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Dear Chump Lady, How do I keep myself from rewriting history?

factsDear Chump Lady,

After 18 years together, 16 of those married, we started having problems about 3 years ago after I had a run with some minor cancer. I won the cancer battle but guess I also won (to my surprise ) a husband who decided that he needed some fun in the midst of my turmoil and treatment. He needed the excitement of seeing new women and proceeded to move out into the dating world. Yes, pretty much right in my face.

I spent a while in denial, despite his blatant moves, things spiraled and he moved out last winter following all the fun pretzeling, games and jerky things every chump knows so well. I’ve slowly came to terms with the pending divorce and am holding my own while caring for two small kids.

So my question is how do I keep myself from rewriting history?

I look back on our relationship and I’m starting to doubt more things. I worry that my review isn’t healthy and may not be accurate. It’s frustrating to know that I will never know what was real and when I was a just helpful piece for him-working, cleaning, organizing, caring for kids. We were best friends and had a lot of fun. Now I wonder, was he only there for the fun nuggets and I never noticed that he wasn’t all in? I’m seeing more and more how he just wanted the good parts for himself. I remember how he used up all his time off while I was pregnant with our first and then had to go straight to work when baby arrived. I remember all the things he asked me to buy for him. The dinners, the vacations, the concerts.

Was it ever really about us or was I a side car and didn’t notice because I had a different dreamy picture swirling in my head? It’s scary to see the lens get clearer and clearer? How can I know what was real or whether I’m just a scorned woman justifying my bitterness? How do I stop myself from rewriting?

Moving on (apparently while looking backwards)

Dear Moving on,

Your husband cheated on you while you had cancer and abandoned you to raise two small children. You don’t need to justify your bitterness — it should be your birthright. You get the platinum Scorned Woman card (accepted internationally wherever shit sandwiches are served).

Your question is — how do you give him credit for the good times? You know, so you’re not bitter and scorned?

Think of it this way — you’re sitting at the trading table, handing him poker chips for all the good times. Here’s one for Christmas 2012, and here’s another for the birth of our first child, and here’s one for that great night on September 17…. and then a giant elephant sitting astride a Steinway grand piano falls from the sky and FLATTENS THE TABLE. Oh, and the elephant has irritable bowel syndrome. And in the excitement from the fall, he’s had an accident. A large elephant-sized accident.

Now, in the rubble, find the “good” poker chips.

How good are they, covered in elephant shit?

How nice a life was it if it got flattened?

Only, Steinway elephant accidents are (aside from being fictitious) mysterious acts of God. Nothing personal. Pianos and elephants fall from the sky. Unlike your husband who made a DELIBERATE CHOICE to flatten your, and your children’s world, when you were all at your most vulnerable.

Hey, “best friend” here’s your poker chip!

Moving, you have a right to be angry about this. It’s traumatic and horrible, and he fucked you over. It’s okay to recognize the injustice. That doesn’t make you scorned or bitter — it makes you lucid. You’re not spackling, you’re seeing him for who he is — a selfish coward. He was your friend, until he wasn’t.

There are better friends out there. Go find them.

The answer to “what was real? does it matter?” is always YOU were real. You brought your A game. You committed. You loved deeply. The only reality we control is our own.

You’re going to look back for awhile. That’s normal. You’re processing the hurt and are grieving. But don’t forget to look forward too — to a brighter future without him. (((Hugs)))

Ask Chump Lady

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  • Awful. Every time I hear about someone cheating on a sick spouse I rewatch Terms Of Endearment and violently curse Flap (worlds WORST cinematic philanderer).
    It’s hard not to mentally rewrite history but once that hazy glow comes off the camera lens it gets harder and harder to apply the “everything was great” filter to lessen the gut punch from reality.

    I hope you’re healthy now and taking care of yourself!

  • Thank you Tracy!! I love the metaphor of poker chips and table — and then the elephant falls on it!!

    Yes, and thank you for reminding us that when we look back and try to find what was real: we were real, our love, our commitment, all real. Thank you for reminding us to look ahead.

    • Yes, great metaphor! Word pictures help to put things in perspective. I remember when our MC talked about deposits and withdrawals into our marriage “love account” and I was trying hard to visualize that in order to be a better wife (and avoid being in the red). Then, I found out about the affairs and said to MC, “my husband just blew up the whole bank.” I could envision a bomb going off with lots of casualties and collateral damage!

      • Similar to the – ‘build trust one brick at a time’ thing…. What if all the bricks were reduced to powder and most of them are blown to bits, then how long will that take? Shouldn’t I find some better quality bricks that won’t blow themselves up? That seems like better advice… “build a new wall with some brand new bricks”

        Your love bank was full of counterfeit points… the vault is made out of smoke and mirrors, but hey.. you keep dumping those authentic love points into that love account and collecting the fake coins… it’s not FDIC insured, so you can just get comfortable with counterfeit love… Or… the better advice here would be ‘find a more trustworthy love bank’.

        Sad how many MCs give out the same bad advice… “Your spouse beats you with a baseball bat?.. well, you need to wrap yourself in some bubble wrap and not be so hateful of baseball… here are some worksheets to do at home, so you can learn about the sport of baseball…”

  • Jesus effin’ hell, Moving – you are so much stronger than I could be. I’m gonna second CL on this one about focusing on what you know about yourself – you fought cancer and won. You raised the children. What you know or knew about your ex doesn’t change those facts. Good luck.

  • I think we all start to see the red flags we missed along the way, once Cheater is out of our lives for good. No good beating ourselves up for it. We were duped, fooled, lied to, and taken advantage of, when we thought our vows had been agreed by both parties.

    What galls me more is that Cheaters go to such lengths to re-write history. That would be a good subject for a separate thread: what public face does a Cheater now present, and how does it differ from what really happened?

    I have some classic history reinventions from both my Ex and my Chump partner’s Ex, all good for laughs if nothing else.

    • Omg Chumplady…please write that one. My ex has a totally revised version of events and not even kidding HE BELIEVES IT!! When presented with facts he still finds a way to spin it.
      Blows my damn mind and turns me into a bit of a screaming lunatic when I have to deal with him…..which I assume is the goal. Not proud of it.

      • Trust me, he does NOT believe it!! Liars, they lie and he knows it drives you nuts. Start saying ‘whatever’ to everything and walk away. That will drive him nuts

      • Something very similar happened to me. After ultimately being discarded for a guy 22 years younger than me 2 weeks after my dad died and after having been a mess grieving his suffering in hospice for months, I told him to get out of the house. It was the first time I stood up for myself instead of saying “you cheated, again? Well, we can work through this, too.” However, with all of the emotional strife in my life, I wasn’t good kibble for him anymore, so he said “I’m leaving you” and proceeded to tell me how this kid he was leaving me for was the kindest, most intelligent and sexy blah blah blah. I had just suffered the loss of my dad, and had also broken my hand and had surgery that day to repair it, and he chose that day to say he was leaving me. So I kicked him out. I didn’t yell and scream at him. I didn’t threaten him in any way. I just said, “I need you to not be here”. He said, “where am I going to go?” which would have felt sincere had he not told me two days previous when he disclosed this new affair that if I needed him to leave that he had made arrangements with the OP to spend the night.

        So now as I’m still trying for a financial separation from this fuckwit, he’s rewriting history to say that I ended things with him. I’m like, what the hell!?!? Are you crazy? Am I crazy!? He says, “you kicked me out, don’t you remember? Were it not for the loving support of my friends who let me stay with them, I wouldn’t know what I would have done.” Holy hell people. It’s such a mind fuck. Hearing this, I actually felt guilty for kicking him out. Then I tried to get my head around it but still feel guilty in some ways. I think of telling him you should have planned better for this–you could have stayed in a hotel for a month or two. Your lack of a place to live was not my fault. I won’t get caught up in any more crazy by sharing any of these thoughts with him. I need to go no contact ASAP. He’s a charmer, though, and has won over many of our friends to his side sharing these same bullshit twistings of the truth and I am sure there are a lot of lies dropped in. This abuse runs deep.

        • ChumpGuy, there are layers and layers to the mindfuckery that you are just starting to encounter. Kudos for having the spine to throw out the cheater. Signup for the Forums (top R) to get more advice or seek comfort when you need it.

          I’m dealing with the betrayal of friends-who-bought-charming-cheater’s-lies right now, so I feel your pain.

        • This is terrible. Stick to your truth and stick to your guns. (Proverbial.) truth will out your Switzerland (not) friends. And then you’ll find better friends.

          • Agreed, don’t get hung up on whatever he says. In your head just pretend every word he uses goes like this: “Wah wah wah, wah wah wah wah.” Like the sound of any (never shown) adults in all those “Peanuts/Charlie Brown’ animated programs. 🙂

    • Mr. Sparkles told the OW that he knew there was spyware on his computer when he was responding to personal ads indicating he was a Bi MWM… a man looking for a woman who desires a “Daddy” relationship… a DWM looking for couples…. the only problem with his rewrite is that I have a RECEIPT from the spyware company the shows I bought and installed the software AFTER he did all this stuff. (In fact, I found it all in his trash folder – he never was reliable about taking out the trash!)

      We know the truth, but we’ll make ourselves crazy if we keep examining their revisionist stories.

      • I agree we will make ourselves CRAZY if we keep examining their stories. Besides it gives them real estate in my brain and that’s never allowed.

    • Oh yes, this: “What galls me more is that Cheaters go to such lengths to re-write history. That would be a good subject for a separate thread: what public face does a Cheater now present, and how does it differ from what really happened?”

      How funny and cathartic would it be to collect all these stories in one thread!

  • There is a difference between rewriting history and figuring out the truth. Never feel guilty for knowing the story of your life. (((moving on)))

    • nomar, I know for a fact that my history with my ex husband and 2 ex adult children has been rewritten but what sadden me very much is yesterday I bumped into an old acquaintance and she were shocked to see me as she had been told by my son that I am dead. I can only assume as they have ceased all contact of any kind with me that to them I am dead. They have completely wiped me from their lives and now this. Having said that, I do know the story of my life as all Chumps do.

        • Yes it is terrible and very cruel and nasty but it isn’t the 1st time my son has shown his sinister side but this takes the cake. I suppose the only thing worse would be if he killed me and I can tell you now that I feel safer being on my own than in his company. He was just the sweetest, most gentle and happy little boy and teenager and I miss that very much but is has gone forever.

          • Oh, Maree, that is so awful i don’t know what to say.His loss, forever. Many hugs, and keep warm- I don’t know what it’s like in Melbourne this morning but Adelaide is freezing.

      • I’m non-violent but based on your stories I’d really love to give your kids a thumping.

          • I feel your sadness Maree, as you know I’m another very hated Mom. Cheater succeeded in rewriting history and turning our son against me knowing he was my world. I’ve done everything to have a relationship with my son only to be disappointed. My phone calls, texts are ignored. I’m afraid I don’t know him any more.
            At one time I had hope that someday my son and I would have a relationship someday but realistically I doubt that day will come.

            • Maree

              I’m a believer in evil. I’m so sorry they continue with the most hateful alliance with the devil himself.

              Know just how much you are loved here.

            • brit and Doingme thank you both. Brit I know and understand your pain. I sincerely hope that your future with your son will be brighter and full of happiness. Doingme, thank you my dear, I always feel like I am not so alone with CN. I feel like I have found a warm home along with everyone else. (((HUGS))) to both of you.

  • I think that is one of the most difficult parts of infidelity. The part that makes you wonder what was real, how long have you been duped, how could you not have known, did he always lie, did he ever really love us or was wife and family on his “grown up to do list”. After everything ended I kind of didn’t trust my ability to make a decent decision.

    It took me awhile to realize that I was an honest person and assumed that he was the same. I gave him my trust because I was trustworthy and believed he was too. So at the end of the day, shame on him for being a liar.

    • I have to own that I knew early on that he was a liar and manipulator, but he was also really charming and someone with whom I thought I could make it work. I need to forgive myself for trying to make an ice cream sundae out of shit. No surprise I ended up with a shit sundae. It’s so sad, and I hope I can find love again. I spent 20 years with that shit.

      • The last quality I want in a partner is “charming.” The literal meaning of the verb “charm” is to put someone under a spell. I prefer real.

        • I knew a northern Italian man whose mother would say, “Charm is as long as your arm.” When I said someone was charming, he was the only person who knew that it wasn’t a compliment.

  • I also have the same challenge. The day before DDay, I would have sworn we were happy. I would have taken a bullet for him (I didn’t know he was going to be the one holding the gun). I loved our life.

    After the shock and awe wore off….I too, started to look back and wonder why the happiness was mine alone.

    And then I realized something….he wasn’t really there for me. Did I rug sweep? Spackle?
    For me, I think most of the time I went along with what *he* wanted to do….because it really wasn’t that important to me at the time. I wanted to paint the house yellow. He wanted white. We painted it white because it really wasn’t that important to me. A million examples.

    However, I also look back and see how when I came home every day stressed about my job because I was being harassed, he really didn’t care. When I came home crying one day and said “I cant take it anymore, I have to quit”….he said “your being irresponsible and you cannot quit”. After I found another job that made me 1000x happier…but took a small pay cut, he berated me for that choice (after I was the one through 90% of the relationship that made more money than him). I remember the time that it was *important to me* that we had our friends over to help us move some ceiling fans. He didn’t want to do the fans….just hang out with our friends. I insisted, and we did it anyway. It took 2 hours to move the fans. **He used this example as one of the reasons he was unhappy**.

    What I learned was….if it was important to him, we did it his way. If it was important to me….I had to insist that we do it….and then he used it against me. Because I was so selfish and “it always had to be my way”.

    I don’t think I am re-writing history. I am just truly seeing his actions for what they were.
    Clarity is a bitch.

    • Oh my gosh DivineLife, that was my X ! Even though it shouldn’t, it always surprises me when I read my life in someone else’s post. While sad, it affirms that they truly do suck.
      And you are so right …. We are not re-writing history after DDay, ” we are truly seeing his actions for what that were. Clarity is a bitch”!!!

        • This is my ex as well. If he wanted to move, we did so because I was pretty easy going about that. If he wanted this art or that car, I agreed, because he was a hard worker and we had the money, so if it made him happy ok with me. However, when I look back to the times I needed him to be there, he wasn’t. I had a hysterectomy and he was annoyed that I couldn’t drive sooner. My grandmother was dying and he was having an affair. I was sad at times and he told me to get my shit together and take more pills. If I didn’t like something the usual response was to deal with it….and then he’d head off to “work.”

          Honestly it’s shocking to me to look back on that now. The more I gave the less I got in return. As awful as it was his cheating woke me up to the fact that I was in an abusive, unhealthy relationship.

    • I say this again and again, the similarities are striking in so many of our stories.

      “I was being harassed, he really didn’t care.”

      “but took a small pay cut, he berated me for that choice (after I was the one through 90% of the relationship that made more money than him”

      “if it was important to him, we did it his way. If it was important to me….I had to insist that we do it….and then he used it against me.”

      They are not even original in their ass-holery.

      • My Ex would usuallly take it one step further and tell me why I was “wrong” to feel harassed or mistreated at work or any other situation in life, and would justify to me the actions of the person I was complaining about. See, he always knew better. It wasn’t until recently that I realized he was never on my side. Making me feel small was his goal, and he did it every day.

        Yet his daily life was an enormous burden for him since he was convinced “the Universe was laughing” at him. Trying to give him suggestions for solutions (like, hey, get a real job?) only resulted in anger that I wasn’t “validating” him. The pathological liar who was serially cheating during 16 years together, needed “validation.”

        It’s almost funny in hindsight.

        • The Muse – My mother is mentally ill, she is a narcissist, and I can tell you that this is EXACTLY how my mother treated me my entire life. She would always side with the person who was the wrongdoer. She would never take my side, ever! Whenever I’d complain that someone had wronged me, she would take the other person’s side and it was so hurtful. For example, I went on a first date with this guy who wanted to have sex with me; I turned him down stating it was too soon. When my mom asked how the date went and I told her, she quipped that it must have been my fault he asked for sex, because I must have given off some signal or done something to make the guy think I wanted to sleep with him. See how she never took my side. I struggled with this my entire childhood and life, until I went NC with her 5 years ago. I can’t stand her.

          But I didn’t heal from this until my therapist told me this is a narcissistic trait. Meaning the narcissist (or person with personality disorder) will usually side with the abuser against you. And this is something that I watch out for when dating a guy. The second they show this trait, i’m out in a nanosecond, because this is very toxic and can be very damaging.

          • Kellia, Wow, thanks for the info that your therapist told you. I had no idea that was a N trait! My ex would do this, too. It’s like he to be on the fence about something instead of having my back; hard to explain! I had a huge red flag moment that happened while were engaged. We went to a fancy Christmas party for his job. One of the partners of the firm said to me in front of a group of people, including my ex — he pretty much accused me of being a gold digger, because I didn’t have an elite job like my ex. Well, at the time I was making more money a year then my ex. When this guy said this to me, my ex didn’t say one word to defend me and got his usual smug laugh smirk on his face. I didn’t speak up for myself because I was so taken back by what he said. I just stood there in silence. I’ve always remembered this occasion as a time when my guy was telling me something was wrong.

            • Oh yes the usual smug grin or smirk, I know that feeling all too well. That’s another thing my mother would display, her smug grin whenever she saw me get screwed over by someone else or when she would hurt me with her words. It would bring her pleasure. I really don’t miss my childhood or her for that matter.

              And I’m sorry your ex didn’t come to your rescue or defend you one iota when you were wrongfully accused to being a gold digger. It’s so typical with these narcissists. They just side with the abuser each time.

              • Kellia, I’m sorry that your mom treated you like that. 🙁

                You know this whole smug grin smirk. Quite a few times I saw him get that smirk when a person shouldn’t have a smirk on their face. One time he was telling me that his uncle was dying (all his organs were shutting down and he didn’t have much longer to live) and he got that smirk on his face for a few seconds. It was so unnerving. And I’ve seen his mom do the same thing too. Her sister was going through a bad divorce and his mom had that smirk on her face for a few moments when she was telling me some details. It’s almost like they took pleasure in someone else’s suffering. I know that sounds so mean to say that and I don’t want to believe they are capable of being that way, but the smirk never made sense to me.

            • I had numerous red flags as well. One time, my ex’s 16-year old brother made some joke about me being fat and my ex laughed, right in my face. Later I confronted my ex about why he didn’t defend me as he said, “well if you don’t like how you look you should do something about it.” I didn’t know whether to cry or punch him in the face.

              • That’s just horrible and cruel. I’m so sorry your ex was a douche. You should have punched him in the face, and knocked out a few teeth while you were at it. Big hugs to you Done4Good.

              • Here’s where I know I minimized. When someone belittles us this way, and in this case in front of someone else, it’s abuse. And we should leave just as if we were struck in the face.

            • I remember the ex also did not stick up for me I had to defend myself. He came over to me and said what did you do to her this women wanted to punch me in the face she was drunk at the bar he said it was my fault for looking at her while she was drunk she was ready to pound the shit out of my while he was just standing there. I told him go to hell got up and walked home. He showed up later with a smirk on his face.

              • Yeah babe, what did you do? Translation: “Can you guess what I said? [smirk]”
                Now try replaying the scene … 2 normal girls and one crazy guy. What he could have done or said to cause the scene?
                Or a different scenario: you played your role pretty well and left the scene. “Can you guess what I did, after you left? [smirk]”

                Any freaking scenario or combination of is a possibility. He is the master puppeteer, hence the smirk.
                Dirty minds, dirty souls. Trust that they suck!

            • Martha, the smug laugh smirk is your key.
              Where did the firm partner get the idea that you don’t have an elite job, that you don’t earn well etc? You were set up!
              These devils dig our grave long before we even sense it. “Oh, he wouldn’t do that!” You have no idea! It takes years, decades, if ever, to figure this out. It’s complete mindfuck, Alice in Wonderland, an alien world!

              What I’ve learned: when other people comments feel weird, don’t look at them, look home!

          • Gee, Kellia, I wonder if our mothers could have been sisters, separated at birth. That was her M O exactly. If she hadn’t died I would have been NC with her too. Like you, I now have zero tolerance for narc bullshit.

            Good for you on going NC!

          • My husband did this when his friend would be mean to my kids. The friend is abusive to his own children and he would be very rude and judgemental towards my son especially and my husband would always back him up. It disgusted me.

            • Yup, always siding with the abuser. This makes me sick, because it was directed towards your children. That’s unacceptable.

            • Yeah, my ex did the same with our son. One of the neighbor kids held my sons head under water (long story) and my son defended himself by punching the kid that did that to him. Our son came home crying and told us what happened. I try not to get involved in kids squabbles, but this was serious! My ex just stood there. He was Mr. Switzerland. Who doesn’t stick up for their kid?! Another time an adult pushed my son on purpose at a parade (Macy’s) in NYC. He was just a little kid and wasn’t trying to skip ahead of anyone. I didn’t see him get pushed, but my ex did. My son was sitting up against the wall and was crying. He told me what happened and my ex was all “no, don’t saying anything, Martha.” Like hell I was going to say something to this man and I did! What kind of man doesn’t stick up for their son when an adult purposely pushes him? It’s amazing to me now that I can look back and all these separate instances and now they all fit into a perfect puzzle named Trust He Sucks.

              • Well most narcs are true cowards. Some like to look or give the appearance of being tough, but they are really marshmallows.

              • My bio-dad was like that. He couldn’t stand up for me if his life depended on it! One memorable time, when a lady was screaming at me (for calling the cops after she t-boned me) my bio dad thanked her for “being so gracious.” And he said it with a real smile. Fucker. This is why I’m a little bit insane when it comes to standing up for my kids. They warn people up front “My Mom is tough.”

          • My mom was an narc. I know those behaviors all too well. My mother took everyone else’s side too. No support ever.

          • I agree, it’s not “re-writing history,” it’s examining with clarity. I no longer look at past events through the lens of assumed guilt, “What did I DO, NOT do, SHOULD have done that made her mad?” [Which leads to the ultimate bullshit question, “What did I do to make my wife cheat?“] All my life, whenever anything happened, the first words out of my narc father/enabling mother’s mouths were always, “What the HELL did you do THIS time?!

            When I was around seven, I was watching Saturday morning cartoons when the doorbell rang. My narc father answers the door and asks me to join him. A neighborhood girl my age is standing there with her father and points at me and says, “That’s him! HE took it!” When I ask, “took what?!” she lies about having seen me steal another kid’s bike. My narc father never inquired further, he just punished me right then and there. As usual, he simply assumed I was in the wrong.

            A few days later I saw the other kid riding his bike – the one that I supposedly stole – with the girl who accused me. Turns out he “forgot” that he “left his bike in a field.” They admitted they just wanted to see what would happen if they accused me of stealing it. At first, my narc father refused to believe me – the asshole kids and their asshole parents didn’t have the balls to fess-up – and I remained grounded for the month. Years later my narc father re-tells this story to his friends of how proud he was of me that I took the accusation and punishment like a man.

            Our agency was stolen from us. We were groomed to excuse everyone else’s shitty behavior and then accept responsibility for fixing what everyone else tells us is wrong. Who the fuck DOES that to their own child?!

            Clarity gives agency back to it’s rightful owner.

            • “We were groomed to excuse everyone else’s shitty behavior and then accept responsibility for fixing what everyone else tells us is wrong.”

              Thank you for posting this, BetrayedNoMore. I’m still trying to recover from this destructive grooming (two abusive, narcissist parents) and I feel like it will never happen, since I’m already past middle age and have done so much work trying to find what “normal” is.

              LovedAJackass had written about this search for normal in a CL thread a few months ago and I was so grateful to read it. I don’t post here very often, and change my screen name to maintain anonymity, but I realize a number of CN folks with FOO issues similar to mine also struggle with recognizing and getting away quickly from cheating abusers. I had been married to, then dated a series of men who were like my parents! I don’t intend to find liars, users and abusers .. but they show up in my life anyway.

              My parents trained me early on that I was beaten and tortured because I was a bad child (instead, I was too afraid to do anything to catch their attention) and the sexual abuse was because “I love you” or “you’re mine and I can do whatever I want with you” .. mind-fucking from the very start. How I wish clarity came to me all at once instead of in bits spread over decades after each disastrous relationship. I’m still trying to stand upright.

              I thank you for your stories, including from those who did find happiness after betrayal. It gives me hope that peace could be possible for me yet.

              • So sorry to hear of the tremendous pain you have endured. I also had two abusive, narcissistic parents.

          • Kellia, my narcissistic mother did this to me as well. I basically was raised to believe that everything was my own fault. She was never wrong. Never sorry. If any of us said something about our feelings being hurt, the angry, outraged, mocking response, was, “Oh, THAT’S ridiculous!” I used to think this made me a stronger person, and maybe it did, but I’m working hard now to change the part where it conditioned me to allow myself to accept abuse.

            • So much this. I didn’t understand until my 40’s that my mother was seriously mentally ill. She would say, “That didn’t happen,” or, “you don’t think that.” and on and and on. She was a classic grandiose narcissist. She also beat us (kids) and verbally abused us in other ways. A good read on this is Alice Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child, about how being raised by this kind of parent prepares you to provide narcissistic supply (that’s your “gift”). Fun times.

              • NfV that’s so ironic… my Cheater’s sister after hearing of my breakup with him, after gushing “Oh I wonder if it’s the woman he’s been telling me about” in a conspiratorialy gleeful tone) recommended that I should read that book. She said that Cheater was a gifted, special snowflake and I had not been taking proper care of Narc-boyman.

                There is another book I am interested in called “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents: How to Heal from Distant, Rejecting, or Self-Involved Parents” by Lindsay C. Gibson, PhD. I bought it on Amazon, haven’t started it yet.

                Cheater did indeed have distant, narcissistic, self involved parents.. and by his co-dependent enabler sister’s account, he was his Mommy’s favorite. He didn’t end up as narc supply but rather as a Narc with sociopathic traits.

              • Muse–yeah, my shrink has told me more than once that common outcomes of being raised by narcissistic parent(s) are that you become (a) supply, or (b) a narcissist.

                I would say, “Oh! No!, I’m not a narcissist, am I?” and she’d tell me that the fact I was worried about it pretty much got me off the hook. Dodged one bullet…other bullets had my name engraved. ah, well.

              • Seems to be a lot of us around here. I think this would be a terrific topic for discussion. How many of us had narc or cluster “B” parents who carefully groomed us to feed fellow/sister narcs/cluster “B” S down the line?

        • Mine would always tell me how I wasn’t handling things correctly and then berate me.

          I remember hitting a deer on the way home from picking up the kids – it jumped right out in front of the car from behind some trees, luckily I wasn’t going fast, there was a very slight dent on one fender and a foglight got cracked. First thing out of his mouth when I told him – “that’s because you are always rushing all over the place, driving like a lunatic” said angrily (I’m a very boring placid driver actually). No, “are you OK?”, no “how did it happen?”, no “thank goodness it wasn’t worse” or even a query about the status of the deer just anger, blame and an automatic attack, and of course then a complaint that “you always get so defensive”.
          They suck.

          • I’m sorry he acted like an ass when he should have given you support, kindness and caring especially during a period of trauma. Hitting a deer is not a pleasant experience for you or the animal. I remember I was in shock when I almost hit a fox on the highway. The last thing you need is for someone to compound your trauma and add to the damage, but that’s what these disordered people do. Make things worse and we are so much better off without them.

          • What a jerk; I’m glad you’re rid of him Finally Awake. One more example of their attempt to reduce us to dust.

          • A suggestion to help him understand how this could have happened is maybe a reenactment. He can play the role of the deer.

              • Once I drove my ex’s very expensive car home through a bad storm. He called me to ask if the car made it home safely to the garage. Seriously.

    • Wow, Divinelife, you have a way of summing things up:

      What I learned was….if it was important to him, we did it his way. If it was important to me….I had to insist that we do it….and then he used it against me. Because I was so selfish and “it always had to be my way”.

      This encapsulates my entire relationship with the EX. For a narcissist, “supportive” means “agreeing with me and giving up all of your own needs and wants.” Whereas “selfish” means “having any needs or wants other than pleasing me.”

    • They really do all share one brain cell. Even that might be generous. Same thing for me. We did everything his way. If I pushed for something I wanted, I was a bitch. Because I didn’t want to be the bitch all the time, eventually my needs got smaller and smaller. Of course that was used against me too. So happy to be out of that mess!

      • My X told me the last year before he dropped the Dword, that I had learned how to “manipulate” him to getting what I want. Well, after nearly 30 years, it was about time, I learned how to get what I needed! We always did things his way and when we got to counseling after he dropped the “I want a divorce” bomb one of the things he brought up (which made him so unhappy) was that when we celebrated TG with our family of 23+ bodies, he wanted to arrange a sit-down dinner in our living room by moving our dining room table into the LR in the middle of the party when I preferred a sit-where-you-can buffet. Seriously… what an ass and I’m so glad to not have to host another giant holiday party with the NARC!

        It does make you wonder if you were ever really loved, but if you think of all the times you were used and used up, the wondering stops and you just angry!

    • DL, my experience was the same. I can see clearly now that the rose colored glasses are gone. Unfortunately he continues to take advantage of me thru the system. Being self-employed, he claims that he makes so much less than I do so that with 50/50 custody of our 10yr old he can claim child support. This is so unfair. His lifestyle is so NOT consistent with his claims – new vehicles, trips down south, redecorating the house,etc.But he is able to claim losses thru his business so doesn’t pay taxes (or any other bills). I wish I knew how to build a case for that would bring the truth of his business practices to light of a judge but the system seems to be stacked against the person who actually works for a living. So frustrating!

      • Drop a dime to the IRS on his business tax reporting. They’re always looking for a reason to audit businesses, especially regarding bogus ‘business’ expenses to avoid taxes.

        • I second that suggestion-would not take an intense audit to figure out that he is spending more than the income he is claiming on his taxes

      • If it is not too late, a good forensic accountant can establish his lifestyle is not consistent with his claimed income.

    • Divine said ” I would have taken a bullet for him (I didn’t know he was going to be the one holding the gun)”

      You are not alone. Jedi Hugs!

    • I am so glad this particular conversation thread popped up. Whenever I thought about this, I kept thinking that maybe I was imagining what had happened, that I believed he was a piece of shit so I was viewing him through a clouded lens. Nope! I just started viewing him and our relationship clearly. While I was reading Divinelife’s post, all I heard was Ding, Ding, Ding, Ding! A friend of mine said it was deliberate – anything that gave me pleasure in the marriage was the thing that he was not going to do or the thing he was going to ruin. I used to say to him that I was not going to argue about things that appeared to mean more to him than they did to me. Then I started giving in on things that were mildly important to me. When things did not revolve around him and his wants and his “needs” he was unhappy and punitive. Of course, even when he got some of the things he wanted, he moved the goal posts in order to maintain his low opinion of me. Of course, when I insisted on anything ever, I was accused of being “bossy,” “demanding” or “manipulative.”

      Thank you for sharing this DL. It is posts like these that remind me why I am so much better off without that insanity in my life.

    • Thanks DL for your amazing comment, disturbing how similar cheater mindfucking tactics are…

        • Irony alert: clicked on the comments & came across one from my ex-boss, the ex boss who so gaslighted me at work that I became confused if I even remembered correctly what gaslight meant that I googled the term. Which led me to CL. Even though I haven’t been in a romantic relationship in years, (ok,ok, decades…ok, ok, last century) I lurk because of the collective wit & wisdom & strength & resilience of CN) So, my ex boss, the master gaslighter was gaslit

  • Same. I had breast cancer, caught very early, a year later he was gone after 24 year (what I thought was good-ha!) marriage (throw in another woman for good measure). Now I know the truth. I was invested, he was exiting. CL you always know what to say. LOVE the elephant. Why do we need to have some be good? End result the same. They were not who we thought they were. I’m slowly moving on too and hoping to have learned and not be bitter. Love that CL says we are okay where we are. Justified to feel how we do. I’ve been divorced now for almost 6 months. I’m thankful to be divorced. Grateful. Keep Moving. I know it’s hard. Believe in yourself!

  • You are mighty Moving on !! And Travy captured it perfectly with the elephant and poker chips.

    I too had a spouse who found his latest AP when I was battling cancer, blamed his cheating on my being sick and focusing on getting better instead of him….and the hatred, cruelty towards me and our kids went into overdrive during that time. It was a “lives her life through Jesus” employee of his that he was sleeping with, she saw me all the time, worked alongside my son, and was extremely smug and “in your face” anytime I saw her (stupid me, didn’t understand why). He came right out and told me and our kids, that they were hoping I would die, so he wouldn’t have to pay me a single cent in the divorce. He took that time that he should have been supportive, caring and used it to hide money, rewrite our history with everyone who would listen (gaslight) and throw his family under a bus.

    Like you, I struggled for so long on what was real and what wasn’t. And then I found Chump Nation, and it has helped me tremendously ! Tracy and everyone here are amazing, and will help you through the fog, and help you to face forward.

    You were real, you loved, brought your heart and soul, trust that he sucks ! Always remember how incredibly awesome and truly mighty you are !!

    • Kathy, your ex is disgusting. I hope you had a kickass attorney who ended up getting you everything you wanted and then some!

  • That doesn’t make you scorned or bitter — it makes you lucid. You’re not spackling, you’re seeing him for who he is — a selfish coward.”

    Adding to the list of CL quotes that should be required memorization for chumps everywhere.

  • Dear Moving On – I don’t know what it is about fuckwits and a spouse’s cancer being their “get out of jail free card.” THAT right there shows you the CHARACTER of this man. Don’t spend a minute looking back… you’re life isn’t behind you, it’s in front of you. Get healthy, love those kids and raise them right, and keep living YOUR authentic life. When your kids are 15, they won’t remember being 5. Give them a FUTURE. His loss. {{Hugs}} (p.s. I cried most in the shower… so my son wouldn’t see and I could still get it out.)

  • I remember several years ago waking up in my hospital bed with lines and tubes coming out of me and my now XH crying and holding my hand and me just happy to be alive and breathing ( I had nearly died during an emergency 2nd Op) I felt so loved and lucky to have him by my side, nothing else mattered.

    1 yr later we married after 12 years together, why waste any more time? I was ecstatic and incredibly happy………..Less than 4 years later he left and blamed my op on our marriage disintegration. As a double whammy he blamed my infertility (unfortunate result from the emergency op) on the failure of our marriage- the whole thing was harder on him because I was ‘allegedly high as a kite morphine in the hospital – he was dealing with all THE REAL PAIN !!!!

    Some days I wish I could take that morphine hit again lol …. And now, when I take off the rose tinted glasses I actually remember (before the morphine hit ) that the XH left me in the recovery room and went home after Op 1 – despite the seriousness of the situation. I got myself through the next 6 hellish hours on my own – they couldn’t get hold of him when I deteriorated rapidly – no surprise there…..I always felt something was off about that night/situation – who leaves someone when they are really ill to go home ( and rest- the nurse told him too!) – should have listened to my gut then.

    • I remember being left by myself all day long when I was in labor with our child. For about 8 hours, all by myself. He left the hospital and went somewhere. Who knows where. I know he wasn’t a cheater then, but really Who Does That ,???

      I guess he had better things to do, not sure what they were. God knows being in a potentially fatal condition (high risk pregnancy, complicated delivery, off the chart blood pressure) can’t compete with more important stuff, like his work or his daily routine of taking a shit and getting a shower.

      The worst thing about the rewrite that accompanies adultery is that you look back and see what immature pieces of shit these people were to you.

      • Anita–similar story. Our best friends had accompanied then-H and I to the delivery room for the birth of our first child. Then-H suggested the guy and he go out for drinks instead of wait at the hospital. Jackass. (Thankfully the friend had more sense than to take up the offer.)

        • And through 2 children–multiple doctor visits, ultrasounds, not ONCE did Hannibal Lecher accompany me. Not once. I even had to drive myself home from amniocentesis.

          • Yup. I was left alone all night in the hospital in labor with our first while he went home because he “was tired” even thought there was a sofa bed in the delivery room and I was already 2 weeks late so someone was going to be born that day. It was so incredibly lonely.
            Second child he left our daughter all day with strangers even after our son was born and he went home (didn’t want to deal with her). Then he got angry when the doctor insisted I spend the full 2 days in the hospital to rest and be cared for post-labor, he thought 1 was more than enough. He actually berated me for waiting for dinner which was being served (there wasn’t anything prepared at home and I was hungry) and hustled me out of the room. I accidentally left behind my son’s post-birth footprints which I always regretted. All because my not being available was inconvenient for him. It was always about his convenience.

            • My ex was such a workaholic that when I went into labour at work, he “had meetings”. He said, “oh you’re five minutes apart, it’s not an emergency”. This was our first child…I had no idea what to expect and was in major pain so I just pit down the phone.

              Fortunately my boss had four kids and saw the symptoms, bundled me in his car and drove me straight to Emerg. Boss stayed with me through the birth (he was a peach) and I never heard the details, but I think he gave Ex a bollocking later on in the Waiting Room. Kid got boss’ name as his middle name. LOL.

              • First baby,my contractions had started, we’d rung the hospital, they said come in at 5am-it was midnight, so I was trying to sleep until we had to leave. Ex played computer games in the next room, the sound effects were driving me nuts. I asked him to turn the sound off. he explained that if he did that, he wouldn’t be able to hear the aliens sneaking up behind him…”I’m in labour.” I remember saying, baffled ” I’m in fucking LABOUR”. he thought I was a mean lady. Apparently after our daughter was born ( Ventouse) he and his mum sat outside and commiserated with each other about how ugly she was. they told me this later as if it were funny- his family thinks things like that are funny. My younger daughter occasionally still asks” Mum, was I really a fat cow when I was a baby?” and I get the photos out and say ” What do you think?” ” No, I was cute.”

            • Finally Awake–Ditto. Hannibal pressured me to come home a day early after second daughter’s birth because he was grumpy at watching the 5-year old. When I did, he berated me so badly for the basement being messy with toys, that he forced me to go downstairs in near-freezing temperatures, with a 1-day old baby in my arms, to clean up the toys (even though no one was going to be playing in the basement in 40 degrees). I was sobbing, and dry heaving as I did so. I wasn’t supposed to be climbing stairs for 2 weeks, either, as I’d had an episiotomy. When he should have been propping up my feet and bringing me tea, he was abusing me instead.

              I never forgave him, and never felt emotionally safe with him after that. I think I fell out of love that night, too, but stayed for the kids. Wish I”d locked him in the basement instead, and claimed post-partum depression.

              • The birth stories make me mad and feel sick. Sometimes I think the first child was the turning point of the marriage failing. But I now know it was way before that when he discarded me. I felt alone at both births and he was in the room. It was a bad lonely feeling. The second one I hired a doula to help. After, he complained to anyone who would listen about how tired he was from working all day. He slept through most of the labor. No mention that I had gotten up before him because I had to get our D together and take her with me to work even though we were asked not to bring kids on a workday. I got up, got her ready, worked, and had to go to the hospital unexpectedly for induction because the day before I was diagnosed with aggressive cancer! They decided not to let me go full-term. Luckily it was just a few weeks to go and all was well. I was mentally in two places. I was giving birth and could die and HE complained. Zero support. Total mindfuck from the master of disordered mindfuckers. He seems to have been an empty vessel watching and absorbing so he could relay the experience as if he were involved and present. Strange

              • I am so happy to hear that it wasn’t just me. My ex came to one ultrasound appointment. I did all the other appointments on my own. He wouldn’t even take one day off to help with the new baby. He had a newish job at the time and I thought he was afraid to lose it. Now I know that it was just his selfishness.

              • Oh Tempest (and the others who suffered birth related abuse and neglect) that is horrible. For many narcs, they cant stand that the baby will dilute their kibble supply.

                Major Cheaterpants seemed to love childbirth and babies and the fact that he was gracious, involved and contributory when our babies were born tricked me into seeing him as a devoted “family man” when in reality he lost interest rather quickly after the baby stage was over.

              • Oh, Tempest, that is TERRIBLE!!! What kind of husband treats the mother of his babies–his WIFE–like a servant?

                That infuriates me!

                But I’m glad that you now know how wrong it was. It’s just insane how we made ourselves–our physical and emotional needs–so small in a vain attempt to please disordered cheaters. We just couldn’t see them for who they were. Until the cheating. AH! THEN it slowly starts to make sense…. It’s not re-writing history, it’s finally seeing it with clarity.

              • Tempest, that is the worst, and yet so familiar. Stephanie, correct, the cheating led to the final epiphany.
                I’ve been having a really hard time accepting how much I really put up with. It’s excruciating to think about and to understand how intelligent, strong and well educated women (sorry guys, I should say people) can become so utterly dominated. I was his passport, his housemaid, nanny, chef and sounding board and to hear him describe it he “treated me like a queen”.
                Pig. He thinks he is smarter than everyone else. He’s not smarter, just a pathological liar and few people expect to be lied to that much.

              • I can’t reply to Unicornomore, but ditto. My ex was everything one would expect of a husband and father during the birth of our children. To read these stories makes me see red and want to lay some serious ass kicking on these monsters (we will not call them men, because men do not behave this way). There are chump lawyers on this site, so I’m wondering if delayed empathetic postpartum whoop ass is an affirmative defense. I know the answer, but it should be.

          • CF was around for the birth of our two children but he never accompanied me to any of the appointments. He did come with me for the ultrasound when I was miscarrying the first time but afterwards he went back to work and I went home to continue miscarrying. About a year later I ended up with an ectopic pregnancy. It took them about 2 weeks to finally find it and once they did they gave me the option of the methotrexate shot or surgery. I called him at work to tell him the news and he “couldn’t” leave work to be with me. Granted, I ended up getting the shot and not surgery but still…

            • I went to all my infertility appointments alone except for one. Some of these appointments were painful and intrusive, Including minor surgery.
              While I was in labor with our son while X slept in a recliner woke up for meals, then went back to sleep. It came time for me to push, I was exhausted after being in labor for 24 hours. One of the nurses woke him up to be with me while I pushed.
              It took two hours of pushing before the birth of our son. During he middle of the two hours, of pushing, X turns to me and says “my feet really, hurt, they really hurt bad, I’ve been on my feet for at least an hour” I replied with, I don’t want to hear it.
              If I had only known what was in store for me, I should have divorced him then.

          • I remember bleeding in the evening, of the first trimester of my first pregnancy, and being worried that it was the start of a miscarriage. Bright and early the next morning, The Entitled One was on a bus to go skiing with his work mates (this was well before the days of mobile phones).
            When my son was being born, his heart rate dropped to a very low level, and yet, it was still all about how The Entitled One felt.
            And last year, before the SHTF, he said that if anyone had cancer it really would be better for them just to leave the family because “why stuff everyone else’s lives”.
            Even to this day, I’m speechless. But I guess that’s okay because their words and actions speak louder than I ever could.

            • The 3rd time I was pregnant with the traitor, after 2 recent miscarriages together and 5 so far for me, I was waiting for the traitor to join me for an ultrasound to see if this one was going to be viable. I waited and waited, texted and texted in vain. Eventually I had to go in for the ultrasound alone and once again, no heartbeat. Traitor never showed up. Was with his dope dealer mate and his accidentally pregnant 25yr old girl friend. Now I see that he was deliberately humiliating me this way. I went on to have 3 more miscarriages. He left me at home looking after his son from his 2nd wife for an entire weekend and was at the 2nd wife’s home fucking her. Again deliberately choosing the most hurtful humiliating way to cheat. Leave me the childless partner who desperately wanted a family to look after the skank’s child. They ripped my heart out of my chest and ground it into the ground. No regrets, no shame, no remorse, no conscience.

              • Oh, Kiwichump, that is horrifying. They did, indeed, try to rip out your heart and grind it to shreds. I’m so glad that your heart is stronger than that. I will say that being a single mother (as I now am, since DD won’t have any contact with her cheater dad) is hard, but much easier than parenting with a fuckwit. If you want babies, you should have them any way you can (just build up a good social support system). Hugs!

              • Thank you Tempest for your kind words. It is too late for me now, I am 52. I wasted my last few years of fertility living on top of a nest of vipers.
                You’re right and I hope younger women reading this blog take note. If they want children and their biological clock is ticking, do it alone. I didn’t want to do that because I was brought up without a dad, the daughter of an OW who interfered in someone’s marriage, and a selfish, most probably narcissist father who had 6 children from 4 different women, mistresses etc. I never even met him or his parents, my grandparents, who rejected me completely, in support of his first marriage (fair enough).
                I felt I had been deprived of a normal childhood by other people’s bad choices and felt I could never justify to my child bringing him or her into this world without at least a chance of having a mother and father. So I tried instead to find Mr Right. I think when I met the traitor I was over the moon to have found a man who wanted us to have children even though he already had 4 and we were in our early 40s. So I was love bombed but just believed I was soooo lucky. 10 years later I regret waiting and not doing it on my own. Hindsight is 20/20.
                With the odds of parents staying together so poor, why should women wait or rush in with a new relationship because time is running out, especially if they have been chumped in their 30’s as I often read here, just as they were hoping to start a family with their partner.
                Good luck to all the younger women here, who are still hoping to have children and have just been taken advantage of so badly. Go for it, you have a good heart and you’ll make loving, responsible and dedicated parents.

              • How horrific. He’s such an animal. I’m glad you are hopefully very very far away from him. What a demonstration of how much they suck.

              • Thank you FA, unfortunately not far away from him. We were farming together and are in a lot of legal tangles over the business and money. I have to deal with him all the time and he’s not only a manipulative liar, but also crazy. And with NZ law he can carry on messing with the finances for 3 years after the split. I have been trying since November to come to a financial and business solution, involving lawyers, accountant, bank. But the traitor and his skank got a lawyer against me in July 2015, behind my back, while we were in wreckonciliation, counselling etc. and I was pick me dancing like a dervish. I have evidence of their dirty dealings through the phone logs. He was calling her and then calling law firms from our home, while I was away driving 100 miles to pick up their son from school and take him swimming before bringing him to our home for the weekend as I did for 8 years after we moved to this farm.
                These people are aliens.
                I ended up getting a VAR and recorded them discussed how I was trying to poison him with cookies and cider (!!), how I was not truly suicidal but putting it on ( he had snooped through my browsing history). I came so close, CN and my dogs saved my life. NO KIDDING. That’s what kept me going one day at a time.
                Other people’s stories are so horrific, and yet here we still stand.
                This is our turanga wae wae. Look it up Chumps, a great Maori expression.
                To keep going, I tell myself I will make it through, hold on to the farm (MY money paid for it!) and one day have a Kiwi chumpalooza here. It’s such a beautiful place! And I’ll be on Country Calendar one day, by myself too.

      • Anita – My father was also a narcissist, and did exactly that to my mom when she was in labor with me. And he totally went complete MIA when my mom was in labor at the hospital and for 3 days afterwards after my mom gave birth to me and had to stay in the hospital due to complications. He just couldn’t be bothered with his wife and newborn child, so he just left my mom all by herself at the hospital to care for herself during labor and after my birth. So who does that? Someone with a personality disorder, that’s who. These people can’t be relied on.

        • I’m late to the show with my comment, but I just had to vent a little. Same old story as everybody else’s, but my personal twist is that, after my emergency c-section, when I managed to get out of the hospital bed to shuffle to the bathroom, my then-husband hopped into my bed and was still lying there when I returned. And yes, he refused to get up so that I could return to bed, and yes, he was watching tv and eating my dinner from my hospital tray. When I was released from the hospital, he amused himself by lying on the couch watching football on tv while I shuffled up and down the stairs, holding my gut incision together, so that I could do all the laundry that had piled up. What a jerk.

          • ColdTurkey – that is awful! It reminds me of the old story, The Good Earth, very old book about how the Chinese Women in Labor picked rice crops soon after delivering, while they were bleeding. They shut their mouths and worked. We are NOT living in those awful days of the 1900’s China – a 3rd world country. Sounds like your hillbilly husband still hadn’t migrated past Grade 8. What a pig.

            I’d like to chop him in the throat with my left hand.

            • Thanks, Shechump. Sad to say that he may have been a hillbilly at his core, but when I met him, he was dressed up as a newly-minted Ph.D. I was duped into thinking that book smarts = emotional IQ. Hah! I think that’s what kept me around so long — I kept thinking that he was just toying with me and that he couldn’t really be as stupid as he appeared!

              • Yes. That bit. He’d do or say things and I would laugh them off or try to discuss cause I could not believe that he could be serious …but alas.

          • I forgot to mention in my previous post, while I was pregnant, any pregnancy related pain I had, either back pain, abdominal pain or braxton hicks, X would experience the same pain. This went on throughout my pregnancy.

            Unbelievably, he would say his pains would be exactly like the mine. At first I laughed, thinking he was kidding. No, he was dead serious…,

      • During the birth of our first child, my ex insisted on sitting with his mother in the waiting room, because she “was uncomfortable.” My OB, bless her, went out into the waiting room and berated him – and his mother – and made him come into the delivery room. The doctor told him and his mother, “This is not about you. This is about the baby about to be born, and his mother. Your mother will be fine, her husband is here, and she isn’t the one having a baby.”

        • His mother was “uncomfortable”??? WTF. Then she should have gone home. What a delicate flower SHE is, jeeeeeez.

          • Sounds a lot like my exmil. In the 28 years I had to deal with her manipulative behavior I created a very long list titled, “Things I will not do to my sons, daughters-in-law, or grandchildren.”

            You should have seen the look of graditude on my soon to be daughter-in-laws face when my son talked about where I wanted to go for my 50th birthday dinner. She and I have the same birthday. I told him that he must always place her needs first because she must always be first in his heart. I explained that although I expected respect and for him to make time for me, she was the one who he needed to make a life with. We celebrated our day together because my future DIL explained it was the “big 50.” I was very happy with her thoughtfulness, but told her she shouldn’t feel the need to always that way. Then we both teased my son that with our birthdays being on the same day, he was going to be in major trouble if he ever forgot the day.

        • Oh gosh another momma’s boy. And his momma getting conveniently uncomfortable when her own grandchild is being born, as to turn all attention on her. Self absorbed much? I’m sorry you married a momma’s boy. These men never grow up and remain boys always under their mother’s wings. And the momma always wins over the wife, because these men are cowards and can’t stand up to their mother. Hugs to you.

          • NEVER ever marry a Mama’s boy.
            Just trust me on that.
            I can see my X doing that during MY delivery, with his mom in the waiting room….waiting for comfort from her Golden Boy.
            Thank God I never mated with him.
            He would have felt like he Mated in Captivity and lost his mom or something.

            • Yes, yes, yes!!!! Sing that from the mountain tops, SheChump. I dated 4 narcissists in a row (married the last one) and every one was a momma’s boy. Disastrous. The 3rd was still living with his mother at age 40. [Facepalm]

            • Lol Shechump! His behavior the whole pregnancy was a red flag – even the ultra sound appointments – his parents felt entitled to invite themselves to those, and when I objected, of course I was the unreasonable one.

          • His mother was a real piece of work, for sure. When we were living in another city, our 12 day old newborn (my third child, second son) was placed on life support, with RSV. His parents had to be coaxed to come to our city to watch the other two children so my ex could come to the hospital. Again, his mother didn’t feel comfortable in our apartment with the other two kids, so the ex had to stay there. If our baby had died, the ex would not have had a chance to say goodbye. Or he made that up to avoid the hospital, I don’t know. Our baby had a 40% chance of going home – and I was by myself in the hospital with him. My ex also made me come home and pick up our oldest son during that time, and take him to the ER. He had an infection and needed emergency surgery, so then I was running between a newborn fighting for his life, and a terrified toddler in an unfamiliar place. The newborn survived RSV, and is now a healthy and slightly smelly fourth-grader.

  • I think part of the whirlwind of wondering what’s true is the tendency to drive one’s self crazy trying to figure out what’s true without having enough information to know for sure. So let the memories come up, yes, and see them with clearer eyes, yes, but maybe try to stop there without allowing your mind to feel obliged to determine whether the suspicions are true. You don’t need to know whether it’s all true, you just need to know that he sucks and it’s probably true.

    It’s a sorting out the crazy thing. 🙂

  • If there could be levels of hell set aside for the ones that cheat, those that cheat on their sick spouses would be sitting at the deepest, darkest, smelliest part. Honestly, I don’t know how another human being can act this way and still get up every morning, look in mirror and not think to themselves that getting run over by a bus would be the best thing to happen to humanity.

    I often thought throughout my marriage that if I were to ever to get sick, it would be a bad situation for me because I knew he was incapable of handling anything that would require taking the attention off of him and his problems. I now realize that that is not a real marriage. They can say things like “in sickness and in health” to you at your wedding but you can’t make them mean it. How absolutely vile to treat someone in this manner.

    It is natural for chumps like us to want to rewrite history so that the pain of losing all those years isn’t so completely devastating that we can’t even open our eyes in the morning. The way I think of it is this, yes, we did have some decent moments during our time together. It could be that he wasn’t “all in” for all or most of our marriage but I know that I was and that’s all that matters. He’s the one that cheated himself out of a loving family and a happy future. At the end of the day, he folded at the poker table of life. I gambled and lost but I walked away with my dignity and my character intact. He can’t say the same.

    If you can beat something as devastating as cancer, then I have no doubt that you can get through this shit storm as well.

  • Moving on, first let me tell you how sorry I am that you had to deal with a cheating husband while you were battling cancer AND raising two small children. There is a special place in Hell for people who cheat on their sick spouses. Second, as Tracy wrote above, does it really matter what parts were good? I understand you want to know what was real and what was an act but in the end it doesn’t matter. You certainly don’t need to concern yourself with making sure you give him enough credit for his good deeds. He cheated on you once you were diagnosed with cancer! That’s the story. The end. Nothing he did in between really matters at this point and I can’t imagine anyone blaming you if you don’t feel like reciting and giving credit for all of the things he did right.

  • Moving On, you are not rewriting history. It’s just that the blinders have been removed and you are now actually seeing history accurately.

  • “He was your friend, until he wasn’t.”

    Yup… you just never got the memo. At some point they go from being a friend, to pretending to be a friend.

    It’s hard to nail down exactly when that happened since they lie and manipulate. How many other ‘friends’ they have/had .. what was real, what was an act?

    I remember a nice thing from the past that would have been a good memory, ‘my wife was nice’, but now that memory is ‘was she being nice to create an image of being nice, or because she actually cared’.

    A giant elephant size dump on your memories is pretty devastating.

  • Moving on, from the bottom of my heart, I would like to tell you I am so sorry this happened to you. It’s awful you can’t rely on your very own husband when you need him the most. I noticed you wrote that you were best friends with your husband before all this happened, I’m not so sure your husband had your back as a best friend should.

    What I’ve noticed in my circle, is that the persons with personality disorders, like Narcissistic, borderline, histrionic, are usually unreliable. I’ve seen people like this abandon their partners exactly at the time when their partners got sick. So looking back, are you certain that your husband was reliable throughout your marriage? And also, I find it strange he asked you to buy him vacations, concerts, dinners?? What is that about? Is it because he didn’t work or had no money to contribute in the marriage. But I can tell you from personal experience that narcissists or people with personality disorders kick you when you’re down, especially when you get sick, when it’s highly likely they’ll ditch you. Please realize that your husband may have a personality disorder and these people can’t be relied on. I’m telling you this so you can make an informed decision about your future. Best of luck to you and big hugs.

  • I too was cheated on while being treated for cancer. The jackass I was married to realized that was going to reflect poorly on him so he started telling people I didn’t have “real” cancer. What a scumbag!!! At the end of the day I am so grateful to be rid of him. These selfish assholes run at the first sign of adversity.

    • Sweatpants–I’m so sorry. It grips my heart how many chumps suffered through major health problems while being abandoned or cheated on. And then to invalidate your cancer on top of it. Awful people, these cheaters.

    • Mine said that too. You’re fine. I don’t know why you worry about it? Hmm. I don’t know. Maybe because I was 38 at the time with two kids 5 and under and was not expecting any of this crap.

  • Moving on-

    Honestly I don’t think it’s wrong or bitter to re-write their part in our history. You know your part and you know that what you brought to the table was real and that’s all that matters like chump lady said.

    Besides, I don’t really think that you’re re-writing history as much as you are seeing things a little clearer once the dust has settled. If you removed spackle and paint from a wall that had cracks, you’d see the cracks again. They were always there but they were covered up with spackle and paint. It’s really not that different with cheaters. Chumps spackle and paint over a cheater’s giant cracks in character deficiency and then all that spackle and paint just falls away when we learn that they cheat.

    Their character was likely always shitty and cracked; we just see it now and more importantly we believe it. That’s not bitter-it’s just reality. Don’t beat yourself up over what’s natural and don’t try to figure out what parts were real. Eventually you’ll remember times with your children and even if your ex is present in those memories, he’ll be just a hazy, out of focus character that doesn’t play much of a role. Almost like background noise.

    Jedi hugs.

    • “I don’t really think that you’re re-writing history as much as you are seeing things a little clearer once the dust has settled.”

      I completely agree, Cheaterssuck. Once our rose-colored glasses are off, the realization that we were often in a marriage by ourselves comes front & center. In fact, once I understood the “devalue” phase, I was able to figure out other times that my then-H had been having affairs and get confirmation.

      I’m sorry, Moving, most of your memories will be tainted as you realize how awful your X’s behavior was in many instances during your history together. It is a kick-in-the-teeth to realize that you have to relinquish many happy memories, but it also provides the detachment that you need to alter the cheater’s place in your mind and your heart. Hugs!

  • Moving on this is horrible what he did to you. Chump Lady makes a great analogy with the poker chips and elephant. I was married 18 years when I discovered my husband’s double life. It was devastating to realize someone who I thought was my best friend was, in truth, an enemy covertly waging war with me our whole relationship. I looked back on our history together and, like you, wondered what was real, what was true, what was my life. For weeks after he moved out the Pearl Jam song “Black” with the line “all the pictures have, all been washed in black” ran a continuous loop in my head. Still, four months later, seeing a picture of us together literally turns my stomach. At those times I remember Tracy’s advice; that I was real, I gave my everything, I was loyal, faithful and true. I loved with my whole heart. It helps. It’s a reminder that I can focus on me now. The fact that he’s a cheat and a coward is his problem.

    • I digress but pearl jam is awesome. I feel their music deep inside no matter how downtrodden or upbeat. Even if I can’t understand all the words. Live at Wrigley was legendary.

    • Disillusioned–I found that pasting pictures of movie stars over my X’s face was a humorous way to handle seeing the photos, and altering memories of those events in which the photo was taken. Because who wouldn’t want to be on a ferris wheel in Chicago with George Clooney, prior to his marriage, of course ; ).

      • Tempest, I love that! Gonna swipe a few magazines from the next waiting room so I can start clipping some faces of male models! Thanks for the idea!

  • Yes. He was only there for the “fun”. That’s not a reflection on you, it’s a reflection on him. He will always only be there for the fun, no matter what. He is what normal people call Immature. It’s not a desirable state for any adult human. It’s especially unattractive after a person begins to get older. Problems follow these people like their shadow and they never realize it is 90% self inflicted.

  • I’m so sorry you are going through this, Moving On. After D-Day, I did the same thing as you (looking back and wondering what was real and what was fake.) I honestly think it’s a necessary to do to help you process what happened to you. But I came to the same conclusion as CL — I WAS REAL the whole time and that’s all that matters to me. If he was being a big fake liar, that’s on him. Everything is all between him and God now. He’s no longer my concern.

    My ex has been busy rewriting the history of our marriage to his ho-workers. He’s told people that I’m crazy and I’m sure they believe it, because I have acted “crazy” at times. But when your life is falling apart and you didn’t see it coming; there’s a lot of rage and anger. Years and years of putting up with the female “friends”, all the lying(!!), all the time being ignored, all the times of feeling so lonely while he worked and had time for his ho-workers, pretty much feeling like a single mom, all the work I did, but to be told by him that I “never took good care of him” etc etc!

    I do hope there’s a special place in hell for all the unrepentant cheaters (and I agree the lowest of cheaters are the one’s who cheat when their wives are sick or pregnant — mine cheated when I was pregnant.) If I could choose what hell for cheaters would be like — all their texts, emails and such would not get answered back, ever! When they try to access a porn site, Barney and Telletubbies would come up forever! All people of the opposite sex would ignore them forever! Every day for forever, they’d be force to watch their earth life and see everything they missed out on when they were working and spending time with “friends.”

    • Yes! This is great! He could shop for and then lovingly prepare my favorite dinner only to sit there at the table and wait for me to show up, try to explain to the kids how I said I’d be there soon and to wait just a little while longer, then watch them eat the cold food feeling abandoned and put them to bed all sad. Unfaithful should try eating some cold shit sandwiches like that!

  • Moving On – You’re not rewriting history. You’re re-evaluating history in light of your new knowledge — that you were married to a lying, cheating, self-centered asshole. That key piece of information you were missing will give you many a-ha moments as memories float to the surface.

    For me, I always experienced The Entitled One as two different people — he was a Jekyll and Hyde type. When it was bad, I kept waiting for the good one to come back. The long process of re-evaluating our relationship (which is still going on for me, one year out from the final D-Day), finally allowed me to integrate my experience of him so that I see him for who he is, a mix of good of bad, but with some fatal character flaws.

    Like CL said, YOU were real. Your feelings, your experiences, your investment in the relationship … all real. I don’t regret the twenty-two years I spent with The Entitled One because he wasn’t the sum total of my life. We made two wonderful children. I built a career, lived in some of the most beautiful places in the US, made lifelong friendships, celebrated milestones with those friends, traveled, achieved a lifelong dream, experienced things I never imagined in my narrow childhood. I would have preferred a spouse that wasn’t a selfish, angry, lying cheat but he’s gone now and despite all the pain and heartbreak and coparenting with a fuckwit, my life is better than it was with him.

    Hugs to you. You will get through this.

  • From one MovingOn to another:

    Just remember that great Maya Angelou quote: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” I did the same thing– looked back at my marriage and wondered what went wrong because there were many good times. I wondered how he could do this to me even though we were best friends and hadn’t spent the marriage arguing. We made lots of great memories together, or so I thought.

    In time, though, I finally realized that none of that matters. What ultimately matters is what he did– he destroyed our family for whatever selfish reason he had. He jeopardized my physical health, spent our money on secret dates with his whore, and sat there at our 13th anniversary dinner (among many other times) pretending that he loved me when he was already well into the cheating. It doesn’t matter how many times he once made me laugh, how many great trips we took together, or what presents he got me for Christmas. He wiped all of that away when he cheated, and he cast doubt on everything that our marriage was to me by cheating. I will never know how much of that was an act for him; at least half of our marriage he was lying to me because he joined Ashley Madison about seven years into it.

    The only moments I know that I can look back on and know were genuine were the ones that involved me and my kids. The fun times I spent with them and all of the milestones I got to enjoy I know were truly filled with love, and that’s the legacy I choose to look back on. I have three great kids who bring me a great deal of joy, and nothing else that came from that man matters. He’s a liar and a selfish git, and I’m just glad that we’re divorced and that I’m really “MovingOn.” Follow that username– don’t let the past keep you from your bright future without that loser.

    • The Original MovingOn,, I swear we lived the same life (I had an anniversary dinner like that too — the one and only time we went out for dinner for our anniversary, our 20th, he was already busy thinking about his ho-worker — so distracted at dinner, not romantic at all, just wanted to go to bed even though we were at a beautiful hotel ) and I could have written almost word for word what you wrote. What you wrote was excellent!

    • Funny you mention anniversaries. Three years ago, he scheduled a date with someone else on our anniversary. The following year he seemed wounded that I wasn’t so stoked about going out but I did and he proceeded to text people the whole time. This year he took another woman on vacation that weekend and parked her car in front of my house for 4 days. When he returned, I was ready to tell kids and make an appt to get paperwork going to move on!

  • I’ve been reflecting a bit lately, more and more I’m thinking maybe my husband was actually a bit shit. Maybe you’re not rewriting history, maybe you are seeing his behaviour for what it actually was.

  • Dear MovingOn,
    First I want to tell you that you are an amazing woman. Fighting cancer, raising two small kids, while dealing with the horrific and shocking pain of adultery. You get the I am awesome award. Although the emotional pain can seem crippling at times, I have complete confidence that you will fight through this too. You will come out on the other side with a life that is more fulfilling than you could ever imagine. Secondly, you’re not alone. I remember battling the truth of who my STBX had been during our marriage and if it was all a lie. I also described him as my best friend and love of my life. But as chump lady stated, they are your friend, until they are not. Once they make that decision to cheat it doesn’t matter if they were Prince Charming, they are now selfish, heartless assholes and we deserve better! Plus I don’t think people who cheat, just wake up one day and decide to do so. I believe that type of character default has always been inside them. My STBX was probably always a selfish, narcissistic prick, I just didn’t see it because my vision of him was the “perfect” husband. Hang in there and allow yourself some grace. It’s freeing to see the truth and doesn’t make you a bitter Betty. By the way Chump Lady you just made me laugh a lot!! Loved the elephant analogy.

  • I am still married to my cheating husband not a happy relationship he is not cheating and has stopped drinking but underneath he is still the same man. 2 years of therapy helped me look at him with new eyes and stopped me from giving him excuses for his bad behavior. The other night he sent me a text about teamwork and how I was a team of 1 I refrained from answering but thought if you are a team you respect your team members ( he has never respected me ) and I would never ask for his help except in the extreme because it would not be forth coming. But getting back to the subject I recommend therapy an uninvolved person can give you insight

    • I’m sorry you’re living this way. If you are doing therapy, I hope you are discussing why you are staying with this man. As someone who knows way too much about living with alcoholics, whether they are drinking or not, they have a lot of work to do before they are ready to be in a relationship or parent successfully. Wishing you good luck.

      • My therapist helped. She frankly asked , what are you getting form this relationship. I thought. Nothing really export protecting my children. Then she talked to me about how the kids will be ok and that growing up with us half mad at each other and not in love is actually worse for them and could make them feel guilty for being the reason later. All good thoughts. She was a tough cookie and I needed it. She basically said, make a plan to get out and stick to it.

  • Moving on,
    So much of your experience and feelings about the past mirror my own. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out what was real and what was my delusional perception. It doesn’t matter. Like CL said, he shit all over everything. It turned the whole marriage into a skein of fucked-up-ness. It’s better to just put it down and look forward and move on.

  • Chump lady, you’ve done it once again. I love the elephant analogy. Precisely what it felt like. I can still see he poker pieces but they do look different now! And to your well articulated point, how wouldn’t they? Thanks for validating my thoughts once again.

    He was a friend until he wasn’t. Good point. I feel like he isn’t a true friend anymore not only because of his actions but because of the lack of remorse. After 1.5 years of him dating he came to me and said that he picked me. Guess I also won the pick me dance! He said that other women are crazy and that he thought he’d be happy with just me. But he said he couldn’t reconcile if I was going to be mad forever. I told him that it would be a long road but for the sake of the kids and all we’d had, I’d agree to see him but not exclusively because I was finally moving on. Then, he says nevermind, and moved in with a girl he dated and asked for a divorce.

    What was that? In hindsight (and after some access to his text) I realize it was a double shit sandwich. A manipulative way to force the divorce by saying that he doesn’t think I can forgive him. It’s too long a road…he had to get a divorce because of my inability to heal. And getting that ball rolling would make his gf happy!

    I’m glad I didn’t fall for it. Never seemed sincere and turned out it wasn’t. You’re right Chump lady, I need a better friend!

    Fellow chumps, trust your nose. If it smells like elephant poop, it probably is!!

    • Went from being a best friend, to not being a friend (seemingly overnight!) — check

      “Dating” while being married — check

      Making the wife dance the Pick Me Dance — check

      Other women or wife are “crazy” — check

      Have to get a divorce, because it’s your fault that you can’t heal and forgive right away. In my case, it’s my fault because I can’t trust him 100% when he’s proved over and over again that he’s not trustworthy — check

      Trust that they suck — check

    • Reading all these comments, the song Empty Garden by Elton John kept running through my brain, particularly this line:

      “It’s funny how one insect can damage so much grain”

      He was singing about John Lennon’s murder, but that line applies to cheaters, too.

  • Moving on

    Asking what was real is important. For me the truth was that I was married to a narcissist who led a double life. My purpose? It was to spackle and make him look good.

    My awakening was to see that truth throughout 36 years of marriage. The mindfuck was always there and as the Muse stated, my needs became smaller and smaller.

    Cowards and narcissusts usually show themselves when you have needs. How dare you have expectations! This is all about ME. This is the truth as it was a full time job figuring out his needs.

    It’s a sad truth to untangle because we invested our LIFE. Narcissistic injury is both profound and deliberate. It hurts like a motherfucker.

    Then there is the cheater narrative. Speak your truth. You were fired from the job of protecting him. Get your walking shoes and become ‘asset’ minded. Give yourself the gift of freedom. Hire an attorney and put on your boxing gloves and knock the fucker out of your life.

    You will make authentic memories. I take pictures of all the new and better events in my life.

    They do not own their shit. Yet they take it with them wherever they go.

  • I get this. I do not want to lose all those good memories I had! No fucking way he gets to take THOSE TOO.

    CL has it right.

    “The answer to “what was real? does it matter?” is always YOU were real. You brought your A game. You committed. You loved deeply. The only reality we control is our own.”

    *I* was faithful. *I* was present. *I* was honest.

    Was he not online talking sex when he was with me? True, that. That time doesn’t exist without connections and ties to … every other moment of the life (ha, type lie) I had with him.

    Absolutely review the red flags you ignored! Absolutely acknowledge your tolerance for your needs being unmet and treated with disrespect and contempt. This can be through avoiding just as much as through saying mean things.

    THEN MOVE ON. To someone who wants to meet those needs more than they want secret set on the side. To someone who has managed their shame through a strong self worth and ability to make amends.

  • Still struggling with this after a 35 year marriage and one year of no contact. One of the most helpful things is what CL says- who knows what was real, but what I felt was real. I showed up, I gave my best. He was rewriting history before he even left- we had no money because of me, I pushed him to have sex when he wasn’t well when what I really wanted was even a little of comfort and affection (but apparently he was well enough to have sex with OW thousands of times over the 8 years he was cheating and i didn’t know), I was his nightmare because I was such a nag, he couldn’t retire because of me. And yes, I had cancer and part of my lung removed and he said: “You want to be sick.” And people thought he said those things because he loved me sooo much that he was afraid of losing me so he acted out in anger. Even then I knew he was angry because how dare anything be about me, how dare I take attention away from him. The only thing you have control over is you. The only way you can live with this is your knowledge that you were real. What you felt was real. It doesn’t really matter what was real for him because for him it was all an exciting game. Who would win? Isn’t it great having two (or more) women want you? What an ego boost for a shallow bottomless parasite who needs the admiration of others to gain their own identity. In my case, my time in the hospital provided him with utter freedom to fuck the OW in my bed. In CODA (co-dependents anonymous) they say: Your opinion of me is none of my business. I am trying to internalize this because I know that my husband of 35 years didn’t think enough of me to take care of me when I was sick, to have my back, and to have my interests at heart. It’s the unkindest cut of all when the person you go to for comfort is the person who is gutting you. Unfortunately, you will have to walk through fire to find peace but you will get there. My heart and thoughts are with you.

    • Wow, sounds like nothing was ever his fault, and everything was rather all your fault. I could not spend one second with a colossal asshole like this. One friend once told me, if a guy behaves as though nothing is ever his fault, just bolt out of there. That was the best advice anyone has ever given me. I’m sorry you had to endure this kind of torture, because it is. Sounds like your ex was a douchebag and I’m so glad you’re out of there, because the game is rigged so that you will always lose against someone like this. And the best thing to do in this case is to leave the asshole.

      • Thanks. He gave me no choice when I caught him for the 4th time. Yes, I have to live with the fact that I let him come and go the 4th time! Cake!!

        • Looking back – I don’t remember ONE TIME the X told me he was sorry for anything.
          Why didn’t I demand it? Maybe I never expected it.
          So, I guess I quit saying sorry too. Bringing me down to his level, I guess.

          • Mine said he was sorry all the time. His sorry was meaningless. He made choices throughout our entire marriage that he knew were wrong and would hurt me or piss me off. He made these choices knowing he would apologize for them, but made them anyway. Saying you’re sorry is not being remorseful.

  • I also wanted to say that while I was in surgery having a lobe of my lung removed, he took our son out to lunch. Later he said that the doctor led him to believe that it wasn’t a big deal and that it wasn’t a ‘real’ cancer.

    • I can assure you that the doctor said no such thing. Your X interpreted it that way, to justify his non caring and nonchalant attitude. The doctor may have stated the risks and the likelihood of something occurring or not, but didn’t “lead your X to believe” anything. Doctors aren’t supposed to make judgment calls that something isn’t a big deal or whether something is real cancer or not. And any normal human being knows that getting part of a lung removed, which is a vital organ, is a huge deal, no matter what any health professional states. It’s common sense. And your X was just trying to justify his shitty behavior of leaving the hospital to go lunching with your son, rather than staying at the hospital in case some emergency occurred.

      • Agree. At the time I felt that in my gut but couldn’t accept that he really didn’t care. When I told the surgeon, who was so kind to me, the surgeon said: “Your husband’s a jerk.”

      • Kellia, good comment. I have been very lucky in my 64 years with my health and as far as I know I still am very lucky. This is a ‘doctor comment’ told to me by my ex husband. I always made sure that my ex had a yearly complete physical check and the last one before he pulled the plug is as follows. My ex was starting to have ED issues and would go missing in action so I suggested that he discuss it with his doctor. Upon his return home I asked what the doctor suggested and my ex said the doctor stated that because he was having problems and because he had only ever had sex with me that he should have sex with others to get the ‘spark’ back. That is the honest truth and when I said that I could make a complaint about the doctor the ex laughed and said that he was only joking and that he never took any notice. I wonder if he still suffers ED issues with the 24 year old !!

        • “Upon his return home I asked what the doctor suggested and my ex said the doctor stated that because he was having problems and because he had only ever had sex with me that he should have sex with others to get the ‘spark’ back. That is the honest truth and when I said that I could make a complaint about the doctor the ex laughed and said that he was only joking”

          OMG, are you fucking kidding me! This is NOT a joke and your husband is a colossal ass for saying this to you. So he wanted to have sex with other women, nice. My ex bf told me the exact same thing, that I wasn’t *letting* him have sex with other women and then added he was joking. You know what I did? I dumped his ass instantaneously, so fast that his head was spinning. Men who make comments like this ARE NOT joking I can guarantee you that. And if your husband regrets only having had sex with just you, then he shouldn’t have gotten married as a virgin, and should have fucked around to his heart’s content before getting married. Asshole, I’m so disgusted. I’m so sorry you were married to such a loser and a douchebag.

          • Kellia, I had the best years of his life and now he is an old sexpat the 24 year old prostit-tot can have him.

            • I have never looked at it that way, that I had the best years of his life and now she can have him. I’ve been looking at it from the more self-destructive view of him taking the best years of my life. I like your more positive way of turning it around and will begin thinking this way. Thank you.

          • Kellia, ” And if your husband regrets only having had sex with just you, then he shouldn’t have gotten married as a virgin, and should have fucked around to his heart’s content before getting married.”

            And this was one of the many, many “reasons” that x cheated on me. Ummmmm, since I was “so” much older, I was 4 years older than x, And I didn’t meet and marry the stupid fuck until he was 21, I was to blame for him being a loser from the beginning of high school to the time he came back from the Marine reserves, that he was still a “virgin” when we hooked up and then married. Ummm I didn’t know him until I met him at age 20, how was I to blame that he didn’t have the know how to get some before that????? But alas, I should have foreseen that oversight and taken care of it for him, such a freaking mess, It is all a mindf*ck and they sure as hell know how to mess with our heads.

            • You know the truth, flutterby–that his cheating is caused by poor character. Yes, they are masters of the mindfuck, but now we all have the antivenin to not let b.s. permeate our minds.

  • I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately. I find that I experience extreme distress when I get caught in the spiral of “he never loved me, not even for a second, he was always using me.” I can only find calm when I find a way to believe that there was love, at least briefly, and that I wasn’t imagining those moments of magic all that time ago. So instead, I frame him as weak and cowardly and inherently amoral. I think about it as if the good moments did happen – but he wasn’t a good enough or strong enough man to preserve what we had (or could have had).

    I think this doesn’t line up with CL’s advice, and that concerns me – I consider her an authority and would not be alive right now if I hadn’t found her on this website. But I also know that the self-pity that pours out of me when I imagine that every single moment of happiness was a lie is not worth it. I will drown in it; I will drive my car off the road. I can’t believe it didn’t happen. I won’t re-write the history.

    That said, I try not to dwell on the happy times. I try not to think of them at all. But if I do remember them, I take a moment to smile and then I do whatever I have to do to think about something else. (Distraction is key.) I focus on the elephant, as CL suggests – that elephant obliterated the foundation where those happy times occurred, and so now all focus must be on the elephant. But, as CL rightly states, the poker chips of happy moments are still in that wreckage somewhere. They can no longer be our focus, but they exist. I won’t pretend they don’t exist.

    My heart goes out to you. I’m so sorry for what we’ve all been through.

    • “I can only find calm when I find a way to believe that there was love, at least briefly, and that I wasn’t imagining those moments of magic all that time ago.”

      You’re the mighty one. You’re the powerful one. You’re the one who made the magic.

      You still have the power.

      You can make the magic again – whenever you want. The day you realize that it was you with all the power – and it was all along – will be a crazy scary beautiful day. Big hugs! (And hope that day comes soon.)

    • I guess I look at this issue differently because I had a narcissistic parent. Those of us in that very special club learn that some people can’t love as we understand that term, which involves the ability to see another person as separate, the ability to defer our own gratification to meet another person’s immediate need and to ability to maintain and respect boundaries. There is also a somewhat mysterious and miraculous aspect of love, at its highest expression, in which a person is willing to risk his or her own life to protect the life of another. (This sort of sacrifice is not to be confused with co-dependency, in which people stop living their own lives in order to fix someone else. I am talking about the woman in the Dallas police ambush this week who covered her son’s body with her own in order to protect him from sniper fire. For Christians, the metaphorical express of such love is enacted in the death of Christ. I can’t explain such a thing in rational terms, but we know the difference between trying to wrestle an alligator to save your son and fixing consequences for a drunk when we see it).

      I don’t negate the things my mother did for me because she was unable to love me as a separate person. She did so much more for me that her mother did for her. She did her best. It’s just that her best was so limited and in many ways damaging to her kids. So many of her own gifts were wasted trying to extract narcissistic supply from others. I don’t see her “love” as a lie. I see it as having limits.

      As to the moments of magic, I think narcissists believe those feelings of infatuation or limerance or whatever it is they feel when the start up something new is “love.” That’s what they had to give. it’s a heady thing, especially for those of us starved for affection. But it isn’t grounded in a self healthy enough to give and receive respect or defer gratification or sacrifice without expecting payback. That’s the lesson of narcissistic parents: they love you but expect that “love” is an investment in an endless source of narcissistic supply.

      • Beautiful post. I went full NC with my mother when I was 18. She contacted me while I was pregnant at 24 and wanted to be part of my life. She told me she was clean from alcohol and drugs and hadn’t been arrested recently. I wanted to believe her, but ran a check on her anyway. She was awaiting trial for being a member of a group stealing purses. Needless to say I told her I wanted nothing to do with her. When she died years later I felt sorry for her and for the life she could have had. I remembered a handful of good memories and cherish them. I don’t regret going NC because her behavior dictated my actions nor do I forget her selfishness and narcissistic personality or the trauma she inflicted on me and my sister, but it’s helpful to know that what I came from was capable of creating some good memories too.

  • I struggled with similar thoughts for a long time. I finally realized that it really makes no difference what HE was thinking or doing during the many good times we had (and yes, despite my ex’s apparent insanity now, we did have lots of fun and good times during those 20 married years), it only matters that those are good memories for ME.

    I spent nearly half of my life either dating or married to my ex. I’m not going to toss out half of my lifetime just because it turned out that he was a liar and a cheater from the start. It’s true that the marriage turned out to be a sham, just like him, but that doesn’t mean MY enjoyment of the good times was any less real, or that MY participation in that marriage wasn’t honest.

    Ultimately, it doesn’t make any difference what he did, what he meant or what he thought. He’s no longer in my life. But I still enjoy my good memories, and why should I let him cheat me out of those, the way he cheated me out of the marriage?

    Don’t throw away the good times YOU enjoyed just because you unknowingly spent those times with a dishonest person. Just enjoy the memories for what they are, without feeling the need to dissect them any further. Otherwise, you are cheating yourself out of your own life.

    • Well said, GladIt’sOver. I agree with you 100%. Man, what’s up with the 20-year mark? I’ve seen it over and over again that people’s marriages fell apart at 20 years.

      One thing that really angers me is that I’ve seen since we first got married — women who are mean to their husbands in public. They put them down and it’s accepted for some reason by society. I always made it a point to never put my husband down. I never betrayed any of his dirty secret sins to anyone. I was always his biggest supporter in public, even though a big part of me was hurt because I knew the truth about him. Everyone telling him how great he was. Our church putting him on pedestal as the perfect Christian man, but at home he ignored the kids and I. He jacked off to porn when he said he was “working.” He constantly lied to me about so many things. He flirted and went out on a date with a newly divorced ho-worker. He’s lied, cheated and has been so mean, cold and distant to me over the years, but so many people think he’s such a “nice guy.” He was one person at home and another person in public. Just one example is that at home he never opened the car door for me. Even on our 20th anniversary, when we went out for the FIRST TIME for dinner for our anniversary, I was all dressed up and I thought I looked really nice. No compliment of course and of course he didn’t open the car door for me. But at church every week, he opened the door for me to get into the car when people were looking. He seriously makes me sick. One person in public and another in private. He’s rewriting our history. I know that he sucks, but not too many other people do.

      • I really identify with your story Martha. I had Jekyll and Hyde. If we visited his family he would put on a show of being very accommodating to me bringing me food and drink but at home or otherwise he seemed to expect to be waited on. He liked to play happy families around his family and his friends. Around my family His mask would slip and at home the ugly came out. he even told me oh he realises that people treat their families worse than they treat strangers as if it juatofies his meaness to us . His next victim is in for a treat cause he has upped his game. He knows how to fake an up beat personality .She is a former colleague worker. he describes her as a Christian ans a prude. She was in the marriage for years before he left. an emotional affair. I spoke about it but of course with these fools we are not the boss of them and he dismissed and kept it up along with others. What I know is that she is an only child with fairly well to do parents and few friends. This won’t end well.

    • Absolutely. This.I raised 2 great kids mostly alone. He was always too busy to spend time with us. I was fully invested for 34 years (I wish it was 20!!). We had lots of fun times…I turned myself inside out trying to keep him happy. I owe myself a big pat on the back for trying so hard and making good memories for my kids despite him not with him. I won’t ever let go of that..

  • I think this might be the hardest part for somebody that has not been through this shit to understand. In my case, my ex-husband didn’t have one affair and think he had that “twoo wovve”. My cheater was fucking whores during his lunch breaks for at least five years and then posting details on a nasty whore/John website.

    The fact that he was putting his dick – that was supposed to be mine – into random holes only scratches the surface of what is painful about what happened to me. The fact that I was completely fooled for at least five years out of 20 is also only scratching the surface.

    What hurts worst is the realization that it was all a big joke to him. Everything we laughed about, all the vacations we took, our amazing wedding day, all of the late night cuddling that made me feel like I had a place in this world…. All of it, to him, was a fucking joke. On me.

    I can’t look back on one second of those 20 years and feel anything other than anger. This is why I always say it must be easier if you lose a spouse to death. At least everything that happened before the death isn’t painful.

    I just don’t think this is something that can be explained in words to someone who hasn’t experienced it.

    • No, losing them to death isnt always that simple. They could be a cheater narc shithead AND drop on the floor. Learning that he was a serial cheater tainted and ruined all that came before.

      • GiveTimeTime – ‘I can’t look back on one second of those 20 years and feel anything other than anger. This is why I always say it must be easier if you lose a spouse to death. At least everything that happened before the death isn’t painful.’

        I feel the same as you. Be glad it was only 20 yrs and not 36, not to lessen your pain.
        We were best friends and did every sport, camping, family-things, you name it – together.
        Rarely apart. And if we were away for business, we’d talked hours on the phone.

        So, I absolutely cannot even go back to one of those memories in all those years and put any faith in them whatsoever. Sure, I was happy and content and head-over-heels in love…..but I am erasing all those memories as soon as they pop into my head. All it takes is to remember what a shitty, selfish lover he was during every single one of the those fun-times. Poof – away goes the memory.

        I am trying for a clean start with new memories!
        I’d rather forget the entire 36 year past because I never ever would have married him had I known the pain he would eventually cause me. Too unbearable for remembering the love, or good times, I had for him.

        • Had he died? I would have mourned him the rest of my life and been a lonely widow.
          I would have had a huge memorial for him, complete with great videos of his life, his honor, his loyalty, his dedication.
          Hundreds of ppl would be there, mourning.

          Well >snap< He ended his mourning party the minute he stuck his dick in her mouth.
          I haven't got a clue who would attend any sort of memorial for him now.

          Too bad, dipshit. Way to ruin your well-tuned reputation into a puddle of pond scum.

          • Unicorn – I remember hearing a story like yours a long time ago.
            The husband died and the wife came across a bunch of letters from his affairs and she went from deep mourning to deep anger.
            I cannot, for the life of me, imagine what that must feel like.
            Possibly, one of the worst scenarios.

            You are so mighty to me and I’m so glad you post.
            You’ve been through a lot of pain, sister.
            I’m so sorry.

  • My cheater stated that he started cheating after my cancer dx but after some sleuth detective work I found it was at least 3 years prior. The fact that he could use my cancer (early stage…I’m fine) as an excuse for his disgusting behavior is sad and twisted. Who does that? So for months I felt defective and unlovable because I had cancer at one point. He actually took my kids to Magic Mountain the day after my surgery! Talk about a red flag.
    I agree that remembering the past happy times existed because I was happy in them, he was just a prop. So what if I imagined him being honest and an amazing dad. It worked at the time. Now it’s in the past and I am getting to Meh where I could care less what he’s doing in his life. I recently saw him and man was he bitter. How he has to work six days a week to pay alimony and kids tuition. It made me happy. Karma has arrived earlier than I expected for the man child!

  • Years ago I caught a show called Cheaters. The wife was fighting ovarian cancer. She and the PIs found him and HER nurse on a boat. An expensive boat. I am quoting the nurse verbatim, “We thought she would b dead by now.” My mother and a wonderful friend both died of ovarian cancer. I wanted to go through the tv and choke them. That thing you married is a horror. Underneath the surface is a pus filled, worm crawling piece of shit. Good riddance to him. I hate him for you.

  • Many of us lived happy lives for years until we knew. How many of us would’ve swore that are spouses weren’t the cheating type? How does one ever trust again? We can only trust ourselves.

    • Hey married for 25 years….. for first 20, I would swear there was no way she would cheat….. it was a transformation in front of my eyes when she hit 40…. weight loss… new clothes… hiding phone and passwords…. I don’t know what the psychology is behind this crap…. most say that’s what they have always were…. Idk….. Probably so! Attention seeking in my case and I would speculate as long as the kids needed her, she was ok…. once they became independent, that’s when the shell started to crack…. and the real person started to break free…. cant fix broken people…. maybe someone else can….. not me for sure!

      • DavidB, you have just described my sexpat ex husband. However, he waited 37 years to blindside me knowing that my kids no longer needed me in the true sense of the word but they did love our family and now it is destroyed forever.

    • Flowergir, I would have sworn on the lives of my children that he only had one affair and I was wrong.He made me question EVERYTHING. I found a wonderful man and chose to trust again (ironic since new husband is a counterintelligence agent and lies for a living) but I chose to trust and so far it has been a good decision

      • unicornomore, thanks for this: “but I chose to trust and so far it has been a good decision”

        I’m doing the same thing with my boyfriend. Sometimes it’s scary, but so far it’s been a very good decision. And it’s been illuminating to see how this relationship is different from my marriage to my ex.

  • Stillgrieving: I agree with you that it is overwhelmingly destructive to believe that our cheating spouses never loved us – that our entire existence with them was a lie. There were good moments – there had to be. Many of us created children with our ex’s. Can most of us say our children were not conceived with love? How will our children feel if they are led to understand that they were conceived from a duplicitous parental relationship, that was a lie, right from the outset. That’s a slippery mental health slope. Kids need to believe that their parents at least loved each other at one time. (Notwithstanding, men who cheat on their pregnant wives deserve a special place in hell)

    • “There were good moments – there had to be. Many of us created children with our ex’s. Can most of us say our children were not conceived with love?”
      Tflan386, When my ex husband 1st pushed me out I sent him an email stating that our 2 adult kids were conceived and born out of my love and I hope that, that was the case with him also. He never responded and yet my kids have chosen to take sides and I am now treated like a leper.

  • Maree: I know your story and my post was not intended to trigger more pain for you. My deepest apologies for having upset you.

        • Sunny, I have always been strong but without this site I would be dead. Every Chump and CL inspire me on a daily basis. It gives me a good kick in the rear if and when I am having a pity party for one !

  • The irony is that many of these folks use the excuse of “finding their happiness” or “finding their truth” — while robbing you of yours.

    • I am not happy…. I need to find happiness… should be added to signs of cheating on a google search!

  • The process of what I call the “relationship autopsy” is only rewriting history to the extent that we can correct perceptions and beliefs that did not serve us. Several posters over the past few days have written about how “we make ourselves small,” how we minimize, ignore, suppress and deny our own needs in order to please a partner who is selfish, manipulative or disordered. When I was in relationships and over and over my needs were disregarded, went unmet, or were mocked, my first thought wasn’t get the hell out of here. I felt sad and sorry for myself and cried a lot of lonely tears, but I stayed and tried to get love and empathy out of a rock. My goal is to fix that in me. I want to notice when I minimize or ignore my needs and when I teach others that it’s OK to do the same thing to me. I want to be able to recognize narcissists or other disordered people and avoid them.

    • LAJ, I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. Chumps need to love themselves first, instead of trying to do all the right things to get people to love us. Now that I’ve been out of my marriage for 4 years (after 36 years together) it sure feels odd to put my needs first. Since I live alone and my kids are grown, it’s not hard to do. But it feels so different than when I was living with my family and trying to please everyone but myself.

      • You’re not kidding about that Lyn– putting yourself first takes getting used to. I’ve been divorced and living alone for about 2 1/2 years (after being married for 26 years) and it’s taken me this long to feel like I’m living MY life. For a long time I felt like I was living someone else’s life.

  • Moving On, you’re amazing, and I’m so sorry your cheater was so shallow and self-centered that he committed egregious acts of infidelity while you were fighting cancer AND raising kids! Just. Wow.

    For me, relationship autopsies are related to trying to figure out the skein – just an endless waste of time and energy you could be spending on your healing and your future. It holds me back and feels like pain shopping so I don’t do it.

    I mean, you’ll never really know the whole truth, will you? Let’s say you just assume it was great until you know for a fact he cheated. Well, whether that started when you were sick or before, he did it and that ends it. Choose to let the unknown part go and move forward. I know it’s bothering you, but adultery and betrayal, lying and deceit – all have normal, honest chumps like us experiencing a kind of cognitive dissonance anyway.

    It’s so surreal because none of it makes any sense. At ANY time, he could have had a difficult conversation, went to counseling, filed for divorce, etc. He didn’t. He chose to cheat instead. Unbelievable.

    • It’s so surreal because none of it makes any sense. At ANY time, he could have had a difficult conversation, went to counseling, filed for divorce, etc. He didn’t. He chose to cheat instead. Unbelievable.

      The reason that they don’t have a difficult conversation, go to counseling, file for divorce, etc. but choose to cheat instead is because they love the deception! The great love and great sex they have with AP is not just due to AP being so magnificent – it is because having sex with someone they are not supposed to and doing it behind their unsuspecting spouse’s back makes it so much more thrilling and exciting!!! If they brought the affair out of fantasy and into reality, it would lose its sparkle and run the risk of being just as boring as the relationship with the faithful spouse.

      • That’s what I thought would happen after he stopped talking to me and I finally just gave up trying to have any kind of contact. But apparently he is still with her. And yes, I did hear that he was not happy, that having sex with the same person for 35 years was boring, that he just loved the OW so much he couldn’t give her up. I finally did bow out, filed and am waiting for the final decree. But they are still together. And btw, we went to mc for years and he lied and said he was not in contact with her any more. A colossal waste of time and money.

        • Well, I thought their illicit affair would fizzle once I bowed out and there was no thrill, too, but I believe my STBX might end up staying with this whore.

          I decided I didn’t care and they could have each other before I kicked him out and filed (which was huge for me). I don’t want him back ever and she’s morally bankrupt. Not my circus. Not my monkeys.

          He may stay because it’s the only way he can justify losing his wonderful family and because he cannot be alone for a single day of his life.

          He may actually be relieved to have one simpleminded adoring slut to feed his ego with no expectations – for now. Never mind he’s told her a thousand lies and she has no idea who he really is. His love bombing may be enough to cover the 35 year age gap. She is not his first AP, but she is pretty stupid and easily manipulated.

          He was so arrogant and so selfish he just wanted to have his cake and eat it too and never once thought anyone would actually leave him. He did a risk assessment and determined I was a nonthreat. He underestimated me and thought I couldn’t live without him. I am a quality person with integrity and conviction. He does not deserve me.

          • “He was so arrogant and so selfish he just wanted to have his cake and eat it too and never once thought anyone would actually leave him. He did a risk assessment and determined I was a nonthreat. He underestimated me and thought I couldn’t live without him. I am a quality person with integrity and conviction. He does not deserve me.”

            Oh wow, this sums up in a few pithy words what I’ve been trying to understand. My stbx said things that made it clear he thought our relationship would continue with little change on his side, after he did a massive truth dump revealing relationship-long deceit. I guess he just thought I was that metaphorically beaten down and he was that great? The way you put it is excellent. And yes, he underestimated me – or overestimated himself – or both.

          • Yes, he might end up staying with her. There will be the initial Idealization honeymoon phase. Idealization will predictably turn to Devaluation. He will begin looking for a new affair partner to cheat with and when he finds one, he will keep this relationship a secret from his new significant other for as long as he can. If his new significant other is immoral as well, she may do the exact same thing to him. Discard may be physical; it may entail leaving to go live with the AP when living with the significant other is no longer an option or when the AP has something of value that the significant other does not. Discard may be emotional; he may stay in her life with total disregard for her, behaving in an abusive, selfish manner toward her, sexually indulging himself with others and not caring how or if affects her, all the while maintaining an image of a good partner for all the world to see.

          • They go into to the new relationship better equipped. First of all this person is willing to either go along with infidelity or not knowing the betrayed spouse they buy into the cheater,,’s story hook line and sinker. Some of these new victims are like us clueless and trusting. The cheaters up their game and are better able to keep the new victims in the holding pattern but really their innate abusive nature is always there. They won’t be able to sustain the façade indefinitely but the new victim will probably be better assessed and set up than we were since the cheater has grown ans learned from past ‘mistakes’ with us.
            Selfishness does not dissipate from ones make up.

  • This is exactly what happened to me. PreyingMantis started cheating on me as soon as I was in treatment for cancer (possibly before, even). Makes it so much easier to not get caught when you’re busy fighting for your life… And the joke thing. Oh, how that resonates. I was real… but to PreyingMantis, I was just a joke. With an ATM attached. Cheaters don’t exhibit any creativity, do they? Always following The Cheater Playbook page by page.

    It gets even better. I got a text message from PreyingMantis the other day.

    “5 years ago to day, I married a very special lady in the eyes if God. Life threw curve balls, we both grew and changed. Hard decisions were made and now we both are stronger. No regrets only good memories. Where ever life leads you,I hope you find happiness, love and peace.”

    * 6 years, not 5 – and wrong month/day
    * We had a handfasting, so that would have been in the eyes of The Lord and The Lady – so wrong Deity
    * Multiple infidelities are not “curve balls” – JUST WRONG
    * Cutting you off financially was actually the easiest decision, like, ever – nothing wrong with that!
    * NO RAGRETS (like, best tattoo ever, amirite?)
    * Wherever life leads PreyingMantis, it will have all the long-term stability of quicksand

    Talk about someone who’s hell-bent on rewriting history! I am not letting PreyingMantis redefine the narrative though. As I run into people in our social network, and as they ask, I keep telling the truth. We did not “just grow apart”. PreyingMantis stuffed C4 into our marriage and lit the fuse.

    • PreyingMantis is an ass. Cheaters may not have any regrets, but I expect a significant number of chumps do, starting with “Why did I marry him/her??? [bangs head on desk]”

      I love the passive language, too: “Hard decisions were made…”

  • “Rewriting history” vs “clarity once you realize what the fuck happened”…the crux of my challenge since I learned my already dead husband was a serial cheater.

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences on this thread, I share so many of them…

    it has been so hard for me to admit to myself how awful my life with him was…I just refused to admit it to myself when he was alive and we were married but I was well trained…in reality his narc self wasnt as bad as my Borderline mom so in comparison I though I had it good.

    He ruined SO MUCH of my life that it makes me mad but I still accomplished a lot despite his incessant badgering and belittling…he didnt ruin my whole life. The fact that my life is better with him dead is a tragedy…one that he bought and paid for with every lie and betrayal. In my compassionate moments I feel bad that he failed at the most important things in life so badly…what a terrible waste.

  • Speaking of spouses who hate illness unless it happens to them and they need a wet-nurse, I had a few red flags over the years.

    I was usually never sick but got hit really bad with one of those horrible flus’ for 3 full days.
    (whenever he was laid up, he non-stopped called me from upstairs and even had a little bell for me)
    On the worst day of the sick-shit, he didn’t check on me once all day long.
    I kept wondering when he’d come up to the bedroom. (he worked at home)
    I was too sick to call him downstairs – but lucid enough that I didn’t want to call him or ring a bell…waiting to see how long it would be until he checked on me.
    Well, 5pm to be exact. I was so thirsty I could hardly stand.

    2nd time – I just got back from an intern’l flight that lasted 30 hrs.
    Something went wrong with my gut and all I know is, I was hurting really badly. But, I’m tough.
    When I got home, he had ‘important clients’ in town from the south – the businessman and his lovely wife.
    We had a great dinner I prepared with extreme jet-lag and this horrible pain in my gut.
    Forced a smile then had to abruptly leave the table because I couldn’t eat, went upstairs, and started puking bile.
    Ok, this isn’t good.
    I’m over the toilet for a full hour before he comes and checks on me – pokes me hard in the gut and said, you’re having an appendix attack.
    Great – he’s no doctor but he had one himself when he was young.

    By the time I got to the hospital, it had ruptured and I went into immediate surgery.
    Well, he drove home that night, back to entertain his clients and showed up the next morning to say he was taking them for a trip around our coastal area for the next 3 days. That’s how long I stayed in the hospital.

    I always like to tell that story to people (in front of him) because it was so bizarre and SO NICE of him to leave me there like that.
    Everybody sort of giggles a little awkwardly.
    Such a good businessman!

    And, of course, every time I told that story, he got that stupid smirk on his stupid face!

    Oh, and the 3rd time, just for grins. I was having 8 wks of radiation after breast cancer and I had to stay at a spot 1-1/2 hrs away.
    I couldn’t drive home daily as I was too tired.
    He stayed home and left me at that campground. (I went home on weekends) But, it’s a huge R/V and he could have worked from there and we could have had the dogs with us. I don’t even remember my long hours in that stupid motorhome during that boring time.

    Just don’t get that one.
    But, he got pretty distant after the cancer diagnosis…looking back.

    • Shechump, wow, just wow. Your ex really out did himself. Amazing. So sorry. Mine just complained about watching the kids while I had to be exiled from the house for 2 weeks b/c I was slightly radioactive and kids were very small. I went to the beach with a friend b/c it’s quiet and remote. He kept saying how lucky I was to be on “vacation”. I don’t think being exiled from your home and children because of radioactivity while yet to have a whole body scan to know how bad the cancer is, constitutes a vacation.

      • MovingOn – and just when you think you’re heard it all.
        You’ve been exposed to radioactivity (!!) and have to go de-tox and he turned it into a ‘vacation’ you were having?

        I remember saying to the then-H, after not taking a holiday for over 2 yrs because of his work (ya right), Hey Hon – why don’t we go on vacation and have some fun for a change.

        He replied – You? What do YOU need a vacation for!
        Implying that my entire life with him was a ‘vacation’.
        What more did I possibly need?

        He was SO mean at the end. Good riddance.
        Now that he chose work, he gets to work the rest of his life supporting me, after he lost 1/2 of everything in alimony; the worst being all the family and dogs and lifestyle.

        How’s that working for ya, buddy?

  • Oh, and just to put the cherry on the cake!
    I cannot resist.

    We were r/v-ing at a ‘fancy resort’, which means no grass – all pavement.
    I had some silly sandals on and went to take the 2 dogs for a walk.
    We encountered 2 other big dogs who were happy to walk with us.
    While they were meeting, my stupid sandals slipped, I fell, broke my arm – that fast.

    Well, didn’t want to ruin the new weekend by going to the hospital that night, so I let it hang while it turned black-and-blue.
    Hubby told me was probably sprained.

    Quit now if you don’t want to hear further details of an event I’l never forgive or forget.

    We were in bed, I was in extreme pain and he wanted a fucking hand-job!
    I’m like, you’re kidding, right? I can’t move my right arm, which is the hj hand.
    So he just had me put it under his balls and jerked him off with my left – awkward- hand. Guess I’m aptitextrus.

    I’m making myself sick now.
    True story.

    Don”t ask me why, please.
    I’m still trying to figure out WHY I ever did that!
    I needed Ice, for damn sakes!
    Not a fucking penis.

    This post is triggering me on all the things that were wrong in my marriage.

      • mad skillz you got there. put that on your resume.
        but seriously…. his pleasure above your pain. selfish shit. who is enjoying that pathetic joke now.
        had we only the delusions of grandeur that they harbour. 9 time out of 10 we are far better lovers than they are but they believe their own hype.
        jesus…is genitalia that potent? is a couple minutes of sensation worth allllllll that they fuck up? I just don’t get it? I love sex but I don’t let it rule me as these people seem to.

        • Mandie101 – thanks – at least I have mad skillz. woot.
          He did make me breakfast the next morning and made me a sling until I got thru the next 2 days.
          Lucky me!

          He was a terrible fuck and I know that he aint’ changing his spots for her.

          • at least you got something out of the deal…breakfast and a sling. meh. not bad for a one-armed bandit.

    • Wow, SheChump, just wow. Your X is a selfish git. I know triggers hurt, but processing the toxic events in our marriages is a way of processing them, and eventually wrapping them in parchment paper so that they are less raw.

  • These cheaters never cease to amaze me. STBXWH cheated on me throughout our marriage (which I realize now I was just super chumptastic all those years) but the real gem was cheating on me with the Studio owner of the Fitness Studio I taught classes at… aprox 4 months after burying our 3 day old newborn son, who passed on my bday. I’m pretty sure he told her we were over and when I became pregnant with our Rainbow baby, I’m sure that shocked the hell out of her (which shows her stupidity to fall for it). Did i mention we were overseas?

    Then he proceeds to cheat on me with a coworker chick with Herpes during the pregnancy when we got stateside, and then when caught he immediately (or had already, I think had already started) starts cheating with a chick that was cheating on her kids father and must have gotten moist in the panties at STBXWH’s cheating on me with said COW. Oh and he brought his 16 yr bestie Bitch that he also told COW1 that he screws around with said bestie when he feels like it to the hospital, let her help my family’s catering biz, and had her in my house around my kids. I can’t make this shit up.

    These cheaters have no shame. Then tells his little diseased COW1 and COW2 and anyone else who’ll listen being married to me was a chore, I was bossy controlling etc, became physically abusive and has angry rages and runs an active smear campaign against me, refuses to help with our kids (and now I think he’s a pervert and prefer him to NOT help with our young impressionable daughters) all the while batting his cock-eyes at me and claiming he has no idea what I am talking about and that yes he does and did love me.

    Damn I hate this asshole.

    • 2days19hrs. FUCK! I hate him too.
      Unbelievable. Just when you think you’ve hear it all.
      Stay with us here at C/N.
      You will find your strength – we have your back!!


      • you’re right,,,,you can’t make this shit up. I don’t know if you are at the stage where you can see some humour in your situation. this guy is a walking comedy of fuck-ups. like his brain made a series of computations and came up with those options that he decided to execute….what the hell did he think the out come would be. hence when i see them making bad decision after bad decision i know that they are not tracking mentally.

        • 2Days – I’m so so sorry to hear about you losing your child.
          I had to read that twice.
          It’s something most of us cannot even imagine….it must be the worst emotional issue to even try to fathom, let alone process why.
          Many hugs to you, and prayers..

    • 2days–I’m sorry about the loss of your child, and have my fingers crossed against hope that you avoided catching herpes from the jackass. What an odious man.

  • How they treat us when we are sick says it all… once I was sick as a dog, but had to take a 10 hour flight. He never once asked me if I wanted a drink or a blanket. I had to go to the bathroom several times to throw up and he hissed at me to not make a scene.

    Once I was sick over a weekend. I was in bed all day. He would get out on the morning and then around 5pm he would check in me shortly before watching tv all evening. He didn’t care! Never did he offer me even a glass of water.

    What a contrast with my partner now who treats me like a princess. He lies with me in bed. Cuddles me. Makes me soup. Squeezes orange juice. Massages my feet. Massages my head. Kisses me. Not afraid of germs (the cheater was so afraid to catch something – that was his excuse). This one is so caring. So sweet. Loves me whatever I look like. Doesn’t ask me to wear more dresses. Doesn’t care about my weight. And I would have never met him had I stayed with the cheater.

      • The stupid thing is, it’s not even rare to have that. Before my marriage with the cheater I had an amazing boyfriend too who adored me.. unfortunately we were incompatible. And then I go marry an asswipe! But the fact is there are SO MANY good guys. We should’t be fighting for/being attached to this one person who cheated on us.

    • Tess – That is how it should be. That the other person is kind, caring and does take care of us when we’re sick. Not the other way around, where these assholes expect us to lavish them with attention, while they starve us to death by not giving us a drop of their kindness or caring. I had an ex where he didn’t accompany me to the urgent clinic when I had a UTI. I asked him if he was going to come with me, and he said no. I dumped his ass shortly after. I would have done anything to accompany him to the clinic if he was sick, but his decision and actions revealed tons that he didn’t care about me. I dumped him and never looked back. And as you said, why settle or fight for a cheater, who has nothing to offer. There are so many good guy and it’s not even rare to have it. I agree!

    • Yes. Stbx did not seem to know how to care for me when I was ill. I put it down to his upbringing by a she wolf ie his selfish delusional manipulative mother. I’d be sick an she Carey on with work or whatever. Well he got sick after he told me he was leaving us but still living at home. I completely ignored his ass. Completely! Of course in one of our post him leaving arguments he says..and I was sicker than I had ever been and you did not even look at me.
      Well one…he had been sicker than that. Two when I pointed out to him all the times I’d been ill or in need and he ignored or just carried on as normal suddenly the conversation came to an end. He had a headache or some shit.
      I told him I hated the person I had become while with him always explaining myself. I told him I had no relationships with anyone that were this disrespectful. I hate the person I am now cause I never wanted to be like this. I really really liked me before. Now I distrust everyone. I think everyone is selfish and I have zero tolerance for shit. I write off people in a heartbeat. I only have a soft spot for my children and my mother.

  • StillGrieving and GladIt’sOver, I wanted to reply above, but I’ll loop it all in here.

    I, too, keep coming back to this. For me, it’s been about two years. And it’s funny, because I found a journal yesterday while I was cleaning out a cabinet, and it’s from 2011 — In the journal, I document how neglected I was feeling at the moment, how my then-husband’s business was taking up all his time, how he never seemed to want to be home and was tired and moody and withdrawn. And how I sat him down so we could discuss it, try to fix it, how he said he felt like he WAS trying but never got any credit — Then for the next seven days, I rated each day on a scale of 1 to 10 how we seemed to be doing. The final day was a “10/10!!!” with three exclamation points.

    It’s funny to me now because I can’t help but wonder if he was cheating on me then, as well as at the end? He certainly could have been, right?

    The point is, It doesn’t matter.

    My therapist says this is a way we try to establish control, and it’s funny that I have to agree that I sometimes catch myself scouring the past for signs or something I could have done differently, as if I had a time machine and could actually do anything about it. But I can’t.

    All I have control over, as CL says, is myself. That journal documents that *I* loved, *I* cared, *I* tried to work on us. — Him? Not so much.

    Some people are just weak. It’s amazing to me since the divorce how often I see this same scenario play out in other people’s lives, over and over and over again. It happens ALL THE TIME. It’s so crazy that I ever thought it wouldn’t happen to me.

    The point is: Your life was destroyed. You were betrayed by your BEST FRIEND. It’s beyond horrible. But YOUR role in that marriage was always true, committed, loving. What he felt or didn’t feel is almost irrelevant. And he probably couldn’t tell you even if you gave him truth serum.

    On DDay, XH actually said to me, “I don’t think I ever have loved you the way a man should love the woman he’s married to,” but: a) he was either saying that now as a bit of revisionist history of his own, or b) he meant it and then, geez, what an idiot to stay in a relationship for 16years with someone you don’t really care about! That’s on him, not me. Me? I was committed. I was in it for the whole 100%. That’s all the history I need to know.

    I wish you peace in your recovery process. It’s hard. Your mind will revisit this topic again and again. But remember: It’s ok to look backward, but try not to stare.

    Peace to you.

    • NWBiblio – you are very wise. Thank you for your post.

      The 3 things I heard over 3 different days – which I call 3 d-days was…
      After 35 yrs…(sorry if I repeat myself on this forum but it still affects me).

      1) I don’t love you.

      2) I’ve never loved you.

      3) I’ve never been romantically attracted to you.

      Yeah, that was sure fun! But, joke was on him.
      Believe in Meh and Karma folks.
      He was a joke who never deserved me.

      AsTempest said, you wrap all their problems with parchment paper and finally put it on the shelf, or something like that.
      It’s exactly what it MUST BE, falling OUT of love with these idiots who never respected you.

      Sad but true.

      • SheChump: I think it’s quite reasonable to repeat yourself. And for it still to affect you. It’s a big MFing deal. I mean, thirty-five years is ten years longer than XH’s AP has even been on this planet! (well, maybe she was a slug before she was reincarnated — whatever)

        Also, I’m sorry you ever had to hear those words from someone you thought loved you, and whom you loved. I don’t think, sometimes, it’s possible for anyone who hasn’t walked this particular mile in these particular shoes to understand how painful that can be.

        The funny thing about the whole thing, to me, was that he was hardly my Brad Pitt either, y’know? But *I* looked past all that. I saw what I thought was a kind, funny, gentle, caring man, and so I thought, Well, I can look past all the lack of attraction because I would rather have a good life with a quality man than be drooling over him every day. (Not that he’s not attractive — I think he is, to some people, but he just wasn’t, to me, particularly.)

        I was talking on the forums about this Values inventory my therapist recommended, like a buzzfeed quiz but with more science, from UPenn (see if I still have the link copied: — yep, that’s it) And my top three virtues/values are: Honesty/Authenticity; Gratitude; and Kindness/Generosity. And I do not believe XH had even one of those in common with me.

        The point is: We really never should have been together, but we were and we (each of us) could certainly have done much worse. Had we both chosen to work at it, I do believe we could have had a good life, of respect and love. But he was never that guy. He didn’t want to work at it, and consequently I’m ultimately better off — lots and lots of pain, but hey I’m still here — and now all my efforts go towards people who deserve them. And that’s kind of a nice feeling.

        • NWBiblio – I want to run through my screen and hug you.
          Your post made so much sense to me!

          “The point is: We really never should have been together, but we were and we (each of us) could certainly have done much worse. Had we both chosen to work at it, I do believe we could have had a good life, of respect and love. But he was never that guy. He didn’t want to work at it, and consequently I’m ultimately better off — lots and lots of pain, but hey I’m still here — and now all my efforts go towards people who deserve them. And that’s kind of a nice feeling.”

          Looking back now, I see how we shouldn’t have been together – in the sexual dept, but everything else was working out well.
          Physical, mentally and career-oriented at the same time; we had a lot of fun each going to work every day trading in different fields.
          We ran in the morning before work, or swam – then ran after work up and down hills with the dogs…saw every movie that came out immediately..
          Ahh, to be young again.

          But that damn nagging feeling – and thanks for letting me bitch about it….*I* had everything in the world I wanted. A very handsome, charming, charismatic husband who every woman wanted. The best kisser in the world. Natural biceps the size of my thighs. A gentleman in many respects: Never swore or raised his voice.
          I felt so lucky because I was the opposite and he loved me for it.
          >insert< but we never had any intercourse – weee~~

          When he was trying to control me? I fought back wildly (I had a little tougher childhood than he so I was naturally tough)
          Dammit, but I was NOT going to be controlled! I had been on my own since age 16 and made a career for myself with my own money.
          Let's just say, he was more slyly more sneaky and manipulative than I ever thought possible.
          I was simple, he was catty enough he should have been a woman.

          Yes, we got the best of each others' youth.

          Little did I know how secretive he really was after all those years.
          He ripped the past completely out of me and I'm trying to cover it up with new memories…successfully, so far.
          I'm one that does not know what was true or not for over 3 decades- it was that bad of deceit.

          Sorry for rambling, but I think in all honesty, I'm more hurt by the fact he never wanted me in the end, and, looking back, I really don't think he wanted me in the beginning. He is a fading mirage..

          And, I'm just a catapillar emerging from my cocoon and I'm not sure if I'll become a moth or a butterfly.

      • SheChump & NWBiblio – I’m sure you know this already but all that “I never really loved you” and “I was never attracted to you” is bullshit straight out of the Cheater Handbook. It’s another way for them to blameshift once they get caught. The Entitled One told me we were “just roommates” and I shot back, “Oh yeah? Roommates who tell each other they love each other? Call each other their soul mate? HAVE SEX?” He shut up about it in front of me, but I’m sure he’s been spewing that crap to anyone who’ll listen.

        I love this line, SheChump: “It’s exactly what it MUST BE, falling OUT of love with these idiots who never respected you.”

        I’ve been thinking about the process of falling out love a lot lately because I absolutely believed that I would love him for the rest of my life. Even after everything that had happened, I was still in love with them. Then, one day a few months ago, I woke up and I wasn’t in love with him anymore. All the shitty things he did finally sank in enough that it killed what I’d felt for him.

        Since then, whenever I see him at kid drop-offs/pick-ups, I’m gobsmacked by who he truly is and how I never saw that before. I look at him and know that I’m not in love with him, that’s he’s not someone I could ever be in love with, that I don’t even like him. When we split, almost everybody — even people who didn’t know what had happened — took my side. Turns out the general consensus is he’s brilliant at what he does professionally, but he’s an asshole. The only exceptions are people he sucks up to, the ones thinks are “cool,” who have the kind of life he wants. He now runs in a pack with them, every one of them a successful, shallow asshole.

        It’s amazing to me that I was able to focus on his “woundedness” for so long without seeing him as he is. And yet, despite the fact that I never, never want him back, I’m still devastated at the destruction of my life (as I thought it was) and my family. At the absolute loss of the happy, intact family that was the most important thing to me and now I have to absorb that I never had, and never will.

        I never thought much about the process of falling OUT of love. It’s strange to feel emotional detachment from someone you thought was the love of your life. It’s stranger to hardly recognize him, because once the truth is out, he looks different to you.

        • I agree completely. Once I realized I no longer loved him, I can look at him and knowing what is on the inside I am no longer attracted but repulsed. I could only do that with no contact. He’s like Chernobyl. All seemed peaceful until it wasn’t. All I needed was time, distance, and shielding. Of course he is dead on the inside from his own poisoning but the OW can try to clean up after that wasteland. He’s no longer my burden

        • He became a stranger to me, I tell people that I now know what it’s like to lose a loved one to Alzheimer’s. Their body is there, but the person you thought they were is gone.

    • NWBiblio, thanks for the well wishes, lots of good points. I guess I’m looking back more now because I’m very into a new guy and it drags me back to looking at what I might have missed. But you’re right. I will never, ever know and I need to just move forward (smartly) and not let all of his junk keep me from moving forward or risking again with someone else.

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