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Knowing When a Marriage Is Over

marriageYesterday’s New York Times‘ “Room for Debate” was the issue “knowing when a marriage is over.” They asked six experts, who frankly, I all thought rather dodged the question with versions of “it’s complicated” and “it depends.” Or “let’s redefine marriage!” Only one expert, a lawyer who’d been divorced twice (and happily remarried for 25 years now) gave a solid answer:

For most people who I have known in broken relationships, the definitive breaking point is when one person has done or said something for which there can be no forgiveness. Because the ability to “forgive” (notice I didn’t say “forget”) is the key to deciding whether you should stay in the relationship.

I don’t entirely agree, but at least it is an answer. I think you can “forgive” (however you define that) from a distance, with time. But I think what he’s trying to say is that when there is a deal breaker, the marriage is over.

The New York Times didn’t ask me, but here’s my answer to Knowing When a Marriage Is Over list:

1.) When there are more than two of you. Unless you’re hip to an open marriage or really enjoy round after round of the Pick Me Dance, your marriage is over when your partner keeps inviting other people into your relationship. Secretly. And at great personal risk to your health, home life, and finances.

2.) When you are the only person invested in saving the marriage. If a Bad Thing happens (and bad things are inevitable in any relationship, I’m not just talking infidelity), and you are the only person booking those shrink appointments, and buying the self help books, and trying to engage in honest conversations? Hello! You are the ONLY person in your marriage! Just like marriages do not work in multiples of three, they don’t work singular either.

You can’t save a relationship by yourself, or improve one, if one person is checked out. (Despite therapy sales pitches to the contrary — Reconciliation Industrial Complex, I’m talking to you.)

3.) When your partner is not available for a relationship. And having the good sense to figure that out. Many people act like they want a relationship, but the rest of their lives indicate otherwise. If someone has a deep, personal commitment to booze over you? They’re not available for a relationship. If someone is super charming and sparkly, but resolves conflicts by slamming you head first through a window? They’re not available for a relationship. If someone has an untreated mental illness and life with them is utter chaos and unending crisis? They’re not available for a relationship.

They may show up at your dinner table, they may pledge their undying love to you, they may mouth the words: “You are my Special Love Muffin!” but people? THEY ARE NOT AVAILABLE FOR A RELATIONSHIP.

And it is up to you to have the good sense to realize, that wow, this person’s actions do not align with what you consider to be “relationship material.”

Oh, that’s the other point — you have to have a notion of what a relationship or marriage IS. And not accept any old arrangement because someone says it is a “relationship.” Have deal breakers.

Thank you.

(Hey, New York Times? I’m available for parties and bar mitzvahs.)

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  • Someone asked awhile ago what advice to give a young person about relationships. This is it. I wish I had this at 18. The only thing I would have edited is number 1. Instead of “keeps inviting” to “invites another person.” One and done, but the point is made either way.

    • #1 seared right into my heart. Wish anyone had said it to me ages ago.

  • The failure to recognize that a marriage is over is the single biggest mistake chumps make in dealing with infidelity. It is the lowest branch on the decision tree, and a wrong turn there only leads to a variety of miseries. It’s not complicated, just painful.

    • True. How many acts of disrespect should it take to end a relationship? One. I don’t mean grumpiness or badly-put phrases, but actual disrespect. If most of us had learned (and followed) this rule, we’d never have married our cheaters to begin with. Cheating is the ultimate act of disrespect, and warrants an immediate exit.

      • Totally agree. Lundy Bancroft says, “Disrespect is the soil in which all abuse grows.” This is the most succinct statement of the chump experience I have ever seen.

      • So true nomar, Tempest, and FMT!

        The level of disrespect was astounding after I found proof that he had been cheating for over a year. What got me angry though, was finding proof that once found out, my X used lying as his preferred problem solving strategy to “save our marriage”… He took advantage of my trusting nature, but I would not let him insult my intelligence.

        So no wreckonciliation here, and yes it was painful as hell to divorce him… But the cause of the divorce was simple: “You became an adulterer, I divorced you.” Done.

        There has not been a day when I have regretted the decision of ending my marriage after DDay #1.

        • Right there with you exactly, Chumptitude. DDay #1 out the door – and went underground to find out the nastiest double life he led while I was clueless raising kids, taking care of house, committed and totally “all in”. The BS he tried to feed me during the few months he worked overtime to image manage and reign my chump ass back in is laughable now. All the while professing how much he had always loved and respected me and all the amazing things he was doing to win my trust back HA! And picking up women in bars and not attending the therapies and shit he said he was. Knowledge was/is power and peace! He’s got a new chump buying all his sparkly shit now. Never change – thank God for the self respect, strength and support of family and friends who stuck by me and my kiddos in the first few months when I was basically in shock. Infidelity and lies are deal breakers always!! #neverregret

          • High five TRUTHintheDetails, I remember your amazing stealth approach from previous comments, have you ever considered becoming a PI :)?!

      • I agree Tempest, coincidently I was discussing this same thing with my cousin earlier today.
        The disrespect not only continued but became increasingly worse. Eventually I didn’t realize I was being disrespected. I accepted disrespect as normal. In 25 years I went from not taking any crap to something you need to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.

        • Brit, I feel the 25 years. I was working so hard to help him be “happy” I missed that my daughter was having “daddy issues”. Dad was always there. I was so clueless I didn’t realize you could be somewhere physically and totally mentally checked out. Never dreamed the evil I was trying to keep out of our home was laying on the couch watching NASCAR.

          • Rhonda, X would request an on call schedule every month knowing it would be very unlikely he would be called in to work during the month. X would tell everyone he bid this schedule to spend time with our son. I was also clueless because X never did anything with our son. When our son was about eight or nine he wrote a card to his father saying all he wanted for his birthday was for his Dad to spend time with him.
            X would rather watch the same movies or programs on TV repeatedly or be on the computer. X always had an excuse as to why he didn’t have time to spend with our son.
            I gradually put X on a pedestal while I mentally checked out of reality. It’s like being brainwashed. Over and over he would lecture me on his high moral standards and integrity and I foolishly believed him.
            Everything was based on what X liked, what would make X happy, I never considered what made me happy or unhappy. I was constantly trying to live up to his impossible expectations because no matter what I did it was never quite good enough.
            He made very little to no effort to participate in our family.
            X wasn’t concerned with making me happy, our son happy, or have ideas or make plans for our family. He wasn’t interested in anything family.

            • Did I write the above comment? No? I certainly could have. Right down to the bidding of an on-call schedule yet doing nothing with the kids. The only part that isn’t me, is the X part, but I’m getting courage…

  • This post should be required reading in every pre-marriage workshop (or whatever they call them). In my own case, I was determined to marry XH the Unavailable drunk and substance abuser because my 21-year old self had fallen in love with him and he had run my heart through the shredder a couple of times. Evidently that was not enough! After years of pick-me dancing with booze and his buddies and whatever woman he was “dating,” I finally won–a drunk who in the end was never sober when I was home from work. Yep–drank from 5 at night till he passed out and all weekend. I clung to that wire monkey for a decade and still feel guilt about leaving. But truer words were never spoken. You can in fake be married to someone who is not available for a relationship. By the time I left, I could have checked all 3 boxes. He was flirting with women in their 20s in front of me. He was largely getting a free ride financially and I was emotionally and socially alone. It’s not a marriage when one person is plugged in, fully engaged and working on a joint venture and the other is not. And all the hopium in the world that says an alcoholic or cheater or selfish, lazy financial leech will change because that person is willing to get legally married just underestimates the perks of marriage for those who aren’t willing or capable of what marriage requires.

    • *You can in fact be married…not “in fake” be married, but that works too.

      • ” I clung to that wire monkey for a decade”. Perfectly put LaJ and so sad for all of us who have done this for so long. ” I could have checked all 3 boxes” .

    • Now that’s familiar! He worked right across the street. Would start drinking with his boss, then come home and continue drinking. Eat dinner, pass out. Rinse, repeat. Let’s not forget getting up to pee in the night and end up pissing in the shower, or the mud room, or whatever direction he was aiming at. Told me he was sleepwalking. Uh huh.

      Yeah, I was never more lonely than I was with him.

      • My ex would pee the bed more often then not… I remember waking up one night to find him peeing on the tv. He had no idea where he was. So gross.

        • How about vomiting in the washing machine in the bathroom? First year of marriage.

          • Oy, mine was a prince compared to you guys’s horrors. Which isn’t saying much because vomit or no vomit, mine was a schmuck…

          • My birthday was on a Friday. Judas was out drinking the Thursday before (typical) and I woke up to him puking over the side of the bed at 4 am on my birthday. I took and still have the video because I think people think I exaggerate his alcoholism. I went to work. Needless to say he didn’t. My birthday was in February – I left for the last time May 1st.

          • Meth makes people pass gas. Yep. I have never “tooted” in front of anyone unless I had extreme food poisoning or after surgery and was told to and this was followed by screams of mortification and cringing embarrassment.

            Meth Man would do it, and I would be outraged (NO MAN HAS EVER DONE THIS AROUND ME) and he would say:

            “It is a natural bodily function. You are crazy.”

            He would do it like..proud and bold and wow…this journaling is helping me because I CANNOT believe what I tolerated.

            Also, big loud, barn shaking burps. BUR-AWWWWPPPP!!!! No shame. Maybe a glib Excuse me!!!

            Did I say he was sexy??? Geez.

        • My ex peed in the over-the-door plastic shoe caddy. A huge mess, and I ended up throwing away a good pair of shoes – I could NOT get that awful smell out. Tossed the shoe caddy, too. 🙁

          • Oh Susannah! (the song)

            Was he high or drunk? Imagine how out of your mind you have to be to do these things.

            UNAVAILABLE? They were not even in the world.

      • ^^ This^^ I felt so alone with my XH. Now that he’s gone I’m reengaging with my friends, trying new things, really taking the time to ‘feel’ moments and experiences. I’m trying new things that I would never have done when married, only because the voice in my head was saying “you look stupid, and are stupid” or “you can’t do this”. Or because I was so focused on ‘fixing’ my marriage that I didn’t have time to take in experiences. Literally friends will show me photos, that I’m in, and I cannot for the life of me remember being there!

        Now the dialog in my head is shifting. I literally do not care what anyone thinks. Did I look like a fool climbing that rock wall? Perhaps, but it was damn fun and I’m afraid of heights! Do I sound awful singing, pretty much, but who cares?? That’s my jam!!

        I have to say that I highly recommend EFT or EMDR with a therapist specialized in those modalities. She’s been able to do in 3 months what no other talk therapist I have seen has tried in YEARS!! Tapping and affirmations, are so helpful, quick an easy, and can be used at anytime.

        We can retrain our brains, make new pathways, new grooves that put us on better paths!!

        • Seconding EMDR, strongly. Two months of this protocol can change your life. Not least because you will see and experience firsthand how very, very, *very* smart your brain actually *is*.

          EMDR unlocks pathways that have been frozen, maybe for decades, by trauma. And it’s not super cheap, but the shortness of the treatment — 8 to 12 deep sessions — offsets the time/dollar cost of longer (years of) talk therapies.

          If you need repair, this one therapy I *highly* recommend.

          • I loved EMDR and would recommend it to anyone, especially trauma victims.

      • MIne was so drunk he pissed in a basket of homeschooling books in the hallway. Woke everyone up in the middle of the night, began screaming at all of us, started pushing me around and my daughter (12 at the time) called 911. The cops came, filed a report and my three kids and I left that night to stay the rest of the weekend with my mom. Like a dummy, I went back and smoked hopium for another 6 years until he jumped ship (with a secret Schmoopie waiting in the wings), blaming the drinking on me.

        • Sorry for what you went through, and for what your children had to witness. I hope everyone is okay now that the drunk cheater is gone.

      • Wow, Pearshaped, my feelings exactly….I was never more lonely than I was with him!

    • LAJ, It is such a slam dunk home run post. I broke contact after 30 day (HORRIBLE MONSTROUS CATASTROPHIC MISTAKE) but Tracy’s writing just gave me the strength to get up out of bed.

      A drug addict, no matter how sexy, rich and charming IS NOT AVAILABLE for a relationship.

      Add in the female drug addict that is somehow…always around him….Ashley….and he is so not available…he may as well be dead to me. It makes me nauseated.

      To anyone reading this, and on the fence about breaking contact….learn from my misery and pain (I have cried so much my teeth ache)

      DO NOT DO IT. Let them go.

      If someone is showing you with every action they have, that they don’t give a red whit about the relationship-

      This post is going on my bulletin board.

      • The total lack of disrespect i was shown showed me that there was never love at all. 30 years not completely wasted but wasted. I would kick myself in my own ass if i could. But now im on to much better things and soon a totally asswipe free life!

        • There were good things because I made them good . I love that you wrote wasted but not wasted years. They were wasted because they were invested in a apparition…..he was never there physically or emotionally. But, we still managed to make some things fun despite him and that’s what I focus on. I hate to think I “wasted” years so I love that you described it that way. Exactly how I feel. Thank you.

          • You are welcome. I had fun and joy, my kids, sil, my late fil. So not totally wasted i will just asswipe out of the memories and cherish the rest. Ive nothing left for him and wont waste a nanosecond on that scuzbag. The kids and i laugh now how pathetic and sad he is. They deal with him but not often and dont let him walk all over them and they refuse to walk eggsshells around. All of us have changed hes only gotton worse.

        • I am trying to view the last 30 years as a job. Parts of it was very satisfying and parts fairly miserable. But I gave it my best effort despite my asshole “boss” and now I am about to collect a very generous pension and can go try new things. Lots of people struggle at retirement trying to find themselves, so maybe we arent so different.

          • Constructive way to think about it, Dixie Chump. We spent time in the gulag for 1/2 their retirement funds. (now off to work out my gulag pay per hour…..)

              • OMG – this is perfect! ‘now off to work out my gulag pay per hour…..)

            • I was married for 9499 days (leap years not calculated in).
              When he died I received $1,000,000
              works out to $105/day

              NOT worth it (Im glad and fortunate to have it, but NOT WORTH it)

              I was never “for sale”…I wanted love, commitment, devotion, a baseline degree of respect and a life in a shared faith.

              • I agree that it is an imperfect thought experiment. And yes, all of us were worth so much more. You cannot put a price on love, fidelity, trust … There is really no good way to come to grips with our experiences other than to hold our heads high knowing we gave our best to those most unworthy. May we all flourish and may they meet their karma far, far away from us and our new lives.

              • I completely agree, Unicornomore. I was never for sale, and would have preferred no divorce settlement but to have had that happy family unit I worked so hard to create. (based on your calculations, I made less per day/hour–totally not worth it monetarily. Having the children was the only thing that made the marriage worth it.).

              • unicornnomore I think your comment about the $$$ is very valuable, maybe one of the most valuable things I read here. Reminds me how the most precious thing is love and respect, and it’s foundational. No band-aids of money can replace it, even though money is great to have, it’s cold comfort for the hell you went through. thanks for posting.

      • Oh, honey. It’s a new day. This time, make an agreement to call a friend if you are tempted. Put DO NOT TEXT OR CALL on your phone contact for him or better still delete the number. But DO NOT TEXT OR CALL reminded me of my no contact resolution. And think of an alternative activity when the urge hits you. Want to call? Clean the hall closet. Then look at your nice work. Want to text? Go walk three miles and enjoy being outdoors. Want to write one last pleading, apologetic, desperate letter? Go mow the lawn. Paint the laundry room. Pull some weeds. Take the kids to the zoo. Pull out a book on codependency and read it, again. Read CL on no contact. Take a hot bath and have a little wine with some good music playing.

        Live your life and make it as good as you can.

        • LAJ,
          I am so appreciative of your post, thank you for writing.
          LAJ. I wish you had been with me to stop me! Everyone in my life is maxed out on this topic. BEYOND. They cannot wrap their heads around me bursting into tears over a cheating meth addict.
          Another thing I am going to do is explore this EMDR therapy referenced above. I know Meth Man did something to my brain. I need medical help and my vigorous exercise program is not enough.
          I was looking for some type of absolution or closure or explanation. There is none from a liar.

          • SabineSavoy:
            Oh! Sweetie. I hate to be the bearer of bad news but please please don’t expect absolution or closure or an explanation from the Meth Head.

            For absolution or closure or explanation to be provided there needs to be acknowledgment or recognition on his part that wrong was committed to you from his side. Plainly put, he just does not get it and in his foggy head he did nothing wrong or worse, he simply does not care what he did to hurt you. There really is nothing he can say that will sooth your heart.

            Give your self the absolution, closure, explanation and FORGIVE YOURSELF. Be selfish for a while with your love. Give majority of it to yourself. Hug! <3

            • The only one im forgiving is myself. Asswipe never asked for forgiveness or said he was sorry. Three years out still no apology. I waited for that im sorry for a long time but no more its never gonna come because he is a entitled jack ass. One just one sincere im sorry for hurting you kar marie would have helped me so much but no why cause hes not sorry and never will be. Forgive yourself turn around flipping your hair at him and walk away. And silence is the best way for these cocksuckers no more image management and above all no more cake. Your life will be so much more wonderful without him. Remember the good just leave him out of it. You will thank yourself. It hurts damn it hurts but you will be better off in the end. Sending you a big giant hug!

              • Kar Marie,
                Thank so much for caring about my problems and I need to follow what you said: SILENCE. SILENCE. No more cake. When I did speak to him he actually said, “I guess I wanted my CAKE and to eat it, too.”

                I then got the “you did nothing wrong” speech”…I honestly think he just wanted off the phone. Mortifying.

            • Confused123, Thank you so much! You are right on the money- HE DOES NOT CARE. That is what is so…unbelievable. His heart is hard. I burst into tears in the public library today and the security guard ( a woman) was so nice. But, when you find yourself sobbing to strangers, it is bad. When I was 30 days NC, I was much more stable. Thank you again for writing.
              I hang on to it like a rope.

              • No contact is sooooooo hard. I fell into that trap so many times. I would be so serious about my no contact and then be in a position where I had to contact over something ( taxes, insurance, blah, blah…) and I would completely fall off the wagon. I would find myself screaming about the pain, the kids, the cheating…..WTF?? Who am I? I was just shoving cake in his mouth. Not my finer moments to be sure but now I haven’t had to communicate with him in any way and it’s awesome.
                Don’t beat yourself up.

            • SS, the hardest part about all of this, is accepting that you just may never get the answers you are looking for. I’m 5 yrs out, and still so many questions, but as soon as I accepted he nor I will ever come to that place of understanding the betrayal, my life started to improve. It’s like this “thing” that keeps pushing & pushing into your face and will just keep pushing until one deals w it …

              I had no issues in my marriage of 30 yrs, as anyone who knew me or us knew it was a good union. I had to accept my deal breaker even thou it was the last thing I ever wanted. My heartbreak was too painful to carry along w him in the future, thou he really is a good man, who did a really bad thing to our marriage.
              We will never see eye to eye on this, as all he has ever wanted was the marriage back.

              I couldn’t fix what I didn’t break, I could only heal… wise, wise words of CL!

              It’s funny, I remember well a book called
              “My husband affair was the best thing that ever happened to me,” and I would want to puke each time I heard that title. But…. It’s strange, may not be the life imagine 6 yrs ago ever, nor in that wedding day so long ago, but life is looking good again… & I’ll be aok!

              You will too!

          • He’s an addict hooked on meth and whatever else. You are a codependent, probably, hooked on him. You may have a form of PTSD. Recovery will take time, not measured in weeks but for sure not the rest of your life. Are you in therapy? If not, get there, with someone smart and tough who knows about addiction, co-dependency and spousal abuse (including infidelity). Look into EMDR. Can someone move in with you for a few weeks? My BFF stayed with me for 3 weeks about a month after DDay. That might have saved my life. And think about a vision board to think about what you want your life to look like. I used Pinterest to figure out what kind of woman I want to be, what I want in my life.

            You raise a very important point. Living with abuse does impact our brains. Tempest can probably explain that more accurately and sensibly. Living with an abusive addict makes us as temporarily crazy as the addict. But you are in a much better position than Mr. MethHead because you don’t live for meth. You can break contact and keep no contact from this man and his destructive way and learn how to have a whole and happy life without being hooked to an addict, a drunk, a cheater, or other disordered person. You are still in early days. I can remember calling up a woman friend about 2 months after DDay and telling her I was going to get Jackass back and just be “friends with benefits” because why not? She looked at me like I was batshit crazy. Which I was. Reading here every day drummed into my head the importance of no contact to my own healing.

            This man has nothing to give you. But we here can give you closure: He’s an addict. He’s a cheater. He’s very bad for your health. Be grateful that he has removed himself from your life. In a year, this won’t be just an idea in your mind; it will be something you know in your gut. The heart will follow.

            • Listen, also, the substance abuse thing in this case is not just about addiction, a behavioral thing. That particular substance is really bad for the brain.

              The users I knew totally disintegrated from their pre-user selves. They never, ever returned to normal. Whether the user you know snorts it, eats it, smokes it, bangs it, or foils it, that brain you were involved with and thought you loved is pretty much forever changed.

              Yours is not. You’ll recover from this, if you want to.

              • Lucky Seven
                (My birthday is 7/17/71 and seven is my lucky number..,)

                That’s right. I have researched it too much, and I have read that they often descend into permanent psychosis. He smokes and snorts it. He loves it. It is his love.

                At the end, he was seeing people who were not there in the garage and was taking apart my lamps with an intense tweaker frenzy.

                I would make him leave my home, as I would not let him move in with me. He tried, but I took all of his things and put them back in his Blazer.

                And this is what I was told when I discovered the cheating: “You ran me off so much it hurt my feelings.”

                This is why he cheated. With a meth whore. Because I would not let him do meth or be around me high on meth and I made him leave…probably 10 times. My life is pathetic.

                I got tangled up with a freak. He hid it so well. I did not know what meth was. It was foreign to me. Then, I was asking him..Why are you not asleep? What is wrong with you? What is that smell?

                And it got worse and worse.

                I have to remember this: he could have killed me. He could have gotten me in trouble with my bar license. At the very end, he became enraged and picked up a brick paver stone from my front yard and charged me with it. As if to brain me.
                That is when the old chow I plucked off the streets went for his calf muscle. It shocked him and he stopped. As I saw him coming, I was frozen. He later took his finger (he is missing part of a finger it is a very strong nub) and was BANGING my forehead so hard…GET THIS IN YOUR HEAD. I HAVE NEVER CHEATED ON YOU.

                Then he would frantically kiss where he banged. He also dragged me from the garage step to my bedroom by my throat. Not choking but almost. I was in such shock. I have never been man handled like that.

                This is why my mom is over it, and this is why I know I need serious help.

                But, at least he is staying away. He is avoiding me. He said, “Maybe I love you enough to stay away”. But he is monstrously selfish. He is with someone who he can smoke meth with and be in the drug world completely. She lost her children to social services, is homeless and has no car. This is the life he wants.

                ***Everyone woman he has every dated has ended up without their children, in prison, homeless or addicted to drugs…much worse off***

                He walks away with his millions and moves on…..

                And so…here I am. But he is not contacting me anymore. I have been devalued and discarded.

                It is a blessing. I know that. It hurts because I am sick with codependency and gas lighting.

                Thank you for helping me analyze it. It might just save my life.

              • Sister, you have a birthday coming up. You have to be the one to save your own life. This is part of the lesson. You are the only one who can do it.

                Everything you describe is abusive and traumatizing. I’ve been through that world and come out the other side — several times. X was the last of it. I will never do this trajectory again. Because it ends up close to fatal. If he doesn’t kill you, the stress on your body systems might. The stress you recycle each time you try to process and don’t succeed.

                This is why I am pushing for you to seek EMDR, at soonest. I’ve been where you are and it does not get better by analyzing and talking about it. Take it to the EMDR therapist and take swift actual action against this loop your brain is stuck in. I know you won’t do it unless you want to, so with all good intention, I am wanting you to reach the point where YOU WANT TO, and then DO.

                The reason most people are over your talking about it — and I don’t mean here, I mean in your personal circles — is that they likely have not been through or even known the world you are talking about. It’s not a good world. It’s deep, ugly, and drama-heavy, and very confusing and dangerous. It’s a trap. And it’s not sexy or brilliant or even worth knowing — and it seems to me that *you ARE*. You have to get up out of it, get out of even thinking about it. People who have not been there will only understand or be able to access very little about that darkness. And it’s possible that people who *have* been there, run the risk of getting stuck or triggered by your fresh content, or even run the risk of re-exploring that world. I’m not saying don’t talk about it — just, be aware that you don’t want to test anyone’s sobriety or hard-won safety. Does that make sense?

                That world is behind you and it isn’t a place for you to ever choose to return to. It is not a world for your kind. I gather you encounter it at varying degrees in your occupation; it could be to your benefit to consider moving your practice and skill set to a less seamy clientele. I know that’s ballsy for me to suggest, but I’m of the mind that you really need to take care of you, first and foremost and most of all.

                Imagine what it would be like, if you were able to safely see in just two hours, without saying really any words at all, a full replay of one or more of these scenes, or even half of your relationship, and understand what happened, why it happened, why you or he behaved a certain way, why it is ok now, and why it is right and just that the target person is gone from your life.

                Imagine what it could be like for you, if you could do something to put the worst of this away safely. What it could be like, if you had room again to think of other things in your life — your dreams and goals, your strengths, the little non-relationship experiences that make you happy. Imagine what could happen if you suddenly put yourself fully first.

                Imagine what you’d feel, if 75% of the hurt and shame — and addicted attraction — were gone.

                You don’t have to be stuck in this. You’re stuck because what happened was completely traumatic, and hooking. You can break through that. But it’s you that has to make the call.

            • LAJ, Well, this is going on my refrigerator, wrote you wrote. Yes, I am in therapy but I need a new therapist. It is not her fault. She is more focused on his sociopathy, which I do think he is, but I need to work on ME..because I am a clearly a catastrophic co dependent and he did something to my brain. I HAVE NEVER FELT LIKE THIS BEFORE.

              I am one hair away from sobbing, unless I am asleep. He is a calculating lying addict who is very charming. I live alone, and I have little to no family. My mother is not helpful on this topic and my girlfriend have husbands who are professionals and this is all foreign to them. They hear “meth” and I get looks of complete WTF???

              I knew he had a bad past, but I did not care. He was my 5th-8th grade crush (unreciprocated) and that is a whole can of worms. We met again as Adults.

              I am addicted to him. He produces physical symptoms: chest pain, diarrhea, migraines and malaise. I have low blood pressure. After talking to him, it shoots up.

              Oh boy….he has caused me so much misery….and he sounds okay. He is not marred by this. Thank you for analyzing it for me. You may have an idea how much it means to me, but you may underestimate it.

              • SabineSavoy, Overcoming the deeply traumatizing experiences you have gone through is possible!

                I am glad you found CL as posting and reading others comments is so important to feed our mind until our heart can believe that our cheaters truly suck!

                In addition to finding a good trauma therapist that is familiar with EMDR and complex PTSD treatment options (I recommend Dialectic Behavioral Therapy in the initial few months), I have for months read voraciously to better understand the dynamics of the trauma recovery. I would recommend that you read:
                Restoring Hope And Trust: An Illustrated Guide To Mastering Trauma
                by Lisa Lewis
                Why Does He Do That? by Lundy Bancroft
                Stop Caretaking the Borderline or Narcissist by Margalis Fjelstad

                By reading these books, and CL/CN daily, I have started healing by getting a better understanding of Cluster Bs and of what I can do to build a better life for my kiddo and myself.

                It is a slow process, take one day at a time, it is horrible that you had to endure his violent assaults on your psyche and your person. Be patient with yourself, post in the forum whenever you need more support, we are here to help!

              • LUCKY SEVEN
                You understand it. I was trapped in a hell. No one can understand. I stood up when I started reading your post…you are the first person to know what I am have been trying to say…my brain is stuck in a loop. There is something wrong. I was in a a life or death fight for my life. And he is happy and fine and high and I am left…alone and close to insanity.

                I am HEADED OUT THE DOOR for a consult with the EMDR Psychologist right now. I don’t care how much it costs.

                Analyzing it only helps enough to keep me from sleeping all day. I have to get help.

              • SS, listen to lucky 7!

                You wrote something very important… “he loves drugs”……..
                You hit the nail on the head, you gotta realize he’s already in a relationship and the ow is meth, not the whore meth he’s with!
                As painful as all this is… Walk away, get yourself in thearpy, (( I went to 8 different until I found a match))
                I too suffered PTSD, 22 months refused professional help and it almost cost me my life. Hindsight now, I realize I am worth so much more than to ever allow someone who I give my heart to, to ever treat my heart so poorly ever again.

  • That NY opinion feature was the most disappointing thing ever. I could swear CN was represented in a couple of the comments though.

    • Seriously! we all could have benefitted from a CL pre-marriage sanity check. CL I think you should write some guidelines for all people to consider before saying I DO!

      • Her next book should be a relationship primer or marriage boot camp. I never saw my parent’s exchange a kind word….ever…or show any warmth or affection to each other…IN ANY WAY.
        I had no sense at all about what a relationship should be.

        Therefore, you can be educated, traveled, intellectually sophisticated, well read or a decent person and still be clueless about relationships. I am, and was.

        Cheating Meth Man was extremely affectionate with me, running his hands through my hair, constant hugging and lots of sex. This, in my brain, felt like love, coupled with some other sparkles and odd acts of fake gallantry. I was a goner.

        The most pain in my life has come from my relationship “picker”- ending up with absolute nightmares that LAJ marriage outlined and the post describe above.

        Time to get mighty. Even when you feel as weak as a kitten.

        • Seriously! I would love a CL checklist to consider before I enter my next relationship!! I had a very stable family life growing up, my parents are still married after 35 years and throughout my entire life I can only remember a few small squabbles between them. They were always the couple that grossed me and my friends out because they would kiss in front of us! So I had a pretty good example set for me and I still jumped at prince charming when he came along and love bombed me into oblivion. It happens to the smartest & savviest of us!!

          • You jumped at Love & Marriage because you DID have such a good example; it would have been a good idea to look at what examples your potential husband had seen.

            Ah, well, “woulda/coulda/shoulda” happens to us all. It’s too bad you lost so much when you committed to him, but at least the blinkers have been removed and you are out of that stupidity. I sincerely hope you are happier.

          • Yes. Yes. Yes. Checklist please for the next chump free relationship. Never want to go back. Forgive but not forget.

  • Well, according to this blog post, my marriage was over when it started. There was always a third party in our relationship. Ex needed to keep in contact with his ex-girlfriend while we were dating. He even convinced me it was “normal” that he went out for lunch dates with her. I was so jealous at the time, but I bought into what he said even though it bothered me (first red flag that I ignored.) She even came to our wedding.

    I always felt like I was doing all the “work” in our marriage and I pretty much was. Any I’m not talking chores around the house, even though I did most of that, too. I’m talking working on our marriage. My ex actually said to me, “I worked on our marriage by going to work (his job.) Well, he worked a lot! Six days a week from morning until 9 or 10 at night. By his logic, he put a lot of work into our marriage, so why are we now divorced?

    And the last paragraph — yep, from the beginning he seemed checked out of our marriage. Instant change as soon as we got home from our honeymoon. Worked six days a week and then Sundays was football from noon until whatever time football ends at night. Withheld sex, making me feel so unwanted. I was so depressed and lonely. Went on anti-depressants within the first year of our marriage. This started the 20+ year Pick Me Dance. Me always waiting for him to be available to spend some time with me and then me and the kids.

    How did I fail to see that this wasn’t healthy from the beginning. 🙁

    • Those darn love chemicals really have the ability to make us look past all the bull sh*t!! I still can’t believe all of the glaring red flags I ignored when I dove head first into my marriage after 8 weeks. (Oh you are married? Oh she cheated on you and you are living seperate lives? Oh you just need to finalize the paperwork? OKAY! Sounds great to me!!) ::smacks self on forehead::

    • “Instant change as soon as we got home from our honeymoon” – just reading this made me remember on my honeymoon STBXW had an argument, and she proceeded to hit me on my head with her purse!

      the argument started all because I was boring for not wanting to go and watch an Elvis tribute act!!

    • Mine did the same thing after we got back from our honeymoon. Google Maddona/Whore complex. A lot of Narcissists do this. I sure know mine did. I had never heard of such a thing until my therapist mentioned it.

      MIND BLOWN!! That’s when all the dots started connecting and I realized he was doing things before we got married.

    • 1. I say take a hard look at any partner who thinks you are jealous when…that person is going out to lunch, or to run, or to play racquetball, or to shop with a former lover. Or if that former lover is invited to the wedding, the baby shower, the weekend bbq. As I’ve said many times here, I spend a lot of professional time with men, some married and some not, but I am always, always mindful of not taking precious family or couple time away from their partners. Jealousy is not a problem when you have something to be jealous about. That’s an early warning system. The kind man I’m dating is in regular contact with his XW for a variety of reasons. I never ever give a thought about that because he is transparent in his dealings and has thus far demonstrated that he is trustworthy. I am also a very secure and confident woman because I know that I am paying attention to this dynamic and will walk away if I don’t like what I see. But the “contact” here is always business and not social. That’s not to say that no one should ever occasionally break bread with a married man or woman, but crying “jealousy” when your husband is going out with a former lover? That’s mindfuckery. And especially if you aren’t getting the lunch date treatment yourself.
      2. Some of us start out in a disadvantaged position, like a football team that always gets the ball on the 1 and then has to go a lot further to win a game. Some of us grew up in a home where love was scarce or tied to performance (“Why weren’t you prom queen?” “You should have had all As.” “The other team wouldn’t have won if you hadn’t dropped the ball.”). Or we were expected to earn love by giving in to our parent(s). As a result, when we look for a partner, we don’t notice the lopsided nature of the relationship. We wouldn’t dream of meeting our former lovers for lunch dates, plural. But we don’t expect reciprocity because we are still in the mindset that we aren’t worthy; we are still trying to earn love when that is not possible.

      • Well, that’s it. Honestly, there is no reason, other than business, that a married man or woman should be out gallivanting with someone else. Methie accused me of being jealous. This is when NUMEROUS drug whores are blowing his phone up. Texts, the whole bit.

        And, on the disparate treatment. He treated this human garbage cans like gold. It is very odd. And would harangue me because of the dog hair in my house.

        Women who have felonies, smoke crack or meth, have lost their children to social services- okay and good buddies, defends them!

        Me- secret background clearance, no tickets EVER, professional, world traveled by myself, own my homes, great credit, pretty good shape, don’t smoke or do drugs, WORSHIPPED HIM….thought he was the bee’s knees and he had no accomplishments and he made
        rude comments about the dog hair in my house. This was the worst sin he could come up with regarding me. And that my shrubbery out front was too big.

        Madonna/whore? Fucking Asshole?

        I don’t understand. I can’t untangle the skein of fuckupness. It makes me feel insane.

      • “But we don’t expect reciprocity because we are still in the mindset that we aren’t worthy; we are still trying to earn love when that is not possible.”

        That’s exactly it. Honesty, empathy, reciprocity, connection.

  • My “marriage” was over a few hours after he put a ring on me. Everything shifted as if he could finally take the mask off after 3 years of courtship. I spent the next 15 years trying to figure out what the hell was going on ?

    • My first red flag was her not wanting to fool around on our wedding night…

      • It’s those happy occasions that always imploded. Me too. Wedding night? He was out partying till the wee hours with who knows who.

        • Yep, me too.

          No sex on the wedding night. Check. Getting plastered and falling asleep at the resort instead of romantic first night. Check. Complete removal of mask within 24 hours of arriving home from honeymoon. Check.

          I had my first dday before our first anniversary. The whole first year was horrible. He turned into a distant, sex withholding stranger overnight. Then I found out he was cheating since the beginning. I should have ran for the hills.

          • My first red flag? In the first week of marriage I returned home from a trip to find out that my ex had wrecked his demo the night before (he was and still is a car dealer) received a DUI, had spent said night in jail until his parents bailed him out. He had arrived home minutes before I had. Never said anything until I noticed his vehicle was missing, his parents couldn’t even look me in the eye when I asked what happened. Ex claimed he was “out with his buddies” when it happened. I saw one of his “buddies” a few days later and asked what happened… he had no clue what I was talking about, and stated none of them had been out with my ex since after our reception. When confronted, my ex amended his claim, that he was out with his “work buddies”, that I misunderstood. I learned that same week that one of his ex girlfriends still lived up the street from us. Hmmmm…
            Oh, and my husband wasn’t interested in sex in the days following our wedding either. This was 24 years ago, and I am sickened daily by realizations that I was somewhere I didn’t belong, that I spackled just to play wife.

      • Yep, the sexless wedding night. And honeymoon. 🙁

        I called a sibling at the crack of dawn on the morning after the wedding. “I made a mistake,” I cried; “I shouldn’t have married him. I need to undo this RIGHT NOW, fast. I can’t be married to him.”

        “Oh, EVERYONE feels that way at first. It’s normal to second guess. You’ll be fine.

        I spent several years in therapy, IC and then MC, wondering why I wasn’t fine. We had a sexless marriage, and in the divorce papers, he accused me of being a paid prostitute.


        • Good Morning Lucky Seven,
          Do you think he was punishing you… was a sick game? What possible explanation could there be for no sex on the honeymoon?
          That is so sad. I hate that for you!

          The reason why I asked if it was a sick game…even though my picker is off, I pay attention to most everything.

          And I noticed this horrifying thing about Meth Maggot: If I wanted something…he was going to make sure I did not get it.

          He saw, at the end, how much I loved sex with him, and started using it as a power play. I remember us going to eat, and I said, “Can we have sex tonight?”

          And he said, “If you are a good girl.”

          I loved all of his attention, and he made sure to talk on that blasted cell phone while we are in restaurant…THE WHOLE MEAL. I am just eating, by myself, looking around and he is chatting ABOUT NOTHING to some guy on the phone….THE WHOLE MEAL.

          I truly believe it gave him pleasure to deny me what I wanted or needed. I never thought someone would do it from the jump…on the wedding night.

          • No, Sabine, he was checked out. The wedding night and honeymoon were not about punishment. Or, not about punishing me.

            The man I married had admitted just prior to the wedding that he had visited a prostitute. I thought he was lying and trying to get out of marrying, and I offered him the out. He insisted he loved me and wanted to marry me. So I went ahead with it, in the face of every reason not to. I now know I was in shock and MAJOR denial, spackling everything in sight.

            And I can’t tell you how many women shared with me that their wedding nights (some decades or even fifty years before) had been sexless, too. So I thought I was in the clear somehow.

            This was all before sex/porn addiction became a widely recognized thing. I don’t know if there were prostitutes during the marriage and to be honest I don’t think there were. The divorce was vile and insane, but we get along well now, years later, and whatever he does in his personal time is fine unless I catch any hint that it’s harmful to our child.

            I’d love to tell you personally about the honeymoon, because I think you’d really get it. But I can’t tell it publicly, because it would be immediately recognizable to anyone who knows me. More a conversation for a living room late night glass of wine.

            • I never knew of this. I have never been married. This would break my heart, if we were not having sex on the honeymoon. But, with my experience with Maggot, he would do this. He would be in the bathroom getting high.

              I am so HAPPY he is out of your life and you are not in crisis anymore.

              I think visiting a prostitute is slightly more tolerable that an affair, but this is like asking: do you want to be flayed or burned alive?

              I have represented several prostitutes, and aside from them making me laugh…they were FU-UGLY. No kidding. Their photos don’t look like they do. They look hard and act hard and mean business about money.

              Unpacking the can of worms that compels a man to pay for sex with a hard hearted stranger who would probably not call 911 if he was having a heart attack (I have represented one) is beyond the scope of my capabilities. I know one thing: good riddance.

              • I had a ton of grace for it on all sides. As I think I commented in a previous post, I once spent a year breakfasting with prostitutes and their pimps. Maybe I didn’t say all of it; I also did have a favorite neighbor who was a working prostitute.

                Not all of them are ugly. I’d say 8 of every 10 were various degrees of bland to moderately attractive. But the remaining two were stunners. And less than hard-hearted, I think they’re more in a position where they constantly have to think about saving their own skin. What are you going to do, when both engaging in illegal activity, and someone has a heart attack? One of you goes to hospital maybe, and gets cared for, and the other one goes to jail, and gets further unkindness.

                Anyway, it’s so rarely about the face. Such a strange world that is, from any angle.

              • You are right. The flesh trade…who wins? The pimps. Sex reduced to a business transaction violates some law in my heart..SOMETHING has to be sacred.

                I always remember this. I went on a side trip Cambodia about 4 years ago, while in Thailand and I met a nun who worked in a school that took care of little girls who had been used the sex trade.

                She said some of the little girls that had taken in had calluses on their vaginas. Little girls….6, 7, 8. This never left me.

                Depraved hearts and minds…roaming the earth…they are LEGION.

              • Raising my hand on the sexless honeymoon. And you should’ve seen they places that I my cheating since that honeymoon, they were epic. If you don’t want to have sex there then I’m sorry but you’ve got problems. Just wish I’d realised how deep those problems were dinner then I did!

          • “I truly believe it gave him pleasure to deny me what I wanted or needed. I never thought someone would do it from the jump…on the wedding night.”

            ^This^ He withheld sex from me during the last 3 yrs., but was constantly on porn sites, later I learned there were also dating, escort and hook-up sites. I had asked him once why he wasn’t coming to me for sex… I’ll never forget that look on his face as he said with a sneer, “To punish you”. He never answered “for what”? And it wasn’t until after D-day and things started coming together that I realized he actually got pleasure by denying me my needs while going out and screwing anything that moved.

            • HLMN,
              He was a sadist. Causing you pain gave him pleasure. I sniffed a bit of that with Meth Maggot in bed…he pushed the line a bit. He always washed it with pleasure but it was all part of the same systemic need to cause pain.

              This is so…..disordered. To deny his wife sex but seek it elsewhere while you craved it for three years. It actually frightens me that this level of cruelty lurks.

              I wonder what he was punished you for? I think loving him.

              I have this theory, amateurish as it is:

              These disordered people know there is something wrong with him. So, when we love them. they believe something is wrong with US. They do not respect someone who loves them. Alternatively, when a ho bag, OW treats them casually or with contempt or uses them they think: Oh, now this person is smart! They can see what a piece of shit I am.

              I think this is subconscious. I think on the surface they could not verbalize this. But it seems the harpy hags are the ones that get them going. It turns my stomach.

              Can true love be rewarded without these sick games?

        • I’m another sexless wedding night and honeymoon, and virtually sexless marriage. I was a virgin when we got married, so since he was fine with no sex the years we dated before marriage, I just assumed he had a low sex drive. My kids Were practically immaculated conceived.

          One of the things that eats at me is the thought that he stole my prime sexual years, yet he and ow have wild, passionate sex when he withheld from me. It regularly brings tears to my eyes.

          • But you can go out and have great sex now. You can. It might be harder to find someone…but it can happen.

            A good place to start is Istanbul. I know this sounds nuts, but there are so many beautiful young Turkish boys who love to have romantic affairs with Western women. Stay away from Izmir and know that this will not be Romeo and Juliet (it could be but unlikely because of the culture) but I am telling you….I felt like Jennifer Aniston the first time I went there. I could of had sex everyday, all day, with BEAUTIFUL MEN. They did not want money…they just love sex and romance and the religious climate there prevents them from sleeping around at all with Turkish women because of the honor backlash.

            I did meet a Turkish man who became my boyfriend (4 years ago) and he flew me back to Turkey many, many times. I stayed in their family apartment and he bought me an engagement ring. He would do things like…when I was holding the strap on the subway, he would lean down and nuzzle my wrist and kiss it. He was beautiful , he was so handsome that I would stare at him, but very traditional, but treated me so well. The religious differences broke us up (and his mother, whew!) but it was one of the best experiences of my life.

            I know you feel like your prime years are gone, but maybe there are not… You CAN still have an exciting sex life. I am sorry it makes you sad. Explore going to Istanbul with a friend. You will NOT regret it. It is sort of fun to be cat called on the street when you are feeling sexually hungry.

            • Whew, I do not agree. I can’t imagine any chumps in the divorce system are super likely to go jet-setting anywhere for sex tourism.

              With the notion that it takes two years to for the brain to heal after pathological relationship, you don’t want to be throwing adrenaline and oxytocin around in foreign countries for a while, or even on home turf.

              Sex can wait. I think what many are looking for is true and lasting intimacy, anyway, which can’t be had in those fleeting vacation dalliances.

              • Wise words. Two years for the brain to heal was about right–and I was not in a day-to-day relationship with Jackass for all that long. Two years to have a relationship with YOU. Priceless.

              • Yeah, sex is going to wait. I’ve gone this long, a little longer won’t kill me. A trip to Istanbul – minus the sex tourism part – sounds good though.

            • Traveling to Istanbul seems like an awful long way to go to get fucked. It’s much easier to saunter up to my local bar and order a cocktail, if I were so inclined.

              • I don’t know. There is something about it over there. The ancient mixed with the new…the way they treat women (WESTERN) with such open desire ( a few extra pounds or not) . BUT..I have extremely positive associations with Istanbul and my mind is starved for something positive. I am going back mentally to where I was so happy.

                But, even if you don’t have a romance, I do think travel is restorative. I want to go somewhere now but my St. Bernard is too elderly and has become clingy. I could not relax if I thought he was not happy.

                I am probably frantically searching for a persons or play to take the pain away….self medicating.

                But just the baklava could make you happy there!

              • Sabine – I totally related to you going to Istanbul.
                I feel like I still look 20 (I know, it’s my mirrors that I adjust) but I’m not bad in a bikini at 59!
                Anyway, that Muslim life is a bit too scary.
                I’ve had lots of guys remodeling my house – all about 20-25 and I feel I am 20-25 again, and they probably look at me like a Senior Citizen.
                I am anything BUT!

                So, I’ve had these fantasies. Just some fun sex (are these guys safe with STD’s?)
                I’ve been starved for 36 yrs, girl!

                Yeah, a bit too risky for me, but it will help me fantasize with my Wand this week.

              • Oh – Im totally addicted to Baklava. I’m from the eastern countries 3 generations back.

              • Hee Hee!!! That’s good. Where I live, I would have to do a quick check to make sure they had all their teeth and could read.
                I just don’t feel like competing with naked 21 year olds right now. I can’t take it.

              • The reason I stayed in my tiny fishing village after the divorce because…..there are no men around that have a full set of teeth or an education.
                I figured I’d be safe from temptation to marry a fisherman.
                Already married a Montana farmer.
                That was enough for me.

      • Jackass’s worst story was how he withheld sex from Wife #1 on their wedding night. Oh, I should have turned and ran the moment I heard that.

        • Did he give a reason? (we know it was for power, but I’m always curious to hear how the disordered explain their behavior.)

          • They were having a fight over what car to take on the honeymoon. In other words, he was using that as an excuse to continue to devalue her. (He told people the night before the wedding that he didn’t want to get married but felt pressured.) He told me once that she told a mutual “friend” that she never got over what he did to her. I of course figured she was a lunatic because she was young when the divorced–just move on! Until he did the devalue and discard to me. Lessons learned by the truck load with Jackass.

    • This. Eight years of love bombing, then twenty years trying to figure out why everything felt so disconnected…. I always felt like I wanted the life everyone else had. And I questioned why couldn’t he enjoy the good things? Being at home. The babies. Holidays. Spending time together. The disordered have a lot of trouble engaging on any real level, they are always running away. My ex spent more and more time “working” and at the racquetball club than he did at home. Clearly he had other priorities.

      • I know what you mean, Drew. I used to day dream that one day my ex would thank his family for the many sacrifices we made so he could “advance his career.” He was working all those long hours for us, right? How could I complain? Workaholism is just as bad an addiction as alcoholism or drug addiction.

        • Or addiction to the high of flirting and fucking in online chatrooms. I complained about the way he was acting — not knowing about the cheating. How tired (stayed up late), how behind at work, how disengaged at home.

          And oh, how I ached to be thanked for covering running the home and raising the kids! But he resented the holy living fuck out of how I loved him, trusted him, believed him capable and decent. He knew I was wrong and he judged me for being wrong. Just didn’t mention it to me…

      • This was me. But I have to say we had a sexless wedding night and part of it was my fault. The wedding itself was so horrible based on a lot of snafu’s from the minister wanting to back out at the wedding, (telling me something) to rain to me starting a new teaching job the week before, to… It was horrible, all I could do was fall asleep. But after that, the abuse started. It was every single weekend finding a way to call me a ‘fucking cunt’. The trouble was that he was so nice in public. There were so many moments when I should have just walked away. Oh well, he is now CFMily’s problem.

        • Gotta say that the C word is a deal breaker for me. That’s disrespect at a massive level.

          • I grew up with a verbally abusive stepparent and even though I hated it, I honestly had no idea profanity was a deal breaker for any but the most zealous and “judgmental” Christians. :/

            So I totally didn’t recognize that when profanity was used at me, it was a red flag signaling worse to come. When I used it, no matter how offensive it was, it was just words, a way of reiterating boundary or getting someone away from me for a little while.

            What I’m saying is, it kind of wasn’t until your comment just now, that I understood what a big deal it is when people use those words. That it just is disrespect, period.

            • For me, men who use that word are saying that a woman is, essentially, reducible to an organ that gives men sexual pleasure and provides offspring or that (as in rape) it provides a means to exert total power over another person. Now, women use words like “prick” and “dick” to talk about men, but that’s insulting upward, if you get my drift. It’s in the early pages of a playbook that includes in its concluding chapters sexual assault, which is about power, not sex, and spousal abuse of all kinds. It’s a word that subliminally reminds whoever hears it that, in the end, that’s all the speaker thinks of the woman he is speaking to: not a person, just an orifice to use.

              If you want to insult a man, you don’t reference the penis. You say he is illegitimate (a bastard), or screws his mother (MFer) or is…a pussy. All of which, tracked back, are insults to women.

              Language never lies. But people do.

              • LaJ, I love your take on the language.

                I use the C word almost exclusively at men, and laugh when I do, and they hate it. I own my femaleness completely and can’t be put down with those words — but need to forever keep it front and center in my mind that any person who starts using devaluing language at me (because I’m rarely the one who starts this kind of talk) needs instant and complete shut-out.

                I have long presented as a feminist, although my hidden/secret values are more traditionally aligned. The independent strong female aspect seem to invite a lot of contention and psychological beat-down from the men I have partnered with, and I know that’s got to stop you. Not so much the feminine strength, but the partnering with guys who feel they have something to prove. :/

              • * As well as my previous need to prove that I can stick around and weather that poor treatment. I didn’t enjoy the challenge of that, wasn’t looking for a challenge. But when faced with one, I always stayed the course to show I wasn’t a delicate flower who would be easily trampled.

                I had to prove to them and myself that I could take it, dish it out, and remain standing. How dumb is that? And I don’t even know why it felt necessary.

                I just know now that my life is way too short and precious, to put up with it again, even for a second.

                It took almost 50 years of living for me to figure that out.

              • Very perceptive. The WORST things inmates can call each other all reference vaginas.
                Cunt- you are getting an ass whooping.
                Pussy- ass whooping.
                Punk ass BITCH…this means you are the FEMALE in a sexual encounter….deathly ass whooping.

                And it all relates back to the vagina..being female…the lowest insult the man can imagine.

                Meth Man actually said one time, (in response to the skanks calling)

                “It’s not like I am asking them to GIVE ME ANY PUSSY.”

                A commodity…not attached to a person…just….PUSSY.

                God help me.

              • LuckySeven, yes, I know well that idea of “I can take it. I won’t quit.” In my case, that stance goes back to childhood. I remember sitting on the lap of a church elder who used his thumbnail to push again the cuticle of one of my fingers. It hurt but I didn’t flinch. I didn’t cry. And I knew better to tell my mother, the narcissist. He pushed harder and harder but I wouldn’t say anything. Makes me wonder today if he was looking for someone to groom for abuse. All of his male kids were screwed up as adults. I was maybe 4 at the time.

  • For me, it was a combination of #2 and #3. My soon to be ex-husband is a Narcissist, so I was alone in my marriage and due to his gas lighting I was on a spree of self-help book reading, therapy appointments, acupuncture, prayer, you name it… I was trying to use it to fix myself. Did the Narcissist change anything over the 8 years we were together about his behaviors and activities… nope.

    I’ve written about the incident that really made me realize there was no hope to save things. For your reading pleasure.. The Christmas Tree Incident. 🙂

      • Seriously Beth! I am still exhausted and drained and I am on about a month of no contact. D-day is a few weeks away… it cannot come soon enough!! 🙂

        • Wow. He put so much energy into RUINING getting a Christmas Tree. He is a control freak beyond comprehension. I think you have so much self control, as I would have lost it very early in that process.

          What does it mean? That he just wanted to suck all of the joy out of it for you.

          I wrote a mean email to Meth Maggot Cheater and said, Everything you touch turns to shit.

          Not my best writing, but that is how I felt.

          I am not being glib when I say this: If you did not get away from your Narcissist X, you would of had a stroke. What if you had undertaken a BIG task: a home remodel, or someone became ill?

          As the post says, every marriage WILL have a problem. He made getting a Christmas tree an exercise in exhaustion and negativity. You are better off alone. Believe it!

        • They live for sabotage. Mine was really into Christmas and claimed to love all that family time. He claimed he wanted to make it special since he was missing out on so much time with his 3 sons from the first wife he dumped with a new born son for a 24 year old homewrecker. Anyway, I was never into Christmas but I tried to up my game and learn to make it special, and conform to his tradtions and expectations. Meaning I organised everything, got presents, had to collect things in preparation for Christmas over a good few months because money was so tight. One Christmas, I had put up the 2 Christmas trees (yes, 2) with the youngest son, then a few days before I placed the wrapped presents under the tree. Beautiful little set up. Among the prezzies were a box of chocolates for each of my four stepsons. Note that I haven’t been able to have my own kids, I’ve had 9 miscarriages, six with the Traitor. Christmas morning arrives and the boys open their presents. Every box of chocolates is empty. He had eaten all of them and rewrapped the boxes so it couldn’t be seen. NO CHOCOLATES FOR THE BOYS. He thought it was the funniest joke, that he was in touch with inner child. BUT all the kids and myself always had to pay homage to him on his birthday, Crappy Daddy day, with a box of chocolates from each of us at least.
          Second Christmas sabotage: Traitor has 8 siblings and the family organises their own family Christmas a couple of weeks early so they can all get together before the real Christmas which is spent with in laws etc. Fantastic idea and a real fun occasion. I love his family. They are again big into presents and food. BUT Traitor always refused to give presents and take part, although we received stuff from them. Kept criticising his lovely family for being materialistic. So I bought small presents for everyone. Since we had only been together a couple of years and they live far away, I didn’t know them very well, didn’t know their tastes, but I knew they all love food. So I bought lots of Belgian chocolates for everyone, weeks in advance in preparation for the 8 hours road trip to the family party. Had everything stashed away ready for the day we were to drive up there. Note that the nearest shop is 20 kms away and it’s basic, To get this kind of chocolate is an hour’s drive away. Departure eve, I go to my box where I’ve placed everything ready for early morning journey. ALL THE CHOCOLATES ARE GONE, he’s eaten them all. There’s no time to do all the shopping again before the long trip.
          All the years we were together, he kept accusing me of being anti-social, a hermit, not having any social capital, spoiling the Christmas spirit.
          Master saboteur as well as Traitor. I believe it is totally about power, as was your story about the Christmas tree. The power to make you do something and watch you try to enjoy it, then destroy your joy. Sick.

          • That seriously PISSED ME OFF! W. T. F. What an utter DICK! Not even my h and I want to stab him for you! ? Apparently I’m a little sensitive today.

    • divorcinganarcissistblog,

      OMG, you are describing so many of the family trips, special purchases etc. that somehow the x managed to take on or took over because we peons were too cheap/stupid/weak or whatever to accomplish the endeavours. Hours of researching the perfect car, the perfect dining room table, the perfect backpack, the perfect….get the picture.

      And any suggestions from the peanut gallery were shot down because we didn’t think things through clearly. Um blowing two month’s salary on camping equipment we NEVER used! Better to buy a cheap tent and Coleman stove from Crappy Tire than to go all out and buy the lightweight uber expensive backpacking gear to do a trek up &@*#ing Mt. Kilamanjaro…

      I used to get screamed at for not getting rims on my car when I had winter tires installed. It costs more to have the pressure sensors installed on those rims than it does to have the tires changed six times you stupid ass! so do I pay for rims or not buy Christmas gifts for your children this year?

      This research artist would look up everything, drive around and cruise all the stores and NEVER FAIL we had to buy the most expensive best quality of everything if it was going to be used by him. Walmart or Dollar Store was okay for wifey and kids though. And sure enough wifey got to pay all those bills for him.

      This POS still expected me to suddenly buy him a Rolex after years of buying me dime store jewellery , grocery or 7-11 flowers five times during 20+ year marriage, Walmart glasses for the kids (by the way I actually agree with that one but he bought his glasses at high end outlets), etc.

      My Christmas tree moment was when I had to replace the living room couch he had destroyed by spilling beer and food on it. He wanted leather etc. and set his sights on something that literally cost more than my car. Told him sure if HE PAID FOR IT. He declined so I went to Sears and a nearby competitor and selected a much much less expensive couch (sturdy/comfortable/nice looking) So my mother (she of the bad knee and age of 65+), me and my early teen son wrestled this filthy queen sofabed couch out of the house to the curb to make room for delivery of new couch. POS conveniently had left because he had to meet somebody. Later me, Mom and kid are sitting on the new furniture when we hear him come home … gunning the engine on his new Harley which cost more than my car and the furniture combined.

      Something just died inside me…took me such a long time to realize what a total POS he was.

      After he dumped me I was able to stand back and fully realize how badly chumped I had been. Everything in our marriage had been for him, his career, his wants.

      Now I no longer have all his credit cards, the mutual credit line or miscellaneous bills to pay for. Feels nice to buy nice clothes, things for the house, and vacations but within my budget. And only I second guess the purchases not him.

      • Just Another Chump, OMG that sounds like my life to a T!! My Narcissist was obsessed with having only the best everything and researched absolutely everything obsessively… he literally could not buy or do anything without researching that it was the absolute best option and then discussing it with me until my brain could no longer handle it. it ruled our life and destroyed our finances. I am still recovering from the financial impacts now. It was so freaking liberating to be able to buy groceries from the ‘regular’ supermarket versus Whole Foods, and be able to shop at TJMaxx instead of the designer stores. I feel so free!!

        • DNAB,

          I’m still trying to recover financially as well but all my bills are now mine and so considerably small in comparison to his. Kids have let me know he’s literally in a sinkhole of debt.

          Isn’t it sweet to be able to buy a bargain and know you’re not going to be bitched at for saving a few bucks? and isn’t it nice to buy something and not face the wrath of why did you waste money on that?…umm because your son’s feet grew and he needs new shoes…

          I’m truly sorry all of us chumps (no matter our age, gender etc.) got the shitty end of the stick in our marriages.

          And no matter how we got here, left the cheater or dumped by the cheater…

          Rejoice in the freedom from that cheater!

        • We were all with the same man-child! I’ve been in op shop (you guys call them thrift shops? Pre-loved?) clothes and shoes the whole time,while Traitor had to have new stuff and bought stuff for the homewrecker whore, and her family!! Even left me and his 4 year old son from the 24 old homewrecker second wife sitting on a street corner on a Salvation Army couch I had just bought so we’d have enough seating for all HIS kids, for 4 hours. Night fell and he still didn’t show up with the trailer. The cops stopped first wondering if we were trying to steal some of the stuff donated to the Sallies left outside the door, second time, were we homeless? I asked the cops to check if there had been some traffic accident reported somewhere, couldn’t reach Traitor the entire time. Finally showed up, claimed he had been to the wrong op shop. I showed him in his diary where I had WRITTEN the right address to pick us up. It was 9pm before he showed up.
          But only the best and most expensive would do for Traitor and if I grumbled I was stingy, controlling and made him live like a pig!!

      • I think my EX must have secretly been related to yours. The double standards about expenses–cheap stuff for the family, high quality for him–are all too familiar. And like you, it played out in vehicles and furniture and expectations about the gifts he should receive.

        I remain amazed at how much disposable income I now have, It isn’t much in the grand scale of things, but compared to the way I used to have to manage money so as to be able to pay the credit card bill with its hundreds of dollars of his self-indulgences each month, it is a real gift to be able to buy a new shirt–just because it is pretty–rather than cringe over the expense of something I don’t need. Just knowing that I have enough to pay the mortgage and the bills each month without worrying lifts a huge emotional burden. And I can save money. Before, any money saved for a family vacation or goals I valued would get spent when his whims turned into “needs.”

        I hate the idea that money was an issue in our marriage–it makes me feel shallow. But the three principles CL outlines all have financial angles. Money for the “soul mate’s” gifts means there are 3 (or more) adults draining the budget (but you can bet 3 people are not contributing to it!). Money “invested” for only one person’s goals or hobbies prevents the marriage from ever being a mutual arrangement. Money that is never “available” to one partner leaves the other one neglected.

        One thing I had to reprogram myself to reject as I worked on unchumping myself was the notion that I was cheap or selfish. Simple math should have done it: Amount spent on vehicle purchases for me in 14 years = $0. Amount spent on vehicle purchases for EX in 14 years = at least $75,000. But no matter how many of such equations I made (vacations, clothes, hobbies, tickets to events for EX and friends, etc.), the idea that I was greedy still stung. I suppose it is because there was a grain of truth to the accusation–I did want more.

        • These stories are horrible.
          My X also liked ‘nothing but the best’ for himself! The whole thing is so damn stupid.
          Two things- I think most of this is about their almighty God, Control. All the making you wait, the endless research, the directing the holiday til all the fun is gone- Control. If they see you squirm all day, oh what fun that is! Wait some more!
          And second- was anyone else’s X a spoiled kid? Mine sure was. It’s hard as a wife to keep that idea going!

          • YES!!!

            Cheating Meth Maggot is an heir to a very large trust.

            HE HAS NEVER WORKED A DAY IN HIS LIFE. Never filled out a job application. Never had to put together a resume.

            Before his parents died so young, they begged him: Just come to the family business (a huge multimillion dollar transportation business) and get here at 8AM, stay until 12PM and empty the trash and answer some phones. Just show up and try, son.

            He refused. He was doing drugs. And every time he got caught, they beat him to the jail with bond money in cash and the best lawyers money can buy in that area.

            They would have done the world a favor if they had left all that money to an orphanage or an animal rescue (my choice!) instead of his drug fiend, lying, cheating, depraved soul.

            • And you want to contact him, why? Paste THIS on your refrigerator. Nothing worse than a human who won’t work. And I don’t mean the person has to have a paying job. JFK gave his salary back because he didn’t need it. But work. Clean the house, mow the grass, volunteer at the animal shelter. Don’t be a waste of oxygen. That should be a minimum standard in picking a partner. What does this person do with time and money? That’s where their heart is.

              • LAJ, he spends it on his PLEASURE. Drugs, cigarettes, eating out, buying cars, gambling, WASTE.

                I reuse tin foil. I group errands to save gas. I make homemade Round UP.

                When we were together, I did get him to help me at a Horse Rescue that is barely making it because in the South, people get horses and then somehow…forget to feed them (???).

                But this is the only time I have seen him work, when I pulled him to the Rescue.

                I wanted to contact him because I am sick and need help and I am a chump -beyond and beyond.

                But I am here, and I not calling him, and I am going to make it.

                I have a male friend, and he said, when I told him what I had done:

                What, you haven’t been kicked in the teeth enough? You want more pain, darling?

                Where is his heart? IN DRUGS. He is not available.

            • And Meth Man’s family history is a cautionary tale to parents–ALWAYS make your children work for things and take responsibility. Be chumps to your kids in levels of love & affection, but never in terms of behavior.

              • Tempest, you observation is preternaturally ON IT.

                When his parents died….they died within 6 months of each other (stroke and cancer) they had NO ONE…NO ONE to leave a huge business to that they started with nothing. They were poor as church mice and they worked for what they had.

                But they had three sons that were never made to work: one committed suicide while high, Meth Man’s brother is in federal prison and Meth Man was out of his mind on cocaine (that was his drug then).

                His parents had to sell a family business (many millions) and put the money in trusts because all three of their idiot sons were to damaged or disorders to take the reins.

                We drove by the business one time, with new owners and I said, See what you gave up for drugs?

                IT IS A HUGE CAUTIONARY TALE. Make them work. It might save their life.

              • I agree. Years ago I worked at a famous drug-rehab clinic. Although addiction can affect anyone, I can’t tell you how many hundreds of times I read a medical record that started out describing the patient with these words, “So and so, who has never held a job or worked a day in their life and lives off a family trust, is here in treatment……”

                I firmly believe not ever having to work is one of the surest ways to get messed up with substance abuse. Parents, make sure your children learn how to work, and stop bailing them out of all their learning opportunities.

          • Mine wasn’t materially spoiled as they didn’t have a lot of money but he was made the center of his mothers universe. Even as an adult she did his laundry, cooked for him, cleaned his car and would give him spare cash whenever he asked ( I didn’t realize the extent until too late). As a delinquent kid (didn’t know that till years later either) she would cover up for him, lie to the police for him etc.
            He says he loves her but acts like he hates her. His version of love is the occasional hug and “allowing” her to cook he favorite foods for him. Last time we visited I took the kids for a couple of days to visit my friends and he shot out of that house in a second to stay with his sister (another enabler) until I came back. He also never calls or talks to her when she calls and would pressure me to manage their relationship.

            I wasn’t close to my (narc) parents and kept away from them with very limited contact. His family is from a very different culture, plus they speak a couple of languages I don’t know and another I am not super fluent in so I mistook their relationship as a kind of closeness and thought initially he was more family oriented than me. He also insisted on the wedding being in his country for his mom which I mistook as caring. Now I know his relationship with them is based on image control and how useful they are to him. The wedding was all about him looking good and normal to his extended family. Our marriage was because I came with foreign passports, education, good jobs and the possibility of escape from his failing life.

            I tell my kids not to go for international relationships, no matter how much they think they know the culture or the country. There are a thousand cues we don’t pick up on and we are much weaker when taken out of our element.

          • Mine grew up on a farm in the 1970’s and when he came home from college during the summers his parents would end up fronting the bill for him to sing in Europe. He also drove an MG and when I met him at age 24 he was wearing a cashmere coat with a mink collar (it was NYC 1980’s!) And he had credit cards for every store on Fifth Avenue. He was their golden boy and very entitled. Now 35 years later, he may be returning to the farm because he’s not making any money here in NY…. but he still managed to buy himself a Mercedes station wagon! He’s a disaster and I’m so glad I don’t have to deal with all his illusions of grandeur. I almost feel sorry for his GF but then again she knew him before me.

            • These ‘cheapness’ stories are fascinating. Mine was also a huge purchaser of huge toys. I didn’t have the same needs and always drove an old beater around. He always needed new cars.
              Well, we built our dream house – millions of $$ and took 3 yrs. Yeah, it was gorgeous and huge, but he didn’t want to buy any new furniture for it. He didn’t think the 30 yr old couch needed replacing and when you sat in it, your butt would be on the ground.
              I finally gave up that fight which I lost.
              We hired 2 different interior decorators because I’m not that good at it, and they both fired him without doing any work.
              He basically wanted them to work for free AND with his supervision. bleh.

              I like to say our marriage broke up because of bar stools. Yep, $1000 worth of 4 stools. The ones we had in this beautiful kitchen were old stools I had from the old place and they were too short for the counter so I always wanted new stools (21 yrs later!!!!). You think it would be something I could just go and order. But, nooooooo….he didn’t agree we needed them and, of course, nothing he saw I pointed out, he liked. So, I went ahead – lo and behold – and ordered some nice ones. He MADE me return them! Fuck him.
              (my g/f was there and she about had a fit so I’m glad he did it front of a witness)

              So, I went out with some of my Dad’s meager inheritance and bought the ones I wanted and refused to return them. I guess as long as it wasn’t ‘his’ money.

              As Oprah would say…..Honey, you’ve got far more problems in your marriage than bar stools.
              And, as it turns out – that’s right before the shit hit the fan.

        • I completely connect with the feeling “cheap” comment. I have a huge hangup around this as my Ex made me feel so worthless for wanting anything other than the best. He drilled into my head that I was settling for what was easy or cheap instead of doing the work to do the best, be the best, buy the best. Its definitely a process to undo that damage and buy things because they make sense for the need, for my budget, or they are simply what I want!

        • I’m finding it hard to retrain my thinking, after 27 years of marriage. I get up enough courage to take the kids out to eat (a luxury! we can eat at home for so much less!) and then we all order one inexpensive main course, no extras and water to drink. If we want to see a movie (waste of time! it will be on Netflix in 3 months!) we go at the cheap time and sneak in candy. If a kid needs new clothes (again?!), we head straight to the sale rack, with our coupons and bonus bucks in hand.

          We all internalized the message that we weren’t worth spending money on. But, yes, there was always money for XH’s fantasy football, or new tool from Home Depot, or exotic olives from Whole Food, or birthday presents for his mother 🙁

          The dealbreaker was when we were in danger of losing the house because he refused to work (I’m waiting for a job that’s worthy of me!). I couldn’t forgive that. His deep personal commitment was only to HIMSELF. Wish I’d realized that earlier, before he screwed us all up.

          • I think you and your kids should go hog wild one weekend. I mean…order four appetizers, or if they have a tasting menu, get desserts, drinks…everything! Then go to the movies and spend $100 bucks at the refreshment stand. After the movie, go to Starbucks or Dunkin and go crazy again. Go to brunch the next morning, go to Barnes and Nobles and just spend some money. Get the Sunday Times and loll around the house, reading and relaxing, being completely unproductive and gorge on everyone’s favorite treats. Fuck him!
            It will do you good! Do it!

        • The financial mess was his and he is still racking up credit card debt. While married he spent all his money on his car, drums, alcohol, the gym, and weed. I got a token card professing his undying love, and a bunch of flowers on my birthday and anniversary. He was furious when I joined a gym, had other interests or went out for lunch with a friend. He wanted control of my money. He wanted to spend his and use mine to make up for his addictions and habits. I refused given his history. His narrative focused on my lack of forgiveness rather than working on himself.

          Now that he’s in the rear view, my debts are paid. I reviewed repeatedly what I brought to the table, paying his taxes (self-employed) and providing health insurance. While his income has decreased with a mountain of debt, mine has increased and debt is minimal.

          Whatever his narrative, I no longer care. Magical thinking and blame shifting are no longer matter to me now that he’s sitting in a leaky boat without a paddle. Using a whore who has little income and can provide pub fries became his lifejacket. HaHa

      • Holy crap – same here with the “nothing but the best” – had to have the HUGE house beyond our budget in swim/tennis, had to have someone in to clean the house because that was what the neighbors did – had to vacation at the same FL vaca spot that all the neighbors OWNED houses in and then put the stupid sticker on the car after one freaking visit – as if we too owned a home there. Image management at the finest. I’m frugal, and controlled the finances so every fucking vacation idea he had was uber ridiculous and expensive – and I couldn’t relax and enjoy. Thank God I am the only one to answer to financially in my home while I watch him and new chump drag my kids on vacation after impressive vacation that costs a fortune – he works and makes good money but spend every dime he makes on all this shit so he can put pics on FB showing what a great amazing guy, dad, man, hubby he is – I just laugh my ass off and wait until current chump wife joins the club with me and the first. My kids get it – they have figured out what is important to him and his sparkly shit is wearing thin on them all.

        • TruthInTheDetails.
          I watched my x’s market shoot through the sky for 30 years.
          I always had my own market, not the money-markets, but commodities markets, mostly lumber overseas..and a few profitable logs.
          (Trader, not a broker, like he was – much more risky…therefore, much more exciting – ha!)

          How did he not see it, Mr Smart Gold Guy?

          Anyway, he seemed invincible and started acting that way.
          He thought he was a bit of a God.
          Everybody looked up to him for being ‘successful’. Nice looking, nice man, charming etc.
          Never used friends money as he was in municipal bonds.

          We both came from very meager beginnings, both farm country from the prairies, so our combined trading wealth sort of made us the Neveau Riche (or whatever that was called). I was extremely uncomfortable showing any wealth on my sleeve! Shit, I’m a farmer’s daughter.
          He was a HUGE fish in a very small sea and I absolutely hated that big house he built.

          God, his ego just soared.

          Then, good God, he started turning Gray! and some bald spots.
          I’m like, yeah – that is sexy, Hunny Bunny.

          And, let’s just say the rest is history.
          Against what he was brought up to believe, he went and picked up a whore because he thought he needed more than a nice home, a cute little wife (I might say so myself-energizer bunny) and a bunch of great show dogs.

          I guess I’m still wondering, when do you have enough? Like they asked in the first Wall Street Movie.

    • Thank you for writing that. This was every Christmas. Mine stopped going to get the tree altogether a few years ago…always had an excuse and I was always hurt that he didn’t want to go but relieved that he wasn’t there because he was always such a buzz kill.
      Mine asked for a divorce to be with his AP on New Years Eve because…wait for it….he didn’t want to “ruin the holidays”. Yet during the marriage he found a way to suck the joy from every holiday.
      After he left my kids said they were thrilled he was gone and as I was weeping told me that I would be okay because they saw how unhappy I was. My daughter said I used to post on my Facebook how happy I was that my husband was leaving town whenever he left for a trip.
      Everyone knew the marriage was over but me.

      • My ex and I too stopped putting up a Christmas tree. I even stopped decorating the last few years… a symptom for things being sour but not acknowledged. For years my ex would get us into situations unnecessary to micromanage, but he would, and I would literally give up and say “do whatever!”. I paid for that statement. Thankfully, I began to make sure any financial situations he wanted to invest in (like a partnership in a car dealership with someone shady who the authorities were watching) were in his name only. Now he is paying and will continue to do so I suspect as long as he continues behaving like a whore.
        I am starting a new Christmas tradition this year, complete with the tree of my choice. I’m looking forward to it….

        • PondScumBGone, Sounds like we are both planning to have a kick-ass Christmas this year!! Imagine enjoying the holidays without pressure, criticism, fear, walking on eggshells!

          • I can’t wait!!!! There will definitely be “joy to the world” this year!!! XOXO

        • When we got the cats exasshole was all ‘they will knock down the tree and break your ornaments’ when they were kittens, he kept that up every year thereafter. The first Christmas without him I put the tree up by myself, the cats love to sleep under it. Definitely get your tree Pondscumbgone. Merry Jedi Hugs!

          • Datdamwuf… duh, everyone knows that cats hate Christmas!! haha there is always something that they know that we are too stupid to realize on our own.

          • I am getting the most beautiful tree I can afford this year Datdamwuf, and myself , the dog, cat and guinea pig are going to hang out….my smile is huge today, thanks everyone!!

            • That’s me TOO! I’m going to get me a big old couch that he refused to let me buy, because ‘I’d probably let the dogs on it”.
              Damn rights I would have.
              Has to be sturdy enough for 3 big dogs!
              Gosh, now I feel like shopping.
              Now that I’m at meh.

              A gift for my 60th b’day. That, and a new puppy Dane!

            • Glad to hear it! And get a few light but large ornaments that can fill gaps in the tree, that makes it easy to pick out a tree, no more looking at 30 trees to decide! Lol

      • Raising hand. Mine ruined every significant event with a bad mood or icy visage or rude comments. Except for our last major vacation together, because I had warned him to behave. Turns out that vacation he was emailing back and forth with the sexual harassment officer in preparation for his interview over the grad-student-affair-I-didn’t-yet-know-about. Now memories of that vacation are ruined, too.

        • These are people who are incapable of experiencing joy unless they are being agents of control, chaos or misery. Do you think that they KNOW they are doing it, or it is just so ingrained in their nature?

          • SabineSavoy, I think my ex was absoluely sure of his convictions and beliefs and with every ounce of his being believes that he is an honest, kind, compassionate and good person. He thinks that finding the best way of doing everything and being the “best version of himself that he can be” is the way to show God that he is appreciative for his life. It was freaking exhausting to try to keep up with that.

          • I think the tendency to be a control-freak is often automatic and deeply ingrained, but that they get glimpses of their controlling nature and think about how to hone it. Example–X and I would typically watch a movie on Fridays, when I was too exhausted from a full work week + parenting to go out. Two or three times a year, I would pick up a discounted DVD I saw of an Indie film that had gotten good reviews. By Friday, X would say, “I don’t want to watch that. Let’s find something on Netflix.”

            Point 2: X was *constantly* berating for too much “stuff.”

            After D-day, when I was discussing his alpha male tendencies and controlling nature with him, I pointed out that over the course of 12 years in the house, I had bought around 25 DVDs I’d be interested in watching (and would have been willing to get rid of them once we’d watched them). Know how many we had watched from my stash in those 12 years? None. Zero. He just couldn’t ever give in to what I wanted, or compromise. When I pointed this out, I swear I saw him smirk.

            • Aaaahhh yes…The smirk. I notice it more and more as I still have to deal with Traitor. And having flashbacks of all the smirks I spackled. Thanks for pointing it out.

        • I couldn’t even watch the Super Bowl with him because he ruined my pleasure with sarcasm, pessimism, and general nastiness. I used to drive around in the car and listen on the radio.

          • It is truly better to be alone than in such toxic company. You can watch your independent films, the Super Bowl in peace.

            He would not even watch a film with you in 12 years. This truly is cruel and just….like a three year old, No! I refuse to do what I do not want to do!!!

            Both of you, LAJ and Tempest, have so much more self control than me. I would throw an absolute fit and would probably end up getting beaten up.

            Can you imagine being so OUT OF CONTROL that adamantly not watching a DVD you did not select makes you feel IN CONTROL?

        • Tempest, I had to laugh at, “I warned himhim to be on his best behavior.” On one of the few vacations STBX took with us we took our two kids and my niece. I had scheduled a HUM-V tour and a rafting trip plus there were a few other things I wanted us to see. Our first day we visit this house that had been carved into the side of the mountain. At some point he pricked his hand on a cactus and this led to him spiraling out of control. We headed back to the hotel where he insisted I sit on the bed with him while the 3 kids basically did nothing. The next morning we were headed off to breakfast. He starts shaking and crying and going on with his poor pitiful routine: I just want to stay in the hotel room. I can’t be out in groups of people. Boo hoo. Stop everything and focus on me!

          By this time I had had it. I can put up with a lot of shit but once I reach my limit watch out. This vacation had been planned for months and at least 4 out of the 5 of us had been looking forward to it. I told him we were going back home and proceeded to call the tour companies and cancel our tours. Now he’s begging me not to do this; he’ll just stay at the hotel and we can go out and have fun. At breakfast where I was so pissed I refused to eat he pitifully asked me if I was going to leave him. Stupid chump that I was I told him no, of course not. “But,” I added, “you are no longer allowed to go on vacation with us anymore!” I wouldn’t take him on vacation with us for another 5 or 6 years.

      • PaintWidow, I had a similar experience where everyone else I knew could see how miserable I was, but I was still in that denial state of … “I WILL make this work, even if it KILLS me!!” It is so crazy how we can convince ourselves that it is OK when it is anything but ok.

        • Yeah, I tried to make my marriage work and it did almost kill me. LOL. Hanging on to stuff that’s not working and continuing to try to make it work is something I need to work on.

      • I had similar experiences, Paintwidow. The only silver lining I’ve found is that it is not so hard to be a one-parent family when you always were one anyway. Decorating the house at Christmas without EX around when he hadn’t been helping with the tree or the lights for years is not a sad and devastating new task for me. It wasn’t new to trick-or-treat with the kids by myself. He had only done that for one block with one kid one year. He’d skip the kids’ birthday parties even when they were in our own yard.

        My EX always claimed he wanted a pretty traditional family, but when I look back I see he rarely did anything with the family more than once–one holiday party at our home, one afternoon at the beach with the kids, etc. In part I think it was because of his constant desire for newer, better things and experiences, but part of it was image management. If he’d put a tree up once, he could talk about it for a decade as if he did it every year. If he had one photo of himself at a kid’s sporting event, he could flash it around as if he’d driven the kid to every practice all season.

        I think the loss must be a lot harder for those whose illusion of a happy family was better maintained by the cheating spouse–though perhaps evaluating which is worse–years of disappointment or one huge explosion of disappointment is a fool’s game–we each must make the best of the bad bargain we got.

        • I’m 18 months post final D day and I have to say that each holiday that we had after he left made me happy and I quickly lost that ” how will I survive Easter, thanksgiving,….New Years( the anniversary of him asking for the divorce ironically). By Christmas and New Years last year I had started seeing my current non asshole new boyfriend who went out of his way to make sure my holidays were great and took me away for New Years.
          I thought I would die when he left. Turns out I’m getting to be just fine and everyone that loves me tolerated him for me.
          So glad I’ll never have another Christmas with that dick.

        • @eilonwy ^^same^^ !!! Never helped with homework, shopping, cleaning, carpool….nothing!! Went to one meeting a year at school because our daughter had a learning disability and then when she graduated from highschool recently he said he should have a ticket to attend ( she’s NC with him) because without him she wouldn’t of gotten the help she needed or without his insurance no glasses. Yep, same kid he let walk home from the bus in the pouring rain MANY times because quitting in the middle of his Warcraft game would upset his ranking. Yep…. That happened….ALOT!!
          If he put a dish in the sink or picked up a tube of glue at the store he was dad of the damn year. Couldn’t understand why were weren’t constantly planning a parade in his honor.
          They love to portray that their lives are a Norman Rockwell painting, they just don’t live it. False image is everything.

          • YEP! My X didn’t bother going to my daughter’s senior prom. BUT he wanted me to send him the pictures I took. Fuck that! He wanted me to send him pictures so he could show them off to make it look like he was actually there. Asshole. And yes – never EVER went to a school parade, conference, nothing in elementary school. When my son was in football -he did make it to that, but none of my daughter’s dance recitals…

        • Same here. I won’t say he never did things with us as a family, but it was rare. I regularly took both kids out to eat, got them wherever they needed to be, and went shopping/running errands with them with no help. I put a 9 month old infant and 2 dogs in the van and made the 7 hour trip down to see *his* parents while he was at training. Later I would put a nursing infant and a 2 year old in the same van and make the drive down to see them- while he remained behind. When we moved to Utah I made the now 25 hour drive back to visit family without him. I attended funerals without him, even once when it was his own family member. I think he attended a grand total of 4 parent teacher conferences and I’m probably giving him too much credit. The list could go on and on. The only thing different now is the money situation. Some days I’m thankful I’m so accustomed to doing it on my own and other days I feel badly for my kids because they got cheated out of so much by their dad.

    • @divorcinganarcissistblog — I just checked out some of your posts and let a comment. Keep writing — I’m doing so as well, and I’m finding it helps as much as my daily check-ins with Chump Nation.

      • Thank you! Chump Nation has been a huge sanity check for me, I am loving this new found community!! <3

    • My “Christmas Tree Incidents” include him twice getting angry with the tree (after it fell down) so he dragged it through the house and threw it outside, over the deck and down the huge hill. With the lights on it. It was before tChristmas, so it had to be retrieved and redecorated.

      Another time it fell down, it had already been decorated with tons of precious heirloom ornaments (which didnt break when the tree fell) but he got so mad, he violently dragged the tree through the house to throw it out in the yard and his dragging the decorated tree threatened all the ornaments. My adult son met him in the kitchen (with him dragging the tree) and son said “were not doing this” with his full adulthood in place…amazing it was.

      Another year, we went to buy a fake tree at an after Christmas sale (which we hadnt planned to go to, it was on our way home from Church). He became annoyed with me looking at something in that store “too long” so he drove away and left me there.

      When I started dating newH, he asked why there was a screw in the wall and I told him to wire the tree onto lest it fall and send nowdeadH into fury. When he moved in he asked that we remove the screw and fix the wall. it was not needed to prevent him from fury.

  • All of this. The worst decision of my life was letting him stay after the first affair (with a friend of ours). He didn’t end it for many months after I caught him–lied of course. Then I did 4 years of pick me dancing. 4 years to destroy 25 years of work toward a comfortable retirement and to stop earning so he wouldn’t have to pay spousal support. What a POS…

  • Now isn’t that odd? It was like, PING, wife=all these new things, presented in bed after the wedding. “Now you will be and do this that and the other”, none of which had been discussed, and we lived together for two years before and he seemed happy and content with who I was. He died of a massive heart attack before things fell apart too badly. I am sorry, but it certainly made things easier….

  • Perfectly said CL. I not only wish I had learned this at 18 but at 48 as well. I would not have given my sick pervert husband a second chance had I had only your sound advice and not the unfounded promises of 4 members of the Certified Sex Addiction Therapists (C$ATS) branch of the RIC.

    It sickens me to think I gave this man another opportunity to hurt me and my children more when all three of your points were there for the entire relationship. And actually worsened after reconciliation when he supposedly was in recovery (whatever the f— that is). With all the expensive therapy during the darkest hours of my life, these issues never came up.

    I finally knew my marriage had to die when my husband “accidently” broke my finger in front of my 14 year old daughter. And I couldn’t come up with any believable excuse in response to her questions. And I finally saw the example I was setting.

    I’ll save this and show all my kids when the time is right. Thank you Tracy.

    • “Reconciliation and Recovery”

      I went to a Nar Anon meeting and was literally almost chased out of the room like Frankenstein with torches because I spoke up and said the following truth:

      When a MC or IC or any person GETTING PAID, counsels you to forgive the addict, the cheater or any person who is ripping your guts out….(to detach with love! to forgive! to give them food and shelter but no cash!)

      THAT COUNSELOR is not going to be at your home at 3AM when an addict is tweaking and almost sets the house on fire. THAT COUNSELOR will not be there to pick you up off the floor when you see texts about sex between YOUR partner and a whore, describing their dick and pussy together.

      It is snake oil and just as CL’s post outlines……deal breakers cannot be loved away because you are in a relationship by yourself. If someone cheats on you, what is there to analyze?

      Their great orgasms with someone else? How fun it is to get high together? The mysteries of her pussy?

      They are the business of selling hopium, and when you love someone who is treating you like garbage and you are holding by your fingernails on for some hope…business is good.

      • SS: I’m sorry you had this experience too. These charlatans take OUR money and healthcare benefits and are allowed to peddle whatever they want without regulation and scientific support. Sounds like a scam to me.

        And then there are the support groups, like COSA, who accept you but only if you drink their kool-aid and admit you’re a Co-Sex Addict. Don’t know what a co sex addict is but I knew I wasn’t the one with back page whores, neighborhood AFF sluts, multiple online dating profiles and porn in my 11 month marriage. Yet I was instructed to admit my role in the perversion and get to work on my problems.

        Thank the master sex addict Patrick Carnes for this un-effing believable example of blame shifting and gaslighting.

        • COSA’s themes didn’t sit well with me, and in fact made me realize I was as much a sex addict as X — in other words, I am an active agent, just not acting out. Fun times.

          Once I had a clear picture of what X was doing, I quit all the self-reflection and self-blaming. Because no: there is no way in hell I contributed to him doing THAT. So we’re not going to sit around anymore accepting blame for it. He go rot, and wind up in jail, and I’m not a participant, and that’s the end of it.

          I loved my addiction recovery people, but it was deadening in some ways, to stay among that mindset. Quicker progress and recovery right here with CL.

          • Yes! This is the harsh truth of CL and it is the only thing that speaks to me.

            I liked some of the people in Nar Anon but I think they had that…sunk cost syndrome? I may be butchering it, but where you spend so many resources, for nothing and you just keep sinking them. They could not let go. The group leader was so pretty…tan and toned and dressed so well. I admired her….I thought she was the bomb. Then, I listened and realized she had been divorced for 5 years from her addict. She came every week and rehashed it.

            I had absolute sympathy…but I don’t want to be her. I wanted to shake her and say…There have to be other men or something better you could be doing than going over this every week. We must move on. I am 40 some days out with finality and I have my eye on better times, better people…I just have to stop crying first.

            To even imply that anyone has a role in a cheater’s sex addiction is….infuriating. It is just a way to keep us hooked into the scam of blaming the victim. Some behaviors are just wrong and there is no one to blame but the person who can’t keep his dick in his pants.

          • The only women who were smiling and relaxed in the COSA and POSA meetings were the ones who were there to say goodbye after kicking their partners to the curb. I know, I was one of them.

  • The sooner you work on yourself and face any fears you have , the easier the path forward. For me when everything was in limbo and I was in chump mode , I found that if I worked on me , I knew exactly what had to be done , one of my goals was “I will happily except that my marriage is over and great things are coming my way”. It’s funny now , but sad at the time how hard it all seems when your the only one working on your marriage and your partners saying things like ” I’m so confused, I love you” and then going off to see their lover….WTF The truth is at this point, you have been made an option, no one should ever be an option. The greatest thing you can do for yourself at this point is remove yourself as that option.

    • Great post.
      The cheater’s actions are the truth – not their words. But it is so so hard to see that. In my case, my purpose became “saving the marriage” for the full year past D-Day. So it seemed like there was progress when he threw in phrases like….”I miss and love you,” or “How can I give all this up?” Even though HE WAS NOT WORKING ON THE MARRIAGE AT ALL, and indeed was damaging it further by continuing to see the ho-worker – even after I asked kicked him out (Feb 2016, about 1 year after D-Day and right before our 30th anniversary).
      Net, I needed to find MY PURPOSE – to thrive and move forward with MY CAREER, MY HOBBIES AND MY FRIENDSHIPS – to start on a path forward.

      Baby steps, and I am still afraid, but I have a purpose other than saving a dead marriage.

      • “I have a purpose other than saving a dead marriage.”

        Well said and so true!

    • Exactly. The marriage is over when you finally see the one-sided-ness of the relationship and realize it’s not going to change. Cheater will be content to continue on doing things that float his/her boat while you carry the load for two. When you try to encourage your partner to address marital issues, they gaslight, blame shift, ignore, etc. They instill fear and uncertainty in you in order to keep their hunky-dory status quo.

      It’s shameless when they suddenly act all confused and hurt and profess their love for you when you finally decide to cut your losses and end the nonsense. For me discovering the history of cheating throughout our entire 23-year “marriage” was the final straw.

      During our divorce, my teenage daughter had the insight to see that her dad’s version of love was skewed. She said,” It doesn’t seem like he is in love with you. He loves the idea of you.” The marriage was truly all about what I could do for him. I was the giver and he was the taker.

      High five to freedom and regaining control of your life!

  • The key he recognized was that we should not only look at actions (cheating); we should also pay attention to what they say. Previous to catching him cheating he made many negative comments which hurt me to the core. The type of things that cut me off at the knees. Yes, now I see I should have paid attention to the fact that his actions never matched his words. However, the verbal abuse came before I ever knew he was cheating. These were statements I still to this day have in my head and were used to undermine. Looking back I should have recognized the marriage was over and stopped climbing the tree.

    Checking off your list CL I wouldn’t have wasted 36 years of my life.

    • You are so right about paying attention to verbal abuse–and certainly taking it seriously before the wedding, if you experience it.

  • Kind of along the lines of #2: If you have to convince a cheater to stay in the marriage, then it is over. As long as you are made to do the heavy-lifting, this is not a healthy scenario. You cannot control whether or not he/she will cheat again. What you control is whether or not you stay with someone who has cheated, is cheating, or will cheat again. Taking responsibility–even partial–in order to convince them to stay and honor their marriage vows only obscures the fact that they alone are responsible for keeping their word and choosing not to cheat (and cleaning up the mess they made if they did).

  • Wow CL, your post makes all six of those responses look pretty lame. Though I agree that the lawyer’s was the best. It struck me how most of them just talked about personal happiness and that the marriage was all about whether or not YOU are happy. No mention of children, commitment, or actions of your partner (except for the lawyer.) Seems that most of those authors wrote from a very narcissistic point of view.

    • I agree. I think a healthy marriage is the result of both parties focusing on their commitment to each other and to the family. It should be expected (and at times necessary) for each to make personal sacrifices because there is mutual respect and a genuine desire to ensure each other’s happiness and do what is good for our children. When one person is focused solely on him/herself and neglects their spouse, the marriage suffers.

  • It all makes so much sense to me … Now. But to Sunrise, when is the right time? My ex arc is so good at manipulation that 2 counsellors b4 we were married said that we were a good match. Sure his 1st wife left him and took his two boys and I saw he still pined for her- but I thought
    I could fix it. Sure he was unemployed and had no $ but hey I could fix that too. Even if he told my best friend that what he really wanted was a slut, I fixed that and married him anyway. Divorce resulting from cheating is the only cure for the codependants. Now I can finally see without rose-coloured glasses. Such a tough lesson but I’m free at last never to be chomped again!

  • I knew it was over for reasons cl stated and mostly because before d day he did his best to just try to suck my life, my soul, my heart, my happiness from me, he tried to break me, make me feel awful about myself, like i was worth nothing. He has since changed his tune and wants to remain friends. Fucking cake eater. I will not forgive and i will not forget. I never did a damn thing to hurt him but he did his best to crush me.

    • Kar marie, our ex husbands must be twins. When my ex phoned me to tell me that he was filing for divorce to end our 37 year marriage, I commented “the circle has now been broken”. His reply was “we can still be friends and f*buddies”. He was lucky I was at work at the time because I just hung up. Had he been in front of me, I don’t know what I would have done but put it this way, a left hook straight to his nose would have been therapeutic for me !! You see, my Mum always said that she should have named me Rebel because I was so determined and yet in my marriage I was a pussy cat. Not any more, the old Rebel is back.

      • Maree – If hear one more guy tell a woman let’s be friends, I’m going to scream. Most of the men my gfs and I have dated have ALL suggested we be friends after the courtship is over. What is this, a standard line, that comes with the X chromosome. Um, NO, I don’t want to be your friend, you’re not that spessssshul buddy. I have enough friends and I’m not looking for additional ones.

        • Ugh! Lets be friends after best friends we can date and get along so much better. We got along great for 30 years asshole we stopped getting along when you cheated! I will not have my new house of peace and tranquility tainted by the fucking asshole. They just dont get it! What the fuck do i need a friend who stuck knives in my back andcjust kept twisting them! Mind boggling. When closing on this house happens color my butt gone douchebag he doesnt deserve me. I deserve way better than an angry pod! Take your screaming sad old penis and be gone!!!!

          • And suggesting friendship is like being handed the consolation prize. I don’t want you, but I will offer you the crumbs of being friends. F- that! I am not second best. I’m not a downgrade to friends, after you screwed me over. And friends are supposed to trust, respect each other, which I do not have for my exes.

            • Here here kellia! With friends like that who needs enemies and eventually he wants me to be friends with the whore so we can be one big happy family! Seriously they both are delusional. Shes all for it providing he loses his feelings for me. Pods all of them i would rather be single then deal with this shit. He still wants sex with me on the side but have her? Ha! Guess she aint the one either. These people are totally insane but they are both cheaters nuff said. He will be her problem now.

        • Kellia with relation to my ex, they were just words that spewed our of his loose mouth. He always told me what he thought I wanted to hear not what I should have heard which were sincere, genuine, loving and kind words because he doesn’t have a decent bone in his body. I was his best friend and supporter but I was sleeping with the enemy without my knowledge. I hope he thinks that he can trust his 24 year prostitute because I have a feeling he will get what he deserves in due course. It would be poetic justice for the destruction of our family.

  • You know your marriage is over when talking to your partner is functionally indistinguishable from having a heart attack.

    • LOL, that’s true! The other day I thought I “might” run into him at an event and that caused a panic attack.

    • This is no joke. If conversation or presence has your heart rate up, your breathing shallow or nearly absent, your belly tight or sick-feeling, or your body tight, shuddering, trembling, or rigid, your throat constricted, or on the verge of tears, or adrenalized and ready to run…

      Just RUN.

      Don’t stay and fight. Don’t puzzle over why. Don’t “try to calm down”.

      If you don’t feel safe, get away to somewhere you DO feel safe. Sometimes the body is really loud about the truth. It has to be, because the brain has been fed a lifetime of programming and some really impossible bullshit. If your body is signaling that the relationship partner is not safe for you, get the hell out of there.

      • This is the gospel. I wrote about being with Meth Man and bursting into tears for no obvious reason. My limbic system screaming RUN!!!

  • All three bullet points were spot on for my marriage. I only wish I had realized it was over sooner than I did.

  • Here are my additions to the list:

    (5) When the idea of spending less time with your children seems like a fair trade in order to never have to live with the other person again.

    (6) When you can’t come to an agreement over major deal-breaker issues, such as whether or not to have children, how do manage finances, and, of course, monogamy.

    And last but not least…

    (7) When you find your home life to be so mediocre or unsatisfying that you’re seriously considering blowing everything up to have an affair.

  • After a long period of pick me dancing,I finally internalised that it was over because he had chosen OW .
    He was able to walk away from me to be with her and I do not want a man who’s able to walk away from me.
    I want a man who is not able to leave me.If you’re able to leave me,jeopardise our relationship by inviting someone else into it and risk losing me,you do not love me.So why would I compete to make you stay.
    When I saw it in these simple terms,I was able to let go and move on.

    • Another big telling moment when i looked into his eyes after 30 years and noone was there. I still feel the shudder.

    • DeeDee
      Nail on the hammer. Hammer on my head.
      It hurts, but your smart words are the damn truth.

  • I knew my marriage was over when I realized that cheater ex had no problem with being cruel to me and my kids, and no remorse afterwards. It just took a while to get us away from him. Cruelty from someone who supposedly loves you is a deal breaker. Period.

    • Yes Tessie. It takes time to recognize abuse and even more time to get up the courage to get away from it. But you did. And if you’re like me no matter what challenges the future might bring they can never be as bad as living with abuse.

  • You know your marriage is over when:
    – you have to ask for an apology
    – their pride is more important than resolution
    – you find yourself fantasizing about duct tape, plastic wrap and a shovel

      • That is what scares me…when you find these betrayals out…I had troubling thoughts about Meth Man’s….well being. It was his breath taking cruelty that made me wild with rage and grief.

        I always had sympathy for that woman in Texas- she was a dentist and her husband wrote out on a napkin at a restuarant all the things she had to do in order to “get him back” from his AP. A deadly Pick Me Dance.

        Things like: Get liposuction. Breast implants.

        She ran him down with her car. If I was a millionaire, I would have helped pay for her defense. And this was BEFORE I was chumped.

        And maybe that is the point.

        We are very enlightened to just be journaling (that is really what we are doing…journaling and sharing with mostly like minded people to help us heal).

        When..we could be flying to Chechnya where thugs are cheap and available and hiring a “helper.”

        Absurd. Maybe not. Cheating is a life killer. I am having troubling functioning. He took something from me that I am afraid I cannot get back.

        • Sabine, look up the EMDR website right now and select a qualified practitioner in your area. I would go with one who is also a credentialed CSAT, because that person will understand better than you do the dynamics and trauma affects of partnering with an addict.

          One of the best things I could do for recovery was to remove emotionalism as much as possible and depersonalize the person who had hurt me. So X is only called X, and in your case, I’d consider referring to the addict (I hope you don’t hate me for this) as sepsis. Because this story kind of has the capacity to kill you. You have to see it from the much, much larger picture: this one person hurt you badly, and you never have to see it or be hurt by it again.

          Don’t make the choice to keep reinfecting, even just in your thoughts. EMDR will not solve everything and will not solve it immediately. But it WILL quickly reduce much of the alarm, self doubt, and cognitive dissonance surrounding your narrative. If nothing else, it is a two-hour place where the only person of real importance is YOU.

          From my experience, the main thing is to unhook from any fantasy or dwelling on X. We get stuck at certain points of the narrative because whatever it was, it was so traumatic that the brain stored the memory in not quite the right way or area, and we haven’t processed it because we aren’t able to. EMDR unlocks that and allows the processing to happen. Then it isn’t as triggery anymore, period. Because the reprocessing puts it now in the correct place.

          It’s better (in my big opinion) to make action, rather than talk. Look at the EMDR site right now, select the nearest qualified practitioner from that site, and make a few calls; make an appointment.

          Your situ worries me. I have lived many lives and have history with meth addicts, and you need to unhook from this. With the right support it will become easier than you think, although it’s still a lot of grief.

          You have to care for YOU. Not just talk about it, or him, especially him. Care for YOU, fast. Take action to surround yourself with best resources and close off this old awful infection, clear it out.

        • I don’t mean to boss you. Just, if you’re having trouble functioning, please take action to resolve that. You can’t stay stuck on this story.

          • Please boss me. He is sepsis. He is a maggot. He asked me to inject meth and I have never even tried cocaine. I have never been drunk.

            I am going to the site right now and doing it…I don’t care how far I have to drive.
            You get it…thank you. He did something to my brain that I can’t fix. I did 30 NC, I am exercising, therapy…I am not better off. I am barely…barely functioning.
            You understand that I feel…crippled by this. Going to find the EMDR now.
            And talking about it does ret trigger it in a sense. I am afraid he took my sanity.

            • Good Gosh, I’m going to do the same thing and look int this EMRA therapy.
              I know I need and I wasn’t aware all of all the damage I did in good relationships with my family that totally backfired on my recovery.
              And, they helped me the most when the ‘tragedy’ happened.

              It’s complicated. I obviously need help.
              I feel like I have that Chevy Chase (tuourettes?) issue where he insults everybody he sees.
              I’ve turned into that, but men, especially piss me off.

              Because….1) My BIL came on to me when he came out to support me with my sister! Twice over 2 nights he came on to me arrogantly. Fuck him! So I exposed that to my sister and she no longer speaks to me. (doubted my story?) I had also mentioned he molested me from age 12-16 when I started to grow tits. I guess that was TMI for her, so that’s why she’s been pretty cold.
              2) Another BIL wanted to rush to my side to help me ‘settle my *new funds*, while the ink wasn’t even dry on the divorce papers.
              3) So many freaks came onto me during my divorce when I was a miserable son of a bitch, that, how even dare them! I fired them all. (well, okay, ONE after I told his wife!)
              I have a good team now.

              But, I’m not sorry I don’t trust the predators out there at all.
              If I don’t show my toughness (and I’m not very big), I have to take a stand on my firm boundaries with user-people.
              They surround us!

              So, I think I need this therapy to quit being so wary of people…..or maybe I don’t need it.
              People ALL have a motive to be friends with you and that’s what I’m wary about now that I’m suddenly single.

              I grew up on the streets from a young age in San Francisco during the late 70’s…..I think I learned a lot then.

              Showing my age!

  • More than two people in the marriage the entire 30 years? Check

    Alcoholic for the entire 30 years? Check

    Addicted to drugs for the past 10 years? Check

    Face/Palm. So glad I finally learned and accepted the truth and walked away. I have to believe that I would have eventually done so without the help of CL and CN, but maybe not. Freedom has so many possibilities!

  • Very timely, CL. I was having a good ride with my paramour when just yesterday I realized the investment in a relationship was not there. He is not available for a relationship. I am disappointed but finally, now, because of this site, I get it.

    I am not opening that package of spackle and see it for what it is: Not available for a relationship. This is HUGE for me.

  • I had about 2.5 of your 3 with my ex-. We weren’t married but were together for close to 7 years, so it’s an honorary marriage (though when we broke up I was like HALLELUJAH no papers just movers!).

  • Great post today CL and NY Times!

    The minute the wedding was over, so was the “love-bombing”… queue “gaslighting” and we were off to the races.

    Our sex life became sporadic. The only time he ever seemed interested in touching me was while I was in the kitchen trying to make dinner after coming home from a full-time job and picking up the kids. He said I didn’t love him because I wouldn’t stop what I was doing to pay attention to him. Of course, he never thought of HELPING me with dinner… setting the table, getting the kids ready, basics, right? Hell, he couldn’t even thank me for preparing the meal each night and he only cleared his own plate. UGH. SO – because I wasn’t affectionate then (though I did always hug him and kiss him and our 3yo son would come running into the kitchen for a family hug… Mr. Sparkles couldn’t “feel it”.) he couldn’t be affectionate in bed. HIS WORDS.

    I knew when I was pregnant that something was “off”. I just couldn’t admit it to myself. Two years after the wedding, I discovered the phone calls to Craigslist hookers. Three years after the wedding, I discovered the personal ads. I scheduled the MC appointments. I did the MC homework. I tried initiating sex more often. All that did was FEED the MINDFUCK MACHINE. I didn’t know it then, but all of my trying was getting him off more than sex.

    And, I stayed. I couldn’t imagine time-sharing my baby boy. I just couldn’t.

    So, after 8 years of marriage, he finds an OW who is “wet paint fresh” from her own divorce. She has a nice 4BR house and a rich Daddy and two kids near the age of our son. Switcho, presto… I’m out and she’s in.

    And I wonder all the time… why doesn’t she see the red flags:

    – Married when you met him
    – Living with his wife and kids when you met him
    – Still seeing his wife and kids 3/4 times a week while you’re dating him
    – After a year of dating, he still hadn’t file for divorce (I did)
    – Seeing an Adult Friend Finder ad that he had posted during the whole time you’re falling in love together

    And, I wonder how she’ll dress-up to her daughter that Mr. Sparkles having 3 exes and 6 kids and walking out on 3 families is the kind of man every woman should aspire to meet and spend their life with forever.

    If there is a next time for me – which I cannot even imagine dating right now – you’d better believe there will be ZERO TOLERANCE for red flags.

    • OMG THIS!!!!

      I couldn’t imagine time-sharing my baby boy. I just couldn’t………..

      This was the main reason that I didn’t kick stbx’s ass to the curb immediately at Dday. I would lose 50% of my precious son’s life! It took a lot of introspective work to get to that but once I was able to admit that fear & face it, I was able to deal with it. I love my son more than anything but I could not stay with the cheater for the rest of MY life.

      In order to want better for my son, I had to want better for me. And life is a lot more peaceful now. I no longer have to worry about what or who stbx is doing or listen to his yelling.

    • She won’t. She will let her daughter and anybody else think that he’s awesome. That they fell in love and he will probably just let people think it was post divorce….not pre. My ex now travels in a totally new circle of friends who think that he and the AP got together after we split because we “grew apart”. Her kids think my kids don’t talk to their dad because I poisoned them with “lies”.
      I’ve gone NC and so have our kids, my family, my friends…..who’s gonna rat him out? He’s totally reinvented himself….they’ll have to figure it out the hard way I guess.

      • This. My CheaterX unfriended everyone who worked with him and Schmoopie. And blocked them. Then when the divorce was finalized, he and Schmoopie announced they were getting married.

        People from his last job knew Schmoopie, and knew that she always dated married men, and that she has a track record of marrying them and leaving them when they ran out of money. We live in a small enough town that word gets around. He had to dump these people in order to manage his image.

        I think that’s typical of a lot of cheaters. They love fucking around in secret, but can’t deal with the affair in the open.

    • I Can See the Meh Coming.
      I was reading what he did to you and my stomach was rolling. I know that horrible feeling. He will do the same things to her. He will. Rotten character does not change, and especially when they believe they are “good guys”.

  • This is my first post here, although I’ve been reading CL for about a year now and she, and the community, have helped me greatly! It’s amazing how the well spackling works. If I’m honest, I knew our marriage was doomed from the beginning when pulled me from a group we were talking with and accused me of being flirtatious. I was 5 months pregnant at the time. From there his emotions cycled between love and adoration, to cold, distant and controlling. I lived in constant fear that I would do something to bring on the later. Dday 1 came and we reconciled, Dday 2 was on Mother’s Day of last year, and this time he was “in love”. Oh really! In love you say hahaha, sure. I needed proof of a transaction for our sons sports camp a couple of days ago, and I couldn’t believe he actually gave me the login info. Well, of course I looked at other stuff, I was curious. Wouldn’t you know, Ashley Madison account payments and cougarlife account payments. By the way, he’s engaged to chump #2.
    They move on because we aren’t naive anymore. If they miss anything, it’s that. I trust that he sucks now more than ever. I will also trust my gut for forever! I should’ve listened to it and bailed 15 yrs ago and 5 months pregnant.

    • FreshAir,
      Did you ever sense he may become violent, or was his weapon of choice being cold and removed?

      • SabineSavoy,
        I never feared physical violence until it was closer to the end. He was talking with our son about not turning homework in, the yelling made my son freeze. At that point he threw a glass across the kitchen, quickly followed by a trash can. I knew something was definitely very wrong at that point.

        Before that incident his weapon of choice was just cold and removed. One day he would be snuggling with me, whispering how beautiful I am, how lucky he is, and just intense intimacy in general. Then, BAM, a complete 180. He wouldn’t acknowledge me when he walked in from work, I tried to hug and he’d brush it off saying he was too tired. He’d then proceed to plop on the couch and ignore everyone. Like we didn’t exist. Then he’d apologize after a few days and be the sweet guy I thought he was. Ughhh, I can’t believe I spackled for so long!! All I can say now is that me finding out about this affair was the biggest blessing in disguise. After 15 years I feel like I truly know my now ex-husband, and all I can say now is, good riddance.

      • FreshAir – nice to get a fresh-air breeze through and comment. Welcome.
        So sorry you went through that. Like, who flirts when they’re 5 mos preggo?
        I mean, yep, you look great with rosie cheeks preparing for a new life, and you are happy.
        If that’s interpreted as flirtatious, something wrong with that guys’ head.

        Sabine – Mine used his weapons of choice 1) withhold sex right from the honeymoon. I thought I made the biggest mistake of my life, and went on for 35 more years! (doh me!!) 2) He was very controlling and I let him be in some things. It was better than arguing only to always lose the fight. He was a bully like that – but very passive aggressive. Never swore, never hit me. and 3) When he turned cold and removed I knew he was soon going to turn violent, and he did. Always trust your gut!

  • If you discuss deal breakers before you commit to one another and you find out 2 years later the motherfucker lied about one of them. End it, sunk costs steer and love will steer you to forgive. Not a good idea. Saddam literally hid his depression from me that long and he did it because I told him I could not live with a person who suffers from depression. When he couldn’t keep up the facade he didn’t get help either. Of course he was a recovered alcoholic who lost his recovery 4 years in and hid that for quite some time too. Liars lie and they never stop. Just sayin.

  • My therapist once said, “your relationship is only as healthy as the least healthy person in it”. And that is the truth. You cannot make a relationship work well with one wacko in it. End of story.

    • Oh this is good! Your therapist is so right. I’ve seen so many amazing people couple up with low lives, and their lives went downhill from there. I remember my aunt, who was 36 years old when I was barely 10 years old. She had her shit together, she drove a yellow sports car, had a great job and I thought she was “da bomb”. All of a sudden, she got very desperate to get married, and she ended up marrying the next guy she met. He had never held a steady job, and he made all these (empty) promises to take care of my aunt. She was so elated that the second she got married, she quit her job, forked over ALL of her life savings to this guy. And you know what he did? he dwindled ALL of her money (since he had none) by opening a failing 7/11 operation, and 2 years later, they declared bankruptcy, and lived on welfare ever since. He was too lazy to work or to do anything else for that matter, brought her right down to his shitty level. I watched the entire train wreck happen and to this day, she still looks at him with goo goo gagga eyes, meanwhile the rest of us our disgusted at the whole thing.

  • Yep, the moment our twosome was a threesome, and not in a kinky way, it was OVER. I was the only one trying to “fix” the marriage, and he could never be bothered to pay me any attention or even basic respect.

  • I think it’s pretty easy to tell when a marriage is over, although it’s very hard to ACT on that knowledge. If, for whatever reason, you do not feel safe either emotionally or physically with your partner, the marriage is over.

    • Just want to add to this that if you have a history of trauma, don’t buy the part where “maybe you’re overreacting because of what happened to you before”. That’s a neat cloak anyone may try to use to keep the wool over your eyes.

      I’m now more inclined, if anyone implies I’m “overreacting”, to ditch out, pronto. Enough is enough. When a cheater/liar tries to pin it on your faulty perception, kick them out, get EMDR, and hold your own.

      • Oh my gosh Thank you LuckySeven!! I’m getting that now from STBXH and his whole family. The whole “you need to let go of the past to have a better future” crap. Yes, my 2nd husband cheated. And lo and behold, So Did this one. And they wonder why I’m pissed and absolutely No Contact with any of them? Cause they’re all Disordered Narcissists. Now I see – very clearly – what the narc dynamic looks like, I will never get involved with one again. I need to look into EMDR, pronto 🙂

  • I think the time to end any relationship, especially romantic ones, is when the balance of power becomes unequal for any significant length of time. I realize that this happens a little in all relationships, but when one person is pursuing and the other is either not responding or retreating, the relationship is toxic.

    This is contrary to what movies, books, television, friends, etc. will tell you. If you just try hard enough you will get the other person. Romance thrives on adversity, blah, blah, blah. This is crazy, if you are jealous, worried the other person doesn’t love you, etc. you are setting yourself up for a nasty case of Limerence. If you aren’t familiar with this, please Google it, it read Dr. Dorothy Tennent’s book on the subject. It’s a real thing, and very dangerous because it makes you think you love someone you really don’t.

    • Limerence is exactly what hub experienced with the whore. it’s what broke up our marriage. he is/was obsessed with her. was willing to risk everything. it’s an addiction. it’s sick. discarded 25 years of a good life and REAL love.

      • That sucks, BJ. How long has it been, because this usually fizzles out in a couple of years most of the time. I know you don’t want him back but the karma train is most likely coming.

        • He met her towards end of Sept 2015, were only together briefly and only at work together until Dec 12, 2015, but he felt in that short period of time that she was his soulmate/the planets collided blahblahblah and the answer to all of his problems which I guess was ME-according to HER, although I lived FOR him and everyone knew that. My Dday was Dec 16, when he got home from being out to sea (mariner and she was part of his crew ONLY for that one assignment.) This is what some women do, work on boats that are all men so they can be the predator. Nice huh? Never saw her again until maybe April and not exactly sure how much time, either, since she lives 3000 miles away. But even so, he was willing to believe that whatever she had/has to offer was worth discarding me, the person who was his biggest champion, who worked on all of his biz ideas, who supported anything and everything he wanted to do for 24 effing years, who was a faithful and devoted FUN wife, who showed him what a GOOD mother was. He was addicted to her, in some kind of horrible mental distress, went to a few therapists but ran off when they said things he didn’t want to hear. He had all the answers, like it wasn’t a midlife crisis affair because “he was in love” and that was the answer. But he loved me too, and was just so confused. BARF. I never gave him an ultimatum, I didn’t force him to choose, I just took myself out of the picture.No matter how many days I cried 24/7, I knew my value. This homewrecker knew what SHE was doing-she knew exactly what she was doing, this is what she does, 4 marriages, broke up 3 other marriages, wants money, toxic, full of drams, is violent, drinks…falsely accuses men of assault. His karma will not be a happy one, I guarantee it. And it’s so sad, because he really was the most amazing and loving man. Or so I thought. And he was awesome until he wasn’t. He was depressed for a while before this happened and I’d say, go to therapy every once in a while, I never thought it would manifest itself like this. And I haven’t worked at a job for about 15 years, so I’m unemployable. Whew, long post, sorry

          • Oh, how horrible for you, BJ. That’s definitely not love. There are a lot of women who know how this Limerence thing works now and can use it to their advantage. A gold digger for sure. Hope things get better fit you. You sound like a wonderful person.

            • I want to read that Dorothy Tennent book but not finding it on Amazon.

              • BJ – I can SO totally relate to your story.
                My God, the things I read on C/N that still enlighten me.
                You describe the X’s limerence focus to the tee.

                I have a feeling he’s caught on now but, like – who cares now?

                Really, this is almost eerie that we have such similar stories between so many on C/N.

              • I’m sorry, I had her name wrong. It’s Dr Dorothy Tennov. Love and Limerence, The Experience of Being in Love.

              • noel blessed – for one, you have a great name and are obviously a positive person.
                That tells me right away you are going to be okay.
                Thanks so much for posting and sharing – we all have your back and you are doing the right thing.
                Some of these moments you just have to let instincts take over….and follow them faithfully.
                The gut never lies.
                It has helped me stay strong although I have dumped a lot of people in my life by choice, and I feel more hardened than I should.
                I will have to write that some day on the Forum.

                Keep writing and expressing Noel!

          • BJ, no one is unemployable. Work this late in life has saved me and I hadn’t worked for thirteen years (too busy volunteering and raising our beautiful children). I took a job doing what I loved, teaching. If you need to try out jobs look at volunteer opportunities in your community. If you need to go back to school, do it. You have gifts to share so look at what you can do with those. PS my students graduated from High School today! So proud❣

          • This sounds like me. STBX felt rejected because I didn’t initiate sex enough, I felt rejected because it felt like he didn’t listen to me. Vicious cycle and neither of us had the open communication skills to just get exactly what we needed out there to the other. Then he tons himself I didn’t love him because of lack of initiation and started talking to the whoremat who has been devalued by her own parents (told she was worthless), raped by an ex fiancé that left her with a child, had her SSN stolen and been bankrupted by another ex and her STBX is an abusive alcoholic that stole her 401k. She’s been told by her mother to do anything she can to keep a good man and then told my STBX that she loved him and he was the nicest person she’s ever met. MANIPULATION MUCH?! Stupid STBX. He can’t see the red flags. Not that it was all her fault but I can see how he’d get sucked in when he was feeling vulnerable and had low self esteem.

      • Sad thing is, I don’t think ex’s whore cared one damn thing about him, he was just something to prop up her pathetic little ego. She used him to listen to her pissy little problems, and hear how wonderful she was, spend money on her. Be the Knight in Shining Armor to her Damsel in Distress. Without having to give up the ass because “she had the highest morals of anyone he knew”. Funny how in all the time they knew each other she didn’t have any interest in him till he was married to me. Hate it for the loser ex.

        • Yes, she was a damsel in distress too and he came to the rescue just llke she planned to reel him in

          • skankboy’s howorker was a damsel in distress, too….let’s see how long that crap lasts. I just pray he does NOT come sniffing back here!

            • (Notice I did NOT use a capital in his name. That would make it proper and that is the last thing that he is, that jackass!)

    • This is what Scott Peck calls as dysfunction. The interaction is very high intensity, but very shallow. There are highs and lows, but nothing really of substance. And it’s really not love, as love is calm, caring, and very mutual. It’s a very shallow interaction, but hey, if it gets the cheater out of your life, then you can gain a life sooner. That’s why a lot of co-dependent people think all the drama is love, when it’s not at all.

      • I commented on this below as well, but a really good read is Sandra Brown’s work on women who love psychopaths, and the website

        This is research and therapy focused specifically on the victims of psychopaths – which is many of us – and it gives you a lot of tools on how to recognise the danger signs and also to put names to your pain. It’s helping me a lot with my current Sinister Minister disaster, but also with some past relationship nightmares as well.

        In the article library, ‘Sandra Says’, there’s a GREAT article on the difference between No Contact and Disengagement.

  • I also think Limerence is responsible for most people’s attempts to reconcile with someone who has cheated on you, the “hysterical bonding”, etc. You can’t successfully reconcile with a cheater, even on the off chance they reform, because the balance of power has been permanently fucked up. They will always have the upper hand, at least psychologically. You will always Wonder if they will cheat again.

    Looking back, i see that almost all my relationships were Limerence, and not love. Sad, but true. I was always following My Heart, which isn’t so bad unless it’s in direct conflict with your brain. Now that I know what it is, I think I’m not vulnerable to it anymore. But, if you are/were with someone who treated you like shit, and loved them anyway, please check this theory out.

  • I apologize, the author’s name is Dr. Dorothy Tennov, and her book is Love and Limerence, The Experience of Being in Love. I think it also explains a lot about the adulterous relationship, as well. It was just such an educational read for me.

    • Thank you! Ordered and ready to read on Kindle! This is exactly what happened to the stupid X.
      Fucking Limerence.

  • I left my first marriage when the negatives outweighed the positives; I left the second when I found a man who was willing to be monogamous. He has and I’m much happier for it. I also wish I had known about the book Adulterer’s Wife: How to Thrive Whether YoOu Stay or Not by C. J. Grace I would have been better at dealing with the toxic emotions.

  • I am just realizing now that my marriage is over. My husband moved out 3 weeks ago in with OW (after 28 years together). I missed a lot of signs along the way. I was truly blinded by love for my husband, kids and family unit. I would have endured anything to keep all of it safe from ruin and guess what I endured my fair share of heartache, lies, manipulation, devaluing, disrespect and my husband selfishness for many years. He called and left me a long message a few days ago stating he has made a mistake by leaving. What I have come to realize he loves dysfunction and he thrives off drama. The fact that I totally removed myself from his triangle is driving him nuts. He doesn’t want to get back with me and honestly neither do I want to get back with him. It is just all about the game of cake for him. Once he thinks he has me reeled back in he will chew me up and spit me out again. Now that he is gone and my children are grown and doing well. Just now I realize that life is better without him in it. I am dealing with a lot of pain and hurt from the decisions he have made recently. But, I am progressively realizing my life is going to be okay. I am so uncertain about what my future holds. However, I am certain that I will live on my terms and I am able to make the best decisions for my life now. The fog is finally clearing in my life. I know I have a long road ahead of me and it will not be easy. But, I am willing to risk the uncertain road and believe that there is hope, joy, love and peace on the other side verses taking the certain road again of pain, hurt, lies, cheating, manipulating, disrespect, devaluing and dysfunction. It has taken me longer than other to realize my marriage is over.

    • Stay strong Noelblessed … You deserve a good and happy life and I know that is what you will achieve now that your cheater has moved out. Stay strong and dont let him back in. Focus on YOU for probably the first time in your life. Hugs to you.

      • NoelBlessed – Your post has been haunting me. Are you okay? I thought I replied early but it seems lost.
        You are so fresh and raw, just being at 3 weeks.
        Talk to us anytime.

        My God….to remember back to those first 3 weeks is to go back into Hell territory and we all know what you are probably going through.
        The confusion and shock is mind-blowing, and I didn’t figure that out until about a yr later.
        I just completely refused to believe it.
        When I caught him red-handed, I sort of went numb.
        I didn’t know what to think…because the last thing I ever thought was he would cheat on me.

        3 yrs later, I’m out of the quagmire and trudging ahead. Rather happily but, not really after knowing my absolute worst fear that my husband would ever leave me for another woman! Let alone at almost 60 yrs old! God Dammit, but I kept him happy and we were happy, but he lost his mind.

        It’s a hard one to grasp, even this many years later.

    • Great job!! You can do it! We–everyone here–have been where you are, or are right there with you. It really does get better. You will come to realize that you were married to a lie, that he is empty in his soul. And that life really is better on your own terms.
      And, guess what? Nobody, even in a stable, happy relationship, really knows what their future is going to be like. Nobody.
      But YOU know that you can count on YOU.
      Big hugs, sister!

    • I couldn’t sleep and thought I would look through this posting again. Reading the responses to my post today actually brought me to tears (it doesn’t take much these days to bring me to tears). I am actually doing okay. I am taking it one day at a time. The hardest thing is trying to understand what he was thinking. I have always supported him and had his back 100%. Never in a million years would I have treated him the way he treated me. Thank you all for the great support. It is amazing how a few typed word can help bring someone comfort. I’m still crying…so emotional these days. I know it will get better one day. I just wish that day was now.

      • Awww, noelblessed, hang in there. We’ve all been where you are. It will get better with time.

        I understand what you mean when you say “never in a million years would I have treated him the way he treated me.” I’ve said that to myself a million times. Unfortunately it doesn’t change your reality, you just have to keep pressing on, putting one foot in front of the other.

      • Noelblessed–I”m sorry; you are in the worst of the pain right now and nothing will make sense for a long time. Some days it will require all your effort to get out of bed and shower. Take 5 minutes every day for some aspect of self-care–a bubble bath, a cup of tea outside watching the birds, look at funny youtube videos, anything to give your mind a few moments of respite from the horror of what just happened to you. Don’t worry about the future; one step at a time is key. Read books and websites that people have recommended–, Why Does he Do That?, The Runaway Husband, etc. to give you slivers of understanding as to the character of your cheater. Big hugs!

  • When he fucks someone else, that’s a pretty good indication that he doesn’t love or respect you. It was hard, but I divorced him pretty much straight away. Why be with someone who doesn’t love me. I deserve someone who would never risk losing me because it would devastate him. I want to be cherished and adored. And I can only find that guy by dumping the cheater.

    • Georgia – Great post! And I agree with you on all counts. Once your partner cheats, the relationship is over. If he fucks someone else, then he’s not thinking of you. You are so mighty to have divorced him right away. I agree, why be with someone who doesn’t love us. Your post is empowering!

      • I credit it all to the power of No Contact.

        I’ve had a previous relationship before (years ago – no cheating involved) after which it took me four years to get over the dude. It taught me that once a relationship is broken it’s broken. And that I need to move on ASAP. So this time (cheating was always a deal breaker for me – no second chances – I was tempted – but then I remembered what I deserve – honesty/respect/love/care/etc.). And I decided to move on asap this time. I went straight into NC.. read books, got busy, talked to a therapist, and I’m proud to say, one year later I’m doing pretty damn good.All you can do is move on, RUN, and look after yourself. So many people waste years on a cheater – not worth it. Because unicorns are pretty damn scarce, and in my eyes it will never be an equal relationship again.

  • Hey, a thank you shout-out to whoever here referred to – what a great site! What a great resource. The article library ‘Sandra Says’ is very helpful. I might also get the book.

    The Sinister Minister has many psychopathic traits which I saw and very carefully avoided examining closely.

    So anyway the inquiry has ended, and now I am left hanging because our church doesn’t disclose outcomes. I just have to wait and see if one day he’s simply not there any more. I hate this.

  • All very sensible. Of course one issue is when your partner knows the marriage is over but hasn’t bothered to tell you and goes ahead with setting up the rest of their life while you sit there like a lemon wondering what’s going on and desperately trying to save the marriage. In reality my marriage had been over for a year when I found out about it. Just no one told me.

    • Same experience here. But after two years separated and 20 years married I understand he is NOT who I thought he was. We are meant to learn and grow from this – hardest thing ever- but so worth it!

      • lovedandlost, my kids and I say that their dad is not just not who we thought he was, he’s not even who we thought he was once we figured out that he wasn’t who we thought he was! His shallowness runs very very deep indeed. But it took so long to understand that.

    • Me too! All three things on the list were GIANT flags but I kept thinking the madness would stop. It only stopped when he finally left for the OW and I sued his ass for divorce. I kept telling him over and over again, “there can’t be three people in a marriage” but now I see, of course, that I was the one who was not listening to myself. Had he told me that he had no intention of getting rid of her, no intention of investing any effort into a relationship with me, that would have been kinder than just using me a little bit longer to get his ducks in a row. And obviously, since she was the greatest thing ever, he was not available to have a relationship with me, his wife of 35 years. We all know that when we are in the midst of it, we are driven by desperation. Desperate to preserve a family. Desperate to be financially stable. Desperate to avoid a failed marriage. Desperate not be alone with an uncertain future. Desperate to ‘win’ him away from the OW. And for me, unable to see my childhood love as the disordered horrible person he is. Why else did I seek comfort, long for comfort, from the very person who was gutting me? This is, for me, the most on point CL post of all.

  • Just needed to add my experiences to this great topic, although late to it!

    First husband, met him when I was 17 and thought love was the answer to ANY problem. I knew he drank, but didn’t realize that you can be an alcoholic just on beer (very very large quantities of beer ….), or really what alcoholism meant. He was super smart, sexy, very enjoyable to be with, and we were crazy crazy in love.

    But after many years, and so many disappointments and hurts related to his drinking and to the drama that would ensue when he was drinking, I realized that I no longer felt safe in his arms, even in the good moments.

    That’s when I knew my marriage was over.

    Second husband hid his dysfunction really well in the beginning, and was super good looking and smart (not actually fun or interesting, rather boring, but hey, spackle!) and initially also very good in bed. We built an entire life together, and had two amazing kids. But he was a classic covert narc, incredibly self-centered and entitled, and just a very negative, critical, blaming, unpleasant person. I hung in there for a very long time, initially because I didn’t understand that you can’t help someone that unhappy and self-centered to be happier, and later, to try to have an intact family for my kids. But when DDay #2 came, and he reacted SO callously, I finally realized that there had never been a ‘we’, we were not a team or a family in any way. He was in ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING only for what he could get out of it, for himself. Neither I nor his kids had any importance to him.

    That’s when I knew my marriage was over.

    So, lesson finally finally learned. Want a happy marriage? Marry a happy person. Want a loving marriage? Marry a loving person. Want a functional family? Marry a functional person.

    Damn, I wish I believed in re-incarnation, because it’s a little late to be figuring all this out. It would be nice to be able to carry that wisdom over to another life!

  • ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS… look at his actions. Know when to fold.

  • And this:

    “Oh, that’s the other point — you have to have a notion of what a relationship or marriage IS. And not accept any old arrangement because someone says it is a “relationship.” Have deal breakers.”

    Indeed. If you accept his cheating for too long, you may be addicted to the drama and pick-up dancing. And you have in fact given the cheater permission to continue doing what he’s doing. At this point you’re the volunteer doormat from a few posts back.

    • Christa, and this is the “third rail” that no one addresses. Because it bring into the equation a shadow…a whisper of and oblique implication…that a Chump may have “contributed” in some way to the cheating.

      I got into it with Tempest about this very thing, regarding Tom Jones’ late wife Linda.

      There is absolutely ZERO guarantee that a Chump is mentally stable in the first place. Read that again.

      There is no guarantee that the Chump is not a narcissist themselves, bipolar, co-dependant, sociopathic…whatever. DID I SAY IN THAT SENTENCE, anywhere, that because of the Chump’s mental instability that they contributed to the cheating or caused it?

      No. No I didn’t.

      What I SAID was that two mentally disordered people can be in a relationship. And one of them can cheat. And the reason that person cheats, is because they choose to.

      However. It does NOT make the Chump this “poor thing” in all instances. PARTICULARLY when the Chump decides to look the other way for reasons like money, status, comfort. Just as cheating is a choice, staying with a cheater is also a choice.

      Justify it in any way you like. Fire away. We all did it.

      But in SOME cases, sympathy is NOT warranted for the Chump, because they are either willing participants in their own degradation—again, they will admit that they like the money or the status and simply choose that over fidelity. NO SYMPATHY.

      In some cases, the Chump is an inverted narcissist or a cerebral narcissist. They “crave” being with no one other than a malignant narcissist. Any thought or suggestion to the contrary will get you flamed. Again…NO SYMPATHY.

      I personally know a couple like this. He’s a serial, life long cheater. Since he was 15 and started dating. Had an entire repertoire (before the internet) of keeping this one separate from that one—and the STORIES. His family knew full well, and they shrugged their shoulders. Meh. That’s just him.

      One of the girlfriends, who later became his wife—knew damn well what he was. I’ve heard stories of how she loved this idea of “beating” and “winning” over these other girls. She chased. And chased. And bought him things. And took him on vacations. And knew he was out of town screwing another girl, but picked him up at the airport to take him to her apartment for sex.

      UN. STABLE. from the beginning. She was, and remains to this day, as sick in the head as he is.


      No. I SAID—she allows it, she competes with the OW, and she actually thrives on the cycle of abuse. SHE CHASED IT. She CONTINUES to chase it.

      In later years, after he had screwed up in one town, his wife (who had an amazing job and career ahead of her, had she just dumped this asshole)—would simply transfer in her company to a different town, mostly a different STATE.

      This has gone on for 20 years. She’s worked at basically the same company for most of those years, but has had to find employment with others, when she couldn’t just sell their house and leave the state at the drop of a hat, or a job in her company wasn’t available elsewhere.

      Her resume reads like a TYPICAL Borderline Personality Disordered person. Stays at a job a year or so, then moves, using a “transfer” as the excuse. But her career has NEVER launched. She is still in the same position she’s been in since she started, yet she claims to be “ladder climbing” with her continuous moving.

      He’s unemployed, by the way. She agreed to “keep him” as long as he’d stay married to her. What he does in his idle time? She’s not concerned. They do “date night” and go on trips and he makes dinner. Oh and he tells her what an amazing woman she is and how much he loves her and how she’s the only thing that keeps him sane.

      THIS IS WHAT SHE WANTS. She has and always will—-be a direct enabler and wiling participant in her own degradation—-because this is what makes her mentally unstable mind HAPPY.

      So. That all said.

      Not all Chumps are created equal. Nobody makes the Cheater Cheat. But the Chumps—are sometimes just a few fries short of a Happy Meal. There is NO RULE that says that every single Chump is just a victim. They’re not.

      The sooner some people get this into their head, the better. I for one am tired of listening to certain people wallowing in misery, yet they never seek help—they never go to a therapist, they never want to change a thing, they only want to complain about it.

      In this day and age of the internet, if you can get on a BLOG and continue to pour out your most intimate details, you can sure as hell use google to look up the definition of “alcoholism” or “mental illness” or “sexually transmitted disease” and get yourself to a professional.

      There are some, and I have seen it in my practice and I see it in personal interactions—-that simply like the way things are, because that distinction makes them special. It gets them attention. If they got help and changed things for the better, then what might they have to do—-oh yes….get a life, contribute to others’ lives instead of garnering all attention for themselves, maybe risk NOT being the center of the universe.

      Yes. We picked schmucks. Got it. But I am mentally healthy enough to not LIKE the fact that my husband fucked every woman in one town so I have to move my job, my house, my kids and myself to ANOTHER town so he can start all over. I don’t give a shit how good he is in bed or how many times he looks deeply into my eyes and tells me I’m the only one.

  • Congrats OU812 on your great mental health . I don’t think a mentally healthy person would post shit here that is unhelpful and nasty. The chumps who come here are trying to heal, if you don’t want to hear them pour their hearts out somewhere they feel safe? Then go read some other blog. Could someone posting here be an abuser? Sure, maybe you are, you certainly have not posted a single kind or understanding comment that I can find.

    Congrats too on passing the 101 course on how to blame the victim with seemingly rational arguments that end up as straw man bullshit. Like your story about chumps staying for comfort, money or status but what you really mean is they aren’t healthy enough for you; as evidenced by your following it up with “But the Chumps—are sometimes just a few fries short of a Happy Meal. There is NO RULE that says that every single Chump is just a victim. They’re not.” Fuck you on behalf of every person struggling with mental illness, your blithe remark pisses me off.

    The vast majority on this site are fighting to find a way to survive, you insult them. They not only take responsibility, they blame themselves for the abuse, they don’t OWN the cheating, that is the message. Perhaps you could go comment on articles about the rapist who just got a 6 month sentence for forcible rape. I’m sure you’ll find many like minded persons on those boards where you can blame the girl. According to you if a person has mental health issues that prevented them from leaving when you would have, well they contributed to the pain, or they deserve what they got. Apparently you believe everyone should have the same resilience you have. How original. How not original…because you probably wont get the sarcasm…

    You said: “Just as cheating is a choice, staying with a cheater is also a choice.” translation of your comment: “Just as abusing your loved ones is a choice, staying with an abuser is also a choice.” That’s bullshit, you can fuck the hell off. In the midst of abuse a person is not always able to see it. And when they do see it and attempt to leave it becomes even more fraught. Most of the worst abuse chumps experienced is in leaving and getting drawn back in. An abuse survivor with an ounce of empathy should understand that. I certainly do.

    Jedi Hugs to Chump Nation. Meh is coming, keep fighting to get your life back and if you are already there, help another.

  • Dat. A few questions. Civilly.

    First. Did I mention depression ANYWHERE in my post? Because I DID mention what I meant….personality DISORDERED. Not clinically depressed. This attitude does not apply to them

    Clearly, you suffer from clinical depression. Again. Did you seek help? Because if you did not, yet you or anyone, finds the wherewithall to blogpost multiple times per day, for years, and still expect anyone to understand or sympathize with “not knowing that abuse is abuse”…and blogging about abuse being abuse…see the problem? Either you know it is, or you don’t.

    My point here is that in 25 years of Emergency Medicine, I have probably seen more “dysfunction” and disorder than you can even dream about. Are you a psychiatrist? Are you a mental health professional? Even if you are—please—come down to the ER. I will invite you any day and host you at a Level I Trauma unit.

    Let’s see how constant enabling and compassion for the DISORDERED—-not DEPRESSED—works out for you. I triage people in seconds. I salvage the salvageable. Yes. And whether you like it or you don’t….people “like me” are needed much more than people who wring their hands and worry about each and every politically incorrect statement.

    I tell the truth.

    Second. You really should not cherry pick a particular sentence that “pisses you off”, as it diminishes your credibility.

    If you had actually READ what I said as well as the EXAMPLE that I used, you would see the flaw in your argument.

    And the statement that “abusing is a choice and staying with an abuser is a choice” is wrong? I didn’t actually say that, but you’re making my point.


    No. Again, your projecting your own experience with the man who held you at gunpoint—is flawed and obstructs your ability to understand what I am saying.

    In cases such as DISORDERED—-sociopathic, borderline, covert narcissist, inverted narcissism—those have ABSOLUTELY ZERO to do with clinical depression. Nothing. Nada. Zippo. Zilcho.

    Is that getting down to the “fuck the hell off” level yet? Am I making myself a little more clear on this lower level of cognition?

    You insult, and I really didn’t get much out of your comment other than you chose one or two sentences to place your template of “I am clinically depressed, HOW DARE YOU judge me!”

    Did I judge? No. I have seen things you couldn’t even wrap your head around in your lifetime, yet I am expected to DEAL WITH THESE THINGS on a moment to moment basis.

    So yes. I see things a little more harshly. I don’t have a lot of tolerance for people who are OFFERED HELP—have every resource placed in front of them—up to and including, surfing the internet 24/7 with any information at their fingertips—offers of advice, counsel, escape….and they have every excuse not to do it.

    THOSE are the people to whom I am referring. And not even the clinically depressed are included. They often seek help on their own, in one way or another. If it’s a blog or it’s a trip to the ER or what have you.

    Character disordered people….you know, Dat….THE ONES TO WHOM I AM REFERRING in my comment, had you read it….don’t seek help, because they don’t believe there is anything wrong with them

    The woman in my example…IS CHARACTER DISORDERED. She’s not “clinically depressed”. She’s BORDERLINE. She has told people to their face that this is what she WANTS and this is what MAKES HER HAPPY.

    The douche to whom she is married? Smirks and laughs that he knows she loves him and he doesn’t love her…and that she’ll keep him because that is what she wants.

    Dat, I am sorry, but the simple fact is—not every Chump is a victim. This woman certainly IS NOT. I have seen….I can’t even begin to describe some of the true horrors I have seen come through my doors…and i don’t judge.

    I take care of you whether I like you, or I hate you or I think you’re a moron or you’re depressed or you’re truly psychotic. I do my job.

    And part of my job is assessing people ACCURATELY. If you don’t like the diagnosis, then perhaps you may want to examine what it is about truthful assessment of some bothers you.

    The rapist comparison is a false equivalency. I think you know that. I never, ever—EVER implied directly or indirectly—that anyone staying with a cheater deserves it or is the CAUSATION of that cheating.

    In fact, had you read….again….I actually SAID THAT….there is NO causation in the decision to cheat, on the side of the Chump.

    However. What I DID say…is that if the Chump is CHARACTER DISORDERED (and IS there a rule that says that there is no character disorder allowed in Chumps? Only certain people can be chumped?)—-then you will get the scenario that causes compassion fatigue.

    You know…compassion fatigue? Where it finally dawns on the person attempting to help another….that there is no intent to get well and even an intent on staying ill—and the helpers, for their own mental well being…drift away and cut this person off.

    We do it quickly in the ER—it’s triage. Green, Yellow, Red, Black tag. Maybe I do it faster than some, but I do notice that there are certain people—here and other places, as well as IRL—where no matter how much advice is given, no matter what options are open, no matter the explanations and accepted ideas…that person will OBSTRUCT any progress.

    This is a real phenomenon and it’s well documented. If you didn’t have “people like me” in the ER, what you WOULD have, Dat….is someone who folds up in a corner in a ball, paralyzed from all of the evil that men do to each other. Hard decisions have to be made. There are eventualities that can be seen—projections into the future of a person, based on what their clinical findings are now.

    What I am saying….is that after 20 years, this woman of whom I spoke….who KNOWS what she’s doing, who has a MBA and 8 brothers/sisters in her family…friends who have literally cut her off because they’re tired of hearing her complain about one or the other shitty thing her douchebag husband does…yet rebuffs every single rational suggestion to her “complaints”….and sees her just pack up and move when the answers are not what she wants to hear….

    You must come to the conclusion that she is mentally unstable. And she is. She would sooner cut her arm off than go to a counselor. She’ll have unprotected sex with this man, not just willingly, as in, when he asks for it….she initiates it and enjoys it. Knowing that he’s sleeping with anything that has a pulse, unprotected.

    That. THAT. is what I am talking about.

    If I follow your logic, no chump can be character disordered. You’re trying to tell me that you’ve never, ever seen a man or a woman stay in a relationship for no other reason than money? Seriously? Come to my town. Come to my hospital. I’ll introduce you.

    In my opinion…ANYONE who marries and brings CHILDREN into this world because it seals their status or gives them money or a nice house—I believe they’re called…”gold diggers”—is mentally disordered. Do I believe they deserve to be cheated on? AS I SAID…NO, they do not. But if they ARE? and they STAY despite the cheating, BECAUSE of the money or status?

    No sympathy. No empathy. Zippo. Zilch. Nada. Got nothing. And I don’t really care that you have a problem with my “lack of empathy” for those who don’t WANT my empathy. I didn’t make up that term “gold digger”…it’s as old as time.

    Clinical depression DOES NOT fall into the “disordered” category. Never said it, never implied it.

    To quote something that is very useful around here…. “when someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

    She, and others like her, have showed who they are. Feeling sorry for them because they remain willingly with a cheater—is not a good use of resources. Speaking in ER parlance. I would black tag her in a microsecond—she cannot be saved, because she doesn’t have any DESIRE to be saved. She likes the attention. She doesn’t want a solution.

    You, on the other hand, wanted a solution. Many here do. I applaud them. And you see them fall away eventually—posting less, sometimes not at all after awhile.

    THOSE are the ones that no matter how long they stayed, when this thing happened to them–they sought help. Whether it was here, through a lawyer, through a friend—whatever—and they heal and move forward.

    Just as in any statistical analysis, there are outliers, and in life…no matter how sorry someone’s situation is…you cannot EVER know until that person proves to you (shows you through their action or INACTION)….what their goals really are.

    They are in EVERY GROUP. You know this, I believe. Just because this is a blog for chumps, that does not preclude the participation of someone who is disordered AND chumped. Not everyone here actually wants to change the situation. Again, whether you like that or not. I don’t enable. It’s not in my nature to do so, and as much as I wish everyone could be fixed and healed, some can’t and some actively refuse.

    I understand your knee jerk reaction. Tempest said kind of the same thing—that I have no empathy. Yet I do. I empathize until you show me who you are. If you show me that you have no intent on getting better or you are actively participating in staying ill—I have none. I move on to patients who WANT to get better, who WANT my help and who WANT empathy.

    • You sound pretty triggered, O.

      Myself, if the PDs want to stick together, that’s ok by me. And if they don’t want your help, yes, if your job or social connection doesn’t preclude it, you’re right to move on.

    • OU812, you just diagnosed me with clinical depression over the internet, laughable, and utterly wrong. Reminds me of Fiona, is that you? Throwing down more straw man arguments to justify dismissing people you deem unworthy illustrates a lack of empathy and compassion. You obviously didn’t understand my post, I am not surprised, and I’m not going to bother clarifying it. Finally, I don’t have knee jerk reactions, had you truly read my post you’d get that. I’m going to stop responding as you lack reading comprehension skills and are not worth the effort.

  • I knew my marriage was over when I realizing that my husband of 19+ years (now STBX) was planning his wedding to another woman. And cheating on her with another girlfriend, plus hooking up with women on Ashley Madison and other sex sites. Dude, if you’re already cheating on the OW, you are way to effed up for me. I told him the next day that he had to leave. (Favorite comment from divorce attorney: “most guys are smart enough to have a girlfriend phone” Have to find the humor in these situations)

    And did I mention that he’s a “called & ordained servant of the Word”–a pastor in a *very* conservative denomination? (not at a church right now, but still). No attempt at reconciliation–he told me that he wanted a divorce, and “what did I want to do?” So that’s a slap in the face, that he would rather have the option to screw random women that he meets online that be with the mother of his children and those 23 years together. So yes, ultimately, I really would prefer to be in a loving, committed relationship. But honestly, if that’s not the case, I think that making a clean, decisive break was easiest on me & the kids.

  • SS,
    Meth man sounds young in age and needs to grownup… Or he’ll be dead too.