreats and a new year long program to heal from pathological abuse. I encourage anyone involved with a clusterB disordered person oe who wants to know if their partner might be cluster B to go to that site. Priceless infomation and real help!

      • Me too, CL and Saferelationships are the what has saved me and educated me. You do get whiplash from these people.

        • Whiplash is a gentle word for it, but yes.

          Count me among those who are still breathing because of saferelationships, followed this year by CL. Both resources are Godsent.

  • I stated it incorrectly: choosing to remain in a relationship with someone who leaves a trail of destruction will cause inevitable harm. Sorry about that.

  • I know of two certainies, at least.
    One. You can stop an affair, any affair. Dump the cheater, he’s no longer in an “affair”, he’s in a relationship then. Not nearly as fun. You can’t tell your whore you ” can’t talk “, ” can’t see her “. You have to become accountable to that whore. Good luck with that.
    Two. You can make sure a person never cheats on you again. Dump the cheater. He can never cheat on you again. That’s why I’m teaching my daughter One Strike, You’re Out. Good riddance.

    • I like your attitude Anita, of teaching your daughter one strike and you’re out. My mother was the total opposite. Although my father never cheated on her, she always gave me horrible advice. I had a boyfriend for 4 months and dumped him, because I suspected he was cheating. And my mom said: Don’t dump him, he’ll leave his mistress once you get married”. She’s a doormat to the extreme, and that’s why I always had the attitude of one strike, you’re out! I’m glad you’re strong for your daughter, as I had a spineless doormat for a mom.

    • One strike, and no quarter — best lessons learned, from my years with cheater. I am teaching these to my child, too, because no one ever taught me.

      These lessons are maybe the greatest gift he ever gave me, which makes me feel really sad.

    • Since I don’t have small impressionable children, for me, my new predating motto is “One strike and I’m taking the damn bat out of your cheating hands and beating you over the fucking head with it!” You’re not only out, you forfeit the whole game.

  • “Can’t handle the uncertainty??” Ugh. I was one of those chumps, I believed in unicorns, fought for 2 years to save my marriage after my cheater walked out on me and our three kids. I don’t regret fighting for it because that was where I was at then and I thought I was doing the right thing for my kids. But I do regret not knowing then what I finally learned and know now. Never again. That I AM certain of.
    A couple of weeks before he left, my cheater was trying to convince me that divorce was the right thing. He said, “You’ll see, this will be the best thing that ever happened to you.” Probably the only true sentence he ever spoke to me in 14+ years of marriage.

  • I did live with that uncertainty – will he cheat again? But I figured I’d know, just as I knew when he cheated the first time. (I can’t figure out if he was super transparent because he’s stupid (Ph.D. in plasma physics, plus an MBA, so maybe not THAT stupid), or because he has no relationship skills, including lying, or because he’s SO entitled he didn’t figure he had to make much effort to hide things ….)

    Of course he did, and then I knew, and kicked his ass out.

    But in the meantime, I spent 6 or 7 extra years with a person who was often extremely unpleasant and self-centered. I spent 6 or 7 extra years investing in a relationship that he wasn’t investing in, and lost the opportunity to be investing in my own peaceful life, and perhaps in a new relationship. I spent 6 or extra years mediating and managing his relationship with our kids, which he, post-separation, completely and totally fucked up anyway, and took away from the kids the opportunity to live with one sane parent, and to see the other with open eyes. (I’m a much calmer and better parent now that I don’t have to deal with his day-to-day crap.) I spent 6 or 7 extra years neglecting my own mental health and enjoyment of life, while trying to help him be happier and get him to stop undermining my happiness.

    During the first year or so post-separation, I felt like, well, at least I know I really tried, I gave him that chance post-cheating (and a few other chances, related to his very-convincing physical threats and general unpleasantness), I did my best. I gave time for the kids to grow up more, with both their parents present. But after a while, when I saw how VERY MUCH happier the kids and I were without him in our day-to-day lives, then I started to regret those years. (Realizing he would probably never have asked for the 50-50 custody split that is default here, and that I very much dreaded for my kids, also made me put those years into a different perspective.)

    So yeah, uncertainty. Even within uncertainty, there are different levels of risk. If you’re with a serial cheater (he cheated on the long-term girlfriend before me, and tried to cheat with me (at least with me, probably with others also!) on Schmoopie) or a long-term cheater, or anybody who shows narcissistic or sociopathic traits, you can’t be SURE they’ll cheat again, but your chances are pretty damned high. Very high. EXTREMELY high. And in the meantime, you are 100% sure you get to live with someone who did that to you.

    But the uncertainty of kicking their asses to the curb? No guarantees on how that will turn out, but considering the good character and highly developed coping skills of chumps, yours odds are very very good that you’ll be happier, and it won’t take all that long, either.

    So it’s not about being ‘unable to tolerate uncertainty’, it’s about choosing to invest your time, energy, love, money, your whole self, into something that has much better chances of leading to happiness (and the improved self-respect is pretty much guaranteed).

    • Karen E – you are so right! When we stay with a cheater, we get the worst of them. Meaning we see the side of them, where they’re no longer nice to us. They are incessantly annoyed with us, angry, constantly finding flaws with us. Always blaming us for their unhappiness. Basically we just keep eating one shit sandwich after another that they keep serving us. And we never get to see their good side and if it is, we realize it was fake, since they never don’t stop their daliances on the side. What kind of interaction is that where it’s extremely unpleasant 24/7. I’d rather be without that person and have a better quality of life.

      • “And we never get to see their good side”

        Or we do, get to see their good side, and it is always shining on other people, new people who don’t matter, people who just arrived, strangers, someone whose worth is negligible and not proven, some slit flitting through our lives, random persons who will be out of the picture in three months or kept trailing along in texts or emails or professional networks or social media. People we barely know, and who don’t give a shit about us. People who don’t matter.

        This was what killed me, over and over again, during the last years of us. That the golden face was shown brilliantly to everyone in the world, and I, who loved him ardently and supported him with devotion worthy of sacrament, received the cold barren face, the dark side of the moon. Sometimes within only hours of watching him shine at someone else. Once, in the very moment that he did.

        Watching him make someone else light up in laughter and warmth was like dying.

        When he announced a new group of people, last summer, and said they were mostly women, that was the end. I was and am certain I could not live through so many more triangles. Just thinking of it makes a part of my brain shut down in remembered despair.

        • Yes, this was definitely my experience as well. You described it so well … Painful to read. I hope you are doing so much bettet now.

        • Lucky,

          “Watching him make someone else light up in laughter and warmth was like dying.”

          I know exactly what you mean.

          • Wow Luckyseven…My most painful moment prior to being discarded was this. Uncertainty in a new life would have been so much less painful than watching that moment. If I had only started this healing journey before then. But I’m on it now and life is looking so wonderful as I continue to process the pain and welcome my new free life. It is happening!

        • Hi luckyseven, I like your user name! And your comment. I am glad to know that I am not the only one this has happened to. I have said the same thing to him, why does everyone else get this happy, smiling version of you and I only get anger and sullen faces. The answer was that the happy person is who he really is and that I make him feel angry and reserved because I don’t care about him. The reason he doesn’t bring me around his friends is because I always embarrass him. The reason he has been cheating on me is because he tried to communicate his unhappiness with me and I didn’t listen. I think I would have heard him saying he was going to have sex with someone else but perhaps I did tune him out because he’s a babbling narcissist who only starts conversations so he can talk about himself. ugh.

    • Agree. A cost-benefit analysis of staying with a cheater rarely (never?) comes out in favor of “stay.”

    • “I can’t figure out if he was super transparent because he’s stupid (Ph.D. in plasma physics, plus an MBA, so maybe not THAT stupid), or because he has no relationship skills, including lying, or because he’s SO entitled he didn’t figure he had to make much effort to hide things ….”

      This was so my cheating xw. She is a very beautiful, intelligent and successful business executive at a major corporation. But she was SO stupid with her cheating I couldn’t figure why she was so dumb in that one area of her life. She made it so easy to catch her I wondered if it were on purpose but when I look back at how scared she was when she got caught there’s no way.

      • Chumpy dad – my ew thought she could get away with it not because she was stupid but because she thought I was stupid – that’s how cheaters think, they are smarter than anyone – same thought process criminals have.

        • In my case, he was smarter than everyone else until my lab results turned up that year with positive percentages for two choice and potentially permanent STDs.

          He wasn’t smarter than the blood tests, lab work, or the viruses themselves.

      • I wondered the same thing–my intelligent, successful X left his sexual harassment notes and condoms in the side pocket of his computer bag, then asked me to check the computer bag for his wallet when he was out shopping. But I think he just got sloppy, as he clearly did not want me to divorce him or have to split his retirement funds.

        • I vote for sloppy. Same in my situation with the texts. Sent me one meant for her. Sloppy. Their entitlement and narcissism means that we are the stupid ones in the relationship and there is no way that we can outsmart them, right? Oh how wrong they are.

  • Oh, I know this one well. Since they were so enmeshed in their New Age bullshit, Mr Midlife Crisis and his “life coach” girlfriend went on and on about how I needed to “embrace uncertainty” and become less “risk averse.” Yeah, well, i was pregnant when the shit hit the fan, so why don’t I do tequila shots and eat raw oysters instead? How’s that for uncertainty and risk?

    My husband’s biggest mistake was insisting i read Brene Brown’s “Daring Greatly” which is all about the power of being vulnerable. He thought it would convince me to be vulnerable to HIM. What it actually taught me was that TRUE vulnerability was standing up for myself and saying I will NOT be treated this way, I don’t care WHAT status (marriage, intact family — including my newborn, financial security).

    Go on, brush your shoulder off.

    • Oh, Allie, thanks for the mention of Brown’s book. I read it in the middle of being chumped and it was one of the things that convinced me that people who aren’t in the arena of you battling with you aren’t people you can trust with your heart–or any of the things that matter to you.

    • What I have observed with “New Age” people is that they think they are above doing the hard work and everything should just fall nicely into their laps because they are so much more evolved than the rest of us schmucks. They all think they are so fucking profound. Always taking the easy way out, they are nothing but lazy, self serving slobs in my book.

    • Wow! I had Mr. Midlife crisis, who hooked up with his New Age “life coach” too! Aren’t they adorable?! Unwilling to fix mistakes or do hard things and full of completely meaningless “apologies” — “I can’t change the past.” And they wonder why I can’t be more “accepting” and “forgiving” after 20 years of lies and cheating. I can accept what is by choosing to put toxic selfishness behind me. No more chances. No more.

      • Toxic selfishness. Yep, exactly. It’s the most astoundingly indulgent crap. He’s off talking about being a better person, and the rest of us are stuck DOING. Sure, go be enlightened. It’s so easy when you aren’t at home getting up in the night to take care of the baby and taking the other kids to school and dentist appointments and birthday parties and dance practice. Gee, what a buzzkill I am with all this shallow every day stuff. I, too, wish I could hang out on a yoga mat all day with my rich useless friends and their parasitical “life coaches”.

  • I think what keeps many chumps stuck is fear of the unknown. We don’t know what life will be like without the cheater and the chaos and uncertainty that a cheater produces. If we develop codependency, we can get hooked on chaos, hooked on trying to control the uncontrollable: the lying, the cheating, the APs, the relationship between the cheater and the kids. the family’s reputation, “what people say,” and the outcome of the attempt to “stand” for the relationship or marriage. So it seems to me that the wreconciliation folks have it backwards. Staying in the relationship is clinging to what is known–even if what you have is a chaotic mess, that is the chaos you know. Leaving a cheater is a leap into the unknown. Most of us have no idea how we will manage on less income, how we will take care of the house or the kids, whether we will ever meet someone we like enough to date seriously.

    No one knows, for certain, that any loved one (including our friends) won’t betray us in some fundamental way. But the best predictor of the future is the past. The person who betrayed you three years ago, six months ago and last Friday will likely betray you again. And what I know for certain is that the person who betrayed me was not just breaking a vow; he was devaluing me, at first covertly and finally to my face.

    I remember wondering how I would ever manage this 2 acres of trees and grass and perennials and poison ivy without someone to do it for me. Then I wondered how I would ever get the tractor fixed or afford a new furnace. We are always learning. It seems to me that staying stuck in a disordered, chaotic living situation with an abusive person is not “uncertainty.” It’s more like prison. which is at once totally predicable in terms of daily expected routine and totally chaotic in terms of the potential for violence and destruction. I’ll take the uncertainty of whether the flowers in my front window will ever get enough sun.

    • Yes, I am afraid of the unknown but decided any unknown was better than the crazy train I was on. Also, I agree with your comment about the best predictor of the future being the past. His actions were clearly those of a person without character who lacked a moral compass and had no regard for the well-being of his family.

    • LaJ,

      Great post. Once you let go of the cheater there is freedom to grasp other things.

    • Amen LAJ!

      It took me a long while to remember it was always me that figured out the ‘hard stuff’, it was always me… It struck me one day – year 2 of being solely responsible for that big ole house and everything in it, around it and all that ‘we’ had acquired and accomplished – that…it was always me…and, yep, I GOT THIS 😀

      And then it was like what the ladies on the Pathology and Public Safety talk about…satan must of felt the ‘shift’ in me…musta felt the ‘pulling away’ or something…all of a sudden, every flippin day for months…when I’d get home from work, as soon as I stepped into that big ole house, breakers were blown, water leaks just everywhere…hummmm… I fixed what I could and hired what I, family or friends couldn’t…and everyone kept telling me…Jeep, this didn’t break itself…this (cut brake line, water leak, burnt wire, Beau the Monster Eater loose and runnin) looks like someone did it… Hummmm…

      …me thinks I smell a rat…

      …yeah…they just do not like it when we show em we don’t need em…that we can, and are gonna, make it without them!

      Yeah…we got this 😀

  • For a month after Dday I considered reconciliation — I felt I owed my kids to try everything to keep a singular family unit for them. And in part, it was my fear of what would happen to finances, my home, finding someone who would love me again, that held me in limbo.

    But I soon realised that I could not live a life of wondering, doubt and uncertainty.
    Wondering where she was, when she was 15 minutes.
    Wondering when she was out with her friends, whom she really was out with.

    I’d done enough of the hyper-vigilance thing in the run-up to discovering the affair, to realise that a life of doubt was not for me. A week later, I had filed for divorce.

    Two years post divorce and the landscape is radically different. I unexpectedly met someone else and remarried. My kids (F10, M14) are well-adjusted I think, and have coped exceptionally well with all the change. Not without a bump or two.

    I hate that they are nomadic, splitting their time 50/50 between the two households, because this is not the family-life I had imagined for them. But I do the best I can for them to create a different family life.
    And as for my exWife, well, she and her AP are an item. I ignore her at school functions etc, and she is now nothing more than an email address for co-ordinating the kids lives.

    I have PTSD triggers sometimes, but these are less and less frequent with time.
    I don’t know if this is Meh. But hopefully I’m close.

  • The funny thing is that when my husband moved out 20 days ago to live with OW, I though my world was coming to an end. Guess what, my life has not ended it has just restarted. Now I realize I have my power back, the power to live life on my terms and the power to make the best decisions for me. My husband said he made a mistake by moving in with OW. But, I know I did not make a mistake to not accept his infidelity and unacceptable behavior in my life. I am uncertain what my future holds. However, I am certain it will not include him anymore and I am progressively becoming okay with that.

    • Really, It’s barely been 2 weeks and this guy admits it was a mistake to move in with the OW. Shaking my head… What, he didn’t think about his decision before he moved in? Isn’t moving in with someone a conscious decision where you’ve thought about things thoroughly beforehand and then you take action. I can understand if a teenager said this, but a grown man. It’s pathetic actually..

      • Kelia, this is my ex exactly; he regretted it all, pretty damned fast. But not only was he a grown man having his 2nd affair while with me, who had plenty of time to think about what he was doing (I even gave him a week between telling him I knew about the affair and telling him we were done, in some (very very dumb) hope that he would realize what he was doing …), but I warned him about every single thing he might regret. Nope, all all irrelevant.

        2 months later (when I finally forced him out of the house) he was saying ‘this is temporary, right?’ (Silly me, I thought he meant his living in a small rented apartment and said ‘of course!). Six months later he was saying ‘This is harder than I thought it would be. Don’t you find that?’ To which I replied ‘no, it’s about how I thought it would be, that’s why I worked so hard to avoid it.’ And some time later (he spent two years making intermittent attempts to get me to ‘try again’), it was ‘I regret it all so much, this has been such a waste!’.

        Well duh! But of course, when I told him that kind of stuff beforehand, he ignored it as useless, and when I mentioned it afterwards, I was just ‘getting off trying to look right about things’. Yeah, uh huh, THAT’s the real problem here, me trying to always be in the right.

        In his case I REALLY think it was entitlement, not stupidity. He was entitled to have a great wife and kids who made huge efforts to make him happy, without even a THOUGHT of reciprocity, he was entitled to fuck around and not even have to hide it much, because he would then be entitled to everybody accepting that and life going on exactly as HE chose. So entitled that he didn’t even have to THINK about possible consequences to his decisions, not even for himself, never mind for me or his children.


      • Kellia,
        Right! If I wasn’t so hurt still I might find it comical. But, actually I find it pretty sad that he would admit that it was a mistake so early on. I really believe he is just being manipulative to keep me in his love triangle. I want absolutely no part of it and it is not my responsibility or concern if he made a mistake or not. I have decided to move forward and not look back. I have gone no contact but he get through on my work phone. This has been a long 20 days……

  • Embracing the chaos and getting past the trauma I think is best summed up by The Drive By Truckers: Gravity’s Gone…”I’ve been falling so long it feels like gravity’s gone and I’m just floating”

  • We can forgive, but that does not equate with sacrificing your sanity or life in doing so. I accept my ex for who he is, I believe him to be what he has demonstrated. Change is hard and most people will not change because it’s just too easy to go with the status quo. Boundaries were crossed and trust was broken.

    People that divorce cheaters are not necessarily weaker. God gives us an out because he was intimately familiar with betrayal. He calls us to live in peace and for some there would be no peace in a broken relationship. Our culture is so wrapped up in fixing people through counseling, meditation, self help etc. You can’t fix some people and even God won’t intervene where He is not asked to.

    People are afraid of divorce. It’s like cancer, you can catch it from others. The truth is with all that’s in the media, scattered family units, change in values etc. daily exposure to married couples of all ages just doesn’t exist. My parents, grandparents, and other family memembers had long marriages. I saw the everyday mundane as well as the fun times. Most people no longer have those role models so we read books about affair proofing your marriage or a thousand different ways to have sex.There is no magic formula.

    I just briefly looked at the respnses from the link. I do wish these ladies luck in walking their path with an adulterer. We shouldn’t forget growth for the cheater can also come from facing what they have reaped. Maybe by staying you are hindering their growth. (Expell the immoral brother!)

    Some guys and gals do age out of cheating but viagra and estrace has extended possible times in the cesspool of fornication. I prayed, danced and double dutched until I was sure. Before the divorced I found it hard to envision my future. So i took a leap of faith and we are both better for it!

    • Maybe by staying you are hindering their growth.

      This is one of the biggest reasons I left. Some things were never, ever going to change, if I didn’t leave.

      It’s been over a year since I last saw or touched him, long enough that I no longer remember exactly how long anymore. And for some reason I still cried about him this morning, I don’t know why. But I am certain he couldn’t change if I didn’t leave.

      I am also certain he will change, has changed, in many ways. Just, not certain that the bad of him will, because from what I experienced, it was just getting worse and worse, then even potentially dangerous.

      I am certain I don’t want to be anywhere near the worst of him. I did my best to foster positive change, and finally, the strongest gesture of love I could make for him, myself, the kids, was to leave.

      • “I am certain I don’t want to be anywhere near the worst of him. I did my best to foster positive change, and finally, the strongest gesture of love I could make for him, myself, the kids, was to leave.”


      • “Just, not certain that the bad of him will, because from what I experienced, it was just getting worse and worse”

        I believe that. I’ve said that it was like a damn bursting, and all the secrets began pouring out, and his behavior has continued to be more deceitful, more devious and more psychopathic.

        • I hear ya, it was as though ex was filled to the brim. Once the lies were exposed he couldn’t keep up. Can you imagine storing all of that evil inside. Drinking couldn’t dull the memories. He is at war with himself.

          • Thank you Renewed and Lucky…wow…just wow!

            I pray for satan…I have asked others to pray for him too…and they do.

            …even though I now know, after everything I went through at his hands, everything I learned trying to understand the extreme change in him, who and what he is…I still pray that he ‘gets out’…gets help and can enjoy this awesome experience that is life.

            I remember the good I had with him and I pray that whatever made him into what he is – be it birth or life trauma – can be eased and healed. That is a burden I can’t imagine toting around everywhere, everyday. …I can’t imagine how hard it would be to live that way. I wouldn’t want to have to know what that feels like. I know what it looks like cause I saw it on his face…in his eyes. …I think it controls him…whatever ‘it’ is.

            I know that I am so Blessed to have gotten out away from him and ‘it’ and lived. I know I am grateful for that Blessing! …but he has to dwell there…he has to live with it. It took me a long, long time to be strong enough to walk away from what I thought was my wonderful life, my wonderful ‘husband’, ‘soulmate’, love of my life…but I did…he can’t…he still lives there…only he doesn’t have me taking care of that ‘life’ for him….

            …what he took for granted – from his mother and I (sad huh) – he now has to do for himself…things that were just there when he needed them – home cooked meals, clean clothes, clean house, sun dried sheets and bedding, home grown and canned veggies, a ready and willing partner, etc., yeah…no more…

            Thank you so much for your posts! They reminded me that, even though my family spent this past holiday split up, yes, I did the right thing leaving ‘the worst of him’ to sink or swim…to his own devices as he sees fit. I had to save myself to be of any help to anyone else…including myself.

            Hugs and much support to this awesome community! Thank you all for being here everyday and in everyway!

            Jeep and Beau 🙂

    • Yes renewed, I was afraid of divorce, and I believe in the covenant of marriage. After DD4, I realized I was working hard to restore my marriage, but he was not. I could not believe the level of dishonesty and deceit he employed to maintain cake. I forgive him but cannot remain married to a man who cannot keep his vows. I know who the real enemy is so I continue to pray God will work on his heart – separate and apart from me.

      • I pray for my ex as well. Cheating is the most destructive thing a person can do to themselves. We can forgive but do not have to be apart of that show. As I let go I am able to live a more fulfilled life. Holding on to anger for me was detrimental to my health and healing.
        I sometimes contribute here telling my story to encourage others as well as being encouraged. You don’t have to stay with a cheater. It does get better, you can have a life.

        • I don’t wish any harm on my cheating wife, the only thing I wish for her is to find some peace. One of the most painful things for me in this whole mess is watching her blow up her future along with mine. I want her to figure out her issues and work on herself so that she can hopefully have a fulfilling relationship in the future.

          That’s one of the things that kept me stuck, was worrying about her future. I worried about her, my adult kids, the dog…. I forgot how to worry about me. It took me a long time to realize that the best thing for her and the kids (and me) is to split up.

          I find I’m more angry at myself these days for not recognizing all the red flags sooner, and for not standing up for myself better. I shouldn’t even have needed proof of an affair, I had proof of her treating me like garbage. That should have been enough.

  • Chaos was living with my ex. Even with everything we had I felt…uncertain. Certainties: Supporting my kids through college, spending time with those who love and support me, being financially sound even after having my dream home foreclosed on, having a happy home, being in reciprocal relationships, going on great vacations, doing fun new things…the possibilities are now endless. I always knew my worth but living with a Cheater was soul destroying. My Certainties list grows. Every day is better. Life is hard enough without someone you trust sabotaging it on a daily basis. Life is also so much better knowing that what I work towards will never be blown up again.

  • I love uncertainty in some contexts, but can’t stand it in others. I embrace it in terms of seeing infinite possibilities. Some might end well, others might be a disaster. But I like to let things play out a lot of the time and see what happens. I also am very much a New Age philosopher at heart, so it suits me well to look at uncertainty as a creative force.

    That doesn’t mean I always have to let a situation play out that’s veering off the path.

    I still weigh the costs and think about what I have to lose. Embracing uncertainty doesn’t mean that you can’t ever engage in risk management. You still get to choose what you leave to chance. I look at it this way: Open doors are uncertain, closed ones are not.

    If I choose to ever be in another committed monogamous relationship, there’s always going to be the uncertainty of whether or not my partner will cheat or not. It’s unfortunate but true. But I am completely certain that my ex won’t ever cheat on me again. And that’s where the control lies, with that closed door. I’d rather move forward through an open door that leads to uncertainty, than go back through a closed door that I’m certain of what’s behind it.

  • Uncharted by Sara Bareilles. That’s my new anthem. It’s liberating. I heard it for the first time only recently, but it reflects my decision three years ago to take that bold jump into the unknown, leaving my devil-of-an-ex and the life I knew, and embracing chaos: starting up a life for myself and kids, rejoining the workforce after a dozen years away, overcoming the effects of years of abuse, and various “insurmountable” obstacles.
    There came a point where I faced the fact that even though my ship might sink, I could no longer stand being a passenger on his ship, cause his was clearly going down. This song kind of relates to this thread, and I thought I’d share. Besides, the video is really cute too.

    • Thanks for the song Crimson Comet, it was pretty good. I loved the woman with the tshirt that said ‘I lipsynced the shit out of this song’

  • You guys!! Totally unrelated but has anyone seen the new emojis that came out today?? I was so excited when the middle finger one came out before. Now there are even more that apply well to chumps: a black heart, a green vomit face, and my favorite, the liar emoji with a Pinocchio style nose. Haha!!

    • Can we program the Pinocchio emoji to affix to the end of every email or text to our exes?

      • That is hilarious about the Pinocchio emojis. My kids and I watched the movie recently and in order to become a “real boy,” Pinocchio had to be “brave, truthful and unselfish.” Since then, I have been actively looking for Pinocchio stickers to put in photo albums over STBXH’s face.

    • My ex husband’s nose would come around the corner 5 minutes before his body appeared !! He is one of the very best / worse liars I have ever had the misfortune to know and I have met a few in my time but no one comes close to the ex.

      • Asswipe is the worst liar on the planet. Lip biting, sad downward cast, looks at his feet, wont make eye contact. Extremely bad liar.

        • Mine lies like a professional. To this day (9 months past 1 of 3 DDays), I can’t tell when he’s lying and when he’s being truthful. Truly unnerving! I just have to keep telling myself not to believe anything he says, because it all SOUNDS completely plausible!

          • Use my motto, “If his lips are moving, he’s lying.” It helps.

      • I told X his penis shrank just a little, with every lie he told. And that lies by omission counted, too.

        It didn’t work; he kept lying. And 🙁 his penis stayed just as big as it ever was.

        🙁 🙁 🙁

          • And amazing with holding important information that you need to know well thats not lying as you know both credit cards maxed out cause whore went on a spending spree and big daddy bought her shit. Nice to find out at the grocery store no checkbook and no money.

          • So it’s like, what, a vagina? You can now call him a lying bitch.

        • Genius, now I wonder how to make that happen? And for the women cheaters their vagina gets bigger? Or also shrinks? A conundrum, either could be bad depending on how many lies

  • I am NOT embracing the chaos. I want my life to be somewhat normal again, well the new normal. Can’t wait for the chaos to be over with to be honest! Which means, divorce settled, custody as I want it (getting there), a job, a car, move to a place where my daughter can grow up and I can invest in a future.


    And I am making the best of it and enjoying being with my daughter every day but other then that it’s all a mess. I had to leave my life behind, 6,000 miles behind! While STBXH went on his madness path and I was pregnant. No more chaos!

    • Sometimes I think Meh is not ever going to be fully in my reach 🙁 What if it is all too horrible? The loss too big, the damage too big, can I stay angry forever, a little?

      • Yes you can stay a little angry forever im gonna where cheaters are concerned.

      • junglechump, no. Somewhere down the line, days are going to come that are *filled* with happiness, for you.

        I mean, some of those days are going to be among the most brilliantly blazing joyous days you’ve ever known. And on those days, you won’t feel any anger. And you won’t want to.

        The anger does come back, like the cat’s swishing tail. But not on the days that are chock full of joy.

        I don’t know how long it takes for those jubilant days to show up. But when they seem to be happening, EMBRACE THOSE. Ride that wave as far as you can, and take photos so you can always touch on them. Exploit your own joyousness fully: for me, that’s how we leave the bad behind.

        Don’t get me wrong, I’m still pissed. But I’m also happier than I ever imagined I could be. Happy is really fun, and much better for our health than this awful and legitimate anger.

        • I agree. This very moment I stopped into the local pub for food and a pint. It’s part of my goals for the new year, to just do thinks where I’m exposed to people in social situations. I’m sitting here listening and watching and just happy, yet I feel the rage. How is that possible?

          • When does the rumination of my ex and his AP stop?

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m done, I’m glad to no longer be in the fight or flight mode 24/7. But I am so pissed. Pissed at myself, how in THEE hell could I take him back or even WANT him back after each Dday??!

            I want indifference, I want them out of my head.

            He plays games with my spousal support. Sending money when he feels like it. He still owes me lawyers fees. Now he claims he’s ‘struggling’ financially. Umm he bought a house and a boat, has a car, a truck, a motorcycle, snowmobile, brand new tractor, just renovated said house.
            He owns his own business and I’m so affraid one day he’s just going to stop supporting me. I work part time, I have an auto immune kidney disease, endometriosis, fibromyalgia and depression. When the hell can I stop being so anxious and worried?

            Ha! Here I thought our divorce was ‘amicable’.

            • Oh how I despise that word … Amicable. The stupid asshole keeps thanking me for keeping things amicable. He does not seem to comprehend my true feelings for him at all. I am being classy for our child and so as to more stealthfully screw his financial ass. He will understand that fact all too well real soon.

              • Dixie Chump – your remind me of my niece.
                He kept taking her back to court to reduce Child Support. (for one little boy)
                It involved a court 800 miles away which she had to drive to, at least, 4 times, because that’s where they divorced.

                She should be a lawyer.
                She didn’t want to pay one at the point, and being a PHD in Archeology – well, she has a brain.
                Fought the case and WON!

                So proud of her and her confidence.

            • Bamboozled , it’s not hard , You can be financially free, first step is to stop relying on fucktard. Get out there think differently, tell yourself you can have anything you want in this life and take the steps to make it happen. There are a 1000 books out there that can start you on this path. Choose to rely on yourself and never doubt your worth in this world, work on you and everything else will fall into place.

              • Manchump, say it can be done, if you like, but don’t say it’s not hard. Bamboozled has some serious health problems; it’s not so easy to get ‘financially free’ under those kinds of conditions.

                Hope you have a good lawyer, Bamboozled. I know it’s not simple since he’s self-employed, but does your jurisdiction have an agency that can help you chase down the support and what he owes you?

    • Junglechump, when I had those days, when I had just had enough, when I couldn’t believe the kind of crap that was STILL happening, when I felt like it was just too much, I had a mantra.

      It is what it is.

      And so I’d let myself accept, and then I’d keep on dealing.

      But that too passes, thank heavens!! Once things finally do settle down, it’s amazing how much happiness and joy can flood into your life. And peace, mostly peace.

      • I just want friends who dont bitch at me every moment of every day, tell me exactly whats wrong with me and how wrong i do everything. Gee i wasnt a bad person till whore juice was in the picture then he found everything wrong with me, kids, friends and family and voiced most of those opinions. Bastard. Her perfect self, her perfect family, her perfect kids, her perfect house and dogs. Stuck knives in my back every chance he got, what the fuck did i do to get turned on this way. I threatened to tell the kids some of the nasty nasty comments he made to me about them but not to them if he didnt stop treating me badly and he finally stopped doing it. The day i move i go completely no contact and he is dead to me. If anyone asks about my kids dad i will say he died a horrible cheaters dealth as husband and father because the man i knew did die a pod remains an empty shell. Good luck with that whore juice. She helped him let the demons out her problem now.

  • (After yesterday’s shit-tsunami, let me preface this by saying I haven’t read any comments yet.)

    Dammmmnn, Chump Lady, calling-out some unicorns!

    • OMG, Ian!!!! That is the CallerID pic for The Evil One on my phone!!!!! BWAHAHAHAHAAA!!! Thanks!!!!

  • >>>”The point is, we have confidence in our self-knowledge — what we did that was chumpy, what was spackle, and what was bad luck. We have faith in ourselves. We know that we’ll be just fine without the cheater and the deliberate chaos they sowed in our lives. We understand chaos and we’re not looking to manufacture it or invite people into our lives who embrace the fuckupedness….. We understand that we don’t control everything or anyone. We only control ourselves. But that doesn’t mean we’re going to Atlantic City and putting all our money down on “Fucktard” and spinning the wheel. Yes, life is risk, but we manage risk. We weigh our investments. It’s okay to walk away from the casino. Sure, sometimes you pull the slots and hit Unicorns. But usually the house wins..” <<<>>>”im just happy being me and healing nicely.and if i never date again that will be just fine too. The whore couldnt understand that right when he moved out i just didnt go find someone else. One im not a whore and two only a bonified cheater herself would say that.”<<<<
    ^^^^^^^^^THIS!!!!^^^^^^ You hit the nail on the head perfectly for me!!! @Kar marie — exactly what EXH#2/TEO said to me after he left—he kept in touch for a while afterwards, repestedly asking me if I was seeing anyone, because he figured that with him "out of the picture", I would have found someone. Looking back now, I think he had hoped I would have jumped onto the first guy I met so that he could justify his cheating, idiot.

  • This post has really struck a chord , I’m 2.5 years after dd and I’m working towards getting on with my life , my kids are young and certain circumstances have kept me from moving on and being free, but in the next 2 months all the things that I needed to happen will have happened . It really is amazing what the human spirit can withstand. Denial, fragile, flat, challenges , letting go , strong , powerful , motivated & driven. These are just a few of the emotions and life changing things that I have been thru. I can honestly say I’m a different person , yes I was chumped hard , I only found out the other day she was pregnant with this guys child , oh the chaos! and while this left me flat for a day it is amazing how these things affect us less and less the longer we play the chump.I can’t Thank you enough chump lady for all your valuable information, you have played a big part in helping me see the light, and forget all the rubbish I put up with

    • ManChump – hello, if you are new to the site.
      You have also been through a lot of challenges and you expressed your emotions so well that…well, I miss men’s emotions when they let it go.
      I guess we all need these from each other.
      Thank you for posting because men’s posts are so rare here.

      Denial, fragile, flat, challenges, letting go, strong, powerful, motivated & driven.

      I think this is my new motto!

      • Hey shechump 😉 have been using this site daily for 6 months it’s great. It’s better than all those save my marriage ones that I went on over 2 years ago.

  • Three years ago I found this site after being traumatically discarded after 10 years. Today I will be supporting the OW in court as fuckface takes the stand for beating her black & blue. I never thought I would be able to face him again, but I hope justice is served and a jail sentence put in place.
    I contacted her after he nearly killed her to let her know what she was dealing with, all learned from Chumplady, and offered my support, we’ve been friends ever since.
    He will shit his pants when he sees us rock up together.
    Hope he rots in hell.

    • Faith in humanity, restored.

      Amalie, this is one of the very best comments I’ve ever read anywhere. Good for you both, for the support and for taking him to and facing him in court.

      Your post has my heart roaring like a lion, just, GOOD. Hope he goes to jail for this.

      • Update….fuckface is contesting the charges as expected, next hearing in 2 months. He laughed & smiled throughout the proceedings, a true Psychopath. But OW & I are a united front against the devil himself, who would have thought?

    • Amazing Amalie, you have great courage. I am in awe of your valor!

  • The choice to live without a cheater, once made gives us an ounce of control. Build on that and every day you gain more.

  • Its amazing to see the downword changes in an individual so quickly. I dont even recognize him as the same man just a very very angry depressed unhappy pod. I dont feel guilty not my doing.

    • X stopped accepting or returning phone calls, so I blocked him. I hate how he texts (mean, and occasionally dick pics, and just before my leaving, one I still can’t even put words to, because honestly it falls under illegal), so I blocked text messaging, too.

      He still emails. He was always blunt, and in writing, “a man of few words”. But his style has markedly changed in the past year, like maybe he had a stroke. Even fewer words than before, and although I can still sense the intensity or authority behind them, really meaningless. Nothing worth responding to. Lazy. Boring.

      Earlier on, I felt really worried about this change. But, he lives with someone now, and loves them, so, it’s not my problem. That person can take care of him.

      He takes pleasure in telling me he is very happy in his new life. I’d say that’s great, except, I don’t think he is.

      However, I am.

      • Once he buys the house and im gone blocking everything even emails i will delete him i never want to hear from him or see him again. For any reason. He left me and acted like nothing happened no big deal even tried to get me replaced as mom. Fucker do not come between me and my kids. He will be dead to me. My kids know this and respect my wishes they know what he has done and how he has pushed them away cause they wouldnt get with the program. Ok rid yourself of me but try to replace me with some whore for your own sick dick interests and the bitch was fine with it. No thats a bridge too far. Sick demented bastards do this shit. Im playing nice til closing money in hand then nothing. He is dead to me. Thank goodness my kids are grown and smart enough to see the light.

        • Yes to that. Dead to me after I get what I want. I might not be feeling the anger, but the day I don’t have to play nice anymore and can block him from everything, will be the day I can breathe again. I’m a patient girl.

  • So, I haven’t yet felt the anger, I don’t know what’s wrong with me. Dday was Dec 16, 2015. He had only known her for a brief few weeks but was willing to throw away 25 years of a GOOD marriage, a new grandchild, plus risk his career for a woman who lived 3000 miles away. He kept up an EA until the end of March when I found a burner phone and all that he said to me about breaking it off was a thousand lies upon lies. He left, not sure if he ever saw her, but he did now want to be single,to search for his solo identity, yet still wanted to be married. I filed for divorce in April Oh, and did I mention he wanted us to try polyamory cos he loved us BOTH and needed time to figure out who he wanted? Oh yes…but I don’t seem to be angry. Dead inside, sad, but I knew I could never allow cake. He snapped one day and turned into someone else. Never wanted to go to counseling except to convince the therapist that I needed to allow him to pursue his dream…when do i get angry?

    • The anger will come. Everyone grieves different stages, at different times, for a different amount of time. You are still very new and raw.

      Try to remember to do basics self care. Find someone you can vent to in confidence. Pray. Share your story here.
      I’m so sorry you are going through this. He sounds like an entitled self serving bitch.

      • Thank you so much for your words of support. I think I’m afraid to get angry because then he blameshifts and says, “You are so angry” like I have no right to be, and then he says, “I’m in pain, too” and projects and gaslights and all that crap. I go no contact/gray rock as much as possible while trying to keep him SANE to make the divorce go better for me. I’m keeping my eyes on the prize. When that is done, I will completely purge him from my life just like he did when he made that choice to break our vows.

        • I am in my angry and rage stage. I express my anger to trusted family and friends. I express my rage, which is much darker, to my journal and here. I will not give him either because of what you just said, minimizing, deflecting, and excusing. He has taken enough from me and is unworthy of anything else, including my emotions. Your emotions are your power. Don’t give them away to anyone who could turn them against you.

    • BJ, you might still be in a protective state of shock. I don’t want to alarm you, and I don’t think you’re in for any crazy town once the feelings start coming forward. But maybe look into EMDR therapy for help with this, now, *before* you need it. I think having that resource available ahead of time will help cushion any extreme that might come up.

      My anger comes forward HARD around holidays and around the milestones of my recovery. I’m *fury personified* a day or two before or after these calendar dates. I suspect you might “unload” more of the hurt and sorrow and righteous anger as this year of transition comes to a close, and your divorce is finalized and the ending papers delivered. Then the real “firsts” all begin to parade. The first Christmas without him. The first Valentine’s Day without him. The first wedding anniversary without him. The first Mother’s Day, and so on. Just know that when the feelings come up, they’re so normal. They’re natural; they’re reasonable. It’s grief, and you have all rights to feel them. And for as long as you need to, or as long as you do.

      I’m sorry for the end of your marriage, and I know you endured a lot of pain before your decision to file. Just know you are strong and courageous and smart to have made the decision and carried it through.

      When you do feel the anger? Know that you have absolutely every right to feel it. Sometimes it’s hard to know how to channel it, but I hope you turn the power of it toward loving *yourself* and making your own life *safe and beautiful and good*. You deserve that.

      • I have a good therapist, she’s mentioned EMDR, but that was mostly for HIM to deal with his FOO trauma of a narcissist mom who abandoned HIM exactly like he abandoned ME, and a selfish dad.
        Everyone seems to think it’s an extreme midlife crisis, and I agree, but he didn’t have to be sucked in by that black widow -4 times married predator -who is/was pressuring him to leave me to start a new life with her. I’m still in the “how COULD he do that to our marriage?” mode.

  • Uncertainty is definitely a part of life. The one certainty to me was that if my boys and I stayed things were going to get worse….that cheater ex was going to get worse. I knew it in my heart and it was time to go. The uncertainty of life on our own was a better bet than staying on the crazy train.

    The uncertainty of how we were going to survive? Well, I’ve always known that sooner or later I will always land on my feet. The process isn’t always pretty, but I get there eventually. That brings to mind the difference between chumps and cheaters. I think we chumps need to give ourselves credit for navigating one of the most difficult of life experiences and coming out on the other side waaay ahead of the cheater. If you think about it, we go on to freedom, and the possibility of growth and joy. Having given a shitty marriage our best effort because that’s who we are, we carry those skills with us throughout our lives. We have that strength, that resilience, that good character, and that love in our hearts. We may be battered, but we refuse to break. We have the resources to rebuild amazing lives for ourselves and our children. I see that as the certainty of cause and effect.

    The cheater? No such luck. They live blighted lives because they themselves are the blight. They are toxic in so many ways that their lives cannot be otherwise. That nets them some pretty unpleasant consequences eventually. Again, cause and effect.

    In a nutshell, ultimately, we win, they lose.

  • Tessie, that was exactly what I needed to hear today. Thank you so much.

  • The power of ‘no contact’ is amazing.. once I hit the 60 day mark I had so much clarity. And started the divorce process. We should stop putting cheaters on pedestals. There are so many great men in this world.. I am single.. It was scary at first but now I’m loving it. I can do what I want to do! I’m no longer afraid. I survived this. I feel stronger than ever. Why be with someone who I cannot trust? I know I can be happy on my own and pick a better mate next time around. But not giving up my single status unless he’s bloody amazing! Embrace the chaos! No need to be with a cheater. There’s a whole world out there!

    • And yes, at least WE can reinvent ourselves. Become a better person. Learn from our mistakes. The cheater will never reflect. He thinks he’s amazing just like he is. He will jump from one relationship to the next. He’ll never deal with his issues. He won’t take time out to take a look at himself… so he’s not going to get a happy and healthy relationship.. despite the lies he tells himself. At least we, who pull through and appear on the other side happier and healthier have a much bigger chance to find a real and healthy new relationship. There is really no point staying with a cheater. Once someone disrespects you like that and shows you THAT clearly that he does NOT love you. Get out.

    • Amen, Alexa. I was putting the cheater on a pedestal too. If you don’t do it on your own, the RIC will get you right on that. I was treating his cheating ass like a king when I should have been treating him like the piss ant he was.

      • Yes, me too, cos even though I denied it to everyone, i was/am still in the pick me stage, where i can say, see, even though you’ve trampled my life and my heart, i can still be perfect. I disgust ME.

          • That’s why you should really try NC, and make it last for a while – 60 days sounds like a good indication. Then you can get to objectivity and clarity and make the right decisions.

        • I’m there too and it sucks. STBX didn’t have multiple or long term affairs it was a one and done and some texting. Once shit hit the fan it was over fast and I went pick me dancing for a couple of months. There is a lot of unresolved shit from the actual marriage. And I should just go no contact and I’ve been trying but massively failing and I’m back to pick me dancing. It’s sick and I hate myself too. I’m just so torn up. I love him so much (I know not an excuse!) And I’m just so weak right now. Tired and sad and exhausted with drama and soooooo full of regret and shame over the past. I feel like I’m so fucked up from EVERYTHING that has gone on I don’t see how I will ever recover. I’m going to look into EMDR because I have a lot of unresolved drama from youth about self esteem and just shit that still makes me cry even now as an adult just feeling unworthy and shitty.

  • My story is I’m 9 months from Dday and my divorce was finalized 3 weeks ago. I got custody of my kids and cheater pants is still love bombing the OW. They plan on getting married when her divorce is final. My fear is that my youngest wants his dad’s attention so much that he lets his dad guilt him constantly. Why don’t you call me more?, why do you not text me more? He actually told both kids ” I’ll let you do all the things mom doesn’t allow if you spend more time with me” It’s all about the loser and his feelings all the time! Never does he think about his kids feelings or mine. After 23 years with someone it’s quite a blow to realize the person you thought they were doesn’t exist.

    • Same here, 25 years and the honorable person with integrity and good character I thought I married simply stopped existing or was a sham from the beginning? When the mask fell off, my life was destroyed. I’
      m sorry for your pain. This is terrible.

  • In my case, I was constantly trying to manage my comfort level with uncertainty/frustration while IN the relationship with my ex-, and then when I got OUT I had to manage different kinds of uncertainty/frustration. It’s really just picking whichever version of uncertainty you find more tolerable/productive. There was no growth in the situation with my ex- because he was a horrible team player (that’s putting it nicely). So I said … well … I can do better/make more progress on my own without him constantly f*cking me over and holding me back. I pick Uncertainty Door Number 2.

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