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Dear Chump Lady, How do I get over losing the dream?

familyDear Chump Lady,

It’s been 2 weeks since I found out I was a chump. After 7 years together, 1.5 in marriage my husband stated he was unhappy and wanted out. Stunned, since we were trying to get pregnant and happy I thought… I asked why he was unhappy and after some “I don’t knows” he also mentioned he’d been cheating on me since we met with > 10 people.

I’ve been told I am lucky that we don’t have kids and that he came clean now. I don’t feel lucky.

My question is how do I get over this shock? We were planning a family which I’d been dreaming of and now it’s just all gone. I’m obsessing over the future I thought was almost here. He doesn’t have family and I was excited to build our traditions, but he has lied our entire relationship and is not trying to repair it now.

I know I must leave him — one D-Day with 10 bombshells is enough, but how can I live knowing the man I love has no family? (Even though he threw me and mine away — I don’t want him to be alone.) He had a terrible childhood (therapist says this explains the need for others due to lack of trust and intimacy issues), but I think he’s taken enough from me and I won’t be his martyr. I promised to love him and the thought of him alone makes me sad. That and the fear of never finding another love make me want to stay.

How can I move on from obsessing over a future that will never be and the fear of never getting to have the family I dreamed of?

Happy Independence Day?


Dear Chumptastic2.0,

The thought of him alone makes you sad? Not to worry. He won’t be alone. He has fuckbuddies one through ten. (And is probably on various dating sites looking for more.)

If the thought of him being spiritually alone, careening from one shallow encounter to the next makes you sad? Don’t let it. His soul is not your problem.

How can I live knowing the man I love has no family?

Some day you’ll live in gratitude that you never bred with this person. I know, I’m sorry to join the chorus of “you’re lucky you didn’t have kids with him,” but really C2.0 — you’re fortunate you didn’t have kids with him. Eventually, painfully, you’re going to stop loving him and start getting angry and see him more clearly. And when that day comes? You’ll thank the sweet Lord Jesus that you have no ties to him. And you will pity any child unfortunate enough to have a fuckwit serial cheater for a father.

On the face of it, it’s noble to consider his future and his FOO issues. Enough of me and my pain! He must be in deep, horrible psychic pain to do this to me! How he must suffer! What a wretched childhood he must’ve had! His intimacy issues! His lack of trust! How he must miss the tender comforts a family could bring! I’m the One True Loving Soul Who Can Reach Him and he is casting me out!

Stop it, C2.0 — this is pure chump think. You’re focusing on HIS welfare over your own. You’re projecting your values on to him — that he cares about love and commitment and family. That he’s lost.

He’s not lost. He navigated himself to fuckbuddies one through ten with pure agency. And it made him so “unhappy” that he did it again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. These were CHOICES. He wasn’t compelled by deep, subterranean forces of fuckupedness. He did it because he wanted to. Because he cared more about an easy lay than he did your well-being.

A show of hands from Chump Nation of those who had wretched childhoods? How many people grew up in dysfunction only to be solid citizens? Not perfect ones, but tax-paying, job-holding, child-raising, adult-coping grown ups?

I’m sorry he had a crap childhood. I’m sorry for his five-year-old self, but not his 30-year-old self (or however old he is).  It’s no excuse to inflict his abuse on YOU.

The most decent thing he has done is tell you he wants out and that he cheated. I’ll give him scant decency points for that. Now you don’t have to spend your life being his chump. You can get out, you can have that brighter future, and you can have that family.

Let’s take the focus off Mr. Cheater McFOO and put it back on to you — your grief, your lost dreams. When you untangle the skein of fuckupedness — asking yourself why he’s this way, what does it all mean — you divert your energies from the important work of yourself. You cannot untangle his skein, but you CAN rebuild your life after this horrible loss.

How can I move on from obsessing over a future that will never be and the fear of never getting to have the family I dreamed of?

You don’t have a future with him. It hurts like a motherfucker now, but no future with a serial cheater is a good thing. And sweetheart, NONE of us get the family we dreamed of. That’s not how family works. We get a motley assortment of people we may or may not wish to be related to. Sometimes we get children (pushed from our own wombs!) who we have nothing in common with! Who grow up to be BUSINESS majors! Who vote differently, dress appallingly, and listen to music that sounds like strangled cats set to auto-tune.

You might’ve had one narrow idea of what family was going to be, and now life has bitch slapped that dream out of your hands. You are being forced to reinvent and reconsider Family.

Consider that you could have a child with another partner. You could single parent. You could adopt. You could freeze your eggs. You could have step-kids some day. You could foster parent. You could surround yourself with a tribe of artsy bohemians and have drunken Thanksgiving feasts.

So many possibilities, C2.0. And none of them as terrible as living with a cruel man who cheats and discards you. Brighter days are ahead. Grieve your dreams, but don’t grieve him. He doesn’t deserve your loving compassion — you do.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • Chumptastic2.0

    You’ve come to the right place, believe me! I understand that when you’re in the kind of pain you’re in right now it sucks to have a chorus of people telling you how lucky you are. It feels like somehow your pain is diminished; that your hurt isn’t as bad. None of us here in chump nation feel your pain is any less than the rest of ours. Trust me on this one.

    What we do recognize however is dodging a bigger bullet. I am one of the lucky ones in the nation because the ex blew up our marriage after 24 years. (I stayed around for 3 years longer for some of that awesome wreckconciliation-woo hoo!) I say that I’m lucky not because I spent 27 years with a turd, but because our children were safely ensconced in adulthood when all of the shit hit the fan.

    Their in tact family is gone so they probably don’t feel so lucky but I didn’t have to co-parent with him and from what I gather here, that is a giant shit sandwich with NO condiments! You don’t have to do that either and as a bonus you don’t have to spend a quarter of a century with a serial cheater to get to that point.

    The bottom line? When you get saddled with a cheater there is no winning, just different degrees of losing. All of our dreams have been blown up and left for dead so we all understand that pain but we also understand that pain is finite. The fact that you didn’t have children with him just means that pain will end a little quicker for you. Your dream isn’t over, it’s just getting remodeled into something much better!

    Jedi hugs to you!

    • Thanks cheaterssuck- I like that- I will try to focus on remodeling my dreams into something better

      • I’ve recommended this book before, but I will again: “Overcoming Life’s Disappointments,” by Harold Kushner. Also, Pema Chodon’s “When Things Fall Apart.”

    • I also feel like one of the “lucky ones.” My youngest turned 21 just before the final dday. I still experienced the gut-wrenching devastation and stages of mourning, but other chumps horror stories of what their children go through as a result of the cheaters behavior is mind-boggling. First dday was after 26 years of marriage so my two things I told myself I was thankful for was that my kids were adults and I caught him after 26 years of marriage and not 36 years.

      • My marriage to AssWipe lasted 36 years! He was in the process of moving his Ho worker in, harassing me out of my home and taking over all the assists in it, cashing out on all his retirement accounts that he kept secret. He wanted a divorce with NO LAWYERS! I was a stay at home mom ready to enter retirement with a narcissist…. I was in deep denial and didn’t know what a respectful loving relationship was! 1 year divorced and 2 years separated I am sad to see how good my life could have been if I left him in the beginning of the marriage when he first was caught cheating on me (during my first pregnancy)! He was always an asshole!

        • Why the no lawyer divorce? Mine wanted the same. Know what? Forget I asked. I’m asking you to explain crazy and it’s not fair to you .

    • “When you get saddled with a cheater there is no winning, just different degrees of losing.”

      Well said!

  • Thanks CL and everyone for your support. This site has been so helpful to me as I lay awake trying to come to grips with my new reality. The pain is just so incredible and I’m in awe of those who had to learn similar news with children. I was completely blindedsided he clearly had a double life but with me he was kind at least for much of the time. The one thing that is preventing me from signing a lease on a new apt is knowing his terrible history and thinking that no one showed him love and maybe I could be that person to show him unconditional love. But your right I’m just projecting what I want (and what he said he wanted for years). All of his actions refute this. I don’t want to wait years to see if he can change. I already gave him 7. We went to one couples therapy session but I think I’m done. This is his problem not mine. It’s just so hard to believe this man who I love could do this.

    • Everything you are describing fits exactly with the feelings I felt at first, so you have my compassion. It has only been a couple of weeks, so everything is still super raw and it’s really hard to see down the road from here.

      Personally, I don’t think you really get over the dream as much as you slowly wake up from it, which takes time. Not what we want to hear when the pain is so acute, I know.

      My cheater was cold and indifferent for a while after D-Day #1, then he had a big epiphany and wanted to do counseling, I was the best thing that had ever happened to him and he could see it now, he wanted to work on his FOO stuff and be a better man, etc., and I went right for it. He said everything I wanted to hear and I opened my heart and tried again with everything I had.

      It became clear, later, that he was just creating romance, another dream, another drama, and keeping my support in his life, and once the novelty wore off, he was off to another fantasy, again. (Ok, another 100 fantasies… there are ALWAYS more than they admit. Always.)

      The thing is, even if it IS FOO stuff, that kind of work takes YEARS and you’re a mess the whole time you’re getting through the critical pieces of it. The work is never over. It isn’t even satisfying for a long time. It is very, very hard for a fantasy prone person to stick with it. Most can’t. Nothing offers less novelty in life than your old baggage you’ve carried around since you were small. Many people never get there. You could wait forever and it would never happen. THAT is really losing your dream.

      All you can really do now is work on keeping clarity and building a foundation so you can be more motivated by reality than dreams, more interested in what’s true than in what appears to fit what you hope is true. Build you. Don’t get distracted by anyone’s potential. Potential isn’t happening and it doesn’t offer you anything.


      • This: “Personally, I don’t think you really get over the dream as much as you slowly wake up from it, which takes time.”

      • Your comments on working through FOO issues is terrific. I was facing mine and finally getting to the emotional factors in my major depressive disorder when my ex bailed. It just wasn’t fun to be around, you know? I sometimes wonder if it would have been better to have stayed in the dark rather than figuring some of this stuff out. I’m three years into the work and it still sucks a lot of the time; being left after the first year certainly didn’t help my feeling too broken to love.

        I think I was able to finally face my stuff because for the first time in my life I felt safe. Turns out reality wasn’t nearly as safe as I perceived it to be, and it underlines how important it is to find safety in ourselves rather than through other people. Still working on that part.

        • “Turns out reality wasn’t nearly as safe as I perceived it to be, and it underlines how important it is to find safety in ourselves rather than through other people.”

          Beautifully said WhichWayDidSheGo, and I’m working on this too!

    • I understand. When you find out about cheating, it literally hits you in the gut, and all over the body. You are dealing with a death, the death of who you thought they were, what you thought you meant to them, what you thought your life would be, you questions your own judgement. It’s a death alright, yet the person is still alive, right there. There in body, gone in spirit.

      Allow yourself the rollercoaster of emotions – all of them – and don’t put pressure on yourself to get over it in a certain amount of time. You can still be empathetic and love him – but from a safe distance. 10 times is A LOT. This speaks volumes about his character!!!

      Him admitting it to you – is actually giving you an OUT. Take it. You said “I don’t want to wait years for him to change”. Smart girl. At his rate, it will be a lifetime. And think about how much you would suffer in the process, while he was ‘changing’.

      You are in the right place. We know the pain. And the trauma. And it IS trauma.

      Wishing you healing…….

      • It feels like a death because your dream has died, the dream of a loving, committed husband. Grieve that dream, mourn as you must. Then, build a new and better dream for yourself, one based the knowledge that you deserve so much more. Like so many here, it was devastating to learn the person I spent my entire adult life with was never who I thought he was. I also worried whether he would be okay. Today, I understand that he used my love against me. My dreams are just as important to me now, but they no longer include him.

    • You can still offer him unconditional love, just not as a spouse. Detach with love, as the saying goes for those who love an addict. You don’t have to stop loving him. You don’t have to stop caring. You can still feel sad for the things he’ll never have because he rejected them. The important thing is to feel those things from a distance. I still feel all of those things for my ex, and I know that he is deeply lost in a sea of his own misery. Many people have shown him the way out and he ignored every one of us. He has to find his own way and experience his own losses. It IS sad. It’s been well over 2 years for me and I still mourn the future I envisioned and the second child we were about to try for. But the future does come, so stop telling yourself that you’ve lost your future. You have not. You just lost a *version* of your future.

      It’s OK to sign your lease. This is what he chose, and you must react to protect yourself. Let him be alone, because it’s clear that he will never grow if you stay together. Someday regret may smack him upside the head. Maybe it won’t. You can’t make those choices for him.

      • Free Vixen is so right. Chumptastic2.0, I feel much of the same for my XH the substance abuser (not a cheater, so far as I know). I think of what he threw away, I think of how deeply lonely he is, and then I think: he chose this. It’s not my job to fix his life.

        That’s codependent thinking–that it is our job to “fix” the life of someone else, to make up for the bad childhood or the abuse or the broken heart when he was 15. When you pin your happiness to “fixing” the life of someone else, you get into the kind of situation you are in now. Either he finally discards you (as happened to you after a decade of relationship) or he gaslights you and strings you along for a few more decades, until your options are gone.

        Your job, as CL tells you, is to get back in your own shoes and live your life. Figure out how you ended up picking a cheater. Look to see if there is a pattern of “fixing” people. Figure out what will make you happy. I always wanted kids and that never happened for me. I didn’t do the work of figuring myself out; I was busy remodeling people who were broken, who never carried their own weight, who “needed” me. In my case, the kid who needed love and attention from me was ME. You are young enough that some work with a really good therapist who understands infidelity and codependency might be all you need to reset yourself and get back out there and live a full life. It’s in that living that a healthy partner is likely to appear, but you have to do the work of healing first.

        • Thanks. My Job is to fix people and I’ve spent a decade putting myself last to complete training. I do not want to spend my personal time doing the same so I need to explore this with a therapist.

      • I used to have a friend who would jokingly say “I DO love you unconditionally — from waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyy over here!” That has always given me a giggle. 🙂

    • Hi,
      I wasn’t going to post but when I read this in your letter, I knew I had to write.

      “knowing his terrible history and thinking that no one showed him love and maybe I could be that person to show him unconditional love.”

      This could be me 100% writing that 5 months ago. Please, please, please don’t think your love can fix him, trust everyone here on that. For 6 exhausting years, I thought my nice, calm normal life, love and family would show him what a family could be, “fix” his terrible childhood also. It never fixed one little thing for him. I found out 4 different times he was cheating with the same skank and I was positive I could turn it around because I was the one he “loved”. Can you hear the angels singing?? : ) They don’t want to fix anything, they don’t want to work that hard, they just want attention. They want everyone’s unconditional love, it doesn’t matter who gives it. Please believe you are not special to him and I’m not saying that in a mean way. In their minds, they are the only special ones, their needs and wants come before anyone, even their children.

      Please lease that apartment, have NO CONTACT, believe me, no contact has saved me. Any time you want to have contact, just think of his smug face and laughter that he has power and control over you. Take your power back, live a wonderful, happy life.

      I am 20 weeks out, believe me, there are so many more good days now than bad days. And any bad day now is so much better than a good day with him, with all the worrying, walking on egg shells, wondering if he is talking with her, seeing her, having sex with her, etc. Take a deep breath, count your blessings and move on, rise up with your self-respect intact. Don’t waste another second on him.

      I would like to write more but running out of time. Your post just struck me in the heart-please believe Maya Angelou “When somebody shows you who they are, believe them the first time” This is the truest thing anyone has ever said.

      Take care, I’ll be thinking of you.

      • WISurvivor is so right–the “cure” rate for personality disorders is under 5%. They count on our conscientiousness to keep us around, “I CAN fix him/her with love and tenderness and understanding!!!”

        Nope. If clinical psychologists with 20 years practice under their belt can’t “cure’ the disordered, how can any of us possibly hope to do so. They will PRETEND that we are helping them; everyone in my X’s family thought I was making him a better person. All I was doing was improving his impression management while his cheating & pathology became more and more warped behind the scenes.

    • I’m chiming in a day late but I wanted to tell you to run. You will NEVER be able to love him enough, support him enough, or make him happy. Ask me how I know. The best thing you can do for yourself is to get out of there because people like him can never be satisfied. People like this are emotional vampires who will drain you dry. Save yourself.

    • Unconditional love for another person has a place, but I don’t believe that it should apply to a spouse. The place that it may sit, may be with a child. But love in the romantic sense, is, I think, best to be conditional.

      Conditional based on respect
      Conditional based on equity (of acts of kindness)
      Conditional based on how you can balance one another in a healthful way

      If those conditions are being abused, then that perpetrator isn’t deserving of your love.

    • I hope you do sign the lease. As you begin to detach from him, you will be glad you are in a new apartment. I had those thoughts that I needed to give unconditional love too. I took a class on boundaries at my church, which used the book “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend. In the book, the example person had a husband who got angry. She felt that she needed to “love her husband out of his anger.” By the end of the book, she realized that she couldn’t love her husband out of his anger. He needed to take responsibility for his own actions. He’s the only one who could control himself. In a way, by being more loving, she was actually rewarding bad behavior. Setting boundaries with her husband, refusing to allow him to take his anger out on her was more successful. I mention the book because it helped me to learn that it is ok, loving even, to set boundaries with someone who is taking advantage of me. Sometimes, those boundaries mean an individual is no longer in my life and that’s ok. They will be fine and so will I.

    • Chumptastic2.0, I have no wisdom for you, only commiseration. I am six weeks out, with no kids as well. My husband also had a horrible, abusive childhood, and I thought that I could give him the family and love he always deserved. Although he didn’t cheat with multiple people (instead, he had an affair with a mutual friend — he’s still with her now), I know how you feel. I am mourning the future I thought we’d have, the children I thought were going to come into our lives soon. I know that getting past this will be essential in the days to come. I keep thinking, 9 years down the drain. At 31, I feel like I have no future, and that I will never find love again. Even if intellectually I know that isn’t true, I still feel it right now, to the depth of my soul. You aren’t alone!

  • So C2.0, imagine you had achieved your dream of having a family and spent years in what you thought was total bliss only to find out ten to fifteen years later that your loving husband has been screwing around the whole time! Now he has you “stuck” to him via kids and huge negotiating power because, oh yes, they will use the children as pawns in a divorce! Imagine getting him to actually pay child support or having to share your precious child with the skank of the week. I know you are heartbroken and the wound is fresh, but you dodged a huge bullet! You may not feel it right now, but you are lucky! You can make a clean break from this fool!

    • Or thirty years later- all the history and living a duplicitous life for that long. The shame that I was duped for that long is overwhelming. Destroys not just your life but the kids as well. You Dear, are one of the lucky ones. You may not feel that way now, but eventually you will.

      • C2.0, I agree with willowchumpx30. I am newly divorced with 3 grown kids. I discovered I was a chump 3 years ago after giving my cheater FORTY YEARS of my life! It’s hard. It’s devastating, but heed what you are hearing here. He did you a favor by leaving you. You are still young with your life ahead of you! Remember, everything he did was a CHOICE! Don’t feel sorry for him. Leave all that up to God. Try to stay total no-contact. It will be the ONLY way you will heal. Blessings to you. You WILL heal.

        • As for me, it was 46 years. Our two adult children are just as mortified. My daughter-in-law said to me, BA, you weren’t the only one hurt. You will move on through the pain and grief, but be grateful. It could end up being your entire adult life and it will be a complete sham. You deserve SO much more than what he chooses for your life. Hugs.

          • C2.0, at this time it’s an all-consuming grief you’re feeling. Give it time… all the time it needs. And no one can tell you how long to take. Your idea of a man, a family and a life has now completely vanished. No wonder you are feeling such loss and bewilderment and countless other emotions, no doubt.

            Let them. Feel those feelings, and grieve. And keep reading here at Chump Lady.

            I completely agree with what’s already written… in time, you’ll come to appreciate the fact that you didn’t have kids with him. I find myself thinking about the fact that I have kids with the ex and wonder if I had my time again, would I listen to those warning bells…? Honestly, that’s tedious to think about, because I love my kids so much… but it’s a recurring thought nonetheless.

            My cheater Pumpkin-eater announced his departure one night, after work, as I was getting dinner ready for our two toddlers and about to breastfeed my youngest.

            This was two years ago and in the time that’s passed, I’ve come so far. I’m a new person. I’m stronger than I thought I was and life is mine again, instead of being subservient to him.

            Yes, I still feel the feels about “wasting” 12 years with this person like the other commenters above (so i have a glimpse of the intense anger they express after “wasting” 30, 40… years with their cheaters), but I’m now VERY glad, that I’m a single parent to three gorgeous, intense, intellient, busy, chaotic, messy, playful, crazy little kids. No one expects it to be easy and it damn sure isn’t. But they’re mine. I call almost all the shots now and I’ve found myself in the process.

            Hugs, and hang in there. x

    • As to how to move on and forget? Sadly there is no magic bullet. Cry, rage, read, exercise, talk, therapy etc. I’ve done it all. You will find that this place is probably the most helpful. I have been through three therapists. None more helpful than the ladies and gentlemen on this site. I am still not over it and probably never will be. the hardest part is detaching emotionally with someone you spent loving and trusting (for me it was more than half my life) only to discover they are someone else entirely. A Chimera. Fog and mirrors. I wish you the best. come back to CL and read everything you can. It will guide you through this inferno.

  • I’m so very sorry!! I was with my ex husband for 14 years when I found out the same. Cheating the entire time. 6 when I found out. Like 6 at the same time. Ewe. 2 kids & pregnant…trust me, not having kids with him is a giant blessing!! He moved to a different state for 2 years. Now he’s back & sees them maybe 4 days a month.

    The hardest part is getting your brain around the fact that they aren’t who you thought, and your dreams of that family are over. But you get to never have to see him again! This is a GIANT plus. Divorce him, get some therapy…and read here.

    Hugs! This is a bitch to navigate. Don’t worry about him, worry about you. He’s the one that chose to be a douche canoe. These are his choices. Mine had a fucked up family too. His siblings are happily married not cheating…his CHOICE!

  • C2.0, you’re free; FREE! Nothing to bind you or tie you to this lying, manipulative, disrespectful cheater. Your future is bright and your possibilities are endless. Happy Independence Day!

  • I felt sorry for my ex when he left me for the AP too. I cried because she couldn’t possibly know he liked mustard on one side and mayo on the other. And she wouldn’t know he likes real butter and all of the vegetables on his sandwiches. When I cried about all of this in front of my therapist his jaw dropped. I got over it later and now laugh at my ridiculous old chumpy self. It’s natural to have loving feelings for him still. But try real hard to ignore those feelings because he is not crying over you being alone and having to make your own sandwiches. You won’t always feel like this. I promise. Heal yourself. Get therapy, get exercise, surround yourself with friends and family. Focus on yourself and not that cheating selfish POS!!

  • Would you have accepted this sort of behavior (knowingly) while dating? I suspect not. It is clearly who this guy is. To stick around is just to invite more pain and suffering caused by him into your life. Cheaters cheat. Liars lie. It is what they do. Best to get away from that!

    • Thanks. He was doing this while we were dating but I just found out now. I would have not married him knowing this. I feel as though our marriage was not even real because it was all based on lies.

      • I’m so sorry for what you are going through C2.0. What everyone is saying is true, even though it hurts like hell to hear it. My now ex was (is) a pathological liar and a cheater (not sure if there were any physical affairs — he did go to Canada at least 10x to get naked lap dances, so I think that’s cheating — but for sure he’s had many, many, many emotional affairs.) I totally understand what you are saying, “our marriage was not even real because it was all based on lies.” I have felt that way too. I went through a long stage of trauma and one of the symptoms was cognitive dissonance — going over and over stories and wondering which one was real. I’ve come to the conclusion that I WAS REAL, My memories area real even though they are tainted now by fake person that I used to love. This fake person who is now rewriting history, telling me he “hasn’t been happy in ten years, but didn’t know it.” I don’t believe him one bit and I never will. I gave my best to our marriage. My best wasn’t perfect and I like everyone in the world makes mistakes and tries their best not to do it again. Once again, I’m sorry this is happening to you. It sucks. ((((HUGS)))) to you.

        • Martha, with some recent posts, I’ve been struck by the similarities of our situations! I don’t have proof either that The Entitled One ever had any physical affairs, although I’ve got plenty of suspicions. That’s another crazy-making thing, isn’t it? I stumble with how to describe his actions to people, but I finally decided to just go with “affairs.” What he did was most definitely cheating, and when I go into detail about his actions it shocks the hell out of people, so “affairs” seems like a good enough euphemism.

          I just deleted the rest of my post where I detailed all the things I do know about, plus the stuff I recently found out about, but I feel like such a boundaryless chump that I don’t want to publish it. Ugh. Back to working on why the hell I stayed so long.

          • Hi BetterDays, Yeah, it’s close to impossible to ever figure out whether it was ever physical or not. I seriously don’t care anymore. I truly don’t. Before my oldest sister came out here (I live in NY and she lives in WI), she went to her pastor for advice as to how to support me (gosh, I love her so much!) and she told her pastor what my X said in the Divorce Letter — “I want to be with someone who trusts me 100%. You can’t give me what I want. 100% trust.” Her pastor said right away, “He’s cheating and this isn’t the first time.” He was my first UBT!! 🙂 It was hard to hear this from my sister. I so wanted to believe all his bs words to me were true, but they weren’t. My X still believes that an affair is only physical. Well, it’s not. He’s been cheating on me emotionally since before we got married. He’s always had “other women”, whether they were physical or not, I don’t know. That’s between him and God now. All I know is that he married me. He promised God, me and our family and friends that he’d be true to me. He NEVER was. He continuously had other women when I wanted from him — time and attention. When I asked for attention from him, he punished me. A few years ago I was honest and told him I was jealous of his job. I was grasping at straws, trying to figure out what the heck was wrong. So the next night, I was in our bed reading a book. Pretty standard night. He sat at the end of the bed and didn’t say anything to me. Really angry like I was asking him to do something he didn’t want to do. He didn’t say, “Martha, how was your day? Martha, come over here and snuggled with me. Martha, let me tell you about my day.” It was all punishing. He’s such a creep and I’m so thankful that I never have to put up with his mind-games anymore. His cheater, slut who he went out for a drinks date with him, a married man until almost 1:30 in the morning — that’s what he deserves. His cheater, slut who was married by so my now XH for coffee before work, even though it wasn’t business related — that’s what he deserves. He NEVER deserved me. I’m not perfect at all. But I KNOW I was the best wife and mom I could be. Not perfect, but trying to be good. So happy not to be dancing the dance anymore.

            BetterDays, please don’t delete anything (I didn’t know you could!!). I feel that CN is a safe place to vent and tell things like it is. CN is my only safe place now. No one truly understands my story besides here. I was told over a year ago to “put on my big girls undies” and “pull up my boots” and just get over it. No one understands the years of mindfuckery more than CN. I will grieve on my own time. I don’t EVER want to get into such a toxic relationship with a toxic man and a fake family again. I truly FAILED to pay attention to their actions. Their actions spoke constantly that I didn’t matter and that they truly didn’t love me. I bent over backwards for them on so many occasions, but in the end I got thrown out like garbage. I TOTALLY agree that they suck.

        • Martha and BetterDays, you have just written about my life. There were many many many “emotional” affairs, , ALWAYS other women, flirtings, coffees, drink nights, even love bites on his neck that they were just having fun, nothing happened and I had to get over it, that I lost count. Even before we got married. When I think back at it, I am just astounded by what he did and yes I raise my hand, I put up with it because I thought I was being a good wife, loving him with everything I had. Chumpy me!! He made a promise to me to love and honour me all the days of my life but instead he loved himself too much to bother about anyone else even his own kids and then to just get discarded after nearly 20 years together. He packed up and left while I was at work one day for the last “affair”. Still states she was only just a friend but I found him at her place a week after he left.

          It has been over 5 years now and I am at MEH and absolutely no contact but still get days where I go “what the hell”!! I often wonder why I stayed so long, there were sooo many red flags. Yep, they totally SUCK!

        • just reading this makes me feel a little better, I’m going through cognitive dissonance too, I guess. 18 years and I was clueless, even with all the red flags. never thought he’d cheat, his last wife cheated on him! Now in the middle of an ugly divorce where he wants to destroy me, and here I am going over my memories wondering always wondering.

      • You entered into marriage truthfully and faithfully. He did not. Remember that you control only you. YOUR side of the marriage was built on truth. HIS side? Not so much.

        Remember this when you start to feel sorry for him. He had a chance at a genuine, loving, relationship. He pissed on that at least 10 times.

      • ” I feel as though our marriage was not even real because it was all based on lies.”: Well, yes. You hit it right on the head. One of you got married and took the vows and made the promises seriously. The other didn’t. So now you’re out and have a chance after only 1 1/2 years to fix your picker and try again.

  • “How can I move on from obsessing over a future that will never be and the fear of never getting to have the family I dreamed of?”

    You still obsess over that future, you just think about it with a person that shares your values and wants the same things you want.. that dream family. Not a poser.

    I have the 30 years and three kids thing before I discovered my wife is a pathological liar and cheater. I know it’s hard to hear, and I’m sorry you are here.. but this is a blessing in disguise as they call it. Hate that term, because it usually means ‘shit sandwich’, but it also means that short term you feel pain but long term you look back and say ‘wow, dodged that bullet’.

    • Just FYI, Raging, I came up with my name when I encountered one of STBXH’s ex fuck buddies in a store (I’d never met her but she recognized my children, who were with me) and she approached me and went on about how “nobody in the community respects STBXH” and “everybody was on my side” etc., etc., and I said, “Well, maybe his departure was a blessing in disguise.”

      Still a shit sandwich with no condiments, but best now rather than 24 or 30 or 36 years from now. 🙂

  • Please Chumptastic2.0, listen with your head right now and not your heart. You are probably a sweet, loving person who strongly identifies with the hurting, but right now—YOU are hurting. Be that loving, understanding support to yourself. Your ex? He will move on to more and more sex partners because he can’t attach deeply to people. Don’t project your values of family and intimacy on him. Listen to Chump Lady–she’s seen and heard this all before and her words are wise. Now that he’s shown you who he is–believe him. And get yourself free.

  • Chumptastic2.0, please stop and recognise that you’re still only 2 weeks post D-Day, and the way you feel now will not be how you feel in future. It won’t be how you feel in 6 months time, and it certainly won’t be how you feel in 2, 5, 10 years time. So be kind to yourself and don’t expect that you should be able to accept the situation you find yourself in.

    I try not to use cliches, because the problem with them is that people have heard them so many times that the words lose the impact of their meaning. But here we go: truly your world has been turned upside down. I can’t think of another way to put it. The person you thought was your life partner, the person you thought you knew, the future you thought you had is no more. After my own D-Day, I described it as a ‘daytime nightmare’. It didn’t feel real. You can’t blame yourself for still being lost in where you were only a matter of days ago. That still probably feels more real than the reality that you find yourself in. But sadly, and I’m so sorry, this is real and this is reality. We’ve all been there.

    Try to read up on the change curve, I think it was invented by the wonderful Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in relation to bereavement, and also used in the context of organisational change. Get yourself a counsellor / therapist. Talk, talk, talk to your friends until it sinks in. I genuinely thought I’d skipped past the shock and denial stage of the change curve by the time I was 2 weeks in. I thought because I was talking about it matter-of-factly, I wasn’t angry and I was even showing people the love notes from the AP I’d found, that I was already past denial and shock and I was actually in the acceptance phase. Oh no. How wrong I was. Being able to say out loud that your husband is a cheater and your marriage is over doesn’t mean you’ve accepted it, it has to happen at a much deeper level, which you can only achieve through time – and putting one foot in front of the other.

    Be kind and patient with yourself. You are going to grieve. It’s going to take a long time. But as Chump Lady says, pain is finite. There is an end in sight.

    In the years to come, you will not regret not having children with your cheater. I promise you. I say that as someone with similar (relationship / marriage) timelines to you, but with two children. I don’t regret my children, I love them so much, but I regret choosing someone with my cheater’s character, as with yours, to be the father of my children. I regret that I’ll never be able to get away from him. I regret that, as much as I longed to be a mother, I got my wish, but I now have no life partner. I’m a single mum. It’s scary. You have a second chance. You have the chance to be loved properly, the way you should be. You are free to meet the man who will cherish you and will be your partner and your children’s father.

    It might all seem impossible now, and so far away. But you have a genuine chance for happiness now.

    Be kind to yourself. Now, this time is all about you. Put your needs first. You only have one life. Be happy.

    • This is everything I’m feeling. My life partners, the person I promised and planned to love forever had no intention of ever doing the same even from the beginning. Said he married me because he thought he could change but that didn’t even last a few months before he was cheating again. I’m finding it so hard to be patient with myself.

      • “I’m finding it so hard to be patient with myself”. Congratulations on making progress already!

        The key is to take your focus off of him and start understanding yourself. His bundle of problems are not yours to solve. Healthy partners show up willing to take ownership for their own issues. He isn’t someone who can do that. You, however, are writing CL and processing questions about your own feelings and behavior. Keep the focus on you because it’s the only thing in this equation you can change. You got this!

      • None of this is your fault, you thought loving unconditionally was enough. I am sorry to say this, but you not only have to recover your emotional and physical health (yes, the pain is physical, and living with a narcissist takes a toll on your body even if you may not realize it now) but you have to study! Yes, you have to study why you attracted such a person, what you need to know about your strengths and virtues to protect yourself and not fall into another cheaters trap in the future, especially if you are thinking about having children. Study yourself, study what other people like you have done to recover, study what narcs and psycopaths are like, get a study group together with one or two friends who have gone through the same thing. (You would be amazed how many of us are out there) and help each other learn about relationships and what it takes to find a good one for you! I am two and a half years out of final DDay and a year after divorce and my study group plus reading CL (and CN´s advice) has helped me dodge a few more bullets after Dday because now I listen very carefully to what people say and also check their actions more than their words. If I am insecure about something (like attraction factor or sex-brain wants me to get into a relationship, but gut is telling me otherwise) I tell the actions and events to my support group and they help me get through it. My biggest crush this year added a few more red flags ( being stingy or telling me that he had four “unborn” children from different women) which were not revealed until I went out with him several times. If I had not been careful about studying him and taking time to really think about what he did and said, I might have gotten in another bad relationship because at the beginning he felt perfect: so interesting, exciting, handsome!!

        Please be careful, take care of yourself and STUDY! We often take more time in learning about a car or home we will invest money and time in, than we do about relationships (in which we invest much more money and time, plus our souls!

      • “the person I promised and planned to love forever had no intention of ever doing the same.”

        This is so crucial to remember. You were there, you took your vows seriously.

        He did not, and that is not at all due to anything you have done. It is due to his character, believe him when he says “he thought he could change but that didn’t even last a few months before he was cheating again.”

        His cheating has nothing to do with you, it is due to his lack of morals and character.

        It is so difficult for our heart to catch up with our heads when it comes to removing our love-colored glasses and put down the hopium pipe. Fortunately C2.0, CL and CN are here, we all share the same pain, being betrayed by our spouse is shattering. And we all share the conviction that the pain is finite, and that although painful and very costly in energy and efforts, all chumps can create a better post-cheater life.

        I found Luz’s post on self-care so very helpful as a starting point –

        Be gentle with yourself, and please keep using the forum and comment on the blog as you go through these challenging stages of chump grief. You will get there C2.0, it is a rough road, but one that leads to tremendous growth and better discernment on creating a peaceful life you can be proud of.

        • Maybe we never quite get over the dream or what was done especially since the m effer isnt one bit sorry. But you know im done trying to get over it cause i dont think i ever will. But i am getting past it little by little, and one day i will just let it all go, ive let lots of whats been done go, i will not forget and i will definately not forgive. Forgive me yes, asswipe, no. But im moving on and moving past. I know i didnt do a damn thing to be cheated on and treated in this manner. Problems and issues should have been solved openly and honestly which i was prepared to do. But not asswipe, oh no, not him or whore juice for that matter. It saddens me he will never be that better father, brother, or human. But hes a pod. Hes miserable, and nasty and a general grouchy shit head and gives it to whore juice in spades. He only cares about his dick and his wallet and theres not one positive bone left in his body. He will never be a better man for her. Hes devastated every relationship hes ever had intimate or not and he will end up lonely in the end. His children and family have distanced themselves from his nastiness and thats on him. I will move past, i will be happy again. He wont he will just get worse and again thats on him. I am mighty and i see the meh coming and the day i can say asswipe who?

      • “No intention of ever doing the same even from the beginning.”

        Yeah, that’s what I found out from nowdeadserialcheaterwife’s chat logs after she died.

        She didn’t love me, not really. She was scared, and wanted a kid before her biological clock went off. She may or may not have actually convinced herself she could be happy with me, but yeah, she was dating outside the marriage within 6 months, a year tops.

        She was never really attracted to me at all, she would tell any scuzball on the singles channel who would listen. Apparently my attractive qualities are a chumpy personality, a normal sperm count, and a good job/earnings potential.

    • “I regret that, as much as I longed to be a mother, I got my wish, but I now have no life partner. I’m a single mum. It’s scary.”

      It is scary. It makes me angry, sad, and just plain resentful that I am on my own with parenthood. But being alone is better than the alternative.

  • C.2

    So sorry your dreams ended abruptly after investing years with a serial cheater.

    My advice to you is to seek a therapist who understands narcissistic abuse and trauma. After years of being married to and reproducing with a serial cheater I discovered what made me vulnerable to thus type of relationship and abuse.

    You are a giver and are selfless I can see from your concerns for him. You give love unconditionally. These three together are magnets for narcissistic abuse. You want to go no contact immediately.

  • C2.0, I am quite certain that everyone of us in CN truly understands the hurt and pain you are experiencing. The fact that others have been through worse situations is true but does not imply you hurt any less right now. It is devastating to learn you have loved someone who cannot and does not love you back. I imagine we all experienced that at least once in high school and fervently hoped to never experience it again in life. And yet, here it is again, and this time the pain is being inflicted very intentionally by an adult who should know better. Well, the adult did know better and understood quite clearly the harm he was doing and how deeply it would hurt you. And yet he chose to keep doing it over and over again. Your dreams for the future are NOT gone! You sound young and you have no children to tie you to that asshole. You can still have everything you ever dreamed … just not with this particular person. And as CL points out … that is a really good thing! You can choose someone so much more worthy of your love. Yes, it hurts now and it will for quite some time. But I repeat, your dream is still alive and completely attainable. So do what you need to heal, stop worrying about someone who is nothing but shit on the bottom of your shoe, and know that your future is bright. Hugs.

  • I know what the shock of suddenly seeing the ugly reality behind the mask feels like and even though for me it was several years ago,I remember the soul shuddering pain.My heart goes out to you C2.0 but please don’t do what I did and cling on for more pain.The sooner you let this guy go and focus on yourself,the sooner you will heal.
    The things that help in recovery IMO are the support of good friends and family,a good therapist,exercise,good nutrition,a hobby you enjoy and maybe some meditation.I also made sense of what happened,which was a very similar story to yours,by reading about personality disorders like sociopathy and narcissism.
    You can not love this man into being a decent human being sadly and trying to do so will bring more suffering.CL ‘s advice is spot on.

    • Excellent! “You cannot love this man into being a decent human being.”

  • Dear C2.0,

    Sometimes you do everything right and it still turns out wrong. That’s a hard lesson. I married my best friend after dating for 5 years and being engaged for 2. He had a sucky childhood, a narc mom, etc. My ENTIRE family adored him and we constantly exclaimed over how wonderful it was that he survived such an upbringing to be such a fine, upstanding man. Two children and 25 years of marriage later, it all unraveled. When his current stripper girlfriend called me at 1:30 in the morning a few months ago one of the gems she felt the need to impart was that he had never been faithful in our entire 30+ years together. Although I’m sure lying comes as naturally to her as breathing, I tend to believe that was the truth. The signs were there, I just refused to see them. I bet sometime down the road when you’ve healed some you will see that there were signs that you missed as well. That’s okay. The important thing is to turn your attention from him and his needs to you and your needs. Focus on being true to yourself and what you want out of life. If you’ve been reading here then you know that he won’t change. If he cheated on you throughout your entire relationship, he isn’t going to grow up, grow a conscience, or suddenly develop the capacity for empathy and ultimately the lack of those things is a death sentence for any relationship.

    I hope that you find healing for yourself and can move on with a rewarding and satisfying life with or without a partner. That’s what I hope for all of us here.


  • C2.0 – I’m so sorry this has happened to you – it’s so new and raw you must feel that you’ll never get over it. But you will.

    You ARE lucky you don’t have children with him. Having to send your kids off for weekends with a person who is incapable of love and who you don’t trust to put their needs first is a nightmare you don’t have to experience. If there is anything to be grateful for, it’s that.

    I know your kind heart still worries for him. I’m sure that’s the way he set things up: poor him and his effed up FOO issues. Just remember that being from a shitty family does not mitigate his actions. Even if there is an “explaination” for what he did, does it hurt any less? Does it make the destruction less painful? No, it doesn’t.

    You worry for him not having a family and about his being all alone. You know who’s not worried about that? Him. He obviously does not value family and a support system or he would have protected that. He’s shown you who he is – believe him.

    When the dust settles and your sadness turns more to anger, you’ll be able to move on and find a man who’ll truly cherish you. Take your ovaries elsewhere and be thankful that you can start a family with a man who values family. Hoping you find a true partner in life, not some needy, empty shell of a man. Keep telling yourself you deserve that.

    • Absolutely right about the FOO issues. I’d wager that, to a greater or lesser extent, we all have FOO issues of some description. What we have to do instead is recognise them, and own whatever influence they may have had on us. What you don’t do is allow that damage to perpetuate by inflicting it on other people, be it your partner, or your own children.

      It is absolutely no excuse that he had a bad childhood, for the way he’s treated you. Don’t give him that excuse and don’t tolerate it as an excuse. He has no right to make you a victim.

  • C2.0,

    I am very sorry that you have to experience this. All of us here know what it’s like to “lose the dream.” We just lose it at different stages. I lost mine after my youngest reached 21. The dream I lost when I learned my ex was cheating was for us to retire early, buy a cabin on a lake, and go out every day on our new pontoon boat and fish. Poof. Gone.

    I’m now 50 and was married 28 years. When I was 18, I joined the army. My dream at 18 was to be a kick-ass Military Police Officer. I was. I loved responding to bar fights, arresting drunk drivers, and driving with lights and siren. Whoot!

    I married my ex when I was 22. I readjusted my dream and made room for him. Still a kick-ass MP, but I also wanted to be a wife and give him all the love I had. I never wanted children. It wasn’t my dream. I wanted to stay in the military (and military life is hard on civilians).

    At 24 I changed my dream again and decided I wanted a baby. I made a choice between family and the military and gave up the military.

    Had my husband come to me at 1.5 years into our marriage and told me he was a cheater, even one time, one night stand, with a stranger, and he used protection, and was very, very, very, drunk, I would have left him immediately. I love my boys and I cannot regret having them, but if he would have said that to me at 1.5 years, I would never had them and would have stayed in the army. But, who knows for how long, who I would have met, if I would have had children, whatever.

    I no longer dream about us retiring early. I dream of me retiring early. I haven’t gone beyond that, but I will and who knows what waits for me.

    C2.0, you don’t know what your new dream will be, but it is better than living with the nightmare of someone who does not love you, does not value you, and is actively causing you harm.

    I wish the very best for you, because you will eventually find it.

    • Oh, and as to CL’s shout out as to lousy childhoods, my mother was an alcoholic drug addict who supported her lifestyle with theft and occasionally selling herself. One of my earliest memories was running through the stores distracting the sales lady so she could lift the merchandise. Thankfully my father got full custody.

      Some people had it better than me, some worse. I am an adult now and responsible for the choices I make in life. I don’t care what a psychiatrist says or if they agree or disagree, but nothing gives someone the right to use their childhood as an excuse to do harm to others. There are also plenty of people who had pretty good childhoods and turned out to be murders, rapists, and pedophiles.

      So what choice did your cheater make when given the option of spending resources (time, money, and attention) at home or spending those resources in a matter meant to be harmful? They aren’t called a cheater for nothing.

      • I’m also from a very abusive background but a very wise woman once told me “You are what your parents make you, but if you stay that way…. shame on you.” Truer words have never been spoken. I firmly believe it’s not what we have had happen to us, it’s what we do with it. As Annie said so eloquently, he has had choices. He chose to make shitty ones. That’s on him.

        Not your monkeys, not your circus. Good luck, my friend. We are here for you.

        • I so agree with that woman’s statement!! Especially nowadays, with the advent of internet, there are so many resources and tools available out there to promote our healing. Insurance coverage from our work which offer counseling services. Anyone who wants to heal, has a pretty good array of resources out there. I had NO ONE to talk to when my family was being so cruel and abusive to me. I searched the internet and did intense therapy for 3 years. I’m almost healed from all the abuse they inflicted on me. If you look for help, it is out there.

    • Annie Get Your Gun. I love your username and your kick ass attitude. 🙂

      • Thanks. It’s a good thing I value human life and have a high sense of self-preservation because what idiot would get caught cheating on someone who is always fully armed? Fucktard. That’s who.

  • However your husband got to the way he is, either by his DNA or by environment something retarded his emotional development. There is no way to fix this. He is permanently damaged. You are very lucky that this man had enough humanity left in him to tell you. You could have been another Stacy Peterson. One thing sociopaths do not want is the responsibility of another person. The first time the idea of having a baby was brought up is when he knew he was going to bail on your marriage. He does not know how to bond to other people. You cannot teach him, you cannot love him enough, you cannot medicate him enough to change his basic personality. Once you are out far enough you will look back and thank your lucky stars he told you. He might marry again, and again, and again but each wife is going to suffer the same way you have. I only hope the man has a vasectomy and takes any chance of having children off the table.

    • “You cannot teach him, you cannot love him enough, you cannot medicate him enough to change his basic personality.”

      One day while lamenting to my therapist about my ex’s struggles with life and the terrible childhood he must have had, she said this to me, “It may be that he has had a lot to overcome at an early age and that he has struggled with many terrible things in his life, but you need to understand something. Your husband has terrible life coping skills. You can’t change that and perhaps even he can’t change that. Even with years of therapy. You are not responsible for his poor life decisions.” I think that was when I started to realize how many excuses I had made over the years for his treatment of me. It wasn’t an instantaneous flip of the switch but it certainly was that flicker of truth that started the whole eye-opening process for me.

  • I’ve found, mainly from reading on this site, that if the cheater tells you they cheated once, multiple that by at least 5 (or more). So if this turd is telling you 10 times, it’s probably more than that. Probably, there was no condoms involved either. Fantastic!

    Dreams are nice and all, but I prefer reality. That way, I know what I’m dealing with. And in your case, the reality is you had a serial cheater on your hands and regardless of his poor FOO issues, he’s a rotten fuck who had no problem stepping out on you for 7 years. Going to therapy won’t fix this. It’s his nature. This is not a person you need in your life.

    I know you don’t like to hear this again, but yep, you’re lucky you didn’t have kids with him. Kids won’t make him be a better man. You will be stuck having this asshole in your life for the next 18 years and who needs that?!

    • I agree with Rumblekitty, that this is his nature and not a person you need in your life. You’ll be stuck with an asshole indeed for the next 2 decades, while they make your life living hell. Who needs that?

      • My post was unfinished when it posted. Also, he’s been cheating on you from day 1 and with 10+ women. That is beyond disgusting. No normal human being would ever do this to another. He’ll never change. And who cares about his FOO issues, we all have a story, and don’t go around hurting others like this guy did to you. He’s scum.

  • C2.0. This situation, although you can’t see it now, is a GIFT.

    Do you WANT a family with a man who’s cheated on you? If so, why?

    I’m like you — relatively young. I was with my wife for 9 years and married for 3.5 of them before she started cheating. It was right around the time we were tying to get pregnant, too. And I THANK MY LUCKY STARS every day that we didn’t get pregnant.

    I read about chumps having the lives they built for 30 years with someone destroyed by their cheater’s selfishness. I read stories here about chumps who have to deal with their cheaters for the rest of their lives, in one capacity or another, because of shared custody. And even if the cheater turns out to somehow be a great parent, he/she is STILL he regular reminder of how poorly they treated you. I read about cheaters’ poor parenting, selfishness, financial irresponsibility, etc. C2.0…you and I got off easy.

    Oh, and don’t feel one bit of sorrow for your husband and his lack of family. He’ll find someone dumb enough to have a kid with him. That’s what ex-my wife did.

    After I filed for divorce, my ex-wife continued to fuck the OM while he got married to the mother of his child. He dragged his wife–who has more integrity in her pinky that my ex did in her whole body–through a terrible experience all her own. And now, the OM and my ex-wife (who was an OW herself!) are about to have a baby.

    So…no. I don’t feel any remorse or regret. I don’t feel sad for my ex-wife. She and the OM continue to wreak havoc on the world, and now they’ll do it to a poor child for 18 years.

    • It boggles my mind that someone would cheat while trying to get pregnant with her spouse. Something similar happened to me– though I don’t have proof of any other whores in my ex’s life until 2011, he started looking around on Ashley Madison when our eldest was one year old (in 2005!), and we went on to have two more children. I’m not sure why cheaters think that building a family with a spouse is compatible with cheating. Why saddle yourself with kids if you don’t even want to be with the person you’re having them with? Well, not my skein to untangle.

      Chumptastic, I will echo the others– my ex lives to be a passive-aggressive asshole when it comes to parenting. We barely parallel parent, and I wish that he’d move to some swanky metropolitan area like he’s always wanted to and leave us alone. It sucks to have these soul suckers in one’s life permanently, so you are definitely better off not only away from him but not bound to him by children. I know how much you’re hurting now, but you will realize in time how lucky you are not to have kids with that wanker.

      • Moving On, my STBX joined Ashley Madison when our daughter was two. He went on to join Illicit Encounters and Adult Friend Finder while trying to conceive another child with me. We didn’t manage to bring another child into the marriage though (I miscarried several times). I’m so sorry you had to go through this too.

        Chumptastic, my heart goes out to you. You have a whole future ahead of you. You will have the family you want. Hugs.

      • I can only imagine what it feels like to be told she’s lucky! It’s not very validating… but it’s true. She’s one of the lucky ones.

        Having children with a cheater is a trauma that never ends… It’s hell on earth. 18 more years of hell… oh wait! Did I say only 18 more? then…what about the grandchildren?… then what about… ugg.

        We should post on the things that she’ll be grateful for that she’s going to “miss out on” while co-parenting with the disordered.

        C20 will not be able to see what a blessing she’s been given until she’s through it. She’ll get there. Many of us will never be through it or be blessed to get there.

        My family dream now= I dream of a day that I’m no longer forced to be a “family” with my ex. C20 you have my dream.

        You’re literally free to cut n run.

        Push the heart felt pain down for just a bit. Use your head & get pissed at what a loser he is. Take the necessary measures. Then you’ll heal like a champ rather than heal like a chump.

  • C2.0, I had the same thoughts about my sad sausage. How could someone who appears to be in so much pain and seem to have so much regret be a bad person? Shouldn’t I be the better person and stick by him? Try to help him to see the error of his ways and put him back on the right path? Those thoughts and feelings kept me in the land of limbo for years. Years!! While today he still tries to figure things out. I have a child I need to consider. Her needs are greater than his and as he has pointed out to me time and time again, I don’t understand him and can’t help him anyway. So go, be free, sad sausage. Perhaps you can find that understanding soul on one of those hook up apps or text-crazy female friends you’re addicted to.

    He had a terrible childhood as well. While in therapy he revealed that he holds a secret from his childhood that he can’t let go. Too terrible for him to share with anyone, including the therapist, so he continues the search for someone who truly understands him and his miserable life. OW number two is still fresh in his mind but as he pointed out to me, she wasn’t real otherwise they’d be together today. Yes, not real as in the sense that your relationship was built on a bed of lies, to your spouse and her fiancée. She “understood you” in the sense that she was able to tell you what you wanted to hear so that she could enjoy the spoils of being doted on and being constantly told how wonderful she was.

    I agree with CL. You’re very lucky not to have bred with this man. I have a child and can’t imagine my life without her, but I dread the day when she’s old enough to realize the kind of man her father is. The kind of man that would abandon his wife and child, lie, cheat, betray and attempt to suck the life of out those who cared the most for him.

    I say this with respect and kindness as a fellow Chump, your cheater has given you a great gift. Your freedom! I’ve said this again and again to people who don’t seem to understand and think I’m just being bitter. It’s much better to live a genuine, unmasked life alone than to be the other half of a couple whose life is based on deceptions and false realities. Right now it may too fresh to see things this way but believe me, when you finally reach the Meh stage, you’ll wonder why it took you so long to get there. Hugs.

    • It’s much better to live a genuine, unmasked life alone than to be the other half of a couple whose life is based on deceptions and false realities.

      ^^THIS. I try to remember this when I see smiling, happy photos of couples on Facebook or I feel like I’m the only single in a group of couples. I don’t know what those couples are going through. Some of them may be loyal and genuinely understand what love is. Some of them may be painting a pretty facade to hide emotional or physical abuse or infidelity. When I get off the computer or go home, I return to a life of peace with a happy, sassy cat and great friends. I would take that any day or what I had with my ex.

  • Thanks everyone for this support. So many stories are so similar that I am trying to trust and believe this is who he is. He didn’t use protection and we were trying to have a baby for months. He put my health at risk as many of you said. I have been tested and am ok and working on the lawyer and apt. I have 1% hope that I will wake up from this nightmare but if its been 2 weeks and there is only 1% of me hoping that he can do a 180 that has to be a good sign. I’m working on smothering that 1%. This site has given me so much strength while I take time away from work. I appreciate CL and all the comments so much.

    • chumptastic1.0–The more you detach, the more you’ll see him for who he truly is. A marriage is a partnership. You can’t hold up both ends. If he really wanted to change and make the marriage work, he’d have been into therapy.

      He’s told you who he is. Believe him!

  • Dear Chumptastic 2.0,

    Please don’t worry about your cheater. He may have no family but when somebody is capable of betraying their partner so readily you have to realize they go through life like a shark. They just keep swimming, eating, procreating and using the services of a few remoras (chumps) along the way until they stop moving forward and die. There is no emotion for a shark. For somebody as flawed as a serial cheater there is no real attachment to others just a succession of useful partners while they cruise through life. Even their children provide no emotional attachment. Chumps and children are sources of unpaid help, money, and/or status.

    Your pain is so fresh and so new. He may have cheated last night or years ago but just finding out about it still hurts like a SOB. Realizing you have no importance to your cheater hurts even more. But why should your significance to this cheater matter. NOBODY matters to this person.

    I’m truly sorry you have ended up joining our ranks. Grieve the loss of what you thought you had. Get angry. Be sad. Mope. You will eventually get through this. And please rely on trusted friends and family for support.

    • This: “For somebody as flawed as a serial cheater there is no real attachment to others just a succession of useful partners while they cruise through life. Even their children provide no emotional attachment. Chumps and children are sources of unpaid help, money, and/or status.”

      It took me a long time to realize how true this is.

      • +1

        I am closer to my stepchildren then Mr. Sparkles (their bio Dad) is and it breaks my heart. They call him a Man-Ho. The two eldest boys often remark they don’t want to be anything like their Dad.” And, I pray the girls never marry a man like their Dad.

        C2.0 – please take all the energy you WANT to desperately give to your X and give it to yourself. You can only control your actions.

        We’re here with you!

  • Chumptastic2.0, the hard truth is that you will have to nourish a new dream. You might find another partner–a great one. You might discover that you are a fine artist and spend your extra time creating things of beauty. Who knows?

    The hard thing you are struggling with now is the way your STBX crushed your old dream. But I am glad you discovered his betrayal now, rather than later. Even if you had a child or two, you wouldn’t have had the dream. You’d be sitting on the picnic blanket with your babies wondering why your husband wasn’t ever with you at family gatherings. You’d be wondering why “having it all” was so unsatisfying (because, of course, you wouldn’t have it all–you’d just have a cheating jackass for a husband).

    And if sitting alone with the babies on the picnic blanket still sounds like a dream to you–then go for it. That dream will be better than the life you had with the lying jackass.

    I speak from experience–12 years of marriage and two kids. I thought I had the dream–but it was so painful and frustrating trying to figure out why life was miserable. But I sure spent a lot of energy presenting the public facade of “happy families” hoping that it would come true and making excuses for my husband. I do still envy the intact families with their pairs of lawn chairs at the 4th of July picnic, but I am much happier with my blanket and my children and our integrity than I was five years ago when I was always putting a smiling face on the jackass’s absence and trying to make sense of his lies to me and struggling to make things better so HE would be happier.

    I’ve got several female friends who adopted a child on their own. I know it must have been hard, but they and their children are lovely people with rich lives. I hope you’ll take a year or two for yourself–to heal. You’ve already shown great courage in deciding to leave after one Dday (and it was a doozy!), so I believe you’ll have the courage to go after your next dream with even greater courage–whatever it turns out to be. And I hope you’ll dream big–you deserve it.

  • I’m sorry C2.0 but listen to CL and the posters here. You are in the early stages of this trauma and you need support and guidance. It’s normal to still have some compassion for your cheater because unlike him, you are a good loving soul. However, the key is to turn that compassion to yourself. You need to protect yourself and get a good lawyer and tested for STDs. You need to extract yourself from this person. As painful as it is the focus is on you now and protecting yourself from further harm. He is not who you thought he was and this is painful to realize but important as you move toward a better life.

    His pain and sorrow are not yours to bear. He betrayed you in the most cruel and painful way – there is no excuse for that. Most of us have difficult family histories and we don’t go around making other people’s lives difficult. (Or at least we try not to.) Make no mistake, cheaters cheat because they want to, not because they are conflicted sad sausages whose mommy and daddy didn’t love them. They know what they do and do it anyway. And as CL says when we start to try to understand why a cheater cheats we take away the focus from our own healing.

    I was married to a cheater for over 20 years. I have no idea how many AP there were but I knew about one and that was enough. Yes, I have a child with that cheater and so I do have some contact (minimal.) I can assure you that you can and will build a better life without this toxic person. He is no longer your problem and in time you will thank your lucky stars for that. Take care of you.

  • All terrific comments here 2.0 you are lucky you didnt have kids with him then you would have to watch their sadness as well. Little or grown they too suffer. You will feel better with time. Divorce that pod and go no contact. Live for you. Everyone here will tell you it gets better and it does. Big hugs!

  • C2.0 My dream exploded when I was 62 and had been married 35 yrs. 2 yrs away from retirement and travel and enjoying the grandchildren. Adult children who had to learn exactly who their father really is/was. All a mirage. Reinventing yourself at that age – at any age — is hard but you can do it. You qre young and have your whole life ahead. Fix your picker! Protect yourself.

  • A nice reminder for the day that our cheaters were not lost and had agency, that they cared more about getting laid than our well-being and that the entire relationship was a lie.

  • “My dear, why must you be shown 29 times before you can see who they really are? Why can’t you get it the first time?” ~ Maya Angelou

    C2.0, mine showed me over and over who he was and I ignored it, spackled and tried harder. I just KNEW that our love for him could “save” him or make him “change” or “want” to be better. He is a pathological cheater and liar and to this day still denies that he cheated… “it was already over” is his justification and he is delusional. He did the exact same thing to his previous wife (they have 3 children, their youngest was 5 months old when she caught him).

    It may not seem like a gift, but he is actually saving your life by telling you who he really is, BELIEVE him. You can’t save him, he doesn’t want to be saved….save yourself.

    And, like everyone else has said, be GRATEFUL that you have no children with him. They are usually just as selfish as parents and they spare no one, not even their own children.

    Trust that they SUCK!! Good luck to you in your new cheater free life!!

    • “You can’t save him, he doesn’t want to be saved….save yourself.”


      • I told mine recently that he needed therapy and he asked me “do you really think I could even get better?” My response… “Ummm it’s highly unlikely.”

        He avoids everything, including himself. While this is very sad… I am no longer inclined to have sympathy as he only uses it for further manipulation. I don’t ride that train anymore.

        • “I told mine recently that he needed therapy and he asked me “do you really think I could even get better?”
          What a clueless fuckbucket of a narcissist. Sounds like mine, who said, “I would never want to change. I love myself just the way I am,” after I suggested therapy on Dday.

        • I loved your answer to his stupid ass question, “Ummm it’s highly unlikely.” When I told Fucktard that I wanted a divorce, I told him I was tired of trying to make him happy. I said it was exhausting. He replied that I didn’t have to try to make him happy. I just looked at him for a long moment and said, “Well, you could have mentioned that years ago and we’d be done already.”

          • I told mine that I was tired of trying to save him from himself. He looked at me like I was daft. He lives with his mom now.

  • Chumptastic–It is difficult to give up dreams, and I know the pull of wanting children. You don’t need to give up that dream; you only need to alter the dream so it doesn’t include cheater.

    Trust me, being a single parent is MUCH easier than parenting with a fuckwit who sucks your energy, demands you not pay attention to the children, and undermines your parenting authority. You want children? Have them, by any way possible. Just not with a serial cheater.

    Hugs, this is so emotionally rough.

  • C2.0, I’m so sorry. The pain and heartbreak is so raw right now, not to mention the shock. Just keep breathing and putting one foot in front of the other. Last summer when I was in the early days, I would congratulate myself that I was still standing.

    My ex, The Entitled One, also had major FOO issues and a terrible childhood. We met in college and I was horrified by his family, which consisted of two verbally-abusive, rage-a-holic parents (his father was also physically abusive on at least a few occasions) and a manipulative, lying old lady masquerading as a sweet grandma. I was overcome with sympathy for him and welcomed him into my family. Although my parents have major issues, most of my extended family is big, open, loud, loving. Equally appalled by his situation, they welcomed him for twenty-two years. Back in college, I was convinced that we could love him right out of his FOO issues. (Side note: it took me years of therapy and hard work to process my issues with my parents even though I’d had a loving base with most of the extended family. There’s no spousal love that’s gonna magically cure ya.)

    When he left last year, he walked away from my family without a second thought. My brother and sister-in-law had a toddler and a baby on the way — his nieces. He never asked about my SIL’s pregnancy or the baby. He saw them recently when picking up our two kids and he ignored the two little ones. They mean zero to him. My cousins, whom he’s known since they were very young, he never asks about. Not even when I told him one was getting married. He’s not hiding some great pain of losing the people who’ve been his family for over two decades. He. Does. Not. Care. He never formed any real attachment to them because there’s a piece of him missing.

    I’ve been ranting on CN because everyone says cheaters will never take the 50 percent child custody they’re entitled to, but mine did. He’s been Disney Dad for a year. Now he’s pulling away from his own kids. I didn’t think there was a pain on earth worth than losing my kids half the time. I was wrong. What’s worse is the fear that they’ll experience the anguish of being abandoned by their father.

    As for me, he was telling me he loved me and I was his soul mate right through three D-Days and right through the discard when he openly began fucking other women and trolling dating and sex sites. That’s not love.

    I get that his woundedness touches you. Maybe, if you’re like me, that’s part of what bonded you to him so strongly. My kids’ therapist says serial cheaters need multiple mirrors to reflect back to them a sense of self because they don’t have one of their own. I feel sadness and pity for The Entitled One. That’s very new, since for many months now I’ve felt nothing but fury and hate. He’s not a happy person. He never has been, other than the temporary buzz he gets from something shiny and new (people, jobs, toys all get acquired and discarded). I doubt he’ll ever find peace and contentment, and that’s very sad. But he shat on our marriage, the same as your ex did to your marriage, and no amount of woundedness excuses that.

    You’re on a long, difficult path right now. The only way is to keep going, feeling every awful feeling, processing what you thought you had with him, processing all the losses. I hate to leave you with a cliche, but it’s true. It takes time. But it does get better.

    • I thought of something better to end with that a cliche. 🙂 The end of an Edna St. Vincent Millay poem:

      “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
      What the swift mind beholds at ever turn.”

      • Grrr. And now without the typo:

        “Pity me that the heart is slow to learn
        What the swift mind beholds at every turn.”

    • “As for me, he was telling me he loved me and I was his soul mate right through three D-Days and right through the discard when he openly began fucking other women and trolling dating and sex sites. That’s not love.”

      Yeah, these cheaters tell you what you want to hear, until it takes you years to figure out the truth – that they are manipulating you and feeding you horse manure.

        • My ecclesiastical leader (knew both ex & I) told me that my ex was someone that tells you what you want to hear. Then leader paused for just a second and finished the sentence with

          “and that type of person is a road to destruction.”

          He lacks integrity. Find someone else worthy of you.

          • The only way the X knew how to romance me while in the heat of his season of fucking, he started cooking these mad, elaborate meals.
            Which, I figured out later he was trying out to impress his fuck-mate once he tried them out on me first.

            This was unusual for him and I was a slow learner.
            It was his way of keeping me appeased and off guard after he came home from a fuck-fest with her in my motorhome.

            Now I think he was trying to poison me.
            I couldn’t eat any of his crap by that point.
            My gut was talking too loud and I was refusing to listen.

            My point is – sometimes those red-flags can be very deceptive.

      • Yep. It’s been a slow process of “waking up from the dream” as someone else said. I feel like the truth about him is sinking into my skin, layer by layer. Maybe when it gets to the cellular level, I’ll be at meh.

        In my case, I never had proof of physical affairs and I naively believed his justifications that it was all fantasy and flirting until all that “fantasy and flirting” hit such outrageous levels, I neither believed him nor cared if it wasn’t physical. Of course, now I’m fairly certain it was physical and I’ve heard stuff from other people that confirms my suspicions.

        Either way, I got distracted from the real question. I shouldn’t have been so fixated on whether he crossed the line physically. I should have been asking myself where my boundaries are. And answering sex ads, hiring a hooker, and confiding his marital problems to women he was sexually attracted to are WAY ACROSS my boundaries. When I caught him going on basically a date with another woman and lying about it, I kicked him out (but let him back for wreckonciliation – sigh). At least now I know what my issues are.

    • “My kids’ therapist says serial cheaters need multiple mirrors to reflect back to them a sense of self because they don’t have one of their own. I feel sadness and pity for The Entitled One. That’s very new, since for many months now I’ve felt nothing but fury and hate. He’s not a happy person. He never has been, other than the temporary buzz he gets from something shiny and new (people, jobs, toys all get acquired and discarded).”

      You’ve just described my ex to a T. He even admitted the reason he can’t be alone is that someone like him can’t be alone because they have to face that they don’t like themselves and need someone telling them they’re wonderful and deserve to be loved. But he was loved. By me, his daughter and my family. Too bad he was never able to comprehend that.

      • So poignant: “But he was loved. By me, his daughter and my family. Too bad he was never able to comprehend that.”

        Yes, exactly. The Entitled One talked so much about how his other women made him feel special and told him how wonderful he was and made him feel attractive. I couldn’t understand it because I loved him so much, was so proud of all his success, and was crazy attracted to him even after two decades. He said he didn’t believe me because I didn’t like the same books/movies/TV shows as he does, that I didn’t make a big enough deal out of his successes, and I was only attracted to him because I saw him as he was in his younger days and not now. I thought he was crazy.

        Nope. He’s got a piece missing.

        • “He said he didn’t believe me because I didn’t like the same books/movies/TV shows as he does, that I didn’t make a big enough deal out of his successes, and I was only attracted to him because I saw him as he was in his younger days and not now. I thought he was crazy.

          These are so silly and are just excuses for someone who wants to leave the relationship and doesn’t want to be with you.. I wonder if he added some other lame excuse that you didn’t breathe the same way as he did or your biorythms weren’t coordinated. He’s nuts all right.

          • Kellia, OMG! This: “or your biorythms weren’t coordinated.”

            He did add that lame excuse! One of his major problems with me was that I’m a morning person and he’s a night owl. LOLOLOL.

            • It just gets sillier and sillier, to the point it’s utterly pathetic. I watched a movie called Bitter Moon. And the boyfriend couldn’t get rid of his gf fast enough and when she begged him for an explanation as to why he didn’t want to be with her anymore, he quipped: “I don’t know, you exist, that’s why”. All lame excuses.

        • The movie thing made me laugh because I remember he told me he wanted to find someone who liked foreign movies as much as he did. I told him I didn’t mind the foreign films, I just hated the distraction of having to read subtitles. In hindsight, it’s not a very good reason to have an affair I think 😉

          • Yeah, not so much!

            One of the best things about CN has been the commonality of stories. Seems to be a number of cheaters who believe their affairs are justified because the chump didn’t like all the same stuff they did. I mean, your spouse not liking The Fast and The Furious movies is totally a reason to blow up a marriage.

            Sad to say, that during my pick-me dancing days, I e-mailed him a list of all the things we have in common. It was quite a long list. He never responded.

            • Yup. The cheaters can’t stand all these traits about us, which are innocent and nothing to complain about btw. How about all the shit we tolerated from them??? and still wanted to be with them anyway!! Like their cheating, lying, deceit, manipulation. When some of us pick me danced, you didn’t see us coming up with silly excuses to not be with them. Lots of us ate massive shit sandwiches and still wanted to be with these assholes, despite their unacceptable behavior. That’s what enrages me.

              • Haha! Before CL, I never would have believed it. But I’m glad you said you did it too because that’s one of my cringe-worthy memories. 🙂

            • She just “gets” me. I mean she likes the Fast and the Furious and you don’t.

              6-12 months later: Mistress leaves because the mistress gifts dried up. Now who will “get” the poor sad sausage?

      • That’s a great way to explain what is wrong with serial cheaters, narcissists, etc.

      • I honestly wonder sometimes how many people on here have the exact same ex as me. Sheesh!

        • The X couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to Johnny-Be-Good dance with him at midnight, when he came home from fucking her.
          I guess I outgrew that music at 10pm and about 20 yrs ago.

          Oh, but SHE loved that music! Ms, RocknRoller.

    • “As for me, he was telling me he loved me and I was his soul mate right through three D-Days and right through the discard when he openly began fucking other women and trolling dating and sex sites. That’s not love.”

      Wow, I’m still shocked at how there are so many identical things among these people! I am/was the love of his life, soul mate, still the person most attracted to, blah blah blah. If I hadn’t had a couple of fortuitous strokes of luck and found out more than he told me about what was happening concurrent with this post DDay phase, I might have even believed it. Of course, even if I had, I still would have had that roiling stomach feeling and further hits on my self-esteem. Ugh.

  • I’m 2 months out from DDay, and our divorce is not even final yet. However, I have gone no contact. And I now dream of a different future than the one I was dreaming about 3 months ago. A future with just me and my kids. A future where I go back to school and get a degree. A future where I am dependent on no one, and where there’s just my kids and I. Is it scary at times? Yes. Do I worry I’ll never find someone who I can trust again? Of course. Am I disappointed that our seemingly perfect family got torn apart like this? Oh hell yeah. But it is what it is, and I have to make the best of it.

    And yes, be thankful that you don’t have kids with the man. Telling our kids was the single hardest thing I have had to do. Not being able to move out from a verbally abusive and manipulative man, (and he changed after I refused to do what he demanded I do,) because that would be considered abandonment of the children. I can’t take them with me and move to an apartment, or he can drag me to court. I know, you really wanted those kids. And you will still have them down the line. Just not with such a fuckwit. Be glad you did not breed with the fuckwit, unlike so many of us.

  • C2.0 We all know this so well. Its called Cognitive Dissonance. The pain of holding the memory and hope for a future, for a family for the love of your life in your head, while simultaneously holding the stark reality of the abusive way you were treated and the realization of the man behind the mask. This duality messes with your head big time. I am also dealing with it and can only say that Chumplady is so right on. Listen to her and all the other Chumps here. You will get through this. You will find solid ground. Don’t lose yourself in the black hole of his soul. Its not worth it. There are so many other things in life to enjoy.

    And yes it is true be thankful you don’t have children with this person. They will put themselves first at every turn and will do nothing but stuff your kids emotional backpacks with their deficiencies. And trust me divorcing a narcissist only ups the ante of unfairness. Find someone or don’t, but reach out to others get support and move forward incrementally.

    You can do this! I don’t believe in the trope that dictates ‘everyone has a part to play and has to share equal blame’ run away from that shit fast. This is his fucking fault, he loses, and you win big time by getting the F away from him. Ask yourself what kind of father would he be? Would he put his kids first – or himself? What kind of father do you want for your future children?

    Grieve. Accept. Move forward to something better. You are strong!

    • No kidding. The equal blame part is bunk. The thing is we all have positives and shortcomings. If someone wants to, he or she can ignore our positives and blow our shortcomings out of proportion. Having shortcomings doesn’t make you equally responsible for the end of a marriage. If it did, no marriage would last, because EVERYONE has shortcomings. I’m betting the people who celebrate their 50th and 60th wedding anniversaries would not be doing so if they’d married our exes.

  • Chumptastic – Anytime a relationship ends, there’s always that feeling of losing the dream. It’s very common how you feel and normal. One of my male coworkers who got divorced just cried over the fact that he won’t have an intact family and that was his dream to always have an intact family. When my friends broke up with their boyfriends, they were sad over the fact that they weren’t getting married soon. There’s always that element of losing the dream. How do you get over losing the dream? With a perspective change and a reality check. By being grateful you found out the truth and what kind of asshole your ex is and that you can still have the dream, but he won’t be in it. You practice gratitude and tons of self compassion. And tell yourself the dream isn’t dead, it’s still alive, and will be shared with someone who is honest, with good morals and values.

  • Yeah, no…don’t feel a bit of pity for him being “alone”. He had a partner in life, and chose to squander that commitment in such a way that it’s obvious that he never really cherished it. It’s not your obligation to endure abuse in order to keep him from being “alone”, that’s not what you signed on for. To be blunt about it, he doesn’t give a shit about you, stop giving a shit about him.

    How do you get over it? Time. And creating a different life away from him. Every month that passes and every thing you do in life that doesn’t involve him puts you a little bit farther from where you are now. Not having kids makes this less complicated. Note, I didn’t say easier, there’s a difference. I never had kids with my ex cheater and it puts me in a white hot rage when people imply that I’m “lucky” or “It won’t be as hard to put it behind me”. Betrayal is betrayal, loss is loss. Some people’s situations are more complicated than others, nobody’s is necessarily “easier”.

    As far as mourning the family and future you thought you would have? That’s normal and it’s unfair that you have to let go of those dreams. But in time you’ll have enough distance from him and the relationship that you will start to see new possibilities for new futures. One day he’ll be a bad memory and you’ll feel good about being free of him.

    You know you have to remove him from your life, that’s the first really big step. Once he’s out of your life and you’ve established total no contact, you will start to heal. And don’t backslide with the no contact commitment. I had to make a deal with myself that I wouldn’t attempt any contact with my ex cheater for 3 months after I ended our relationship. Then I told myself to give it another 3 months. It’s been 6 months, and now I am absolutely certain that I never want to see him or talk to him ever again. And we had a 10 year committed relationship. But that’s part of my history now.

  • Like all previous comments that say you escaped, or dodged that bullet of no children IT is true. My beautiful daughter HATES he father so much that she’s changing her last name to mine, and she’s only 14!! Be glad you didn’t breed with him. I can take his fuckedupness, and his lies and his abandonedness but it TEARS me up to the core to see him do it to her! For 237 days he didn’t contact her at all. No text, phone calls or face time- over the phone or live!!! How do you console a crying child that feels abandoned that he loves her, just has a funny way of showing it, while you want to strangle him for causing this excruciating pain on her. yeah, C2.0, I’d say you were lucky you didn’t have kids. I waited 40 years to have a child, I got one fantastic daughter but I wish it wasn’t with a cheating, lying narcissistic dirt bag like her father. I ignored all the RED flags, early in the relationship because I was desperate to have kids. There is a good man out there who will be the father to your children. Give it time, give yourself the proper time to heal and then go get him!

    • “For 237 days he didn’t contact her at all. No text, phone calls or face time- over the phone or live!!! How do you console a crying child that feels abandoned that he loves her,”

      omg, he went that long without contacting his own flesh and blood. I’m just disgusted, that’s over 6 months! No wonder your daughter is changing her last name. That’s not normal to not be bonded to your children. This guy is messed up in the head for sure.

      • I hadn’t spoken to my father in over 17 years. He died this year and I shed not one tear. (I changed my last name to my mother’s too.)

        High Five your daughter for me. 🙂

      • Kellia
        He’s even pushing to have more time with her now, that we’re in court and he has to pay money. Dicktard. She claims that she never wants to see him again. Me either. No contact both parties evolved.
        Rumblekitty thanks I will.

  • Hi Chumptastic2.o–

    You’ve had great advice. I have one more suggestion: fire your therapist.

    Your therapist should be steering you away from untangling the skein of fuckedupness. You are asking teh question, “why did my cheater cheat?” The answer is simple: because he can. His brain is wired to make cheating okay.

    I know that you and your therapist have been exploring all of his FOO issues, but frankly, that’s not your job. You can’t control those issues. You control ONLY you. Your cheater had choices. He knew that he was a cheater when he married you. He knew it was wrong, which is why he told you he thought he could change. By the way, when he told you this, he was lying. If he truly wanted to change, HE would be the one seeing the therapist to work on his FOO issues. He would have been honest about the fact that he sleeps around.

    I know that you can’t process all of this now, but you need to repeat the mantra, “trust that he sucks.”

    I get where you’re coming from. I knew I couldn’t stay married to a man who cheated, but I also felt sorry for him because of his FOO issues and because the woman he was cheating with is very predatory, with a track record of dating married men until she spends all their money. I knew he was treating me badly, but a couple of weeks after Dday, I had an epiphany. I had been keeping my knowledge that he was cheating under wraps, so I was still treating him the same. Then one day, after I’d rubbed his feet because they were sore (I did this regularly), he got up and left his phone unattended. All the time I was rubbing his feet, he was texting Schmoopie to complain about the dinner I made (he said he liked it) and about how I never did anything for him, that he was all alone, etc. Once I understood this, I could say, “Fuck him!”

    Your therapist needs to be helping you come to this point. Your husband CHOOSES to cheat because it is who he is. Now turn the focus to YOU.

    Whom do you see yourself as being? What are YOUR goals? Why would you settle for a sad sausage? Where do you want to go in your life? Remember that parents have identities that are separate from those of their children. Children grow up. They go in their own direction. Tying your own identity to that of your child isn’t healthy for anyone.

    Focusing on you, on your healing, on setting and establishing clear boundaries–all of these are important. This is what your therapist needs to steer you toward.

    And best of luck to you. Remember the pain is finite, and the sooner you detach from this man, the sooner you’ll start to see that he’s really a shark in a human suit.

    • The best advice my mother ever gave me (that I didn’t follow) was “Never, EVER, marry a man you feel sorry for. Only marry a man when you admire him for how he lives his life and HOW HE SOLVES HIS PROBLEMS.” Yep, next time this will be my #1 criteria.

      • CN is full of wisdom today. Your mother’s advice is spot on. And we shouldn’t admire a man for his career, his finances, his fancy car, his blue eyes, his charm, his abundant hair….Admire him for “how he lives his life and HOW HE SOLVES HIS PROBLEMS.” Learned that the hard way.

      • Athene – This is gold! My cousin did that, married a man she felt sorry for. And she ended up being the one who we needed to pity. He was so disordered, put her through hell during their marriage and ditched her and fled the country. She was this thriving lady before she married, and after the marriage, she become this shell of a person. It took her a long time to recover from this disaster and trauma. It surely did a number on her. Thanks for sharing this great piece of wisdom. Your mom is da bomb!

      • Athene, I met my ex husband when we were 18 years old. We started dating when we were 22 or 23 years old. On our very 1st date he told me that he was adopted and my heart melted. In our family we had an adopted girl cousin and I loved her dearly and we got on like a house on fire, so I knew, or I thought that I would get on well with my ex husband always because I was kind and loving. I was young and very inexperienced and those thoughts came back to bite me on the bum. As the years rolled by I noted his very cold indifference to not only me but to both the people who raised, fed, clothed, schooled and loved him, his parents and he never shed one tear when either of them passed away because he was an only child and he was only interested in his inheritance. I never got on well with my MIL but I cried very hard when she passed away and his exact words to me were “what are you crying for” and he and his mother used to gang up on his father who was a kindly gentleman, a bit like my kids have ganged up on me with him. I believe there is safety in numbers for them ! He did connect with his birth mother and I actually got to see where his coldness came from. When I read his adoption papers and read his beginning to life I cried so hard it broke my heart because I never had to make a choice of keeping or giving up my 2 children. Again, he looked at me with a blank and cold stare and asked why I was crying. I will never feel sorry for anyone else again except people who deserve my sympathy. I wasted 37 years of marriage on my ex and it was such a waste of my life except for my kids but I have lost them to their father and his 3rd world prostit-tot and I know I will never see them or hear from them again. So my motto is “never feel sorry for someone and marry them, because they will use you and spit you out” !

      • That is very good advice. I was young and naive when I got married and I didn’t even consider things like love bombing, manipulation, pathological liars, abusers.

  • CT2, you’ve only been in the throes of this for two weeks. It WILL get better, but it will take time 🙁 . And, no, you don’t feel “lucky” now, but you might in a year or two. (Trust me, having kids with a cheater, especially when you find out it’s been going on since before they came around, is a hundred shades of awful).
    Don’t worry about him. And your dreams of a family can still come true, just with someone who won’t do this to you.
    Hang in there, babe.

  • C2.0, I’m just going to second what everyone else has said. You will be lucky to get away from this disordered asshole. I know you want a family, but your future is not with this guy.

    I know sometimes people disagree that it is harder to get away from someone when you have children but I think it was. At least for me. I’m older, so I had lots of experience with ending relationships with out children. Only one with children, and it’s a different ball game. I’m not saying it’s more or less painful, but it’s definitely more Complicated. There is a third person (or how many ever children you have) whose life is forever changed too. They will hurt, its just a question of how badly.

    This loser cheater does not deserve you, or a family with you.

  • I’m sorry you’re in this shitty place right now. Like everyone else had said, it really will get better, you will get through this. This is the hardest part. Stay with CN and you will be in a whole different place a year from now.

    That being said, i have to say this is one of the more unusual concerns I’ve read here. You fear he will be alone with no family of his own? This man just burned your house down and you’re worried that he got smoke in his eyes. He is not the victim here. I wonder if you aren’t possibly using your concern for his well being as a way to avoid the fear and pain of having to leave. That’s not a criticism of you or your feelings. I think we all go through some form of denial and avoidance in the beginning. In these early days our emotions are all over the place and our brains are scrambled. At least that’s how I was. You cling to anything. When agonizing over whether to leave or stay, I would conclude that staying was better for my daughter. (It could be anything, not debating staying/not staying for the kids) Then a temporary feeling of peace would come over me, but I soon realized it was just a way to stop thinking about it for a bit, to press pause if only for a few hours, to not have to jump off the cliff just yet. Since you don’t have kids, maybe this is your way of postponing the inevitable. I think that will wear off as you process through this.

    Everyone has FOO issues. Adults deal with them or manifest them in a way that doesn’t hurt others. If he has intimacy problems, then he shouldn’t get married or be in a committed relationship. No family = no one to hurt.

    FWIW, I think he probably has found “the one” he is going to move on to next. Cheaters don’t just come clean and they don’t give up cake. He didn’t suddenly become unhappy.

    Letting go of that dream is the hardest part. But you don’t have to give it up, just redefine it. I wanted more kids. I wanted big Sunday dinners and family pictures on the wall. I wanted noisy Christmas mornings and chaos at dinner time and juice boxes spilled in the back of the minivan. I wanted all of it. But I’m learning to redefine. You don’t know it yet, but this has actually freed you up to have a family and something much closer to your dream than you could ever have had with him.

  • You’re putting an awful lot of thought into someone who doesn’t give a shit about you! Stop worrying about him. Worry about you!!! Get a full panel STD test ASAP! If he loved you would he have exposed you to potentially deadly diseases? No, he would not have. Bottom line is he does not love you or he would not have done this. Start working on fixing you. Get away from him and go No Contact. After you’ve had some time to heal you will get new dreams, I promise.

  • Some similarities to my story. I was his “healthy family” and tried to see his cheating, once I found out a year after marriage, as an illness. Through sickness & health, blah blah blah. He’d been in therapy for years, apparently for appearances. Never choosing to do family therapy, always individual. The therapist said I was just a jealous wife & he’d moved on.
    If a husband wanted a family he might have had one with his loving, supportive wife. My codependence kept me from seeing this. I come from a long line of alcoholics & cross-addicted family, hence the codependence. Yet I am healing, because I desire healthy relationships. CoDA & ACoA help me to not keep falling into the hole in the road. He has been gone for over 5 years. Today I thank God, but I begged him to stay, because I knew he’d get sicker.
    That is his choice, & he has, but as ACoA tells me, “I have the right to be healthier than those around me.” My dream died a painful death, but my story is still being written, & today I am happy.
    I am glad you wrote & found a helpful place. Time has been a healer for me.

  • Dear C2, if it is any help it took me 7 years to come to terms with the reality and move out of the pain you describe. But you do eventually get there, I promise. This is still a really beautiful world.
    That I cried for 7 years tells me that I loved deeply, I am loyal and true AND I have the capacity to be attached. That he cheated and had a traumatic childhood tells us – what? That he can’t attach, or is insecurely attached.
    We didn’t create that, we can’t control it and we CANNOT cure it. That is on him and his FOO and is Yes, and it took me 7 years to get this!
    Last year I was crying so hard over him I burst something in my eye. What was he doing at the same time, unbeknownst to me? – Phoning his new soul mate, the love of his life, the One That Should Have Been, and planning in their mutual selfishness to ruin my children’s Christmas – and their image of their Dad. I was completely wasting my love, my time and my worth!!!! [she turned out to be batshitcrazy and they have broken up].

    What am I trying to say? Just go into the pain, and feel it. When you are going through hell, keep on going! (Winston Churchill). Focus on yourself, live your life according to your deepest core values (DECENCY), focus on being the best parent you can be, and develop a relationship with your higher power. You will be amazed at the miracles that eventually start happening. I mean, look at Chump Lady and how life has panned out for her.

    One day at a time, have faith, and keep coming back to the Chump Nation. We have walked a mile in your shoes, we really do understand how much this hurts, and we assure you you will emerge on the other side of this agony.

  • You are a bonafide Chump if you are worried about HIM being alone! We Chumps are swell like that and is one of the reasons we find ourselves in this unfortunate positions. You need to worry about YOU and find others who worry about you as well in return.
    Are you sure he has no family? This may be a big fat lie too.
    While you are at it find a therapist that is not a cheater apologist and sympathizer!
    (If any of this has already been said, I do not have time to read all responses at this moment!)

  • First let me say how very sorry I am that he did this to you. It’s abuse. Every time he lied directly or lied by omission he robbed you of your humanity, your agency. He stole your right to choose to be in a committed loving mutually exclusive relationship or one where he fucked God knows who God knows when….

    I wouldnt trade my 3 children with STBX for any other children BUT seeing their pain and the devastation in the aftermath of his devalue and abandonment of them has been excruciating and breaks my heart. Here’s just a few of what they’ve suffered and I can do nothing to protect them or undo it: they discovered the current affair on Christmas and read a sexually explicit letter to him where slut says how much he’s in love with her boobs; STBX blame shifted to them– said it was their fault he had affairs because he “hated!” family life (they were 10, 15, 19 at the time???); they had to see me devastated and humiliated and abused (for the first time in 25 years he attacked me physically and almost broke my wrist trying to get his cheater phone away from me in front of our 10 year old- she was screaming for him to stop); he forgot he was supposed to be with two middle kids for a weekend when I was out of town with youngest -he went on a drug-fueled trip with OW and kids saw their pics on Instagram; my kids saw me do the pick-me dance while losing 30% of my body weight – they had to beg me to eat; they lost their home- he made us downsize then he never showed up to help us move – the youngest girls had to carry all his stuff to new place – including tools, garage stuff- for days while he disappeared for the Xth time to be with slut; kids had to listen to him laughing for hours on the phone with slut while I was working long hours to take financial pressure off him (I went back to a horrible, demanding job after 8 years as a SAHM because he demanded it even though he makes tons of $$); kids had to ask again and again whether he had left *again* because he kept moving out/disappearing because he told them he was “confused” about whether he wanted them/me/our family or 30 yo dope smoking slut; he finally disappeared last May, didn’t show up for son’s major surgery – son had a breakdown when he came out of anesthesia – had to get anxiety drug he was freaking out about STBX so bad the surgeon was concerned he’d bust the stitches; after STBX abandoned final time middle daughter was arrested twice, dropped out of cheer and HS (she was 3.8 student leader before DDay #1); she had serious suicide attempts and was hospitalized in psych wards/rehab 6 weeks in the past 11 months; youngest has panic attacks now and feels like she’s suffocating; son dropped out of university and gave up sport team scholarship, moved home and is working in a kitchen, he’s using recreational drugs to cope (hiding it from me but I can tell when he’s stoned) and has major anger issues and is depressed and has suicidal ideation; oldest child who is grown hasn’t heard from STBX in 18 months – not one word. This was the only father she ever really knew.

    I write all this to give you a glimpse of what’s at stake when your childrens’ father is a cheater (maybe a narcissist, borderline personality disorder, cluster B???? Who knows or cares- he sucks!)

    I wish I had known the risks before I chose a man to have children with. I did not know and now the ones I love the most are harmed by my ignorance.

  • That is all so sad. So often cheaters treat their kids like they are asterisks in their life story, yet they’re the ones who suffer most.

    • Not just their kids, but their spouses too. These people don’t bond with others.

  • I’m assuming you only have his version of his childhood to go on, his word about how “crappy” it was. But considering he had no problem lying to you for a decade while cheating on you, what makes you think he is any more honest about his childhood? It’s just as likely he had a perfectly okay childhood, but as an adult learned that playing up the self pity and sob story is a good way to snare chumps. It’s been said many times that the pity play is one of the chief tools of the sociopath.

    And if it’s true? And he really has no family, boo hoo? Well, then, he should have treasured you a bit more for all those years, don’t you think? Since he didn’t, you are free from any obligation of worrying over a man who I guarantee you, has been with some other woman every night since he left you.

    Give it time. The shock and disbelief will fade, and as CL wrote, you’ll start to feel rage over your ex’s actions. After that comes healing and you won’t give a fig about your sad sausage ex being “all alone.”

    • Since he didn’t, you are free from any obligation of worrying over a man who I guarantee you, has been with some other woman every night since he left you.

      And if he wasn’t with some other woman every night, it’s only because he couldn’t find a woman willing to sleep with him.

  • C2.0, there is a lot of wisdom here for you, including several references to taking a look at why you put his needs over yours. Because you need a cheating jackass like you need leprosy. You can’t feel it now, but your are lucky that you found out now and can move forward and build the life you want. But as everyone is telling you, that path to happiness (or Meh, as we call it) involves doing the grieving. Lots of heartache, lots of tears and suffering. Don’t be afraid of that. If you house burns down, you have to clear the debris before you can safely build again. So give yourself lots of time to feel all the feelings, to grieve, to heal. And if you are seeing a therapist, make sure it’s someone up to the job of helping you sort out you, not Cheaterpants. That’s the key to having the kind of life you want–your own healthy ability to know yourself, to protect yourself, to make sure you are getting what you need to be happy and thrive.

    That’s not selfish. You can’t have a marriage in which one person does all the giving while eating (emotional) crumbs off the floor. One thing you probably haven’t processed is how much he withheld from you all along. What would it feel like to be someone’s one-and-only? To truly be able to trust that he has your back? To be able to be emotionally intimate? You were robbed of all that, and moving through the process of leaving and grieving will help you become a woman who will take a long, hard look at how a man lives his life before you get involved. When you truly see that you matter, that you deserve to be cherished, you will be in a better position to pick a life partner who truly wants the same things.

    Now, as to the apartment. Think about how you want to live for the next 12 months (the usual term for a lease). You might think about whether you want a transition apartment (which may be a bit depressing to live in, but might be safe, convenient and affordable) or you want to look for a place to make your own for the next year or two. Once when I separated from a man I had lived with for a long while, I felt depressed about giving up the house we had bought and I had worked so hard to make a home. But I found a great apartment in a perfect location. I lived there while I wrote my dissertation and prepared for the next phase of my career. Of course you need to move–but the move itself can be more than just getting away from something; it can be a move toward a better life.

  • C2.0 –
    My heart goes out to you. My current husband always wanted children, but his XW didn’t, so he gave up that dream because he loved her. After 7 years as a couple, he caught her cheating with an old high school flame. They divorced, and while he was heartbroken just like you, he was able to make a clean break. Once they sold their house, there was never any need for contact with her or her family. That ability to truly go no contact turned out to be such a blessing for him and allowed him to heal from the trauma much more quickly than, say, me for instance, who had two kids with a cheater and was forced to co-parent with him. Like some of the previous posters, I was able to eventually process and recover from his rejection of me, and the evaporation of my life as I knew it and my dreams for the future. But the thing that hurts over and over again and that I will NEVER recover from is the continual injuries to our children and my inability to protect them. One image that still sticks in my mind is when my son was 5 or 6 (X left when he was one week old) he was waiting for his Dad to come pick him up to go throw some ball at the park. He had his ball. He had his glove. He had his little baseball cap on. He waited by the big picture window in my dining room. Waiting. And Watching. After a while, he went outside and walked all the way to the sidewalk. He looked down the street. Any car that he saw he would perk up and watch as it drew closer. He never took his eyes off the cars, even as they passed our house and drove toward their destination. After about an hour or more, he came back in the house and watched by the window some more. He watched. He waited. Then he came crying to me to “make Daddy come” and “Mommy, please call Daddy. You can fix this.”
    The same thing happened with my daughter. He never showed up for her first art exhibit at school. Or father-daughter reading day. “Mommy, where’s Daddy?” “Mommy, call Daddy.”
    There were hundreds of instances of this kind of thing. Sadly, sometimes he would show. And sometimes he wouldn’t. So the kids got their hopes up. It got even worse as his marriage to the OWife started to sour. Once the “fun” stepparent always trying to win over my kids, she let her true thoughts of them shine through as the sparkle of her marriage wore thin. Just as all OW do, she saw the cheater’s original children as “competition for resources” for her children. She began rationing their food, breaking their toys, booting them out of their sleeping spaces at her home, insisting that X prioritize her kids (his step kids) over his own children. When she would get in a fight with X and kick him out of the house, my kids would be sent to the curb with him if they happened to be over there during said fight. And X let all of this happen. Not once did he stand up to her or try to protect his own children.
    And child support? Ha ha ha! As a self-employed professional, X was able to get out of most of his obligations with little to no consequences.
    My children will be fine. I’ve taught them to be resilient and cautious and have other people earn their trust. And the bonus: they have a great step-dad who loves kids and always wanted to be a parent – and now he gets to do that. In fact, two years ago we were fortunate to be able to arrange for him to formally adopted the children.
    But once in a while, something will trigger a memory. And I continue to be haunted by the boy at the window, so very patiently watching and waiting.
    C2.0, one day in the future you will find yourself grateful that your own possible “boy at the window” was but a phantom. You will laugh gently at yourself for every giving a flying fuck for the “man-boy” for whom you currently grieve. You will be just worn down enough to be too tired to try to “force” the life you dream of into being. And you will find yourself falling, falling falling into the life that is meant to be yours. It will not be the life that you dreamed. It will be infinitely better.

  • Love yourself first. Nowhere do you say he acknowledges the fact that he is a fucked up individual. You will get through this. Put yourself first. You can’t fix him.

  • It seems that “I Love You But I Don’t Love You” is the universal opening line to getting dumped by a cheater. It also seems that some variation of “I am not happy/You don’t make me happy/I need to be happy” is the universal catch-all excuse.

    And not a surprise really. Both lines are completely vague, lack any hint of accountability or remorse by the cheater, and while not fully accusatory, they have just the right amount of blameshifty-ness to cover even the most shitty of actions.

    Over and over, day after day, the same lines and the same crap from these people.

    • I agree, it’s all convoluted, but it boils down to the same thing. I don’t love you. No matter how they slice it, the reality is they don’t love us.

    • You forgot the ever so popular hit song, “I need to find myself.”

  • When people tell you things could be worse, say, “Yeah, I could be missing half my limbs and rotting in the gutter.” That is pretty much the only thing worse than intimate betrayal.

  • C2.0- Even though you felt you had a happy marriage, it sounds like you have been spackling from the beginning about your husband and his issues. I did the same. Had I had a better sense of self, and boundaries, I never would have been attracted to cheater. It is past time you delve into your own issues before you are tempted to take back the lout, or have history repeat itself in a rebound relationship. This is particularly important because you clearly have your eyes on the prize of motherhood and seem anxious to obtain your dream of hearth and home sooner rather than later. That’s understandable.
    Just make repair and care of yourself first order, if you want to truly achieve the latter.
    Good Luck!

  • I guess with us all we lament what could have been. Either early on, in the middle or at the end. I was looking forward to post kid relationship….. Travel a bit have some peace and quiet…. Do things that we put off for 21 years. Have grandkids over for Christmas! Well unfortunately it is not in the cards for us….. Our significant others decided cheap sex was more important than our families! And for that, we all will suffer! Fucking worthless cheaters!

  • C2.0, we know how much you are hurting, and we are encouraging you to be brave because we all know the pain of betrayal, and we know that it will eventually subside. You will again experience moments of joy.

    Just breathe through the waves of grief, get out and exercise if you can.
    It’s so important to make the decision to go No Contact as early as possible.

    For the first while, the world around you will feel so empty without him. Try to embrace small moments of happiness from everyday things. Look in the mirror, smile, and say “I love you, 2.0!” Become your own best friend…I found this gave me a warm feelong of comfort.

    As you get some more sleep, your brain will help you process what has happened, and you will start to recognise the red flags you missed. You may kick yourself for missing the red flags, we all do, but this experience will make you a heck of a lot more conversant with how to see good character. A year from now, you will be able to truly admit a feelong of gratitude that you narrowly missed a long sentence of having bred with a turd.

  • C2.0, so sorry you are going thru this. Hurts like a MF right now, but as everyone else had said – it does get better. What helped me was journaling the thoughts and emotions. My therapist had me sit down and write 3 separate lists: I Need, I Deserve and I Want. Those were to help me focus on what I wanted and needed from my life. Forced me to stop focusing on him and place the focus and healing on myself, where it belonged. Posted them on the bathroom mirror, carried copies in my purse, in the visor in the car, had them EVERYWHERE, lol! Took them out and read them every time he triggered me. I didn’t go no contact for a long time. Not until I finally found these fabulous people! So, I was triggered a lot! But it did help – still have them everywhere and still read them to remind myself that I am worthwhile and deserve so much better than he ever gave me.

    You will get thru this and come out stronger than you thought possible. He isn’t worth your sweet, loving heart!

    • My good friend went through a similar experience to yours. She was married 10 yrs. She was taking prenatal vitamins. They had an appointment with a,realtor to look at buying a house that weekend. And then she came home and he was gone. Closets and bank account cleaned out. In her grief she said “oh if I would’ve had his baby he wouldnt have left.” Of course everyone one else was thankful she didnt. She never knew why he left. He did try and contact her 2 years later. BUT she was remarried and expecting her 1st child. I asked her once why she never had children with her husband who left her? ( btw..he cheated on her when they were dating and had a daughter in another country that No One knew about) She said I never wanted to. I never trusted him. Anyways, she now has 2 girls and a nice husband. Allow the next chapter in your life to start!

  • C2.0, I know this hurts like crazy. I get it. I bred with a serial cheater and my only wish is that my son’s father is NOT the serial cheater. Yes, I also agree how fortunate you are to have not bred with a fuckwit who disrespects and devalues you. In time, you will fall out of love (go 100% no contact), you will grieve and then heal. When you get to meh (and you will), you can come back and re-read all the comments and all you will do is nod your head in agreement. You will be so glad you got out when you did. Trust the advice here. Unlike your serial cheater husband, the chumps here care what happens to you.

  • One of the lessons many people learn from their terrible childhoods is the importance of treating other people the way you would like to be treated. Not this guy, apparently.

    I felt sorry for my ex for a very long time but it passed. My shrink would repeatedly remind me that she’s an adult and therefore is responsible for her own behaviour. The message sunk in eventually.

  • People with serious FOO are a dime a dozen. However, they don’t get a pass to go out and betray people. If anything you ought to me MORE empathic and kind. Cheaters are a “special” brand of fucked up people who rarely do the hard work necessary to combat their demons and inner weakness. Instead, they blame, discard and replace. And that, is a personality disorder. Healthy people have conversations, are honest (overall) and do their best to maintain their vows and integrity. Healthy people do not cheat. Period.

  • C2.0–there are many messages congratulating you on having discovered your H’s perfidy before having children with him. People are speaking from the wisdom of distance, but your trauma is not distant. It is a very scary thing to notice one’s biological clock and realize that immediate plans have been thwarted by someone else. To be honest, I stomped over red flags to marry my fucktard because I desperately wanted children.

    You are very brave to end the relationship, despite your dreams for the future. Just know that your pain is validated by every member of CN; we know the gut-wrenching anxiety and horror that you are going through. That includes your sharp intake of breath that the child you planned to have soon may not be “soon” now. Your dreams are not ending, just one aspect of the dream (having a family with your current H). You are in for a rough 4 months; once the adrenaline rush of your discovery wears off, the rage and grief of betrayal will be even more clear. Think of it as riding a wave; those emotions are part of your journey out of the nightmare. And the journey is one step at a time.

  • I want babies too, I’m 36 and scared I will miss out. I also want them with a living, committed partner who shares his life with me.

    It’s painful but it does recede.


    Check out the letter from the affair partner…they are some sickos.

    Look. You don’t know what kind of crazy he might bring home one day. If he had ten in that time he’ll up his juggling act over the years and it’s only a matter of time before he hits the psycho jackpot. Grieve . Yes grieve. But leave this adulterer behind. Yes I am casting a stone! Feeling sorry for him will not fix anything. Hate the sin not the sinner. But don’t stay in the situation thinking your pity will change him.If you love him let him go. He can’t work out his issues with you as a crutch.

    • OMG Mandie101! I have received sicko emails, texts and photos from the OW. Thanks for putting the link to that article. It’s a grim reminder to me to put as much distance as possible between them and me.

        • That was one of my fears…that he get involved with one that got crazy. I met with the last one and her parting words to me were ” treat him good.” Stupid me replied ” that is what I was trying to do.” But her words told me everything…he had been giving the impression that i was the one being treating him badly. LOL!!! On the plus side she near fell out her chair when I told her that she was not the first nor was she likely to be the last. She seemed to think that he was serious when he said he loved her and she loved him. Heavens!! Will the comedy never end? This was in 2013.

          He left in January 2015. Been an even bigger colossal ass and some since then. Mainly cause I put up with zero shit and call him out or flat out ignore him. Plus against his wishes, I did not curl up in a ball and die. I served him in March and divorce proceedings under way. He stalled the last hearing with lies accusing me of not allowing him contact with the children. He sees them every day unless he says he is not coming or just does not show up!

          anyhow…last night i have plans for kids and me and he decides he wants to join us…I sent the children off with him and went about my business. I want nothing to do with him nor do my friends. I told him he’d live to regret walking out on his family and he does. Meanwhile I am happy and peaceful. I always said I’d do marriage to ensure good structure for any children of the union (did not hedge the spouse bet so well). But I won’t be doing marriage again. I do not believe it is the be all and end all. I won’t be having more children. I don’t need a father for my children. They already have one and I leave it open for him to do his part. I just want a committed companion going forward. I really can’t see myself putting up with any shit going forward. Not that I’ll be intolerant of ‘normal’ human foibles but otherwise with no children to pin me to anyone I better be getting as good as I give or I’m out. Until then happy fun times with me and my crew of two!!!

        • Fatal Attraction. Cheaters spend way too much time thinking with the wrong part to realize that the other man/woman might be a bunny boiler.

  • C2.0…Here’s the thing: Your husband fully admitted to all those hook-ups…that’s more than most of us get here. Perhaps he was TRYING to tell you about the future that you’d be having with him if you didn’t have the brains to just skeedadle? You were forewarned BIG TIME. I think he should not be married to anyone and certainly is not father material.

    My X has two adult children…a 30yr old daughter, and a 25yr old son. I don’t know why, but his daughter turned out to be just like him. She is a Hedonist, whereas, her brother is a sweet compassionate CHUMP. My X’s ex wife is a sweetheart, kind, tender moral person. So WHY didn’t her “example” rub off onto her own daughter?

    As hard as her mother tried to teach her good character, her daughter was determined to be “just like daddy” instead…a loud mouth narcissist brazen uncontrollable back stabbing snake of a whore…those are her good qualities.

    If you HAD had children with this guy, you never know how they would have turned out given his example and influence over the decades. Would you like to gamble your children’s future on a man like that?

  • Oh I relate to this on so many levels!! My therapist keeps telling me that I need to stop feeling responsible for my Ex Narcissist. That his happiness and health and being on time to things no longer depends on me. I sacrificed myself and all of the things that I needed and wanted over the years with him to try to help him heal from his traumatic childhood, from his PTSD, from whatever crisis he was facing that day… and it never worked. I desperately wanted to give him love and family and all things happy… but when you love someone who actually can’t love you in return (or chooses not to) you are just wasting all that good. Its been a tough lesson to learn and tough fantasy to let go of.

  • Thanks. I am having such a hard time deciding about moving to a new place or making him move. It probably makes more sense to start fresh but that makes it so final. Did people who work outside the home take time off? I’ve taken three days a week off since I found out -missing everything I could- but I am having such a hard time concentrating.

    • Good morning, C2.0. Sending a big hug your way. Now breathe. Deeply. Three long, slow times. In through your nose. hold it. Feel the calm. Then out through your mouth. I just happened to catch you this morning. For future inquiries, be sure to log into the Forums and go to the general forum. CN checks in there more regularly and will be able to respond to you better. In the meantime, regarding work. You have GOT to do whatever you can do to keep your job. That is your ticket out of there. If you haven’t already, my advice is that you consider not telling anyone at work — or anyone who could communicate back to your work — about what is going on with the demise of your marriage. Having spent 25+ years in the corporate world, divorcing employees are a Red Flag to employers. I’ve been on all ends of it: the employer of a divorcing person, the coworker of a divorcing person, and I have actually been the divorcing employee. Not everyone is understanding. They will watch you more closely and notice any little failing. They will expect you to snap out of it way more quickly than you will be able to. There will be more scrutiny. And let’s face it, you need this job. About the concentration, I totally understand. When I returned to my executive marketing job I couldn’t even read a single paragraph and tell you what I had read! I couldn’t get anything done! As a manager I was able to delegate some tasks and enlist the help of my staff. But not everyone has that luxury.
      Get with your doctor and tell him/her what is going on. My Dr. prescribed Ambien to help me actually get some sleep so I could focus the next day. I also had to have anxiety pills (I don’t remember what they were called) for emergencies. I went on an antidepressant and that helped. too. I only needed the Ambien for a few months, I never took the full bottle of anxiety pills but did take a few, and I only needed the Antidpressant for a year or so (note: must give Antidepressants time to build up in your system to work and sometimes it takes a few different ones to find one that works) Medication isn’t for everybody but it CAN help and if it does, why not? Find some meditations practices that you can do every morning, every night, and some mini-ones that you can do throughout the day at work to help you release and regroup. Break your tasks down into little doable chunks that are not overwhelming. Develop a habit of leaving the office for lunch every day to give yourself some privacy and a place to cry if you need to. I remember thinking, to hell with that adage “One Day at a Time,” I need to figure out how to get through the next 10 minutes. So that’s what I did. What can I do to help myself get through the next 10 minutes (without crying, without triggering, or just actually accomplish something during that time). Then the next 10 minutes, then the next. Before long it was how do I get through the next 30 minutes. Then after a few weeks of that, I noticed I was thinking in terms of the next hour. With the right of course to always revert back to 10-minute intervals in emergency. Those are a few tips. I’m sure CN has many more. Post in the forum for the good stuff. Hugs.

    • Jedi Hugs Chumptastic2.0! I’m so sorry you are going through this. When I first had this happen CL didn’t exist and I found this site and this post helpful when I was still in the “I love him, he had a hard time” mindset. I hope it helps you. Obviously not all of it applies to you, but I think it might help you sort this problem with feeling bad for him. Take care and be well, sorry I’m late to post.

  • I can identify with what you are feeling. I never questioned the dream. I just had it and believed in him and that was that. So far as moving on, you just do. You do because you have no choice. The dream with him is already gone and is not coming back. I believe you choose yourself over the dream and the hope of what you wanted with him. You create a new reality with yourself, friends, family and I know you can think of it now- a man more worthy. You chose YOU and your future over spending more time on someone who doesn’t deserve it.

    I slip. I forget some days and I get sucked into the “what the heck just happened here” thoughts. It’s sad. I mourn the marriage. But reality without someone disrespecting you is a lot better than living the life I “thought” I had with someone who doesn’t deserve or presumably really want my affection.

    You deserve better and you know it. That is what helps you move on from the hope-with him anyway- one step at a time.

  • Chumpatastic 2.0,

    I, like you, was in a short marriage with my Narcopath ex-husband. We were together for a total of 6 years, 2.5 of them married. I was completely blindsided by his affair with his ho-worker. The night that they slept together, I was actually at dinner with two of my closest girlfriends telling them what a good guy he was. The mask slipped, and I was ANGRY! I knew his family was super dysfunctional, but I used that anger to fuel me forward. The discard hurt like a bitch, but it was all I needed to finally become free. I immediately divorced him (literally about a month out from D-Day, we were finalized. Is that a record?)

    Anyway, GET ANGRY! I know that it hurts. I know it doesn’t feel real. You do not deserve this. You sound like a wonderfully loving, trusting person. Get out of there NOW. I am almost exactly one year out from D-Day (Sunday is one year, in fact). Lean on this community. Lean on your family and REAL friends. I know that it sucks at first when people tell you that you dodged a bullet (what could they know?), but I promise you that the trauma fog will lift soon and you will see how lucky you are. I went full no-contact September 1st despite the fact that the ex kept taunting me, triangulating with other people, etc. The good news is, you can go completely NC and get a brand new, much improved life without a snake that feels like he can treat people like replaceable pawns in his life. Pretty soon, you will barely even think about him.

    Reading the stories of women and men here who had to slog through years-long divorces, who still have to see their slimy exes, and who have to share their children with the AP make me all the more happy that I got out when I did. I cannot imagine that pain. Chumps with children and long marriages-I salute you! But, we will very luckily never have to experience that. We can get away and find better lives. If I did, I know that you can and will too! ((HUGS!))

  • One more thing-do NOT feel sorry for him. You can only control your actions, not his. Sociopaths use your empathetic heart against you because they are unable to feel empathy or really anything for anyone but themselves. You do not owe him anything. You gave him 7 years of your life. You were faithful. You were a good wife. HE is the one who threw it all away. Don’t let him get away with that because he claims that he had a bad childhood…

  • Thanks Chumpasaurus. I still can’t can’t angry but I’m trying. For the first 6 years I thought he was the best and he was kind and generous and we had so much fun together. I still can’t believe it’s real. I just want the life I thought I was in back. I signed a lease for my own place and working on a lawyer but I’m still not angry. I thought we were happy….

    • I thought that I was happy too. In fact, we bought a condo (our first home together) less than a month before D-Day. Other couples looked up to us. I told him that we had the perfect life, and he said that he didn’t. Good for you finding an apartment! That was a great first step. You will get there eventually. The shock will slowly wear off and you will get the life you wanted, but it will be with a much MUCH better person. I know it doesn’t make sense now, but it definitely will down the road. Hang in there!

      • I was unknowingly the “other woman” and now even after 3.5 years I was sickeningly attached to him even after I discovered all the lies. I finally found the book “Psychopath Free” and it finally all made sense. These people have personality disorders. They are predators preying on good people. Unfortunately his wife stayed with him because I’m sure he spun it some way to keep her hooked…even when I called her at her work to ask if they were still married. They are lying snakes and evil people. They have no conscience and despite his sob story, he is beyond fixable and in all reality he has no desire or knowledge that he is even broken. It’s also good to read “Women who love too much” and any book that will make you really see what is going on here: not what you want to be going on here. I only dated this dirtbag for 6 months and I allowed him to ruin a better part of 3.5 years. No longer. I’m completely NC and finally healing the right way. I wouldn’t have been able to heal had I not gotten the information on these disordered people. I had to make it make sense and this is the only thing that made sense. I was freed. I contemplate sending the book anonymously to his wife because she has got to be in hell. 24 years of his crap. I cannot imagine. There is light at the end of the tunnel and I will say I am now grateful for the experience because I no longer give a single provision for people like this and I feel like I have a super power sporting emotional manipulators. They won’t come near me! Praying for you to stay away from this roller coaster into hell! Get off the train now!

    • Chumptastic2.0, I didn’t get very angry either; I was just so sad. Devastated, heartbroken. I eventually had a few moments of anger, but it was pretty minimal given what he had done. However, I knew I deserved better, and 2.0, you deserve better too. We all do. Hang in there and keep going… Things will get better.

  • I’ve been reading all the comments and and a song keeps popping into my head – “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. The lyrics are heart-wrenching but they really did help me let it go:

    “I dreamed a dream in days gone by,
    When hope was high and life worth living.
    I dreamed that love would never die,
    I dreamed that God would be forgiving.

    Then I was young and unafraid,
    And dreams were made and used and wasted.
    There was no ransom to be paid,
    No song unsung, no wine untasted.

    But the tigers come at night,
    With their voices soft as thunder.
    And they tear your hope apart,
    And they turn your dream to shame.

    He slept the summer by my side,
    He filled my days with endless wonder.
    He took my childhood in his stride,
    But he was gone when autumn came.

    And still I dream he’ll come to me,
    And we will live the years together.
    But there are dreams that cannot be,
    And there are storms we cannot weather.

    I had a dream that life would be,
    So different from this hell I’m living,
    So different now than what it seemed,
    Now life has killed
    The dream I dreamed.

    One of the saddest songs I’ve ever heard, but oh, so powerful. It’s about acceptance. How the tigers sneak in while it’s dark (when we are not vigilant because we are living the dream) and shred everything. Didn’t want to be a downer, but just couldn’t get this song out of my head.

  • C2.0, my heart breaks for you! I remember being 2 weeks out from D-day. Similar to you, I gave my cheater 8 years together and 3 years of marriage. I also have no children and also have to listen to people tell me how lucky I am – I get it. You are not lucky in this moment, but it WILL get better, I promise. The number one thing I can say to you is, go NO CONTACT as soon as possible and as much as possible. That is the only way to get mental space from someone who is making it his job to manipulate you.

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