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Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over the devaluing?

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toosexyDear Chump Lady

My question to you concerns extreme desexualization at the hands of a Narc and how to get over that. I really need help on this one!

By most objective standards, I believe most people would describe me as good-looking — or so they tell me. Yet, 26 years with Dick Bling has left me feeling dowdy and frumpy and completely undesirable.

Dick Bling insinuated to me over and over that nobody else would ever look at me because I was too old. This started when I turned 40 and I’m now 55. He giggled and fluttered his eyes at pretty much any woman under 40, gushing how beautiful they were — in my presence. He loved teen porn and very young SE Asian prostitutes. If his friends flirted with me, he seemingly didn’t notice it. If he did, it was my fault for having started it. Eventually, with me at least, he had chronic ED.

After D-Day #5 or so (yeah, it took me a looooong time), Dick Bling proposed his “revolutionary idea” that we live as a non-sexual couple. He would, of course, continue to frequent all the prostitutes and massage parlours he wanted. When I pointed out that even a Wife Appliance needed sex and that straight male prostitutes are hard to find, he couldn’t quite get his head around that because he had convinced himself I was non-sexual. My needs simply didn’t occur to him. You get the idea.

While all this was happening, I would have sworn that it wasn’t affecting me and was confident that I was still a desirable woman. I was aware of what he was doing and saw it for what it was. But in the last year since I have been living alone, I find that his words have taken their toll on me, because I immediately friend-zone any man who comes near me to protect myself. Also, I now react to compliments by thinking it is someone who just wants to con me. It bothers me because I would hate to think that Dick Bling’s diminishing of me will turn out to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.

How do I get Dick Bling’s years of devaluing my sexual worth out of my head?

Thank you

Chumpa Lumpa

Dear Chumpa Lumpa,

That kind of devaluing would make ANYONE lose their confidence. While it was happening you would’ve swore it wasn’t affecting you? How could it not? If you took the most beautiful woman in the world and constantly bombarded her with “Thunder Thighs!” or “What have you done with your hair?!” or “Are you really wearing that?” she’d be a hunched over shell of insecurity.

And oh hey, nearly every woman on this planet has been bombarded with this shit, most of us from our own mothers. (Decolonize your minds everyone! Don’t pass this crap on to your daughters!) So I would argue, most women’s starting off point is a hunched over shell of insecurity. Sure, we try to play it off, but as any man knows, you criticize a woman’s appearance at your own peril.

Now, given the baseline insecurity that most women have about their worth as Beautiful, Desirable, Sex Object (how can I possibly measure up?!) — factor in a complete fuckwit of a husband who proposes a sexless marriage for you, so he can screw teenage prostitutes. A man who runs you down for being over 40. (By the way, what’s the alternative to aging? Offing yourself at your sell-by date?) Who flirts with other women in front of you. How could you NOT take that personally?

When we choose a partner, we’re supposed to be choosing someone we feel safe with. Someone with whom we share our most intimate selves. Our NAKED selves.

And knowing us this way, the totality of us, our partner commits to us — in sickness and in health — til death do us part.

I know today’s post will probably spur a troll attack. Because to women chumps, that’s the first line of attack — you got fat, you got sexless, your tits aren’t perky. Ergo, you’re not entitled to fidelity. All bets are off because you didn’t lose the baby weight.

I could respond to that in a defensive crouch — Hey! I believe in sex in marriage! Hey! Everyone should be their best physical self for their partner! You gain 60 lbs of baby weight and see how fast YOU lose it!

But to respond would give credence to the deep misogyny behind such arguments. That women are only as valuable as they are deemed fuck-worthy.

Chumpa Lumpa — the only person you have to convince of your worthiness here is yourself. It begins with you. When you believe that you’re awesome and the world should be so lucky as to have you? Then you’re ready to let someone in. You’re not there yet. That’s totally understandable. There’s a lot of mental real estate there to decolonize.

I suggest a fuck-off approach. Take inspiration from this What Not To Wear Over 30 blog post. Be who you want to be. Wear whatever the hell you want to wear. Please yourself.

I promise you that not every man is a cheating fuckwit. And not every man wants to date a teenager. (So many of them do, though. It’s an epidemic of pathetic.) There is a man out there right now who would have sex with you if you wanted. Hell, there are LEGIONS of men who would do you. Sex is not that hard to come by. Respect is though. You could get all the validation you wanted from other men that you’re fuck-worthy — and maybe you’ll go there. Maybe you’ll have a couple flings.  No judgement here.

But the real lesson is learning to love yourself, and shut up the devaluing voice in your head. Your ex is NOT the final vote on your lovability and worth. Do not give him that power. Hand it back to yourself.

Self-worth — you wear it well.

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Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at info@chumplady.com. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • I had 26 years of devaluing …his criticisms were incessant. I have a few insecurities Im still working on but I took a “fuck you, Im living !!” approach. Dating had its fair share of ghosts and catfish, but there were decent men who were happy to share time with me and interested in more.

    I dont consider myself an expert on surviving verbal abuse//I think we all come away pretty bruised, but we must remember that the lies they told us were spoken to cover their disfunction and disorder, it was sick, selfish and twisted to me cruel to us to get away with immoral nastiness.

    Your XH was a selfish, icky man who wouldn’t know a good woman if she hit him with a broomstick.

    • What gets me, too, is that my ex was no Adonis as he shamelessly pointed out all of my physical flaws… He had a huge ego and was conceited — his overall “awesomeness” outweighed any of HIS physical flaws. Yet, he needed constant reassurance that he was attractive and special… A true narcissist.

      When we reached our 40s, he had wrinkles and was getting gray hair and had put on extra pounds… I didn’t complain. That’s what happens when we age. But, he expected me to look like I did when I was in my 20s. The criticisms were harsh and demeaning. I hadn’t become grotesque by any consideration, but he made me feel “less than” attractive. I know now that it was all about his need to control — when you are told your faults make you undesirable and unlovable to others, you think twice about leaving. It plays on one’s fear of being alone. However, being alone isn’t nearly as bad as living with an abuser.

      • Ugh, so crazy! I stayed with my Narcissist for 8 years and cannot imagine what the full aging process would have been like with him. There is just no fixing the crazy of a Narc.

        I went through a period of wanting to dive into dating but have taken a step back and realized that I need to remember how to love myself before I go out there looking for love from someone else. I don’t want to be vulnerable and put myself back into a place of relying on someone else to validate my own self-worth.

      • O and O – the double standard has always pissed me off. I blame beer commercials and strip clubs. You watch your average beer commercial and the wife is slim and pretty and the husband has a beer gut and looks a bit like Louie Anderson. Then these average guys go to strip clubs and these young, well-built, attractive women give them attention. As long as the five dollar bills keep coming, that is.

        I think decent men understand that both are a fantasy, but deluded assholes think that these women are attracted to them. Then they have the nerve to bring their gross selves home and criticize their wives. It’s just a shame that people can’t pull their heads out of their asses long enough to be honest with themselves about who they are.

  • You sound pretty amazing to have even survived through all that. And you said it yourself: “good-looking” and “desirable.” I bet you’re a hottie! One of the lovelier things my ex told me during fake-reconciliation was that he and his hack-therapist figured out that he thought of me more as a SISTER! Way to desexualize me and thus validate his NEED for the ow. Best wishes. You’ll find someone and have the best sex ever, I promise. And more!

    • Oh yes. The sister reference. I got that one too. Beyond hurtful. My response, “I have three brothers. I don’t need another.”

    • Yes mine said he felt incestuous if a thought crossed his mind about me in a sexual manner. I never friend-zoned him. FUCK. OFF.

    • The therapist told me that X viewed me as his mother. And then the therapist said, “you can’t have sex with your mother.”. It was meant as an explanation of how he saw me and why our relationship was over. But you are so right Anewwoman when you wrote, “Way to desexualize me and thus validate his NEED for the ow.”

      I am 3 years past D-day and still really struggling with the devaluing at times. I met an awesome fellow chump who has reached meh some time ago and he has told me exactly what CL wrote over and over, “the real lesson is learning to love yourself, and shut up the devaluing voice in your head. Your ex is NOT the final vote on your lovability and worth. Do not give him that power. Hand it back to yourself.”

    • My STBX says he loves me like family not like a wife or lover. Well yeah. Because you stuck your Dick in some whore and now your real real real twu twu twu deep abiding wuv has knocked the wife right out of the picture. The point of a long term marriage is DEEP LOVE not excited bouncing! Stupid fuck!

  • Chumpa Lumpa – Every time you hear those words in your memory think about the person who said them. A man who thinks it’s fine to exploit girls who are driven into prostitution by poverty. A man who thinks that he is attractive because he has money in his pocket. A man who is so disrespectful that he would compliment other women in your presence. In other words, a complete douchebag.

    This dude thinks he’s so wonderful that you would gladly live in a sexless marriage and endorse his cheating just so you could continue to be near his fabulousness. What he proposed was that he gets to do as he pleases while you continue to be the wife appliance.

    Don’t listen to the words of a “man” who is so obviously completely fucked up. If he was just someone in your social circle but you had knowledge of the content of his character, would you give a rat’s ass what he thought of you? Hell no! Don’t take his words as truth. His words were designed to keep you in your place. Sounds like he was terrified that you were attractive to a lot of men, or he wouldn’t have tried so hard to make you think otherwise.

    Remember the old saying “Consider the source”. That guy is a waste of skin. A pig like him has no right to judge you. He is so below you that you have to squint real hard when you look down on him.

    You are beautiful. You are beautiful. You are beautiful.

    • “consider the source” exactly. There’s a French saying: the toad’s spit can’t reach the white dove.
      It’s going to sound trite but love yourself. When I reached the bottom of the traitor’s devaluation and discard, I decided to revive an old hobby of mine which was nudism/naturism. I was never ashamed of walking around naked until my years with the traitor. At first he claimed to enjoy it and find it sexy, then he didn’t want me to do it anymore, was acting all possessive worried other men might see me in our garden 3 kms from the nearest house. I felt imprisoned. He started to tell me I looked 70 years old, because I had 2 broken teeth I couldn’t afford to fix because we had lent money to his 2nd wife (who he cheated on me with). Then he sat me down New Year’s Eve 2014 to tell me I was asexual and he wanted to have a menage a trois with his ex, no sex for me cos I was asexual, remember. When I refused, I was a bitch and “not a team player”!! Etc. cut a long story short, a pile of outrageous vomit projection of his madness.
      That’s what’s been done to you.
      You know you are good looking and attractive. I would encourage you to try nudism around your house and garden to feel really comfortable with your looks, warts and all. It also desexualises nudity. You’re just your beautiful honest self, going about your daily activities. It’s summer, it’s hot in the US, enjoy!
      I am a long way from recovering sexual confidence after years of this crap, but at least I love my body again. Others and CL have made the point that this is about valuing yourself. Yes, you can always find a douche to fuck you. You deserve a real man worthy of that beautiful wholesome you, no matter how long that takes.
      Soon after the traitor left, and since I had been doing the nudist thing from January this year, I started getting more attention and compliments, asked for dates etc. Nothing has really led to anything because I am not in the right frame of mind but the attention I got is from decent, respectful men, which is all that matters at this stage. When I was with the traitor, I also got attention, because the truth is I’ve always been quite presentable and pleasant, he wasn’t… But of course I shut it down because I am faithful and MY love was real.
      So love yourself, treat yourself to nice face creams, any beauty stuff you fancy and can afford, because you’re worth it, take your time. When the bastard’s words echo in your head, remember that was just a toad spitting and you are a beautiful white dove.

  • I’d like to argue that it’s no different on the other side. If your wife doesn’t want to have anything but “obligatory sex” with you for 25 of your 30 years together, and if you loved her and were faithful, you come to believe you are worthless. Also that no woman my age will ever look my way or want to be with me (no desire for much younger women). It’ll take me a long time to recover (if I ever do).

    I know I will never give up on myself again. Healing has begun. Keep your head up until you start to feel it.

    • Same here. I thought that I was worthless for years, because of her. Now I know it was always not true. Took a long time to realize. Wasted years.

      • Years and years of devaluation and they dumpster dive. After I filed I told him I could never be ‘that’ referring to the classless mentally I’ll whore he scored.

        My therapist said he couldn’t attract anyone attractive or intelligent. All those years were wasted believing I wasn’t good enough when in fact I deserved better.

        We deserve better and always did.

    • Please dont wallow in her lies and limit yourself…there is a world of ladies who would be thrilled to have a real gentleman in their lives. Even if full recovery takes a while, go live in the mean time and you can be happy and fulfilled in your own skin.

      Hy newhusband has not shared all the discounting things his wife said when she left but he didnt date for a LONG time…that worked out well for me but he missed out on too much life in the mean time.

      • I would say men are devalued as well. X made me feel like I was a monster. The last years of our marriage she accused me of being mean and cold to her all the time. She told me at one point I was a tyrant. Why? Because she couldn’t take any comment that wasn’t positive. I was going through a period of hating my job and life. I was the sole provider and going through shit at work. Her help was to tell me to find another job. Well, we live in a small town so she could be close to her parents and keep kids in the school they had attended all their lives. I couldn’t just switch easily. I have great health insurance, benefits and pay. My kids had to be supported. She never once offered to go back to work (has a college degree). She quit because she hated her job. In my mind I was sacrificing myself for her and my kids happiness. I guess I was getting hard to live with. Go to work then come home to cook and clean. I rarely mentioned the dishes piled high in the sink. I would just come home and clean the kitchen. Tried to make healthy meals. Occasionally I would get a thank you. I wanted help not praise. I was mean because I wanted them to not wake me up after I went to bed. Yes, i went to bed a 9:30 because I had to get up at 6 for work. It usually took me an hour or more to even fall asleep. So they couldn’t slam doors to the bathroom or kitchen cabinet since they backed up against the bedroom. The could yell and go crazy watching TV at 12 midnight. But I was quite and tried not to wake them in the morning until school time. Let her sleep late. She would go back to bed after we left. Sorry for the long post but this post just brought up my fear and how I think I was manipulated. I am just not sure. Now I fear future relationships because I was told I was a mean person. Was I? I know I was at times. Was it reasonable and expected under the circumstances? I have no idea! I just fear that at some point in a future relationship that I will be a mean person. I don’t even know I was before but she sure a hell put it in my mind that I am. I talked extensively to my counselor about this as well. He made it seem like you just need a mature person that you can have real conversations with. Things aren’t always roses. I tried so hard not to be confrontational in our marriage because I viewed her as emotionally fragile. If it wasn’t a positive comment or conversation she took it as a personal attack on her. Looking at on-line dating profiles doesn’t help either. Seems like everyone wants an easy going always positive guy. That’s just not the real world to me. It’s hard sometimes and I would want someone that understands that. Sure I want to be happy and am pretty laid back. Sometimes though things happen that suck! I would need someone that understood that. Know that it was ok to have a bad day or week. Someone to be there for you in that time. Otherwise whats the use of a mate. I could find plenty of women that just want to be around for fun times. Done ranting. Just know that it isn’t just physical devaluing that gets to you. I have to deal with if my behavior is normal or over the top. I don’t know if i will ever trust myself in a relationship again. I think that counts as a devalue.
        Just an fyi for the ladies, I find women my age extremely attractive. I may be rare, but I would pick a 50 year old confident with herself over a 30 year old any day.

        • ” I wanted help not praise.” That resonated with me…

          I did what needed done in our marriage, our family, our life because that’s what you do. My ex did only what was important to him and left the mundane stuff to me — it’s no fun and he didn’t want to do it. If I expressed my frustration about his lack of help, he’d say “You didn’t ask me”… If I asked for help, he’d bitch and moan… If I stopped picking up the slack, he’d devalue me… It’s a no win situation with a narcissist.

          • Oh, yes! Same story. If I asked, it had to be done at his convenience and his way. He’d “forget” that I’d asked for help. So, just did it myself-stopped asking. Then got- “you never partnered with me. I was just a stick of furniture around the house”. Well, bozo, you spent all your time on the computer(looking at porn, I now know) or in front of the boob tube and heaven forbid we interrupt you.

            He gained 60 pounds (190 on a 5’6″ frame) but was very upset that I was no longer at bikini weight (3 kids later). Constant badgering for me to lose weight (130lbs at my max on a 5’2″ frame). Yep, I was hideous! Fucker! Made me feel all insecure.

          • I did get tired of telling me I didn’t appreciate him. When I asked him why he thought that, he would say something like, “I vacuumed last week and you didn’t say thank you.” I just looked at him right back and said, “I vacuumed the other 51 weeks, where’s my thank you.” He would just look at me confused as if I was speaking a foreign language. I say thank you when someone does me a favor. I usually don’t thank someone for contributing to their own living. I think I was just tired.

            • Oh this is so familiar!!! The utter utter look of confusion when you point out the reality of the housework split! My x even once actually admitted that he always waited for the praise he used to get from his mother from me…. For anything even very minor. Ew so weird. And he admitted to feeling hurt and confused when the praise didn’t come. And then he stated doing mischief with my sons teacher.

              • It just goes to show how emotionally stunted they are… Reminiscent of potty-training days. We shower our kids with praise when they announce their successes in learning the task. Upon mastery, we also teach them that using the toilet is NOT such a big deal deserving of continued praise and fanfare — everybody learns to do it as part of growing up.

                Our exes failed to get that memo in a lot of areas… They behave as spoiled children to constantly reinforce their own “specialness” above all the lowly chumps who were “lucky” to have married them…

        • LostInTX, I think that many women, like me, would realize that you are the needle in the haystack! I appreciate people who are ‘real,’ who acknowledge that life is not going well right now but try hard to make it better for themselves and others. A lot of men (I’ve met online) want to be around only for the fun times so they insist upon women who are ALWAYS peppy and beautiful, no matter what happens. I think that they are looking for a fantasy. Some wanted my height, weight, and full-length photos to determine whether I was date worthy. I’m back to dating an old friend (who I’ve known for three decades). We accept each other’s body and will listen to the other describe his/her day–good and bad. (I hope that this lasts.) I wish you a great life and a great romantic relationship.

        • Hold on Lostntx! Hold the fuck on! You were married to an asshole! Hear me! You were married to not only an asshole, but a manipulative, selfish asshole! She had a college degree and quit her job because she didn’t like it – and wouldn’t even help you out by getting a part-time gig? Seriously? And you came home to DISHES IN THE SINK?! And you were a monster? A tyrant? Uh, no. Unless she was taking care of, I don’t know, 12 children, all under the age of 12, I’m not understanding why there were dishes in the sink and you had to come home and cook dinner. Maybe if she had been cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids, and washing dishes, you’d still be married because she would have had neither the time nor the energy to fuck around.

          I am pissed on your behalf! Lostntx, real women work in partnership and share responsibility with their mates – just like real men. I am absolutely LIVID on your behalf! I wish I had someone who had worked hard and cared enough about me and my children to sacrifice the way that you did. I am so sorry you were treated that way by someone who obviously neither appreciated nor deserved you. She qualifies for a Congressional Medal for Entitlement! I want to be driving and blowing the horn on whatever Karma bus eventually runs over her.

          Trust me – her treatment of you is no indication of your value or worth. It is a sign of her cruel, manipulative and abusive nature. She didn’t deserve you and you deserved better.

          • +1 – lostntx: Your ex-wife was not ’emotionally fragile’ – she was a narcissistic cow who coldly manipulated and conned you into thinking that you had to carefully guard against saying anything remotely critical to her, even if it was the truth. She stifled and muzzled you and then when you called her out on her nasty behaviour, you became a ‘tyrant’. Textbook narcissistic projection. She’s the tyrant – not you. Keep saying that to yourself. You sound like a very decent man – don’t ever believe the crap narcissists spout. Like Chump Princess, I am also livid on your behalf.

        • Lostntx, your story is mine exactly. I’ve always been laid back and happy, but by the end it was beaten out of me. I am getting it back and so will you. I always wanted us to be a team, but she just wanted me to make more money. It was never enough, but she never got a job (has degree in business). I also agree that there is no one more sexy than a woman my age (52 next Sunday) who knows herself and is confident. I’d never go out with a woman closer to my daughter’s age (yuck).

          • Lostntx & Marked711 – – Thank you for posting your comments. You have given me a little bit of hope. I hope there are a few men where I live that are desirous of an “age-appropriate” relationship. 🙂

            • I’m 48…dating a wonderful, caring man who is 52. He said he’s glad we’re close to the same age and wonder what would he ever talk about when dating a 25 year-old (close to the age of his daughters)? Hang in there!

              • My people, as many if you may be aware, my Exhole, grandpa daddy (53) and his slunt (23) have a 7,week yr old baby.
                My daughter is 26, a month away from 22!
                A mutual friend stopped by a couple weeks ago to hug and say hello! We have known this couple around 18 years! He kept saying, I found out they had a baby while shaking his head. He didnt find out from exhole but one of his orher coworkers. In shock, a parent if two himself, said “what could they possibly have in common?” I laughed and told stop in and see him sometime and ask him.
                He could only say, christ alot of marriages have problems, but jesus really!
                His decision, and just added as learned, his decision yo intimately, emotionally and financially fuck his family.
                I said just anything he says is a “lie.””
                Just like we know ” cant unring the bell or unfuck the girl.”
                But I said hey, hope he is happy, and by the way I guess he never told you daddy issued girl was pregnant! Great friend!

              • For Emmarose–here’s my answer to the question of what they have in common: He is a narcissist. She has kibbles. He wants to feel 23. She is 23. They both think with their genitals.

          • Such a profound thread!

            I could have written so many of these same points! It is amazing how chumps get manipulated by their cheaters in similar ways no matter whether they are straight, gay, or upfront poly and no matter whether we are chump gals or guys.

            Years of deception have also left me doubting my attractiveness, and more fundamentally my very ability to trust and be in a relationship. It is a long and hard road to recovery, but today’s comments restore a little bit of hope in my heart that yes, there are good men in this world!

            Turning adversity into self-caring wisdom is hard work, and I am very thankful to have this community to keep me going, thank you CN/CL!

          • I’m so glad you said “Yuck.” I just don’t get anyone (men or women) who date out of their decade. What the hell would I talk about with some “man” who is the same age as one of my boys. I’d be too afraid he’d walk into the living room and I would say something like, “Take your hat off in the house,” or “That thing connected by a cord to the wall is called a telephone, quit playing with it,” or “Yes, Berlin had a wall around it.”

            • My X is with someone who is 6 years older then him. She left her husband who was 9 years older then her? I guess she wanted to trade in for a new/used model!

        • Lost ntx same for me I was told I couldn’t “nag” couldn’t say or do anything negative had to be positive all the time and absolutely couldn’t turn down sex. This after he cheated and lost half of our retirement savings in his failing business. 4 years of financial abuse and every other in of abuse as well and I was told to get happy or get out. Impossible by that point. He separated from me 2 months later saying he just wants to have fun…

        • Sounds like you were just tired and needed her support. I think she labeled you as mean so she did not have to face the fact that she was being selfish and unsupportive. You sound like a great guy, please do not let your X labeling of you as mean keep you from finding what a true solid loving and supportive relationship.

          • Actually, that’s a really good point. Maybe he was tired and to her it looked like anger. Beside, who cares how it looked to her? It no longer matter what she thinks.

        • Lostntx,

          There is a big difference between the bitch you were married to and a wife. Do whatever it takes to be happy with who you are and what you do. Then just be. You will not be angry, but self-assured and able to find someone who fits into your life and values the person you are and what you offer each other. If change is needed, make it for yourself, not to make others happy.

        • Things aren’t always roses. I tried so hard not to be confrontational in our marriage because I viewed her as emotionally fragile. If it wasn’t a positive comment or conversation she took it as a personal attack on her.

          That’s called, “Walking on eggshells.” It’s a negative conditioned response that your wife reinforced in you. In Operant Conditioning; B.F. Skinner would put a rat in a box and shock it. When the rat scurried around the box it would accidentally bump a lever that turned off the electricity. The rats quickly learned to go for the lever instantly when they felt the shock. He would then turn on a light just before shocking the rats. Again, the rats quickly learned to hit the level any time the light came on so they could avoid the pain.

          I was conditioned by my cheater wife too (it was easy since my narcissist father originally conditioned me to happily accept the blame for everyone else’s issues). Just the faintest hint of an issue and she would rain down 20 minutes of hellfire until I backpedaled and took back any blame. Whatever was bothering me was my fault. Whatever was bothering her was my fault. I was the crazy one who needed massive doses of prozac. I was the one who always overreacted, who needed therapy, who needed to calm down, and who had to smile for the rest of the world. Whatever it was, just please – for the love of God and everything that is holy! – just make the pain stop!

          The bonus is negative conditioning only suppresses instincts – we still feel the needs/wants; which increases our fear and eventually aggression. Which fits perfectly with the narcissist’s narrative that we’re the crazy ones.

          The other Skinner experiment doled out food pellets to rats when they pressed a lever. There are lots of pellets at first so the rats quickly learn to press the lever. However, Skinner then dispensed the food pellets at random intervals. Eventually, the intervals were few and far between but the rats still kept pressing the damn lever (I’m going to get a pellet THIS time. Damn! … I’m going to get a pellet THIS time. Damn! … I’m going to get a pellet THIS time. Damn! … I’m going to get a pellet THIS time. Damn! … )

          Sound familiar?

          • yes, it’s the cycle of abuse and it doesn’t matter what the reward abuse cycle is, as long as the subject is not aware it’s happening, it works. When our switch flips and we stand up that abuse cycle usually escalates and gets shorter. And then we SEE it, we GET it. If we are lucky we get out of it alive. Jedi Hugs!

        • Lost

          I was recently called mean and rotten by the man who fucked 18 women during our marriage, that I know of. This excludes the ones my adult daughter recalls visiting when she was young.

          The man never initiated sex. He bragged he no longer needed porn (child) once he found his fuck me whore who calls him daddy.

          What I know is that devaluation is part of the narc disorder. We do all the heavy lifting and they devalue.

          So his best current shit shot accusing me of being mean and rotten has it’s place post divorce.

          Now, all those lies no longer matter. I do not care.

          What you describe in your relatiinship was total disrespect.
          While I was getting my degree I encouraged him to further his education so he could get a job in a warmer climate. He actually said he expected me to support him.

          They are lazy, lost. They are selfish. You partnered with an entitled asshole. Don’t be hard on yourself. Cheaters suck.

          • YES, EXACTLY what I’ve been saying, but you said it so much better. He wanted me to support him. He actually had a monetary figure in his head that once I reached it, he would quit his job. I think me saying “Fuck No!” was when he went looking for greener pastures. I’m sure he thinks that I’m suffering without a second paycheck, but unbeknownst to him, I’m finishing house projects, paying off outstanding debt, saving money, went on three vacations in one year, and bought fabulous things for me. I don’t even want to begin to think about where all the money went of our supposed “two income” family. He couldn’t save a dime.

            • I know!! What’s up with these men who don’t want to work. My ex was planning all along that the minute I closed on my new home, that he’d quit his job and move into my place, rent free of course. And when I told him he wasn’t moving in, and he needed to find a job, oh my,the pouting which ensued, along with the statement that he wouldn’t cost anything other than food, and if you love someone, you don’t put conditions. He was right, I didn’t love him and I was putting conditions. That I wouldn’t be supporting a 41 year old grown ass man, in the name of WUV! Screw that!

              • Good for you. I wasted sixteen years with a master manipulator King Size Freeloader. So regret it now.

              • “If you love someone you don’t put conditions”

                You mean conditions like expecting that person to support your 41 year old ass? Maybe you just love him to much to let him act like an entitled child…

            • Annie, I’m doing exactly the same, paying off debts and living without the mindfuck which never ended. I finally HAVE a future.

              The Limited isn’t living the fantacy, he’s living a nightmare. Consequences are Mighty shitty.

              • Same, have looming financial craziness to fix from his irresponsibility, and the mindfuck feels endless. Just want all the circular conversations in my head to end. Do they ever? The hard thing is never getting any admission/ affirmation for the damage done, and then the games and control continuing even once you leave

        • Lost, it sounds like a lot of this is the deprogramming we all have to do after getting out of relationships with self-centered assholes.

          I’ve spent a lot of my post final D-Day year reviewing our twenty-two years together and all his complaints about me. You know what? Some of them were accurate. I wasn’t a perfect spouse – no one is. But an adult would have said, “Hey, this thing you do is bothering me. It’s important to me that things change. How can we work this out?” Cheaters are a different breed. They don’t have those conversations because they don’t actually want you to change. They want cake. If you change, they’ve lost their bogus justification for cake.

          Cheese Fries (formerly known as The Entitled One) had a special type of mindfuck where he would occasionally scream at me about not meeting his emotional needs (once he even claimed that I wasn’t capable of meeting his needs or the needs of any man) … then he’d calm down and tell me he didn’t mean any of it. So I discounted everything he said when he was angry … but after the final D-Day, I was supposed to have known that he meant every word … of what he said when he was angry … not the loving words he said when he wasn’t.

          Some of the things he bitched about were bullshit. That’s the deprogramming I talked about above, where you have to sit with the slug of shame that comes with all the memories of your partner’s complaints about you. Feel the feelings and review those situations with the clearer vision you have now … always keeping in mind the source of the complaint: a lying cheater. Maybe some things you’ll do differently in your next relationship. Maybe (definitely) some things are her bullshit.

          Your story about going to bed at 9:30pm resonated with me. Cheese Fries absolutely hated that I was basically done for the night at 9pm. I was asleep around 10pm because I got up around 6am to get the kids ready for school. I was a SAHM and let him sleep in because he was so tired from working so much. Turns out he had plenty of time to whack off to porn during the workday and devote about fifty percent of his business trips to chasing tail, but that’s another story. By 9pm, all I was up for was talking, reading, light TV, or sex. But he wasn’t interested in any of that because he didn’t feel emotionally connected to me because I didn’t want to watch his intense, violent TV shows or movies with him right before bed. And there was obviously something very wrong with me for going to bed so early. Sad to say, it took me a few months to realize that there was nothing wrong with my biorhythms — he was just a cheating porn addict operating on a teenager’s clock.

          Anyway … I’ve decided that being alone is far preferable to being married to an asshole. So if I can’t find someone who can have adult conversations about things that are bothering him … I’ll be a happy old maid.

          • Well said BetterDays. I am one who can’t sleep until late and wakes late, I can’t deal with TV in the bedroom, but all this I talked about before commitment. I had many conversations before committing to living together about my weirdities and asked about his. I would say it’s really important if you do this and the person you are with agrees to all of those conditions and has absolutely NO conditions of there own. If that happens run like hell. And most of those boundaries were broken over many years. Hell, boundaries I didn’t even think needed making were fucked over after I married his sorry ass.

    • Ah, yes…The obligatory sex…All I got, except for the occasional times when she would call me upstairs and be all decked out in lingerie… those times I later found out later were the times she had been sexting her long distance AP and would be all worked up from having just sent pictures…SMH… I was convinced no one would ever find me attractive until I had a post divorce serious relationship for a couple of years (long distance with three little kids in the mix eventually got to be too much, but great relationship)… got my confidence back!

      • Mine wouldn’t even sit with me. He’d have to sit in the recliner so I couldn’t see who he was texting. I’d sit on his lap, he’d get annoyed. I’d ask if he wanted to get naked with me and watch a movie, he’d say he was too tired. I suggest skinny dipping in the pool, he’d tell me the water was too cold. So yes, Thursday nights was the only night intimacy possible. The last two years was like living with a freakin robot.

      • Sex was amazing until I married Saddam, then he suddenly had physical issues. No sex for years, but when caught cheating? That was my fault, despite my begging and my decision to stay with him for love despite the horrible deprivation. And sorry, for me, no sex was a terrible deprivation and to deal with it I killed my own sex drive. I can’t seem to get it back.

    • Yes women can be very harsh. Can make you feel like a useless man. Make you question your self you sanity. Then you find out what they were doing, then it really hits! Takes a long time to wade through the mess and understand they suck. We suck also but not to the extreme they do……. I really thought I was crazy….. questioned my sanity…. began to believe I had always sucked in the bed…. was questioning my parenting…. then you find out they are banging steroid freak gym rat… and someone half your age…. that really puts you in a tail spin…. takes time to steady oneself…. and get shit back to normal….

    • Marked, lostintx, and other male members of Chump Nation–Yes, we know that this happens to men, too.

      It’s one of the pages in the Cheater’s Playbook: justify the affair by blaming your spouse’s physical appearance. Women? You’re not allowed to get that muffin top, and God forbid your breasts start to sag! Oh, and stretch marks! Men? You’re not allowed thinning hair, and that little paunch? Get rid of it!

      These are all excuses meant to shift the blame for the affair from the cheater to the victim.

      Faithful spouses look at each other through the eyes of love. Love handles? They give you something to hang onto. Receding hairline? How distinguished!

      Cheaters, though, have to devalue their spouses lest they be faced with the realization that they’re total assholes. “My wife let herself go after the baby” is so much better than “”I cheated on my wife after she gave birth to our baby.” “My husband got all flabby” is so much better than “I cheated on my husband while he was working overtime so that I could be a stay at home mom.”

      Cheaters suck, but rather than face their suckiness, they project onto us.

      • Faithful spouses look at each other through the eyes of love.

        Above all this is all I ever wanted in my life and never had it.

        • You’re so right Doingme. I had to work all day with the traitor yesterday and noticed his bulging paunch while we were in the yards. It brought back memories of how I used to look at his paunch, notice he was too fat and feel warm fuzzies of fondness for my man. I looked at him through the eyes of love before I realised he was a traitor and a liar. He is about 50 pounds overweight, balding slightly, limps from an old bike accident. I never criticised his appearance, I admired him for muddling through on a bad leg for 30 years. I did ask him to lose weight for his health, especially with a leg which had only about 40% functionality and the right of thrombosis attached to it. Just so he would age in better health and we could grow old together. I was always worried he would die long before me because of his leg and his weight. It was never about his appearance, I was proud of him because he was my love, I loved calling him my man.
          “Above all this is all I ever wanted in my life and never had it.” +1

          All I got the last 2 years was discard, devalue and exploitation.

      • Yes kb, another chumped dude here. I do think women get so much more abuse based on their appearance, but the universal here is what you said, it is that cowardly blame shifting. What amazes me is that part of the chump playbook is that we start believing the self serving narrative they spin.

        I am 4 years out, and have been lucky enough to get my bearings back, but reading these threads is making me get mad again at my ex (and that’s not a bad thing) So cruel, cowardly, selfish and petty.

        I could have written a lot of these.

    • Marked711 and the other men (and women! — just focusing on the “other side” for a moment): That you post (and/or read) here ALREADY makes you awesome. Willing to face trauma and emotions? Check. Willing to communicate and be vulnerable? Check. Willing to the encouraging and show empathy for others even as you suffer? Check.

      Male or female, human beings with these qualities? The very people who make the world and my world a better place, with all flaws included (I’ll take a real, whole human being, thank you very much). In this case, don’t trust your “instincts” about what you believe women will think or how they’ll respond to you. Those aren’t instincts. They’re the result of mindfuckery. I’ve only started to go to war with it. I watch the people here in various stages. And I see that it’s both imperative and possible to combat, neutralize, and toss into a blazing-hot trash incinerator all the creepy, mean, soul-killing images of myself that were planted by a sleazy louse.

      Unicornomore is right. There is a “world of ladies who would be thrilled” to have men like you.

      • When I look back, my partner only had sex with me every 4 to 6 weeks! I thought that there was something wrong with me. Who could agrue with ‘I am tired’. A few days ago, I found out the real reason he was tired – banging the secretary! Thank goodness I no longer have him in my life after 16 years of feeling like crap and not realizing that it was him all along making my life miserable.

        So happy to hear that you chumped men would prefer a serious relationship with someone in their 50s rather than someone 15 years your junior.

        This is good for my confidence.

        Keep on posting.

        • Nola, same with me. Every 4-6 weeks, that was my timetable too. Never more than that. And never on a weeknight because she was “tired” from work…….or from being with her COW all week long, that is.

        • Every 4-6 weeks would have been a f*ckfest of Hefnerian proportions. Once on the honeymoon, nothing for 6 months, once every 3-4 months for over a year, then 4 months of 2-3 times a month when we were trying to conceive [only on her fertile days, mind you! Recreational sex was completely out of the question]. Then nothing since.

          Mind you she’s having regular cybersex and dates with online boyfriends, including during the pregnancy and after the birth of our daughter.

          She was my first real girlfriend, and I had low self esteem going into the marriage. So yeah, I’m feeling pretty good about my masculinity right now. Not.

            • At the time, her issues seemed like not-entirely-implausible consequences of her chronic health problems – back pain, frequent UTIs and yeast infections – auto-immune stuff. I had a few instances where I found inappropriate texts, but I didn’t find out the full depth of her serial cheating until I was reclaiming her email accounts after her death 11 months ago.

    • Marked – thank you for the reminder that crazy Narcs can be female too. 🙂 There are so many ladies out there looking for a real man capable of love and respect and good sex too. The words of all of these other comments hold true for you as well – put it all into the context of coming from a crazy person and you will start to be able to see through the fog to the truth again. 🙂

    • Marked711 – I agree it cuts both ways. There are a lot of things an intimate partner can say to a man that he can get over. You can tell him he’s fat, ugly, bald, has bad breath, whatever, but a man’s sexual image of himself is a delicate thing. If you communicate to him, either directly or indirectly (obligatory sex), that you consider him sexually inadequate or undesirable, that is damaging to his core and you don’t have to keep repeating it. He remembers, and it will change your relationship. Then, let him find out his partner was a long-term (serial) cheater, and his mind will need no more convincing.

      I feel very much like Chumpa Lumpa. I don’t want how my EW made me feel, and what she did, to forever define how I feel about my desirability. That said, I’d be lying to say it has not had that effect. Nevertheless, I am working to make progress, slow it seems, as I hope you are. I believe I am, and always was, worth having and deserving of much better than I got. In the end, I have faith something better lies ahead for all of us.

      • Oh yeah, that happened too. Apparently my junk was/is “disgusting” because my circ didn’t come exactly how she was anticipating it.

        If you want to make a guy’s performance issues worse then they already are, try that. Guaranteed winner.

        • I’m sorry HD. There is nothing more deflating than feeling your partner has no interest In being intimate with you. If you are one of those who remain faithful, life gets awfully lonely.

          By the end of my 20 year marriage, I had completely forgotten what it felt like to have the hands of a woman who had passion for me touching me. I can’t get the last 18 of those 20 years back, but I’ll never accept that again. I hope you don’t either.

      • Guys, please help me out here. Was it all my fault? Did I ruin my marriage? I was only 19 when I met Gaslighter and 21 when we married. Soon thereafter I worked up my courage and I very gently, lovingly and carefully told him that I loved having sex with him, he was such a turn on for me, and I wanted us to play around and experiment with positions and stuff sexually so I could learn what worked for me to have an orgasm during intercourse. I was madly in love and attracted to him, and really enjoyed sex, but was still learning how my body worked… I am very sexual, responsive, and generous in bed. I easily manually masterbate to climax. No cold fish here. Surprise, surprise, I found out from his best friend that he cheated on me about a year later (1 night stand). He said he needed to see if he could make another woman climax. That destroyed me. I told him the majority of women don’t orgasm from intercourse alone, and that’s why so many fake it! I tried to show him how to touch me manually, but if I circled left… he went side to side. After that he never took any time or interest to learn what worked for me. I don’t think he ever forgave me for telling him my truth. He brought it up again at the the very end of our marriage, after 4D-days (that I knew of), long separation while he lived in the guesthouse after DDay3, (perfect for his secret life) followed by 9 months of Wreckonciliation. Then finding about about Schmoopie being in the picture months before I took him back!!! I actually found myself APOLOGIZING TO HIM for the fact that I never climaxed with him in 38 years!!! I feel like things would have been different if I just faked orgasms, but I wanted to truly be in an authentically intimate and close, trusting relationship. Deep down my body and soul must have sensed his Psychopathy, he scores high as an Narcissistic Antisocial Psychopath. There was always this creepy unease that I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Ultimately, I was punished for it, emotioanally manipulated and STARVED for sex, and all the while he was a lying, serial cheating, cake eating, business conning, jerk. This still screws with my head. 38 years!

        • No you did not ruin your marriage. Any man with any self-esteem would have welcomed your help. Real men want to please you. I guess I like to please but sex was always the best when my spouse was really satisfied. I don’t understand men like him. Have a great lady that actually wants to have sex with them but they go elsewhere. Just know he was sick and nothing you did or didn’t do would change that. No one should ever be starved for intimacy!

          • Thanks foot that Lostntx. He really did a number on me, and I just couldn’t manage to get away from him… He always said or did just the right thing to keep me. Now I’ve learned that that’s exactly the talent of manipulation these types rely on. I keep telling myself exactly what you said, he’s a sick guy, and a relationship with a character disordered partner is doomed.

    • Thank all of you for the replies! Sometimes I just question how much I contributed to the demise of the marriage. Today’s post hit a nerve with me. I’m still just looking at what went wrong and fixing me. I want life to get better from this point. Don’t want to waste any more time in life now. I am thankful for my marriage not being worse. The stories I read here really help me put things into the right perspective. It’s really sad about all of the degrading others have endured. I pray that we all find supportive people in our lives.

      • For most us (all?), a true marriage was never possible. Our partners’ character disorders mandated eventual failure.

  • Oh I hear you. I have been so devalued as well. It’s normal to have good days and bad days, but for devalued women it just feels like one long bad day sometimes.

    A good therapist can really help. Good books and good websites can really help as well. Good friends – close, less close, and just occasional – all help immensely.

    Plus no contact with people who make you feel less than.

  • My faith helped me through the devaluing aftermath. The book: REJECTION EXPOSED was helpful as well, especially the prayers in the back. In my recovery, I was helped by the Christian principles taught by Anthony Hulsebus (author of said book) that my worth was that of God’s own blood (Christ’s blood), my identity is as a son (not an employee), and my purpose is to glorify God (in my own special way). The worth and identity piece parts were helpful in deprogramming message from Cheater Inc.

    • I don’t know how people who have no faith make it through. And my cheater husband never made negative comments about my appearance.

      • Working it out – mine never made negative comments about my appearance either…he simply made NO comment unless I asked….

      • My Ex’s criticism was more subtle than words. I’d come downstairs in the a.m. all professionally dressed and ready for work, and he would look at me then say, in a concerned voice.., “hold on!” then walk over to me and pick a hair or speck of dust off my shoulder. then say, “OK, you look okay now, you can leave for work now.” WTF was wrong with me that I accepted this kind of abuse? He’s not good looking, his OWhore isn’t either. Yet daily he devalued me by doing those subtle put-downs. At one point years before D-Day, I lamented to him that being five years older than him and having let my hair go gray, I “looked old.” He replied in a monotone, “I don’t care about that.” At the time I spackled this into meaning he loved me no matter what I looked like but I now realize that he was actually saying, “I don’t care about YOU.” [all you need to be is an appliance]. And I always knew his “heart” (if you can call it that) belonged to 12 year old porn object girls.

  • This could be my husband. They all sound so similar. There must be a factory in hell making them.

    I haven’t got any words of wisdom as I’m where you are but I’m sure there will be many wise words here.

    • This is my ex-fiance, my mother, my relatives. Geez, I was told by my very own relatives that I was “old” at the age of 30, when I broke up with my fiance. He was so abusive and the worst relationship I ever had in my life, and my circle just made things worse by piling on the abuse even more. The factory must have made a contract with my soul since I was born into this type of hell and thank God I didn’t marry into it. I’ve gone No Contact with my family, except my brother, but it took 3 years of intense weekly therapy to heal from this shit. It’s serious stuff that causes major damage. It’s not to be taken lightly at all.

      • I struggled too when I left my former partner at 31. I blossomed after leaving the worst relationship of my life, but even in my early 30s, when many people find their first marriage, I was the cast off discard unworthy of commitment, love, and even sexual desirability.

        People treat women over 30 as having missed the boat on marriage. It is truly ridiculous, seeing how many very expensive white weddings for people in their mid twenties are merely starter marriages, and how many are truly incapable of the intimacy and commitment that marriage entails.

        I can relate, Kellia. Your journey is right on time, and it took every step to bring you to the person you are right now. Your next relationship will truly be so much better. Sucks on the toxic family, but consistent work to decolonize our own minds is where our liberation begins. I struggle too. My mother was a very mentally colonized and passed on a boatload of her own issues to me. I have spentmy life since 16 working on decolonizing my interior about myself and other women’s bodies. It has paid off, even if our society is still a toxic mess.

        I am six months into dating. It has been a fun, interesting journey. I now trust my intuition on first dates. Even if we go on second or third dates, the same things I spot in a first date will often open up and become more apparent in the following ones.

      • One of my grown sons told me after my ex left, “Dad is still a pretty young guy for his age, but you’re slowing down faster than him.” Damn, that hurt. Felt like he was saying he understood why his dad wanted out of our marriage. Now that 4 years have gone by and that same son sees light in my eyes and how I’ve come out of my shell, he tells me I’m doing a lot better than his dad. He sees his dad in a different light now.

        • Good for you Lynn! It’s no wonder the differences become apparent. My daughter described this as the work we do requires insight and reflection. After two years he still looks line a hot mess with unfulfilled dreams.

      • Kellia, the hell? Old at 30? When you had the strength to get away from an abuser? Your mother and relatives and X are dangerous nut jobs. Sigh; I have similar stories. And wow were/are you resilient.

        And for Chumpa Lumpa, I’m not surprised that it’s hitting hardest after asshat is gone. It’s consistent with what happens to trauma survivors; when the immediate threat is removed, the effects of abuse often get worse for awhile. The psyche has a little more room to process. And devaluation DOES do “major damage”… Chumpa Lumpa, I hope you have a therapist who specializes in trauma. Your X is a cruel, sick, STUPID man to treat you as he did.

        • Thank you dear ClaireS. I agree my relatives are nut jobs. I don’t talk to anyone in my family except for my brother. Thanks for your support. You are sweet!

  • Chumpa Lumpa, I’m not trying to be harsh, but the path you are on will never lead you to happiness. That’s my opinion, at least.

    As long as your emphasis is on looks, people can and will manipulate you with it, just like your ex did. I’m roughly your age and trust me, society isn’t on your side in this one. Or anyone’s side really. I’ve been young, old, fat, skinny, pursued, the pursuer. An emphasis on looks will lead to misery (if not now, later) no matter who you are.

    I get it about the ex not wanting sex with you. My ex did the same. I was told I was too fat to fuck (not just by him, but anyone) and reduced to a blow job machine. Don’t let your sense of self worth be controlled by whether a man, ANY man, wants to stick his dick into you. Let’s say you are the most desirable 55 yo woman on the planet. No man will be happy til he has bedded you. Will that really lead to happiness? I seriously doubt it.

    • Ageism is real in America. Madonna is over 50 and is rocking it out. She looks beautiful….and her body is slamming. And she is ridiculed because of her age.
      But….I think it is normal to want to feel attractive to whomever you like, sex wise. Even peacocks preen.

      Just KNOW that everything that douchebag said about you was only to kick you in the gut. He is a sadist.
      Think of it as a madman babbling in a ditch.

      Just do things that make you feel good….silky clothes, good skin care, move around, get a massage.
      Shaking off a mind fuck like that is Herculean. But we cant let him take any more of your one wild and precious life!!!!?

  • My future ex-husband told me he didn’t want to have sex with me AFTER I lost 30 kilos. It has nothing to do with attractiveness and everything to do with abuse, control & tearing you down to raise themselves up.
    It is 6 months past D-day and I have just gotten back from an overseas holiday by myself (I had travelled alone before but it had been 15 years).
    On my return I asked a guy out who I went to school with, he said yes! And I would have been fine if he said no. You are beautiful and your narcissist couldn’t handle you getting attention. He sucks, you don’t. Rock on, go forth, be mighty.

  • My wife didn’t feel good about how she looked, so we spent thousands of dollars on plastic surgeries to make her feel better. The result: now I’m not good enough for her.

    People who spend so much time worried about their appearance (and others’) have some higher than normal level of narc in them – as many of us have discovered with our spouses. And as others have said, when it comes to these people criticizing your appearance (or listing out all of the other ridiculous reasons you are incapable of satisfying them or to be deserving of them) — just consider the source.

  • “And oh hey, nearly every woman on this planet has been bombarded with this shit, most of us from our own mothers. (Decolonize your minds everyone! Don’t pass this crap on to your daughters!)”

    This phrase makes me realize that this sort of toxic dumping by our own mothers is more common than i thought. Thanks for writing this Chumplady. It’s very healing to know this.

      • Where was your mother in all this, when your father was making such nasty comments? Did she defend you, did she tell your father to stop it? I’m curious. Because people who are this nasty often marry people who are passive and let the abuse endure.

        My father just stood by while my mother destroyed me, leaving me to fend for myself against a monster when I was innocent and helpless child. For years, i was mad at my mother, but my father allowed this to occur and he’s just as guilty I realized.

        • Well you nailed it. She was far too caught up in her victim saga. She did not defend us, but she rewrites history as if she did. I try and forgive my parents but I telk you….those two were meant to raise cobras, not children.

  • More… Your value is not in the way you look, or how sexy you are, it is in who you are. Especially now, when plastic surgery is so prevalent. If a person wants the bazooms bigger than their head, or gigantic lips like a fish, they are there for the buying. Everyone wants to pursue something they are not. Just please question why you think guys wanting to have sex with you will make you happy. If it’s to get back at your ex or “show him”, it’s a waste of time. I am more at peace with my looks then I have ever been. Is it because I am young, skinny , sexy, desired by strangers.? Oh, hell, no. I wear jeans, t shirts, sandals , little if any make up. No one probably notices me. And I’m happy with that because it doesn’t matter to me. Please don’t let others control your happiness. Free yourself.

    • Anita,
      Yes, I agree that we all need to find our self-worth from well rounded places and not just looks.

      I will say that after spending years being abused by a Narcissist husband, you really do almost need the validation that all of the things they told you were false.

      That validation could come from accomplishing something that you never thought you could do, or from really feeling like another sane human being is attracted to you.

      The narcissists destroy you on so many levels that I think rebuilding your self-esteem in a multitude of ways is important!

  • Chumplumpa – You stated that he frequented very young prostitutes and loved teen porn. Why would you continue being with a man who is into pedophilia? These are minors!! And you tolerated this for 15+ years? This guy is SICK in the head. And that it all started when you turned 40. Are you sure he wasn’t abusive before and you dismissed the signs? People like this don’t just wake up one day and start being abusive, they likely were abusive all along. A guy who is into kiddy porn makes me want to vomit. He should have his balls chopped off.

    • And I just remembered reading he has chronic ED. I’m pretty sure this guy is such a lowlife. He contributes NOTHING to the marriage, can’t get it up, no sex, and he is abusive. Wow, what a winner, this guy is the ultimate fucking loser.

  • 1. go out and buy yourself underwear you denied yourself during your marriage because they were too expensive. I did and I wear it daily, because it makes me feel sexy!

    My ex basically did the same dump on me and basically used me as his masturbation appliance – yeah nothing like being awakened in the middle of the night being humped and then orgasamed on. In some ways I feel bad because I basically used a man to make me feel more desirable. But what an ego boost to have such man tell me that he hadn’t had sex without the use of Viagra before me. And imagine that – I have lost over a 100 pounds, have saggy tits and stomach, stretch marks from birthing 2 children and I made a man get erect and cum with out his Viagra!

    Free yourself from these negative thoughts. Small people tear others down to build themselves up. And that is what he did to you.

  • The thing that really leapt out at me in CL’s reply was how it takes time. You have experienced a terrible trauma. You will heal, but it will never be a non-issue. We learn from our experiences, and you have learned from this that there are monsters out there and caution is warranted. The hypervigilance will relax with time,but your awareness will always be heightened from.what it was before. That’s a good thing, when the level hits the proper balance in your life.

    If you want sex to be meaningful in your life, you have to build trust with the person first. It may be that, for you, that means he has to be in the friend zone for a while first. And while that may not work for every man, if it’s what you need to feel safe and enjoy a person, the men whose keys fit that lock will be the only ones who make it through that door. When in balance with the rest of your life, that’s a good thing.

    I have been through that same youth ringer, and more than once, so I really deeply empathize with that pain. CL is right about that, too. People age. There’s no avoiding it. A person who is ready to enjoy meaningful time, including sexy time, with another good person won’t consider it a problem, and they may even consider it beautiful. Heck, I have multiple surgical scars and I have had stretch marks all over me since I was a pre teen because of medication that made me gain weight rapidly. Some people find that gross. Most people don’t.

    You may find that something like getting massages might help you begin to value your body because it’s positive non-sexual touch. Professional massage therapists don’t touch the swimsuit area and you don’t have to undress. Shiatsu is done fully clothed anyway, so that’s always an option. This really helped me a lot. But if it’s not massages, you can find things that are right for you that revere your body – maybe gentle yoga, or relaxing with a pet without pushing yourself to do housework, anything where you can feel the reality that your body is an amazing miracle of a vehicle that is piloting you through your life in 100 ways you can’t properly explain and that is amazing in its own right.

    Even more amazing is that it’s wonderfully capable of sharing an enormous pleasure with another. That’s a precious thing, something a person has to deserve to be near you.

    You matter. That shithead of an ex didn’t care about that and he used it as a tool to hurt you. That guy can fuck off. He’s stupid and he’s wrong. You’re amazing!

    • My STBEXH Never complimented me when I would get dressed up to go out, but other men would. I was slowly starved of affection and sex petered out (pun intended) as the years went by. I starting dating him at 19. I remember he “cut me off” of sex for a couple of weeks before we got married! How weird is that? I was a model in California, until my agent was sending me to work in Milan. Gaslighter said he wouldn’t wait for me if I went to Italy to model for 3 months. WTF? I waited for him when he went to work in Austrailia for 3 months and we werent even married yet. He hated me modeling. Then he had a one night stand. I was devastated, it killed my confidence, and I quit modeling. Frequency of sex seemed to be related to his income and stress, if he was making good money we had more sex, if times were tough we had little to none…. In hindsight I realize that I was being manipulated. As years went by I discovered he was into porn when our 7 year old son walked in on him watching it and I can only assume beating off. It’s becoming epidemic that porn addicts often develop erectile disfunction from their porn habit. They can’t get it up with their partner as easily anymore, and prefer self pleasure, and have to watch weirder and more intense varieties of porn. I have since learned that Pathologicals aren’t really into sex, they hate intimacy, they just use sex as a means of control. They often starve their primary partner of sexual intimacy, while being extremely promiscuous behind their backs. He would brag to people on occassion that he was so lucky he got to sleep with me, but he was all talk and appearances, no action with me. Looking back I see how well he manipulated it, and when we did have sex, it was very predictable, he wouldn’t make eye contact, it was mechanical, not sensual. He didn’t care about my pleasure, even rolling over one time after a quick one saying “do you want me to diddle you.” Really? Wow. So sIowly I allowed myself to be starved of affection, physical intimacy, and emotional intimacy. Waaaaaay too late discovering that he was a serial cheater. I am nearly 60 and wonder who will want me now? I told him that I felt like I was a luscious tomato ripening on the vine, ripe for the picking, then wasted and left to rot….

      • “It’s becoming epidemic that porn addicts often develop erectile disfunction from their porn habit.”

        I’ve noticed this too. One of my coworkers had this same thing happen to her. She found out her husband had a porn habit and he had ED and was never intimate with her. And she’s a great person! And I agree with the rest of your post. Very well said!

  • Yet there is such an emphasis on looks. I’ve been told to wear more makeup, dress up my outfit with jewelry, and to practice flirting. None of that comes natural to me. I dress for myself not to impress.

    The other day a gentleman doing work in my building said, Iike you. I was surprised by this. I looked like shit.

    Ambient abuse shapes our perception of ourselves. The ultimate control the Limited believed he had was over my ability to be with anyone else.

    They use devaluation to keep and control long after we detox and detach.

    I look both at what I want to change and can change for myself. What’s important is to do it to feel better about yourself no one else. That sounds simplistic. In the beginning I wanted to prove my worthiness and desirability for him until I saw him as a weak coward who abused me.

    I lived with a predator and regardless of age, looks or weight he devalued. Comparatively he got the first bar whore who was willing to fuck a married man. I get to live better.

    Knowing your self worth comes with making truthful statements about yourself.

    Character matters.

    • “Ambient abuse shapes our perception of ourselves” yes!

      I had a realization around this when I was looking back at pictures throughout my marriage. During nearly every year of marriage I felt fat, I felt huge, I felt like I was bulging out of my clothes, I felt uncomfortable in my own skin. I look back on those photos now and I looked like a freaking fitness model… I was gorgeous. I use this now to remind myself… whenever I feel those insecure feelings bubbling up that I actually felt this way then.. about 20 lbs lighter and then I think positive things about myself and work through it.

      Its not easy to undo the damage that they have done… it takes conscious effort for sure.

  • Just saw my ex after one year of complete no contact. He is still with the other woman and just came to get his stuff because the divorce is final. He was nice enough to confirm that while he was still home living with me he didn’t want to have sex with me for years. He said he lied during marital therapy for years while he was still having the affair because he was trying to love me but just couldn’t. He just couldn’t. Even though he says I am the best person he knows. Growing up, my parents always told me that I looked just like my father’s mother, who was obese. When I would point that out, they would say that she had “such a pretty face”. But how do you grow up being compared to an obese woman? It was all very damaging and then I picked a husband who constantly told me I was fat and not very skillful in bed. Every time I tried to put my arm around him, he had a headache, his neck hurt, his back hurt. So who is going to want me if my own husband didn’t? If he bragged about his sex life with his girlfriend? If if he finally left for her? People tell me that I am the winner but I am alone and I’m afraid to date.

    • “He said he lied during marital therapy for years while he was still having the affair because he was trying to love me but just couldn’t.”

      What a asshole. Why did he marry you if he didn’t love you? why did he propose? Why did he not call off the engagement if he was *trying* to love you but couldn’t?? People like this make me want to SCREAM! The fuckwad did not love you, yet still went through the marriage. Isn’t it obvious that if you need to force yourself to be with someone, that you shouldn’t be with them??? If that’s how he felt, then he should not have gone through with the wedding and freed you up to be with a man who adored, loved, and cherished you like you deserve. I have zero sympathy for assholes like this, and then to add insult to injury, he cheats on you, scarring you even further. Shaking my head… I’m sorry you were married to a fraud.

        • I think he was still frantically wanting kibbles from you. Get your stuff and leave asshole. But he wanted to further analyze the marriage? That he had to talk himself to stay in? THAT is a true narcissistic freakshow. Hang up garlic and do a snoopy dance that piece of shit is gone.

            • We have to laugh!!! They have already stole so much joy. If I dont laugh….my thoughts go to the wood chipper scene in Fargo…….

      • Thanks. We were married 35 years and the last 10 years were when all the nonsense occurred. Or, most of the nonsense. Of course, there were flags before that I failed to see.

    • Lostandfound–Your devakue was WHOLLY based on his affair, not your worth or your skill. We really can I Lu attend to one live object at a time, and so cheaters focus on the ‘new’ at the expense of the worthwhile.

  • I’ve gone in the opposite direction since my day after almost 27 yrs together. During an argument when he was criticizing me, I asked him ” why did you marry me then? I’ve always been that way and you knew that.” He said, ” cause you were pretty.” And yes, I was and believe I still am for my age. He NEVER was, and didn’t take care of himself either, but I looked past all that because I thought he was a good man. This is why I don’t want to be loved for my outside shell anymore. I feel like he never” saw” me or loved me for who I am. We all have some vanity… My beautiful 25 yr old daughter thinks about having Botox injections as a preventative measure. I tell her not to worry about that because by the time you get to be my age, you have become so much more inside that the rest doesn’t matter so much. I think the universe is wise that way. It slowly peels away all that surface stuff so that you get to appreciate the real stuff that matters. Takes away your eye sight too, to help you get it! I get it, I don’t think he ever will! Maybe in another life( or 2)

  • Chumpa Lumpa-

    First major kudos for getting out! People like your ex are just like the bullies on the playground we grew up with. They devalue pretty much anyone to make their own broken selves feel better. Your ex has ED and is in to teen porn. Enough said there. He has to make everyone else feel like shit because that’s what he is.

    As Beth suggested in an earlier post, there has to be factory in hell where these pod people are produced in mass. The ex in my life was manufactured there as well. He devalued everything about me for the entirety of our marriage. That used to make me feel bad until I remembered the way he spoke about pretty much every woman (other than his mom). At one point his disparaging remarks extended to the other woman; sometimes publicly and in ways that would make me cringe.

    Slowly, I’m starting to pick up the pieces of my self worth and put them back where they belong. It’s amazing how much better you feel when you’re not treated like a wife appliance anymore. I’m doing things to enrich my life, take care of myself and feel better about myself. You will too but it starts with you giving yourself a break. That was a lot of abuse you were putting up with and anyone, including super models, would feel bad if that’s the only message they were receiving.

    Sending Jedi hugs your way

    • Cheaterssuck…. sounds like my ex-Narcissist except he included his mom in the female bashing. I slowly realized over time i was paying for his mom’s abandonment of him as a child and it all started coming together.

    • Chump Lady, could you draw a cartoon of Satan’s workshop where they mass produce these pod people, like the anti-Santa’s workshop with the elves?

  • And don’t forget, “beautiful” women ( and men) get cheated on, dumped, and mistreated in the same way is mortals do. Maybe even more, cause the thrill is probably greater cheating on say, Christie Brinkley or Sandra Bullock, than your chunky, lazy fifty something spouse.

    You may have seen the thing on Facebook. “Show me the most beautiful woman on earth, and I will show you SOMEONE who is tired of fucking her.” Nasty, but apparently true.

  • Chumpa Lumpa, I survived the same chronic devaluing and I know how devastating it is to your self worth. I was literally cataloged from head to toe, told what was wrong with every single part of me — starting on my WEDDING NIGHT! And that was just the LOOKS, never mind the long list of behaviors. (Apparently I spoke the wrong way, drank my coffee the wrong way, dressed the wrong way, blahblahblahblahblah.) I remember wondering, “Why did you ever marry me, if you hate EVERYTHING about me?!”

    My survival and healing was greatly aided by some very good counseling. The truth really DOES set you free!!! and I started replacing the lies that filled my head with the TRUTH. (For me, the most profound truth is that I am created in the image of God, which makes me valuable despite any outward appearance. Also, that I am completely and eternally loved by a God who doesn’t give a whit about how perky my boobs are or the stretch marks on my belly.) And I’ll admit, it certainly helps to meet a few kind men who express interest despite my gray hairs and tummy pooch!

    Hang in there, Chumpa Lumpa. It really does get better even though healing is slow going. Hugs from Chump Nation. <3

    • That is so TRUE MGM…the Lord did absolute wonders for my “self esteem”. I learned to hold my head up high by the validation that I was getting from Him.

  • And what is….jaw dropping is these “men” with their standards of catalogue level beauty….they look like shit. Honestly, they have moobs, bad teeth and the stamina of Augustus Gloop.

    Think, really dive into…how wildly disordered someone would be to flirt with other women in your face.

    This has nothing to do with your looks. He is an insecure sadist who needs his balls stomped. Fuck him!!!

    Unless he is a Tatum Channing doppelganger….all a young girl wants from an older man is cold hard cash. They are ruthless and a new generation.

    There are men out there who are not such monuments to repulsiveness..a good start is avoid ones that watch porn.

    My X devalued me, not as bad as yours but he was just getting started. It would have ended that badly. When I made out with a new guy this week…I felt like a sex goddess because of his reverence for me and my body.

    You were with a monster. Your brain has to heal. In the meantime, I hope he gets anal warts.

    • My Narcissist could have been a Channing Tatum doppelganger and it just makes the abuse harder to discern… you believe them to be a more valid source of information when they are smoking hot.

      Regardless of how they look, how old they are, or how many other people are lined up waiting to screw them… Narcissists are pro’s at mind-f*cking you until you believe their reality. It takes some un-brainwashing to get back to a normal mindset.

  • I was so devalued that I showered with the bathroom door locked and dressed in the closet…getting up when it was still dark outside and he was still sleeping off his drunk to do so.

    He would make scathing comments to me, comparing me to his HOT Ex wife and any other woman he spoke about. He tore my appearance down from my hair to my ankles and everything in between. He would flirt like crazy with anyone who did not look like me and was at least 20yrs younger. He then said that I was asexual after a couple years of that. I told him “no…it is ONLY YOU that I have no desire for”. “I know that I’d feel perfectly comfortable in my own skin with any man that wasn’t YOU”. I told him that since I was below standards for him that he should stop using me as wet masturbation for himself.

    I am considered attractive…people tell me that from time to time unsolicited. But I am not “strange, variety, forbidden” to Ex, so I did not qualify as being “lust material” to HIM. I figured that out real fast from catching him with Porn over the years.

    I developed a thick skin and one day after HE took a shower, I brought him to a full length mirror (naked) and told him to take a good look at himself (he looks like a hunchbacked Mitchellen Tire man with stick legs). I did not need to say any more than that, and I was never so cruel as to say anything specific about his physical appearance regardless of everything he said about me.

    Fast forward…I am now 62yrs old. Yes, I am afraid that another man might look at my less than smooth skin and sagging body parts…but any man who would view a woman’s worth through the eyes of sexual objectification would not be a man I’d have anything to do with. You will KNOW that by the comments they make about women. If they are always referring to their appearances, then they likely objectify. If they talk about a woman’s intelligence, character and industriousness, then they might be “safe” to date. Porn has certainly taken a toll in how men look at women now days.

      • Making him look in the mirror. Porn is the opposite of hilarious. Read the book Pornified. Viewing porn changes your brain chemistry and they cant stop upping the ante in terms of what gets them off. Kinky has to morph into bizarre for them to feel sexual pleasure.

    • After the big reveal of his repeated cheating when I refused the menage a trois, I wanted to buy full length mirrors and position them around the house where he could not avoid looking at himself, dressed or undressed, didn’t matter where in the house. I so wanted him to take a long hard look at himself, who he is, how he behaves. Look at the man in the mirror. Not only is he no oil painting, most of us aren’t, but his soul is ugly. I wanted to force him to look at it somehow. I still wish I could force him to look at it.
      I suppose I should pity him because he has to live with it, but I don’t. He doesn’t really confront it, just projects its ugliness on others.

  • It strikes me that if his friends were flirting with you – however harmlessly and meaninglessly, you are indeed a very attractive person. I have no idea on whether you are America’s Next Top Model, but think on this next time you’re somewhere like… Target or Wal-Mart… people of all appearances attract other people. Sometimes we think ”scary” or ”eurgh” in a judgey way to ourselves, but here’s the thing; these people are generally partnered and loved.

    Do you believe yourself to be uglier, more sexless and less worthy of a loving relationship (based only on exteriors here by the way), when you look in the mirror?

    No doubt he felt incredibly insecure because you are in fact very attractive to many. Not those with a borderline-paedo taste, sure, but then, ewwww… so you need to take a long, considered look at yourself and then KNOW you are lovely in all sorts of ways, physical and personality / character-wise.

    • This! We all deserve to be loved for WHO we are. Judging others’ worth solely by their physical attractiveness went out in junior high. Think of all the people you know, we are all different degrees of attractiveness. If we possess great character, that shows! I must say that I believe most people today are aging well. My friends and I are in our early 50’s and we are more active, more agile, more well travelled, more educated (open to learning new things), and participate more in activities with family and friends, which keep us young. I know coworkers in their sixties that are reinventing what it means to retire. I think age becomes less of a thing as you mature. Real people focus on character. They reciprocate. When I was in my first year of college I met three people who made a great impact on me, all were decades older but I didn’t see that. I saw the things we had in common: a passion for animals, education, diversity, and good food. Life is richer having known other “kindred spirits.” My ex was always afraid of growing older, there is no grace in that, in always chasing youth; it is just not possible to go back. It is not a bad thing to grow old. IMHO, shallow people want arm candy because that is about as “deep” as they will ever get. Truly, their loss.

      • I agree Drew! And some people make comments when they meet my circle of friends and compare my friends attractiveness to each other, meaning so and so is not as attractive as your other friend. And it’s so bizarre to me to think this way, because I love my friends for their personality and their hearts. One of my girlfriends is not that attractive, and I don’t even see this, because she totally has my back and opens her heart to me each time I’m in need or difficulty. I love her with all my heart, and she is the most beautiful person to me! So after a certain age, looks don’t matter to me. The Velveteen Rabbit is my favorite quote of all time, where the bunny is all disheveled and missing an eye or something, her fur isn’t as shiny as before, but she is REAL. I LOVE that quote!! And all my friends are real to me!

        • OMG, Kellia, I thought I was the only one who felt that way regarding looks. I’ve gotten where basically everyone looks more or less equally attractive to me. People will say Don’t you think so and so is good looking?? And I honestly don’t know. I’m like, yes, they are OK.

          I’ve always been kind of unusual in my taste in men, and liked more “interesting” looks than just handsome but now I don’t even seem to have much preference for that either.

          And women that I once thought were pretty seem kind of one dimensional I guess is a good term for it. Maybe I am seeing through to the real person now, who knows?? I like it though.

  • One thing you need to understand, based on your description, is that your husband is possibly a pedophile. Sandusky went after teenage boys and it sounds like your husband is interested in teenage girls. He may even desire them younger than that. If you had access to all of his pornography history you would have a much clearer picture of what he is interested in. We assume until age 18 we are dealing with children. What concerns me so much in our culture is this new landscaping of the female genitalia to the point that we try to look pre-pubescent. It is scary. Adult women have pubic hair. If the person you are involved with, married or otherwise, demands you change yourself that much you need to ask yourself what his real interest is. Because your husband was always desiring young women possibly even children you cannot change him. Pedophiles are determined at puberty and there is nothing, no medication, no therapy, that will change any of that. On this blog a great many people discuss narcissism and sociopathy but I have a real fear that many of your spouses are disguised pedophiles. I was in a meeting where an expert said for every square mile in the United States is a sex offender. Appalling and scary. I have family members who are in their 50s who are such a vibrant women and men that I cannot imagine anyone thinking differently about them. You just happened to marry a man who got stuck somewhere in childhood. The fact that he can talk so openly about the things he wants to do sounds very much like you were dealing with possible pedophilia, narcissism and possibly sociopathy. Your best bet is to stop thinking about his very sick opinions and stop thinking about his degrading of you. If you can do that and concentrate on what you’re friends and relatives say you will get a much clearer picture of who you are. Just move away emotionally from him. I know that is difficult but he really is basically nothing but a child.
    Something interesting is on the net. There are mostly women dealing with repentant sex addicts. Although they found out in middle age just how much of a lie their marriages were their spouses have admitted their addictions and are in therapy an SAA. Although the pain is awful there is progress. Your husband is the opposite,end. That tells you he has always had a disordered view of the world. Getting yourself to accepting that any woman over a certain age is of no interest to him tells you just how retarded his emotional growth is.
    I want to make it clear….I have no idea what diagnoses your husband might have. I am basing my opinion strictly on your letter.

    • “One thing you need to understand, based on your description, is that your husband is possibly a pedophile.”

      I believe her husband is a PEDOPHILE. There is no doubt in my mind. I mean sexing teenage girls and very young prostitutes. This is pedophilia. I had a coworker who was soliciting a 14 year old girl and he was 58. He got caught, and despite the fact he didn’t have sex with her, he still went to jail. It is a crime. Chump’s husband did have sex with these women. He should be incarcerated in my opinion.

      • I agree to the max. Anthropology tells us we as humans grow pubic hair to signal we are ready biologically to enter sex and the adult world. Children….with no pubic hair…are in no way on the sane person’s mind as a sexual option.
        Any man that wants me to shave it all off raises a HUGE red flag.

  • It’s been really tough to read all these comments, and your post, Chumpa Lumpa. All the things you talk about are so familiar to me, and to many of us here. hugs to you, Chumpa Lumpa, you deserve so much better.

    My ex constantly make remarks about how unattractive he thought I was….how he hated how I wore my hair, my clothes, and was idealizing other women around us and on TV. Of course, he watched porn, too. Once he made fun of my appearance in front of some dinner guests, laughing callously. It was embarrassing and hurtful on a very deep level.

    Mostly, his behavior told me I was undesirable….going to bars to flirt with women until the wee hours of the morning, and the cheating. That was the ultimate message to me that he didn’t want me, and it’s tough to not internalize that to some degree. After Dday, I couldn’t look at myself in the mirror for almost a year, because I had such a low opinion of myself.

    As I’ve been healing emotionally, that has gotten much better. I look at myself as a friend, a mom, and also someone who looks pretty damn good. The guys I’m dating help me to realize this as well.

    • BTW, I’m what society seems to typically think is attractive (blonde, blue-eyed, slender, and did modeling on the side) and gave him plenty of bjs and sex, yet this didn’t seem to matter at all to my then-husband. I still wasn’t good enough. It was a no-win game. I really don’t think there is anything I could have done to measure up to his standards and his need for ‘strange’. The grass was always greener on the other side, and there were endless ‘other sides’ for him covet. He devalued me because I was there, and I was his chump. I loved him, and he knew it. The bully that he was, he made the best of that.

      But that’s on him. Now I need to heal and realize that I do matter.

      • LiningUpDucks – I was engaged to an asshole like this. No matter what I did, he found something else to criticize. I called off the engagement because I realized he purposefully ensured that he never approved of me. It was all deliberate. The goal was to make sure I was never his equal, but inferior to him. And complimenting me or agreeing with me on anything would mean we were relating and equal, and he never wanted that. It dawned on me, that during my engagement, he was training me to become compliant and to know my place, which was beneath him. I woke up one day and said FUCK THAT! I gave back his ring and watched him cry like a baby on his knees in front of me for 45 minutes. I did not shed a single tear, as I knew he was an abusive asshole. I was DONE. Best decision of my life.

        • Kellia – Smart move to not tolerate that kind of BS. Wish I would have done the same with my ex. I’ll definitely not tolerate that stuff going forward. Better to be alone than live with that!

      • I hope that the OP fully realizes that her ex would have criticized her if she were Miss Universe, Olympic gold medalist, MD/PhD who invented the cure for cancer. These disordered cheaters are playing the criticism game not to provide constructive criticism, but to exert control and to shame and blame. I have been athletic and fairly slim for most of my life but lost weight (due to lack of appetite) when my STBX left. After some months, I decided to re-enter athletic competition and train to become a fitness instructor. I became even more fit and slim. (I wasn’t trying to get into shape to ‘show’ STBX (or anyone else) what he lost; I was just trying to become more competent to earn money and increase my skill set to increase my self-esteem. The improvement in fitness and weight loss were by-products.) My STBX noticed and started behaving sexually toward me. I realized that I PREFERRED that he not notice me that way. When he made advances, I just felt ‘slimed,’ realized that I did NOT want to be the object of his affection, and felt sorry for the ‘objects’ of ‘affection.’

        • This is great! This is an important point. You don’t want to be an object of desire to this gross guy. You don’t want to be loved by him. He is a disordered person severely lacking character. Done.

  • Dear Chumpa Lumpa,

    I can still remember the time I had just come back from the hair salon (got myself an Audrey Hepburn updo) and Mr. Sparkles said,”Is that how you’re wearing your hair?” I was devastated. I thought I looked beautiful and stylish (in a very Sex in the City kind of way.)

    He’d often give me cards saying “I need to tell you more often that you’re beautiful and I will”… but he never did.

    The last two years of our marriage were sexless. I was afraid of getting STDs since he was in to Bi-Couple and Group sex in addition to other women he would meet on Adult Friend Finder.

    And, post D-day, now I have two more sexless years under my belt as I approach 50.

    And, like you, I wonder… will anyone ever want me again?

    But the thing of it is… until I want me and accept me, I don’t really have much to offer someone else (accept casual sex – which I don’t value). So, I’m working on being ok with celibacy until I’m self-confident again and can truly trust my picker.

    I’m blessed by intimacy in ways other than sex. I have friends, I have family, I have a great kid, I have my pleasant, drama-less solitude. When I’m ready, I know there are men – worthy men – out there. But for today, it is enough to just learn to like myself again.

    Value you – you matter. Dick Bling does not.

    Hugs.

    • My X told me I looked like I “would eventually be bald” after I would not sneak him sedatives into prison…..WHERE I LOWERED MYSELF TO VISIT HIM AND WROTE HIM FAITHFULLY AND SENT HIM BOOKS. I have a big part in front but as much hair as Bigfoot.
      He said it to be cruel. You see…their comments have no basis in truth. But now. .I constantly check to see if I do look ‘baldly” …..mindfuck.

  • What a powerful letter Chumpa Lumpa. CL response shows that many of us were primed for being devalued from our childhood: “And oh hey, nearly every woman on this planet has been bombarded with this shit, most of us from our own mothers.” And as to where our Dad’s were, they were at work or drinking or playing golf or in some cases, cheating or absent.

    So step #1 is valuing ourselves. Dating shouldn’t start until we are near the end of learning how to value ourself, at whatever weight or height or age we are. There are lots of other reasons, other than being unattractive or bad at sex or old that make it hard to find a healthy companion or partner. My therapist was very blunt with me on this point–that I am not a woman who is going to appeal to every man. Before I got married at age 50, I was told by a man I dated that I made too much money. Another man told me I intimidated him because I owned a house. Or had a job as a professor. And so on. But that is all good information because dating is a process of eliminating people who are not going to enhance our lives. So one of the first tests is: does this person love you for who you are?

    That’s what we need to work on after being chumped or after getting a divorce from a man who says, “We can start having sex after you lose a little more weight”–as my XH told me after I lost 15 pounds. It’s a mystery why I didn’t think that alone was enough to divorce his ass. But part of my own stupid narrative was “till death do us part,” even as that abuse was killing my soul.

    The first step for me was envisioning who I want to be, at age 64. What kind of home do I want? How can I dress to express my own style and sense of self? What qualities in myself do I want to nourish and grow? What old habits and ways of thinking need to go? What activities feed me heart and mind? Who am I? Fall in love with your own life first. When I see photos of myself playing with my sports team, I’m struck that I don’t look much older than the “kids” in their 20s and 30s. Joy, happiness, confidence, kindness–these are all better than makeup. Figure out who you are and do what you love. Get out there and meet people who love what you love. The rest will follow.

    • My EX told me “we can start having sex again once you lose weight” and belittled me constantly about my appearance – weight, hair, skin – you name it. I once told him, “you wouldn’t fuck me even if I weighed 85 pounds,” to which he took great offense. I also told him the sex we had (early in the marriage, before he decided it would be sexless, because “we are fat, disgusting people and sex isn’t that important to us”) was never that good anyway and he got quite offended – imagine that! The sex was never good because he got off on rape porn from a young age (news to me after we were married several years) and was a selfish toad who had no idea how to pleasure someone or find about how to meet her needs. Free yourself from the dickbag – life is worth living!

      • ChumpedA Lot, I got the You are too fat for sex comment as well. Then one day on the elevator at work I looked around and realized about 75% of the people around me, there and else where, are my size or larger. They appear to have sex from what I gather, and hear, so the problem was the selfish asshole ex. Not me. Not my weight.

    • LovedaJackass: CL’s reply was spot on. I only made the connection after I left Dick Bling that my mother had devalued me all my life so I was primed for Dick Bling when he showed up. It felt like love because that was what I knew. I also shared the “till death do us part narrative,” which made me hang on in there doing wreckonciliation year after pathetic year.

    • “My therapist was very blunt with me on this point–that I am not a woman who is going to appeal to every man. Before I got married at age 50, I was told by a man I dated that I made too much money. Another man told me I intimidated him because I owned a house. Or had a job as a professor.”

      Wow. Great example of why being someone who “appeals to every man” (is there a woman like that?) is a good thing. You’re far better off without those assholes.

    • I didn’t notice the typos, just the message, especially love this bit: “Joy, happiness, confidence, kindness–these are all better than makeup.” Very true.

      • I didn’t notice any typos either, just felt empowered by your message. “Fall in Love with your own life first”. I’m slowly learning to love myself, and in the process of creating a new, meaningful life. I’ll be 60 on my next birthday,? and my son’s are planning a trip to Mexico City to celebrate! Being with my 2 sons anywhere is the best birthday present I could have.

        • This post was very timely for me today. This morning I got up to a FB message from someone I haven’t heard from in 35 years and another old “boyfriend” turned up at the door. But my life doesn’t revolve around having a man anymore. My life is about learning, growing, experiencing. And people either can keep up or fall off the train.

  • Hi Chumpa, Your comment that “He loved teen porn and very young SE Asian prostitutes.” makes me wonder if he is denying his own sexuality. Could it be that he’s attracted to underdeveloped women because they resemble young boys? Consider the idea that he may be closeted gay and was turning his rage about his own identity against you. It may turn out not to be the case for your ex, but it’s worth the exercise because it puts the focus on what problems he brought to the relationship.

    I have no judgment for someone’s sexual identity, I’m just saying that a closeted gay who doesn’t reveal their status to their heterosexual partner is a con artist. I spent 30 years with one and didn’t understand his sexual identity until after his death.

    Big hugs.

    • I wondered the same thing, Ali Rose. I was also married to a closeted man who engaged in numerous EAs, and possibly PAs, with other women. Every single one of them had noticeably boyish figures, short pixie hair, and square jaws. More than a few of them could easily be described as “mannish” in appearance, although they were all attractive. Scary thing is, I had a similar look when we met and he commenced to love bomb me, but even then he had issues with ED and eventually our marriage became sexless while he was on the down-low with other men. Whatever the root issue, they all suck, and their devaluation of us has everything to do with them, nothing to do with us.

  • I have recently been experiencing the opposite effect to years of being devalued for my body, mind, habits, etc. During the first year of dating STBX, I remember him telling me how glad he was that I was average-looking because that meant I was low-maintenance. I guess to him that was a compliment but to me it was a huge let-down to find out that the man I thought was amazing looking and better than average looked at me as though I were simple vanilla with no sprinkles.

    Turns out I should have clung to vanilla as that was the best I could have ever expected from him. Years later some of his comments to me were pretty ego-destroying, like how he had become repulsed by my looks and that he didn’t even want to hold hands with me in public anymore.

    The OW(s) were always told how beautiful they were and true, none were really “average-looking.” All were younger than me, had perkier breasts, etc. though none were what I would have considered drop-dead gorgeous. For some reason, they deserved to be continually complimented on their looks by my husband while for years I had only managed the occasional positive comment about how a particular outfit made me look less heavy.

    After he moved out I went on a self-improvement binge that included losing a lot of weight (some of it as a result of DD #2), new hair style, clothes, etc. He noticed the difference but of course the changes were too late to make change his attitude toward me because OW 2 had already injected her poisonous barb into him. No matter, because the changes eventually made me feel better about myself and gave me back some of my self-esteem. Not all of my self-esteem returned mind you because there were years of emotional abuse, devaluing and just outright mean comments. In hindsight I see that his internal feelings of ugliness and own lack of self-esteem were a large part as to how he treated me. Still today I feel slighted that these other women somehow deserved to be made to feel special while I sunk lower and lower into frumpy, dumpy mom-mode. After a while, I guess I gave up on my looks because I just couldn’t seem to hit that ever-moving target of what would make me attractive to him. I figured I might as well look the way he saw me.

    I now internalize any sort of interest from men as negative and only based on appearance. I’m simply not interested in any opposite-sex relationship, romantic or casual, because it all seems to be based on physical attributes and not on anything of substance. I’ve dealt for years with feeling like I was less-than-feminine and now I feel free to enjoy life without the concerns of how I look for someone else. That sort of attitude is confusing to some, particularly those that tell me I will feel better once I have another “someone special” in my life. I’ve given up telling them that I really don’t see that as priority in my life. It just ends up making them angry at me, like I’ve somehow trampled over some all-important notion that you’re not whole if you’re only one. I have been labeled as being bitter and having a bad attitude and that my attitude will cause me to die a lonely person. Perhaps they are right, but at this stage in my life, I simply don’t care.

    • “During the first year of dating STBX, I remember him telling me how glad he was that I was average-looking because that meant I was low-maintenance.”

      You should have told him to F-off. This is an insult and there is nothing nice about this comment. And to add insult to injury, he was repulsed by you and didn’t even want to hold your hand in public. I guess some people like your ex, get married, so they can continuously reject a person and mistreat them. I mean normal people would cherish, love and treat their spouse with kindness. Not this guy. I think he got married because it brought him pleasure to treat his partner like shit. My ex was like this, he was showing signs of crapping on me continuously. I warned him a few times that I didn’t like it and he was treating me like shit, to stop. Not only he didn’t stop, but labeled me as “insecure” and “sensitive” and upped the ante. Really?! I dumped his ass real fast he didn’t see it coming, I went for the jugular and then blocked him from contacting me. He wants to go treat someone like shit, he can go treat himself like utter crap. That kind of abuse will not fly with me!

    • I understand, for the past three years I was wholly unconcerned with what guys thought of me, I just didn’t care, and I have to say it was freeing! I also didn’t want a relationship with anyone, and that was freeing as well. I’m dating again now, but I’m very glad I experienced what it’s like to not worry about any of that for awhile.

    • Some of the most miserable people I know are married. ONE can be quite joyful. Especially if there is a four legged friend in your life. It broke my heart the only compliment he gave you was “that outfit makes you look less heavy”.
      This man….true evil. You escaped evil. Let those slags try and please him. He is not fit to pump your gas.

  • Done4Good, I think that someone who feels that he or she does not need ‘someone special’ to be happy has arrived! Although I am quite happy in my post-separation relationship, I would love to be that person who is content being alone even if it is for perpetuity. I understand not wanting to get into a relationship that is contingent on how one looks–to me, that’s a losing battle with a less-than-satisfactory ride/’empty’ relationship that will not end well.

  • So many triggers in this letter and everyone’s stories . The main thing that comes to mind (which I buried in my memory) is after I had my second almost 10 pound baby in 3 years- I didn’t feel well, was nursing a toddler and a new born and found out my thyroid wasn’t working at all – my husband said I’ll help you. So he gets a computer program and makes me get on a scale. Plugs my weight in and proceeds to get a measuring tape and measure every body part I had and plugs those numbers in the computer. Then he proceeds to tell me what I need to do to lose weight and feel better. This from a man with stick legs, a big belly and bad personal hygiene who never exercised or played a sport in his life. So in my post part depression filled mind I was like “wow-thank you mr. Obvious” Then I think I said outloud “go fuck yourself-my mom always told me I was pretty -I don’t need you to tell me I’m not” and he never pulled that shit with me again. But then i found out later that He just went deeper underground to his online whores. He’s a sadist fuck -so I’m sure he degraded them too.

    So I have been telling my children that “you are beautiful and don’t you ever let anyone tell you you arent”. My mom is a codependent stuck with an alcoholic husband but she taught us kids to value ourselves and she always told my sister and I that we were beautiful. I still choose to believe that -no matter how much he tried to make me feel ugly and unworthy. He can suck it.

    • Strong Woman,

      Your comment on ‘spreadsheet monitoring’ by our exes reminded me of my husband recording scores and comments on a ‘wife-worthiness’ scale every day for 60 days. He would give me a rating (rounded to the nearest hundredth digit on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest). He considered a score of less than 4 as failing. When he first started literally keeping score, I asked him why he was doing it. He told me that his therapist told him to. (I’m pretty sure that his therapist just told him to keep a journal of his emotions.) As I wanted to talk myself into believing that he wanted to work on our marriage, which I knew was in terrible shape as he had confessed to an affair and various types of nefarious behavior, I asked him if he wanted me to keep a log. He said, ‘There’s no need for you to do that.’ I guess that he thought he was a perfect 10, so why bother? I discovered toward the end of the 60 day ‘trial period’ that was being used to determine whether I deserved to stay his wife, that my average score was 2.2. (I once told him after he told me to get him a dating site membership or some other offensive thing, that he would get a score of -1000 if I rated him.) A couple of weeks later, he filed for divorce. Today, two years since he filed, I wondered why I put up with near-constant abuse during our marriage. I reminded myself that I tolerated it because I was afraid that if we separated he would harm our kids during the days/hours he had physical custody of them. Then I forgave myself a bit.

      Once I stopped trying to determine my worth/convince people of my worth and just started observing the world (in a mindful way), I quit basing my life on how I ‘rated’ in the world. Life has become much better–more peaceful, enjoyable, beautiful since then! I view adversity differently now. Challenges tend not to emotionally affect me nearly as much as they did two years ago.

      • I can’t believe he kept a literal score of your worthiness. He’s a sick, sad individual. What gave him the right to treat a human being this way…..

  • During the four year struggle….. Not knowing what was really going on, denial stage. I was talked into taking an antidepressants. Side effects I found out are low libido (her favorite) and munchies….. Well in 20 plus years I had never gained real weight…. (cant say the same for her) she lost all hers and I gained…. well seems I became fat! She did not miss opportunities to say as much. Then my powers of sex (when we did do it) were awkward etc…. These people take these actions to destroy your self confidence…. they question your sanity… break you down. Then you find out the OMen were one a muscle bound steroid freak and the other 26 years old…. this further breaks you down. this whole process destroys a person. Takes time to step back and understand they are the problem not you. Not always an easy task!

  • Thanks CL. The blog post on what to wear when you’re over 30 was fabulous featuring some of my favourite fashion bloggers!
    The feelings of body shame really resonate with me. It’s been a recurring theme throughout my life. First with my mother who was battling with her own obesity issues and probably depression. Then with Wasbeen who was constantly reminding me that he didn’t want a fat wife and if I wasn’t careful, I’d end up like my mother. Left that relationship with quite a few emotional scars that I’m just starting to work through.
    Sometimes I wonder if some of this shaming would even be possible if there weren’t a whole societal movement with the media claims that there exists a perfect body, a perfect face, a perfect look. Funny how that seems to change every season.
    With this in mind I would like to share one of my new heroes, Taryn Blumfitt, an Australian women who raised 300 000 dollars to film a documentary called “Embrace”. Just the trailer had me in tears. She talks all about her personal journey battling with body shame and some of the actions she’s wants to take to encourage us all to be proud of our bodies.
    This is her website: http://bodyimagemovement.com.au/
    Thanks to you all for your words of wisdom!

    • The site does contain some nudity. Taryn left a before and after photo on her FB page back in 2013.
      Before: her in a female bodybuilding contest (and hating her body)
      After: Her body baby body (and loving it)
      Her enthusiasm is infectious and her authenticity shines through her work. She is truly on a mission, that everyone should love and respect their bodies, regardless their age, size, race, sex…

  • Real people want real love from lovely people. Real people don’t want physical perfection–it’s too much work! Real people have physical (and other) flaws, and we know it, and so we can’t expect others to be perfect where we aren’t, either.

    One movie that really helped to inspire me for mid-life dating was Enough Said with James Gandolfinij and Julia Louis-Dreyfus.

    The Coward devalued me, and was constantly critical of me, even though I am considered thin and cute by most–even sexy. I even had corrective facial surgery for a jaw deformity that made me more attractive, just as I hit the rapid slide into middle age and jowls. I have graying dark hair, cellulite, stretch marks, mom boobs, freckles and blinding white skin. I am physically insecure. I birthed 3 children. I work full time and commute. I’m tired.

    At BD, I could tell that The Coward desexualized me. I thought it was quite a phenomenon. Suddenly I was the sexless drone, and OW–she was so super sexy. That’s why I love the term “Wife Appliance.” He wanted me to be his mommy: bring home money, cook, do all the yard work, mark appointments on the calendar, take the cars to the mechanic, while he re-lived his teens. Maybe he could pat my ass on his way out the door to woo OW. OW is OLDER than I am, but she is even skinnier, and blonde. xH desperately wanted a blonde the entire time we were together. Turns out he’d devalued me from even before we dated. Needless to say, I impolitely turned that prospect down. And, in my worst moment, I unleashed a fury of ugly on him, and pointed out all HIS physical and social imperfections. I wish I hadn’t, but I did.

    I spent years alone, sexless. But I worked out, dressed attractively, maintained friendships with my couple and female friends, exercised my competence in home improvement and professionally. No man fell from the sky to swoop me off my feet. I felt lonely and confused, and worried that no decent man would want me. I took my beautiful dresses off at night and crawled into bed, alone.

    I bought a million books on how to date–these were inspiring and gave great advice. I went on line. I found a lovely guy who has children of his own, and who struggles with his weight. He has the sweetest smile. He is so smart and funny and strong. I could go on and on (I did, in a Valentine’s Day card). I apologized for my mom boobs and my big butt. My stretch marks were RIGHT THERE. He was so happy and said I have soft skin and a great smile, and that he LIKES a little jiggle on a butt (can he NOT see the lumps??) I cooked for him, and laughed at his jokes and he said he finally felt desired, that I make him feel good. He cooked for me, and I swooned. He had felt used before me, like his wants never mattered. He was just happy to get to touch boobs that smiled back at him! 🙂 He grabs my saggy lumpy butt in the kitchen (he asked first) and I love it! And so does he! I lost weight, I gained weight. He loves me and I love him.

    Seriously–you know what your greatest physical asset is? A kind heart that shows, maybe in your eyes, maybe in your smile. So work on finding your kind and happy heart. It can take a while, especially when it was ripped out and torn to shreds by an abusive partner. Work on finding your inner peace, and let it shine.

    Work on being YOUR best, not anyone else’s best. Be honest with yourself, do what you have to do. Love yourself with good food, fresh air, friends, hobbies, pets, meaningful work. Love your kids. Find a way to laugh. When you realize you’re doing a heck of a lot of smiling, you’ll know you’re ready. Don’t let anyone else devalue you.

  • I was the best thing that ever walked into his life, the absolute best and he knows it even though he tried to tear me down. I took a lot of stuff, before his a-whoring was exposed and in the process I learned a lot about myself. I did all I could do, but you can’t make a marriage by yourself. Oh yes he tried the you’re too (place insult here) but I can give just as well as I can take. He screwed all sorts of women, I believe his favorite hunting ground was the sideshows at the circus. But to be honest looks don’t matter. In his world OW were only as useful as their supply of kibbles. I believe as others have said he was threatened by the compliments his friends would give me. In essence he is a very sad individual seeking happiness in other people. Not a way to live.

    • Asswipe while prowling around looking for strange said he saw the whore across the bar and fell instantly in undying love and knew she was the one. Uh huh. I heard the same so did the first wife. His business is here on the property. I gave him an out. He didnt take it. The whore gave him an out. Didnt take it. He got numerous outs over a three year span from both of us wouldnt take them. I gave him multiple mutiple outs. No didnt take them. Fucking cake eater. If she really was the one he would have taken the out given the fact she has money he would have moved his business, let me sell the house and we both move on. He wanted to give everything he and i worked for to her while i was left to a rental. All the advice i got was dont leave the house cause of how he is. I would have had to go after him for years to buy this place. I stood my ground and said two choices asshole buy the house or we sell it. The judge agreed and gave me the house. Soon is the closing and im taking the out permanently out of contact with this asswipe forever!

  • I think this is a very serious and deep seated issue for chumps because most of us were also devalued in childhood, too, or made to feel we had to be perfect to deserve love. It will take a long time to normalize ‘desirable’ in our minds.

    Little things help–wear underwear and clothes that make you feel confident. Say ‘you’re marvelous’ to the mirror once a day, surround yourself with positive, complimentary people. Do things that intrigue you and show your zest for life. And keep toxic people away. Eventually ‘I’m marvelous’ will drown out the chorus of negativity we all have on endless loop from our marriages.

    • By the end of our marriage I felt completely sexless. It was amazing when I started dating someone after the divorce and he told me how sexy I was, and how desirable. All my sexual feelings (which had been dormant for years) came back. It was as much a surprise to me as to anyone. I almost wanted to call my ex and ask him, “Can you believe it???” I didn’t realize how much hearing another person express their desire affects your ability to respond. Sure works a lot better than listening to constant complaints that you don’t want to “do it” enough.

      • You know what? I think I have this whole spring of sexual desire that I just stuffed down and stifled because he didn’t want me. Yes, it COULD blossom with the right person. But the hang ups, the cottage cheese thighs, the fear I will be fat shamed by the next man or outright rejected (I am NOT THAT FAT!) has prevented me from even trying to date. And yet, he had sex with this OW thousands of times and didn’t want to touch me. But he was fat shaming me long before she came into the picture. I am trying to stop asking, What was wrong with me? I am hoping someone will give me the love I wanted. I am a strong, independent, professional, self supporting woman. But I would like a partner in life. I don’t need it. I want it. I want to have sex again with the right person.

        • It is odd how when you feel badly about yourself (like you’re not enough for someone, because they keep looking at others), you just give up and stop trying. Add to that the process of aging, kids, stress, and medical issues…we can end up having our sexual feelings go dormant. It’s not like I wanted it to happen or could figure out how to bring those feelings back. I tried lots of different things thinking it was biological. Huge surprise to discover it was actually more emotional.

      • My body issues are long standing. I’m very short and I get thick very easily. At my biggest I didn’t like myself and felt because I was fat I didn’t deserve anything. My h’s major and really only complaint during our marriage was that he wanted more sex and during that time I felt bad about myself and couldn’t initiate sex. He became emotionally closed off and it turned into a vicious cycle. However when ever things were difficult he always defaulted back to “I want more sex” without adding “when you don’t initiate it makes me feel unloved”. Instead he said nothing and then cheated. The sad part is I did want sex but the contempt and resentment he had towards me kept me from acting and now it’s all too late and he is moving in with the OW. Hopefully in about 1,000 years when I feel like I can even think about dating again someone will sweep me off my feet and give me that excitement. I’m only 32 and I don’t imagine I’ll be okay being alone for life at this point but I’m so heartbroken I can’t imagine a future without my STBX

    • Tempest, you are the bomb….yep, was the “perfect” child. Crammed down who I really was to be loved by my parents, which set me up for narc abuse. Thank goodness, with CL, CN and therapy I get it. I am very ok with just “being me.”

  • So what my heart needed to hear. Chump lady, you know what truth I need to help overcome the Ex and his toxic ways.

  • Chumpa Lumpa–

    When I was married, I was running several miles a week. I was never skinny, but you’d have placed me as “athletic.” CheaterX liked to talk about me looking like Emma Peel from the Avengers TV show, and that I really needed a leather catsuit. This made me feel really sexy. 🙂

    Fast forward 15 years and I gain about 50 lbs from cooking the kind of food that CheaterX liked to eat. Once Dday comes and I realize I need a promotion (and that I”m not a naturally heavy person, so that weight makes me look puffy instead of vibrant, the way that many naturally heavy people look), so I went on a diet and lost those 50 lbs.

    CheaterX looked at me one day and told me I was “too skinny.” I hadn’t confronted him about his cheating at this time, so I reminded him that I now weighed what I did when we were married. Crickets.

    Here’s the funny part. Schmoopie weighs more than I did when I started to lose weight. He sees her as sexy. She sees herself as some kind of 20-something sex symbol, too, despite the fact that she’s in her early 40s. 😀

    I’m at the Fuck It stage. I dress in what makes me feel good. This summer, I’ve worn skirts every single day of the week for the past few months at work. You’d not have caught me in a skirt about 4 years ago. I was way too self-conscious.

    Give yourself time, and you’ll get at the Fuck It stage, too. Being confident in your own skin is sexy as hell.

  • Hearing all of the cruelty and abuse we have endured is the perfect antidote to any maudlin or misguided yearning to reach out or “understand” or find closure.
    This was not love. It is still sad…but it is a jerk to the reality of the hopelessness of hoping for a disordered sadist to every make anything “right”.

  • Chumpa Lumpa,

    In hopes that it will provide you with some sort of consolation… you are not alone, and the effects of a Narcissist like “Dick Bling” (Great name BTW!!) are just as severe on someone young-ish with no children and who at one point during her marriage to a Narc had a 6 pack.

    My ex-Narcissist blamed me for killing his sexual drive on a regular basis and even started taking a supplement of Deer Antler Velvet to help with his stamina (at 28 years old) because I was causing him “such emotional trauma that he couldn’t perform.” He convinced me to have threesomes with him because just my love was not enough to fill his black-hole of a soul with love and affection. He also regularly ridiculed my body (even when I was marathon training and had that said six pack.) And was famous for waiting until I was completely dressed and ready to tell me… “why yes hunny, you do actually look fat in that!” I actually just recently wrote a pretty in depth post about the craziness of my experience with a Narcissist and sex: https://divorcinganarcissistblog.com/2016/07/20/narcissists-and-sex/

    I’ve been working on the self-esteem thing a lot these days and I don’t have yet to find a magic remedy. The thing that has been helping me most has been to erase all of the things that he has said to me. When my brain automatically goes to a negative place that was put into my mind by him… I stop and try to re-evaluate based on what I think and not what he thought. I’ve still got some work to do in this area but am slowly starting to feel better than ever before. I’ve also realized that as the depression of being in an abusive marriage fades away, your sex drive bounces back like a mofo.

    I hope that you are also able to see what a blind, dumb moron Dick Bling was and see your own beauty. <3

    -Laura

  • Today’s comments are really striking a nerve for me – not because I was devalued (though I was) but because I wonder whether I did the same to my STBXH.

    A couple of years into our marriage, I said something hurtful to him. Though I apologized, he apparently never got over it and used it as an excuse for multiple “marital infractions.” So while I was busy dealing with the reality of marriage, his solution to his hurt feelings was to have online dating accounts and interactions with an ex-girlfriend (I was oblivious). The moment I discovered his extracurricular activities, I booked us straight into marital counselling. It seemed a more practical solution to marital discord than escapism.

    After years (!!!!) of marriage counselling and then a return to normal (as normal as possible) where I tried desperately to rebuild the shattered trust, I discovered even more “marital infractions” (Ashley Madison, collection of women’s underwear in his briefcase, prostitute). He was still blaming me for his hurt feelings 10 years earlier. During the last year or so of wreckconciliation, I probably was equally guilty of devaluing him. He told me repeatedly that he wanted someone to “cherish” him (always and unconditionally).

    I’m just stuck with the thought that I started the whole downward spiral. It’s a guilt/shame thing on my part and I am having a hard time letting it go.

    • Blessings, boy did you get gaslighted! The creep was going to cheat he just had to find an excuse. We all say things that hurt. We apologize and are forgiven. That is what people with integrity do. The day they were handing it out your stbx was probably pulling wings off flies.

    • “He was still blaming me for his hurt feelings 10 years earlier.”

      He was trying to find excuses for his shitty behavior. It was to justify his wrong doings, after all, 10 years ago, you did this or that. What a jerk.

    • BD, your stbx was just using that old argument to manipulate you because it worked to make you reel and toe his line. And of course you were “devaluing” him the last years of the marriage, because his behavior left you with nothing to value in him or the relationship. His blameshifting his behavior onto you was horrible. Good job delving into your feelings around it. You’ll come through this. Put a post it note on a shared mirror somewhere “trust that he sucks”.

    • Blessing

      It started the day he chose to cheat.

      The Limited’s line was, “I wanted to jump off the cruise ship.” I planned an entire vacation based on his interests. It included south beach where he stared at the top less sunbathers and ended with a cruise to the keys. He complained the entire fucking vacation. I hurt my ankle and he refused to get a cab.

      Selfishness allows them to hold grudges. It’s typical of the disordered. They are like spoiled children.

      If only I knew not participating in a chocolate fountain activity with hundreds of children would trigger YEARS of sulking and near suicidal fantacies I might have gone. He talked about it for years. Very sick.

      • OMG. Yes. Once I insisted we leave a concert because it was in a small, un-air-conditioned club packed to the gills and I felt like I could barely breathe in there. He never forgave me, sulked for years, used it to justify taking other women to concerts, and brought it up over a decade later at D-Day as one of my great sins. One year I took him to a symphony for his birthday but got the time wrong so we had to leave halfway through to meet the babysitter. He told me he didn’t trust that I hadn’t done it on purpose because he’d never trusted me since that concert a decade ago.

    • Blessing, if my XH had even noticed that he hurt my feelings, had he ever once shown some awareness or remorse, I would have gladly forgiven him. We all make mistakes and say unkind and even cruel things. But as much as his words hurt–and as much as his lack of engagement on every other important aspect of my life hurt–I would have gladly worked to get past all that if he had stopped drinking and plugged into an actual relationship. Someone holding onto a grudge for a decade and getting on Ashley Madison is looking for an excuse.

    • I feel the same way. STBX held onto me saying I felt like nothing but a fuck hole to him at times. He would complain about my pubic hair grooming (wanting it trimmed or shaved), he would watch porn and then want to have sex. Since we’ve talked about it after d-day he claims it was because he wanted to give more oral, and because I didn’t initiate se it made him feel rejected. When we got into the deeper feelings of hurt and rejection he pulled out the fuck hole comment. And an arguement about laundry that I barely even remembered. These are issues that have to be at least 4-5 years old! I feel like I sabotaged our marriage by accident and he’s held these resentments for years!

  • I haven’t read all the replies and for that I apologize. Right now, I’m not thinking of your ex, I’m only thinking of you and where you should go from here. Start somewhere, do things you LOVE, absolutely love, that will make you so happy, I don’t care what it is, you’re worth it!

    Also, get a notebook or a calendar or a jar and write one thing you like about yourself every day. Doesn’t matter what it is, big, small, etc and start filling that jar up or notebook or whatever, the daily exercise will help build that “I’m fab”” muscle.

    Hugs!

    • Good suggestions, Julie. After being beaten down for decades, starting with my parents when I was little, then married to an unkind man, it was really difficult for me to even come up with compliments about myself. After being born into abuse, I don’t think I ever had self-esteem. I didn’t start liking myself until I was in my 40’s.

      One of my instructors had suggested that we make a section for each decade of our life (age 0-10, 11-20, 21-30 and so on) and write down every personal achievement, big and small, for that block of time. Here’s a good list to help anyone remember what they might be: http://www.careerempowering.com/interview-power/selling-yourself-through-accomplishments.html

      On this list, also include every compliment you’ve ever received from family, friends, teachers, strangers, family, co-workers, team mates, bosses and partners. If you’ve heard the same praise from more than one person, that’s strong validation you are indeed that good thing said of you. This is a worthy exercise for those who need to discover their own goodness and value as a person. Hugs to all of Chump Nation.

      • That’s a great idea, thanks for sharing. I agree that we have to learn to give ourselves the praise and confirmation we needed when we were young. Another journaling idea that a counselor gave me was to write down my goals and then make a note every day about what small steps I made that wake towards achieving them.

        • I like your counselor’s idea, Lyn. I do write down goals all the time but including daily notes of what I’m doing to achieve them would help me get to them sooner. I need the motivation and focus.

  • I felt devalued by him for years but no more. I know im a good honest fecent person who would never cause this type of harm or practice unsafe sex. I kept my vows and promises to the end. Nobody likes how i am, what i look that, or wants to change how i should be. Fuck them. Now i will live for me and me alone. I didnt go out and have bondage sex with strangers and not wear a condom and then he cheated on the woman he left me for the exact same way. Not that i care. Screw the whore but i have a great character while he is a pod. A loser and i hope one day his undafe sex catches up to him. Meeting total strangers for sex only. Ewwwww! This is why im removed from the internet almost completely. When i move im changing my name phone and email. I will never speak to that asshole again!!!

  • I think a lot of us struggle with self-worth when it comes to this. I’m only 28 and I have some pretty shitty anxiety about being good enough. And CL is right. Women chumps start of on a pretty unfair ground of self-criticism. When I was a teenager, I was a size 0 and still wondered if my body was going to be good enough, pretty enough, or what-the-fuck-ever enough for boys. Desperation to be loved lead to me making some pretty bad choices in who I dated. The shit I put up with are things that I would never let fly now.

    HOWEVER, that doesn’t mean they didn’t still leave their mark. It happens to even the strongest, most independent people. I don’t think anyone is really immune to the damage of being constantly degraded by someone who is supposed to love you. I think it’s easier to brush off the insults of strangers than it is to let go of insults by loved ones. If some random person says my thighs look like shit I can tell them to go shove it, but if my husband said it? It feels like betrayal, and I think the natural response is to try to please them.

    I’ve recently been feeling a flood of those insecurities coming back for some reason, and it’s not fun. Recalling the things that have been said to me by past partners,

    “I’d rather be alone and have porn than be with you and have sex.”
    “I was already flirting with about 8 other girls to replace you before we actually broke up.”
    “I haven’t seen her in a long time! She’s special. Why are you mad?”
    *taking a photo of a 14-year-old out of his wallet* “Guess how old she is? Yeah, she doesn’t look it. If she were 18 I’d nail that.” *looks at me* “What? I’m not actually nailing her!”
    “Well, men need more sex than women so it’s only biologically natural that he got bored if you don’t change it up enough. Don’t take it so personally, it’s biological. He’d be cheating on himself if he didn’t cheat on you.”
    “Compliments from other women are more special than compliments from you. You’re my girlfriend so I expect that anyway, other women don’t have to compliment me, so it’s nicer when it comes from them.”

    Just a few lovely gems thrown my way by exes.

    You’re not alone if you are struggling to feel confident again after years of cruelty by someone who was supposed to love you. It hurts. And it can hurt whether you’re young, middle aged or old.

    • Kara, I am reading this shaking my head because I feel your pain. I am tired of the babying and dumbing down of men ( not all men) by porn and entitlement that all women just “perform” for them. It’s evident in your experience and others I’ve read, and talked with, and it saddens me.
      I think porn is a trap. Some people can use it for fun, whatever, but I think the availability to people at a young age who DON’T UNDERSTAND SEX makes porn a TRAP. How do you get those images out of your head if its the first thing you see?

  • Chumpa Lumpa,
    My STBXH never belittled my appearance and never made me feel unattractive. However, his cheating made me wonder “What is wrong with me?” “What does the OW have that I don’t?” Sometime we feel devalued and our self-esteem takes a hit just from their terrible actions. It sounds like you need to take some time to get to know you again. You already know you are attractive but it seems something is still missing within you. I personally suggest just take this time getting to know and appreciate you again. Go to the gym, hangout with friends or buy yourself a nice outfit. Once we been damaged so badly, it takes time to repair and be ready for another relationship. We have to learn to trust and feel safe in a relationship again. It seems you may not be ready that is why you keep friend zoning (I personally do not see anything wrong with that). Don’t worry about a relationship at this point. When you are ready and the time is right it will happen. I am only 2 months out from being separated from my husband. So, I am only sharing what I have decided to do. I hope it helps. Wish you the best and sending hugs your way.

  • You know what I think is really ironic? Anyone whose opinion is worthy of listening to won’t devalue others in the first place. Ex wasn’t Mr. America by any means, but I never insulted him about it cause guess what? I have the minor amount of class required Not to do that. I could have said oh, you’re old! oh you’re fat! Oh you are losing your hair! The nastyiness are what he and the tramp had in common. I guess he and his low class slut really are soulmates. Or soul-less mates….

  • What makes you feel good about you?? DO that. I feel confident in a new outfit – could even be from the thrift store, still makes me feel good. Find a good woman friend who ‘gets it’ or gay male friend to go shopping with -a la that Carson guy from the gay guy straight guy show—- one who will push you to splurge a little and maybe even push you out of your comfort zone and compliment how your boobs look.
    Then – take a trip – in person or online (bought my last vibrator on amazon.com) , to a sex toy store and buy yourself something pleasurable – OWN your own sexuality and orgasms- nothing makes you feel more confident than knowing that sex and orgasms are great with men but not necessary because you can take care of yourself. It’s all about you, you and you!!

  • Oh my gosh! I forgot about some of these feelings. For YEARS, I knew XH was attracted to the OW…although there was no physical relationship (she lived two hours away). I KNEW she was his “type,” so much so that when I saw other women with her style, shape and mannerisms, I got a knot in my stomach. In addition, my former friends fawned over my husband and he played in to every bit of their flirting. It was so blatant, I remember cautioning him that his friendships with the husbands would be damaged.(Although they were all oblivious.)

    Over the years, I watched his physical and emotional attraction to OW grow. And I often mentioned it to him. He claimed that his attraction to her shouldn’t devalue me at all. And I bought into it. He told me I should feel comfortable flirting with other married men, because it shouldn’t be his burden to build my self worth. And I bought into it. I tried flirting with my friends’ husbands, and I was rebuffed, and I was sure there was something wrong with me.

    I raised three great kids. I started two new careers after years of staying home and raising children. I lost 75 pounds. I fought hard as a community leader through some very tough issues. I won awards. I got promotions. I went back to school. And in the end, when he finally did admit his “true love” for the other woman, all he could come up with was “you have to admit you are hard to live with.”

    After DDay, I begged and pleaded with him to understand how the whole thing had devalued me. How my worth was now gone. How it seemed like nothing about me mattered or had any impact on anyone’s life. I really, truly thought he would have empathy for how this had broken the wife who devoted her life to her husband and family.

    His only response was to let me know that my value wasn’t his issue, and that if I needed the people around me to give me value, there must be something wrong with me.

    Jackass. I divorced him today, in a courthouse in a large city where I have made my new home — 300 miles from the little town and old house he is stuck with, where he lives the exact same life he has passively lived for nearly 50 years. And he didn’t even bother to show up. Whose value is questionable now?

    Get out of the mindfuck. Stop yourself every.single.time you start to think about what HE thinks of YOU. Because it doesn’t matter. He is no longer the deposit account where you are saving up self worth. He overdrew that account, but you get to walk away with undamaged credit.

    • “He is no longer the deposit account where you are saving up self worth. He overdrew that account, but you get to walk away with undamaged credit.”

      zmichelle, you make excellent points. Wow, I could have written a story very similar to yours. Recently I went back and read some journals kept when we were engaged. In one I wrote that I couldn’t understand why he was telling me other girls thought he was good looking. In the journal I ask myself why he would say such things? I wonder whether I need to compliment him more or give him more attention to stop this kind of behavior. LOL. It was all right there from the very beginning…my codependency and his narcissism. Classic.

      • Congratulations zmichelle! So happy you are free of that soulless pile of shit. I gained freedom from my ex a few years ago. He beat down my confidence mercilessly for 20 years. Amongst the more disgusting things he said to me on his way out the door was that no one would ever love me and he couldn’t wait to laugh when I died all alone. It took me time and therapy to unscramble my brains and start to just feel human again. I am happy to say that I am now planning my future with the most kind and lovely man. I feel like a flower opening up to the warmth of the sun. There is so much better for you and all of us out there?

        • Asswipe never ranked on me until he decided to start cheating and it was horrible. He had always been kind, gentle and very nice respectful but when the cheating started so did the rank down on me. Unbelievable how he changed but he didnt change according to him. Bastards the lot of them!

        • “Amongst the more disgusting things he said to me on his way out the door was that no one would ever love me and he couldn’t wait to laugh when I died all alone.”

          Sweatpants, I’m so sorry your demented EX said this to you. It’s incredibly hurtful and cruel. And you are laughing now, because you have a great man that seems lovely and kind. I hope he rots in hell and is alone. And his dick shrivels and falls off.

  • It is safe to say that most people in the world don’t get much good sex. Pornography is a big lie. (One person’s sex abuse should not be another person’s pleasure.) Masterbation makes decent women laugh.
    So, meh. Consider the key to your safe as lost. Whatever. Life goes on.

  • If your sons could talk candidly, they would say, “Mom, don’t be an easy sex target.” The alternative is a painful thing for most teenage boys.

  • I don’t have much to add except just think of this when you are letting his words get into your head. There are 7 billion people in the world, and they all have different views on beauty. Your ex is an asshole and someone here said “consider the source”. Don’t let his words make you doubt yourself. You are beautiful, vibrant and only 50. That’s the new 40 didn’t you hear?

  • I have struggled with being devalued with an absence. If he had said things to me I feel I would have been able to see what he was really thinking. Instead he cheated and fawned over all those women online and I got nothing. Nothing negative, sure, but … nothing positive. Little praise, rare comments on my sexiness … SO LITTLE.

    I have a really strong sense of self and I filled in the absence. Looking back, my Mom is just like him in terms of lacking any empathy or selflessness, so I grew up expecting nothing from the people who should have loved me.

    Oh I busted my ass for crumbs, don’t get me wrong, and then he would dole out something nice. It was just the cycle of abuse, not actual love, in that he wanted me around because he liked what I did for him. If I was too upset it was difficult for him…

    Nothing he said or did matters, he is such an unworthy person. To the OP, thats the work to do on yourself. It is not devaluing him, he already did that. It is being realistic that he was never, ever the man you trusted and loved.

    The focus is on valuing yourself.

  • Chumpa Lumpa-
    I can completely relate….19 years married to stbx and the devaluation & sexual rejection started happening so fast after the marriage.
    I used to wonder when my super sexy nature become a negative thing, why my flirtatiousness with him became such a bother, my touch something that caused him to withdraw……..I used to look in the mirror and wonder if I was too ugly, fat or old though little had changed with me. The few times sex was in the equation my body did not want to respond…..I no longer trusted him and I only felt anxiety & shame. He made me feel stupid, ugly & unloveable yet I would receive offers from other men for dates and sex. My husband thought I was disgusting but other men wanted me? It didn’t make any sense. I couldn’t believe the person who love bombed me & treated me like a princess had turned on me so cruelly. It was devastating.

    When Dday finally happened & I found out about the hookers/Asian massage parlors I started to dig some more. Then the incessant porn viewing of barely legal girls, craigslist, etc. The pieces were starting to fall into place. I married a POS human clone devoid of any feeling or heart that is unable to maintain any kind of connection with another person. Women are just interchangeable parts with no real names or faces. That is why they like the hookers and the porn-they get what they want out of it with no strings attached & then it is off to find the next one. The fantasy is what they want, they believe that it is real. I would never be able to be what he wanted and he certainly would never be the husband I wanted.

    After getting distance from stbx and counseling, I was able to see that nothing I did caused stbx to cheat, lie and destroy our family. It was his shitty character. He is selfish and will always put him & his wants/dick ahead of his family. He put me down constantly to make himself feel better. And let me tell you, he has no room to criticize with his pot belly & bald head. He used to try & pressure me to get plastic surgery which I refused. He stopped asking me when I told him that no amount of plastic surgery would make me a barely legal teenager or Asian!

    I haven’t been with anyone else yet although I’ve had offers-and I do still occasionally have anxiety about my body because of things stbx said.
    But I am hopeful that when the time comes, I will be too wrapped up in the moment & enjoying myself to worry about anything some worthless POS lied and said about me. 🙂

    • I am sometimes irrationally envious of women in this department. This is going to sound like a terrible thing to say, but a woman with body issues caused by an abusive partner can still usually make something happen. Break out the KY, pound a shot of scotch, do whatever you have to do – you can usually power through it and make something happen, if you really really want to.

      If a guy’s body “does not want to respond” due to insecurity, that’s it. Done. Game over. Self-fulfilling prophecy. Nothing’s going to happen, no matter how much both parties want it. Even Viagra and Cialis won’t always help if the problem is in the brain, rather than in the genital blood vessels.

      It’s easy to blame porn, but a guy in this situation may be stuck with porn, because it’s the only sexual outlet he has that generates no anxiety for him. Granted, it’s fake, it doesn’t love, but it doesn’t lie, it doesn’t cheat, and it doesn’t judge.

    • Porn can feel safe, in circumstances when a guy is legitimately wondering if any /real/ woman will ever feel safe again.

      • Heat Death-If you are referring to a normal man who has ED issues then fine BUT I spent 19 years with a so-called man who did not initially have any ED issues. Slowly but surely over time after we were married he rejected all my advances and ended up making our marriage sexless. I was faithful, I did not let myself go, I was not a prude and basically up for whatever he wanted-I never said no…………….How is that not safe?
        My husband on the other hand didn’t want me-he wanted underage girl porn, Asian hookers, and Craigslist hook-ups. The dick didn’t work anymore with me but he obviously didn’t have a problem for any other sleazy exploits. I don’t believe he is looking for safety in some random woman’s twat.

        I refuse to believe that stbx is some frightened penis forest creature

        • I agree with you completely. Rejecting a loving spouse in favor of porn is as despicable as rejecting a loving spouse in favor of other women.

          Turning to porn after being rejected by your spouse, though, is something else entirely.

          • Gotta disagree with you there. Escaping into porn because you feel rejected is fairly similar to escaping into a bottle because of the pain of life. Both are ways to avoid reality and avoid addressing the actual problem. Most of us here were eventually rejected sexually by our spouses and part of our task is to put that back on the cheaters and not allow their rejection to define us.

            • “Not allowing rejection to define us” is much easier if our spouse’s rejection is the only major one we’ve ever experienced. If one’s entire love life up to meeting the spouse was constant rejection, and the few attempts one has made after the spouse have been constant rejection as well, and the only reason the spouse didn’t reject us was that they were a narc who saw us as an easy mark, detaching from that requires a level of ignoring experienced reality that starts to feel distinctly implausible, to say the least.

              There’s a fundamental asymmetrry here: women with low self esteem are, as many of the posts above have pointed out, usually objectively very attractive, and remain so. But a man’s attractiveness, to a first approximation, /is/ his confidence. If that gets smashed by a a narc spouse, what’s he got left? In a very real sense, narc women literally disfigure their male chumps, in a way that narc men, for all their evil, very rarely do.

              How do we fix that?

              • HD-
                I don’t think it’s a case of male or female narcissists hurting their signifigant others worse-IT’S BAD FOR ALL US CHUMPS.
                It sounds like you were wounded deeply by a narc and might need some more time to heal & get to meh.
                I would hate to think that you truly believe that porn is safe and will be your only chance for some type of interaction with a woman. That makes me sad. There are millions of people on this planet-our scumbags ex’s are not the end all be all. We need to be sure and fix our pickers for next time!!
                Yes, I admit that it is scary to go out into the real world after being devastated by a narc cheater. For me, I still haven’t given up hope for a loving relationship with a normal chap. I’m just looking for someone who is my age-kind, fun, honest and loyal who will put out on a regular basis (Lol)

                Until then, I keep working on me & making my life happy on my terms. Anything that stbx does or says no longer matters anymore……who cares what he thinks? He is no longer my problem.

              • HeatDeath – from what I’ve read from both male and female chumps, Narcs not discriminate. They pretty much decimate their partners, male and female alike.

                It sounds as if you’ve encountered a lot of rejection in your life. Did you also feel your parents rejected you? The reason I ask is that it is a psychological school of though that we seek out what is familiar. My father rejected me – never showed love, affection or approval – so who did I marry? His evil twin. I also think it’s a way for us to “right the wrongs” of our parents. In other words, if I could marry a man like my father but win him over and have him adore me, then I could prove to myself that I’m worthwhile. That I’m lovable. All it proved for me is that my picker was fucked up.

                As for gaining your confidence back, just remember to consider the source of that rejection. Your cheating wife obviously has no character, values, scruples, morals or brains. Why let what she thinks of you bother you in the least? If she thinks badly of you then you must be doing something right!

            • When you get rejected because of serious sick vicious bondage sex well thats an eye opener. I was supposed to grovel, obey, have plugs in my mouth and butt. I never knew the extent! I dont mind a little kinky but to grovel and be degraded and beaten viciously with whatever is handy. I had no idea how bad he was i guess he surpressed it most of it all those years and it came out like gang busters. I busted asswipe when i discovered the dozens of bondage dating sites he is on. The talk and things he wants to do while declearing he is a clean, deceny, good and patient man. No he is a pod! Holy shit. Hes had dozens of hookups in the past three years and no safe sex. Just wings it! I cant believe some can only get off by beating them to a pulp. Wtf! Hes 60 and doing all kinds of drugs to increase the high and the sex. Maybe some of them just go crazy when they get older. I just dont know. He should have been up front with it 30 years ago i would have walked away no harm done. He will kill him self with the drugs, drinking and high triple doses of viagra and the risky bondage sex. Not my thing not like that. I dont care anymore if he lives, breathes or dies. He showed me who he really is. A little whiny man boy bitch, a phony and a liar. 50 shades of grey was not a good idea and they choke each other out for sex! Holy crap! Im staying single.

            • So so so true! H and I had issues with sex and emotional intimacy. He closed down but wanted sex. His closed off attitude made me not want sex with him. Around and around. Then he started looking at porn ALL THE TIME! Hours and hours per day. Then he’d try to initiate sex with me. It made me feel less than. Made me feel like I couldn’t compete even though he never said anything disparaging about me. But it made me feel like a convenient hole and hurt my self worth. Instead of speaking about his hurt and feelings of rejection he turned to porn to escape and it damaged our marriage. My biggest regret is that neither of us was brave enough to talk about it and then h went and cheated. And now he is leaving. My big take away is say what you mean no matter how uncomfortable it may be. ?

      • HeatDeath – on the porn issue: In my opinion, if you don’t have a partner and want to use porn for sexual release, I see no problem with that. I think the problem comes when you replace porn with human interation. When you rely heavily on porn for a period of time, I think it desensitized you to the fact that a sex partner is a human being – not an actress. Porn is one dimensional and the girl pretty much does what you want her to do when you want her to do it with no effort or emotion on your part.

        Real women don’t orgasm when you touch their elbow. In fact, most real women don’t enjoy getting hammered away at like you see in porn. I think many men watch porn and think that’s what women want. But really, most porn is made with men in mind. Cum shots to the face? Kind of degrading.

        I guess what I’m trying to say is porn is a slippery slope. Like most things in life if it’s used in moderation, it’s fine. When it’s abused, it can completely skew your view of sex and women. If you are looking to have a future relationship with a real woman, I’d tread lightly if I were you.

  • I am at my two year mark this month from my Dday (there were more I just did not know). I am still bad in my head lots of the time and directly from what is being said here. My logical mind knows but my spirit very hurt.

    I am working on forgiving myself for being in the position to hear such cruel stuff from my ex and staying for more. No boundaries for sure.

    His devalue to me began as I approached 40 and went non stop from there. I think back now and he was one of those that could put you down and then turn it and your brain never really processed it happened but your spirit surely did.

    I heard it all. When you turn 40 I am gonna get me two 20 year olds. No sex because it was like watching the same movie over and over. Ah… I ate too much, I should this or that… (was never fat). Pointed out flaws as I aged throughout.. Never ever allowing me to even find them for myself and go through the human process of accepting aging. Nope that bastard was right on it. Any wrinkle or blemish was brought to my attention.

    Today, my logical mind knows, my heart is still drowning in the hurts and my spirit crushed. I can only hope I get to MEH soon or some form of it. Funny, it is actually speeding up the aging process I think.

    I always imagined me to be like my Mom and Grandmother.. a really neat cute old lady. Never until my ex see it as something to be left for and belittled beyond what is humane.

    I struggle now with the acceptance that I was abused. I cannot even believe I am saying it. But I was a victim of abuse for over 20 years. I am ashamed to admit I never knew it or saw it until everything in my world was taken from me and I was left as road kill.

    • InAwe – *THIS* – I think back now and he was one of those that could put you down and then turn it and your brain never really processed it happened but your spirit surely did.

      I can see your experience has been very similar to mine. Hugs.

      • Thank you. Yes, they give with one hand and take with the other. Of course, being a chump, you only ever gave credit to the first hand. It sucks.

  • i told myself the truth, which was that he is a liar and so I should disregard anything that falls out of his mouth.Cheaters must lie to give validity to their cheating hence they will call white black and black white. I never measured my worth off him. I think I am pretty darn cool. I know my faults and I know my strengths and I like myself very much! Dammit!

    I did not seek his validation or approval but compliments were welcome :D. He seemed to think I wanted his validation and approval and seemed baffled when if he insulted me I seemed unfazed or would retort. He seemed to be annoyed that I had my own ideas! ( He would often tell me that the answer I was giving him was not the one I was to give…WTH!) I told him I was in a place where his words had no weight and he could not hurt me. I looked at him objectively.

    Frankly, I would not have anyone like him in my life so disgustingly petty and mean. I tolerated it like most of us in the hopes of change and that ‘aha’ moment, especially since we had children. What I did not know about that aspect of human nature is that ….there will be no change. My values never changed during the time he and I were together, yet I imagined that he would see the error of his ways and change his values. Problem is…there IS no error to his ways.

    Consequently, him accusing me of being what I am not will not change me into what he says. There are not magic words. ” You suck in bed A!” (Poof! A sucks in bed…not) You are fat and no one will want you, B! ( Yea I’m fat but there is no magic in your words to convert B to undesirable). I’ve been unhappy for 35 years! ( LMHO!!! Sorry I can only laugh at that one…only a full-fledged lying ass would drop that one and I hope none of you chumps believe it! Cause it’s a lie! Don’t even go digging in your brains for the moment when it was unhappy. Shut that shit down!)

    Because they say it with conviction, fervor or earnestness will not make their lies true. It doesn’t work that way. Think of him like a politician. They will say ANYTHING!! Sometimes they believe it and sometimes they KNOW that they are talking shit. It is up to you to fall for their garbage. My STBX would be adamant about issues (wrong and strong). I’d wonder if there was something I was missing. Nope. He was just so self-involved that he believed his own hype. He even admitted that he would say and do things because to him it was a gamble to see how much I’d go along with whatever. He admitted that he was at times deliberately mean and an ass just because. He admitted to it while smiling as though it were a happy memory. Sweet Lord Jesus, bless his heart for the insight into the fuck up that is his brain. These peeks into the darkness are well….. if nothing more…. enlightening.

    Play back your loop of lies he told you (we all have our loops) and say the opposite of every lie he has ever told you. Pretend that there is just a stream of garbage flowing from his mouth. Remember these people are liars convinced that the lie is the truth. Believe YOUR own hype!

    We have our regrets for sure. We took our chances with these people, often in our youth when we could never fathom how dark the human soul could be. To be honest I don’t think the cheaters fully knew the darkness of their hearts either. A little compassion for them…as we paddle our life rafts away from the sinking ship. Love!

    • Mandie101, so true. Liars lie. To us, to themselves, to the whores. Ex spewed flattery on his skank about everything. Looks, intelligence, personality, character (yeah, I really had to laugh on that one. While spewing every type of insult imaginable at me, in these same areas, and worse.

      Did he believe all the stuff he was saying? Possibly. Who knows or cares? Does it make any of it true, by him saying it? Hell no. They are like monkeys at the zoo, flinging any shit they can get their hands on, to see what sticks.

    • “…often in our youth when we could never fathom how dark the human soul could be. To be honest I don’t think the cheaters fully knew the darkness of their hearts either. A little compassion for them…as we paddle our life rafts away from the sinking ship…”

      Well said

  • I came to this post a little late, so what I’m about to say might have already been said.

    Here’s what you do:

    Put yourself on Tinder or OK Cupid or another one of those awful dating sites and go out and have sex (safe sex). I know how weird and ridiculous it sounds, but, man, it helped me. I felt ugly and not sexy and fat and frumpy. But, one or two nights with a younger lover certainly cured me and I was able to be confident and lusty again.

    I’m still 15 pounds overweight and have cellulite everywhere, but I feel awesome and hot!

    • Whatever floats your boat but casual strange sex just because is not for me. Ive been with only one man for 30 years and im still not feeling dating. I may never feel it. I got over the devalue by knowing im ten times the person asswipe and his sleep with married men whore will ever be. Unlike him and her pod people they are i kept my promises and my vows and did not make him feel less of a man. They are both whores and it will blow up again one day. I say fuck it before i go to sleep every night. Fuck it and fuck them.

      • Kar Marie, you are so right, you aren’t missing anything. I tried the Casual Sex thing back in the 80s for a bit in my college days. It was the In Thing, but like you, it wasn’t for me. I definitely would not want to do it again. It’s a regret , but you can’t change the past , only learn from it.

        • I agree anita, i tried the casual sex things years ago way before i met asswipe. It was just empty. Get off and get away. I tired of it quickly. Just not for me. I dont know how people do it its just so empty. For me as most girls i know sex is intimate and special. Asswipe approached me for sex cause whore juice threw him out yet again and i guess im familiar and comfortable you know datable! I let him take me to dinner and drinks then turned him away at our old door and just said sorry, i know you ride bareback and i dont know where that screaming penis has been. It and you are just not worth it. The nerve! He said dont you have desires? Yes i said but i know im clean and you lie and shut the door. Date me? I guess i really didnt mean anything to him ever but thats ok im good enough, again smart enough and dog gone it people like me! Just a lying bastard cake eater!

          • Amen to that, Kar Marie. Some guy sending me a picture of his dick then meeting him for sex would do nothing for me. I’m glad I got what little bit of interest I had in casual sex out of my system long ago.

            • Eeeewwww to the dick pics. That would not have impressed when i was 20. Just like you not my thing. They sure do like to admire themselves dont they and god forbid we dont admire and point out how handsome they and their slong is. Every guy i ever knew was, hope they aint all that way. Im not vain in any way but every guy i knew intimately and there werent many were like that. Bad picker i guess. Im thankful there werent smart phones in my heyday. As useful as a tool they are seems just easier to cheat too. When and or if i get to retire, thanks a load asswipe, i will have a cell phone for help im stuck and nothing else anyone wants to see or talk to me, call my house phone stop by or just write me a damn letter.

  • Now I’m totally questioning my entire marriage. I’m not sure if I was the narc or he is. When we were first married I was the lazy one and he was the one doing housework. I’m the one that is the emotional boo hoo baby. I lost a lot of interest in sex once he closed off emotionally. And it seems to have turned into a vicious cycle. It felt like he resented and hated me. But wanted more sex. But who wants to have sex with someone resentful? I would try when he said he wanted more but get burnt out when I didn’t get anything in return for trying. Then he’d eventually say he wanted more and I’d try again. Apparently my not initiating made him feel like I didn’t love him. And his emotional disconnect and resentment made me feel unloved too. I always loved him and still do. But he says he was swept away because the whoremat made him feel loved. And then he cheated. I’m still devastated. And now he is leaving to move in with her. After 5 months of texting and screwing twice. Really?! I know the cheating had nothing to do with me and if he’d just CLEARLY told me what he actually wanted and why things would be so different. I feel like it’s all my fault even though I know rationally it isn’t.

    • I’ve had the same doubts as you. Did my behavior trip things off, starting a viscious cycle. Maybe I was too emotionally distant, or too self-absorbed? You can read descriptions of narcissistic behavior and easily see bits and pieces of yourself in them, and wonder just who the narc was.

      There’s a simple answer.

      The narc is the one who cheats.

      You didn’t cheat. Whatever other flaws you may have had, and no one’s perfect, you didn’t go looking for strange genitals. You took your vows seriously.

      Probably you weren’t perfect in your marriage. I know I wasn’t.

      But we didn’t cheat. And that matters. Never forget that.

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